This morning, everyone was losing their shit over Dropbox announcing things. Mostly, people just wanted
free cheap less expensive stuff. As Bradley Chambers — Cloud Storage Super Villain — complains about the lack of an intermediary tier.
LOL, nothing like that was announced! Instead, to reinforce the worthiness of the $99 entry point, Carousel was announced.
Visions of Mad Men danced in each technophiles’ head. Don Draper, with his class, and charm (and NONE of the negative things) would sweep them off their feet.
A frenzy of praise ensued — even though the app wasn’t out yet. This went on for a while. Then people started using it. Reality is kind of rough, huh? It wants to eat all your photos so that it can fill up your Dropbox account. You can only share with other people that have the Carousel app.
Once afternoon rolled around, all of the people that were excited this morning were no longer excited, they were all actively complaining about the poor application. Several went back to lamenting the storage situation.
Usually, this unfolds on a longer time scale. Product A has leaks, or “pre-announcements”, or fancy unveilings, and then a while after that, Product A is released. All that good will that had hyped up Product A can reverse direction.
Like a big, bright, burning star, it runs out of hype-fuel and it collapses under its’ own weight. Leaving a lump of suck in its’ place. Like a black hole it can also pull in some of the good-will from nearby products. The Company’s Product A collapses in to suck, and then The Company’s Product B gets good will pulled off of it in to the suckitude of the neighboring product. (If only we had Neil’s Ship of The Imagination.)
It’s easy to be cynical about this from the outset (LOL, you believed in something!) but that’s like willfully living in a universe exclusively made of black holes. Everything sucks. Contrary to what some may think, I am fully capable of thinking positively about things. I, too, can look forward to owning, or using, fancy-ass toys. I just try to keep that excitement in check. Everything about what Dropbox is doing makes me very carefully measure my excitement. Arbitration. Lame pricing. Products that exist to make you hit higher storage limits. It’s important to keep that in mind, to maintain perspective, and not melt at the first demo video. Federico Viticci seems to have taken the same tack.
Fortunately, The Prompt’s photo service was acquihired, and sunsetted, and blue-bottled to Dropbox, so hopefully they can integrate the synergies. Believe it or not, all that satire was written last week. I guess Dropbox isn’t familiar with my work.