JotSpot Lockdown

by Krishna on December 29, 2006

After Google acquired JotSpot, the site is locked down for new registrations as they migrate to Google’s systems. I wonder how much of a good business strategy this is. Right now, companies are in a mad rush to embrace Web 2.0 technologies and use all kinds of collaborative software to run their businesses — from the small entrepreneurs to larger corporations. They want blogs, wikis, web ads — the list goes on.

Now the persons driving the changes in these companies don’t have time to wait. If they cannot get onto a software offered by Google, they would just move over to the next available competitor. After all, the upfront cost of selecting a different vendor is not very high at all. Many people who want a wiki probably don’t understand all the possible differences in features between competing products — since the paradigm is new to them. So how much business are they losing every day by this tactic?

Besides, I am astounded at how a company can do this. If I were to tell my customers that they cannot add more users on their software because I have a migration issue, I would probably be fired on the spot! There would be an analysis stage to understand how the migration has to take place, the necessary design created and programmers would get to work to change the code and create the scripts that would do the cutover with minimal downtime. After this, we would go through testing and then a few dry runs before moving over. And then we would find the loneliest time to do the production switch.

This situation reminds me of the book “The Toyota Way” where the author explains that having excess inventory hides a lot of problems. If you have lots of surplus, why should you worry that the replenishing supply trucks take too long to get to the plants or that there are 10% defective parts in every lot. To correlate, when Google has oodles of money to throw around, why worry about a few thousand customers going away to a competitor? And besides, if you never know what you have lost, you never have to weep for it.

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