First-Mover Myth Strikes Again

Tim Bray on speed to market vs features

If you and I have the same good idea for a community-based Web site on the same day, and mine is on the air in five months and yours in eight, then you’re dead. And it doesn’t matter if yours is better, because the community has gathered.

This is unadulturated nonsense. Twitter is used as the example and while Tim is saying that the time to market factor is the key to adoption, all of his supporting points in the post are actually about the feature set. “Apparently 140 characters, distributed appropriately, gives you what you need.” That’s a comment about features and has nothing to do with community or network effects.

Plus, Twitter appears to be a geographically-oriented phenomenon while other competing products see better adoption elsewhere. Look at the bizarre success of Orkut in Brazil vs. other social networks in the US. Or Habbo Hotel in Europe. I get the impression that Jaiku is in a similar position versus Twitter.