See, Twitter decided early on that it wasn’t going to pander to its original base. Smartly, Twitter decided to ignore the demands of edge-case geek users like Robert Scoble, and instead focus on mass appeal, celebrities, and building out the core platform. The robust and easy-to-use Twitter API has spurred a flourishing ecosystem of third-party apps.
Tumblr’s doing the opposite. Rather than focusing on expanding its audience and making it into a valuable platform, it’s coiling in on itself, doubling down on the un-monetizable memes that its core users love — like pictures of sharks and cats. A non-Tumblr user joining the site would have no idea what the fascination with cats and sharks is all about. It’s totally self-referential.
An interesting article about how Tumblr is really focusing on their core user base and adding features *those users* find valuable.
This is definitely an important concern when building a new company, but not as black and white as this post makes it seem. Posterous was always meant to have mass appeal, get millions of *new* people blogging. But at the same time, we have to take care of the early adopters, without them we wouldn’t be here today.
We’ve had to make some hard decisions already, to work on features that will really help us grow rather than features that are fun or were requested by a prominent user. This is only going to get harder from here. It’s all about balance.