Yesterday Twitter announced that it was acqu-hiring Posterous. I’ve been using Twitter for five years and I’ve been using Posterous for four years and posted almost 700 posts. I was one of the early adopters and evangelists for Posterous. In fact every member of my family has a Posterous site, at work we use Posterous as an internal collaboration site and because of me Microsoft was the first corporation to use Posterous (ironic since the founders of Posterous are all ex-Apple). I’m a huge fan of how easy Posterous makes it to share posts across the web and how elegantly it handles photos.
You would think I would be happy that two of my favorite services were getting together, but I’m not. It’s a bit like watching your two best friends get married but you know that one of them is just going to eat the other one (apparently my friends are praying mantis).
But wait, how do you know Twitter will just kill Posterous? Well for starters, if Posterous employees will be put on Twitter projects who’s going to run Posterous?
Posterous engineers, product managers and others will join our teams working on several key initiatives that will make Twitter even better.
And why else would they even mention plans to let you migrate your content?
Posterous Spaces will remain up and running without disruption. We’ll give users ample notice if we make any changes to the service. For users who would like to back up their content or move to another service, we’ll share clear instructions for doing so in the coming weeks.
And if this doesn’t sound like a goodbye, I don’t know what does:
The last four years have been an amazing journey. Your encouragement, praise and criticism have made us better. Thanks for that. We look forward to building great things for you over at Twitter.
But Twitter buying a blogging service was something that I anticipated four years ago. In fact I was so confident of the fact that I almost started my own blogging service with the plan of being acquired by Twitter. Ultimately I decide it wasn’t the right time for me to build a startup and now I’m glad I didn’t, because Twitter isn’t looking at expanding their service with Posterous, they just want the engineering talent. So now @agarwal get’s to go from being the founder and CEO of Posterous to being a product manager at Twitter.
Man, that’s one hell of a way to get a J-O-B. Nothing against Twitter or Project Managers, but I don’t hear many CEO’s walking around saying: “After I flip this bitch, I want to be a project manager.”
So why would you sell something you put your life into for four years just to let Twitter kill it? Well the answer is that it was probably dead anyway. Posterous has always had a little bit of envy when it came to their competitor Tumblr. Tumblr gets all the street cred with the hipsters and Posterous gets a few geeks like me. Posterous even had a whole marketing initiative encouraging people to import their content from other “dying” services like Blogger and Tumblr. But they’ve never really been able to compete against Tumblr.
Late last year, Posterous decided to “pivot” to Posterous Spaces where they would focus on “normal” users, and not only did it not help them against Tumblr but it seems like they zigged, when they should have zagged. Here’s the numbers immediately following said pivot.
Oh snap! That sucks. Granted it was during the holidays and we don’t have the data from the last few months, but let’s compare Tumblr’s numbers during the same time.
<cough>ass kicking<cough> Oh yeah that’s right, Posterous and Tumbr are both services where “normal” users can share photos and stuff and during the holiday’s even “normal” people were sharing shed loads of photo’s.
I know I’ve come across pretty harsh in this post (I even cursed, something I don’t do *in print* very often), but I’m feeling a little jilted. I’m a little bitter. With so many on my favorite startups being acquired and then killed I think I’m developing abandonment issues. (Hey at least there’s still FriendFeed.)
I know how hard it is to build a company and I appreciate all the effort Sachin and the Posterous team have put in over the last four years and I am glad that if Posterous really was doomed that they all found a soft landing at Twitter.
But if you’ll excuse me I have about a dozen Posterous sites to migrate now.