What isn't an Incredible Journey?

A couple of years back I wrote What is an incredible journey? clarifying what qualifies for inclusion on this site. The short version was, and is:

  • One company buying another and closing its services down. This is a purchase of the second company’s staff, rather than their product. An acquihire.

[This post is a copy of a post on Our Incredible Journey.]

But this still leaves plenty of wriggle room, which the closure of Vine highlights. If one company buys a service and closes it after a few years (four in this case) is that still an Incredible Journey? I’d say it depends.

In Vine’s case I’d say probably not. Some businesses fail despite their best efforts. Those aren’t Incredible Journeys; businesses fail every day. If a company (Twitter) buys another (Vine) and tries to make a success of it but gives up after a few years, that seems like a good try to me.

On the other hand, if Twitter had bought Vine and given up on it after six months that would seem more like a standard acquihire-and-shut-the-service, an Incredible Journey. And more so if Vine might otherwise have had a promising future independently, or under a different purchaser.

There’s obviously still a grey area here. What about if Twitter gave up after one year? Two? I don’t know. But four years seems like a good shot.

Having said that, there are occasions when a service is bought, and then stays alive for years, that qualify better for “Incredible Journey”.

For example, Dopplr (featured here) was bought by Nokia in 2009 and only closed in 2013. Another four year span. So why does this count? In this case, Nokia didn’t make any effort to develop Dopplr, or show any interest in it. The site only stayed alive as long as it did, with no new development, due to the skills and efforts of its founders. (Disclosure: They’re friends of mine and they’re lovely.)

So if Twitter had bought Vine and done nothing with it, finally closing it four years later, that sounds more like an Incredible Journey. Buying it, trying to make a go of it, and finally admitting defeat after four years maybe isn’t.

But, Incredible Journeys aside, we now have to see how Twitter deal with that vast archive of creativity over the coming years. Saying “nothing is happening to the apps, website or your Vines today” is one thing. Being responsible for what they’ve bought and encouraged, and keeping this stuff alive for the future, is another matter.

Commenting is disabled on posts once they’re 30 days old.

28 Oct 2016 at Twitter

  • 3:28pm: @jkottke There is something so happy-making about these things!
  • 3:24pm: @kottke There are a few similarly good (and others less good) on reddit.com/r/CrowdPulledO… I think youtube.com/watch?v=Bceuh8… is still my fave.
  • 2:44pm: @NeilBennun It just took me 15 minutes to work out how to get a PDF from my Mac on to my iPad.
  • 1:55pm: @marks Part of me has sympathy, part of me thinks “you didn’t think this might happen?”
  • 10:29am: @dracos Yeah, seems to nice and easy and free and everything to last. Also, this glass is half-empty!
  • 10:29am: @dracos I meant a start-up/business, rather than a hobby, but I kind of ran out of characters :)
  • 10:23am: We're starting an effort to archive @vine. If you have favorites, please let us know by using this Google Form: docs.google.com/forms/d/1otnjc…
  • 10:20am: And, yes, it’s easy for me to sit up here in my ivory hobby horse taking gentle potshots at people, having never started anything myself.
  • 10:11am: I could have written that as an unwieldy and hard-to-find-in-the-future series of tweets, as is all the rage. But I like you.
  • 10:10am: I wrote about why I don’t think Vine’s closure counts as an Incredible Journey: ourincrediblejourney.tumblr.com/post/152418580… In case you care.
  • 8:41am: @textfiles I’m easily persuaded either way!
  • 6:40am: “Buy a business and close its service” is very different to “Buy a business and try to make it work for years, but fail”.
  • 6:39am: Should Vine count as an “Incredible Journey”? It’s been 4 years since acquisition. After so long it’s more like a business failing, sadly.