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Jeeves Purchases Bloglines: A Different Take

For those unaware, the news broke today about

Ask Jeeves purchasing Bloglines. There are some good posts by Mary Hodder and Russell Beattie on it.

What nobody has really talked much about though is what’s going to happen to Mark Fletcher, the creator of Bloglines. Mary assumes he’ll be an Ask employee “Mark Fletcher will be their newest employee starting Monday”. I hope he isn’t.

I’ve had some personal experience as a member of a very small company that was purchased by a large one. It’s great of course for the owner and it’s basically “the dream” of most people who start a small web business. I’m all for it.

What I’m really talking about is that once you sell your company, especially a small one, it’s not yours anymore (duh). That leads to big problems because all those great features you added in an afternoon before now go through 15 committees and take 6 months to implement. All the personal relationships you built with the community by being open about your business … gone behind a shield of NDA’s. The nice simple interface …. replaced by giant “search Jeeves” buttons everywhere. It goes on and on.

So for Mark’s sake I hope he took a little less money and hands the keys over to The Man and walks away.
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