Most big companies kill internal projects and products.
Microsoft killed off Danger and Courier. Cisco killed Flip. HP isn’t doing anything with WebOS. RIM hasn’t dropped playbook but I’m guessing they should/will
And google seems to be doing a lot of this. In recent memory google has nuked google wave, buzz, health, jaiku, dodgeball, sidewiki. and I’m sure I’m forgetting stuff.
Some of these things make sense. And I applaud google’s attempts to try lots of things.
But compare that to how startups work.
Startups grind it out, stay focused and bet their company every day on their team, vision and product.
Yes it’s true that some startups pivot and kill off their initial idea.
But whether they pivot or not, it’s still typically a long haul. A marathon. That’s why building to flip isn’t interesting. It’s about building something import, long lasting and independent.
But that takes time, patience, loyalty and continued execution. Dabbling won’t do.
Take Tumblr. Tumblr’s first year was super exciting and interesting to me but the growth rate and number of users in 2007 wouldn’t have made a big company happy. Same is true at Wayfair. Seven years later Wayfair will do $500mm in revenue.
The reason why a big company can and will nuke an internal product with ease is because it doesn’t move their needle. Their needle is too big and their weight to too heavy.
Every day a startup moves the needle. Some days are better than others but the needle moves. And every single person in that startup matters.
If we left all new crazy ideas up to the big company, we would just have more dabbling.
Thankfully we have entrepreneurs that are patient and tenacious enough to see things through good and bad times. To see them through when the possible seems impossible.
(please excuse typos and lack of links. wrote this in the back of a cab on my iphone)