I found this website recently. It’s a memorial to all of the products and projects that Google has abandoned over the years. While the site is in French, you immediately understand the point without even looking for the translate button. I think this Google Memorial site has become popular given the recent speculation about the future of Google+. I’m not aware that Google has made any official announcements about the G+ platform, it’s more of a “what’s not being said” that’s driving much of the conversation.
As I was looking at the list of all the abandoned projects, the first thing that popped into my mind was “There sure are a lot of projects here.” Should Google be concerned about becoming one of those companies that’s great at starting something but then gets bored with it and leaves users hanging? I’ve even met people like that. They start a new project or partnership then a few weeks or months later, they move on to something else. It can be a challenge to support them because you don’t know if they’ll stick with it.
But then I remember that it’s good business to stop doing things that don’t move the organization forward. If a project is clearly sucking the life out of the company, better to ditch it than continue to throw good money after bad. I’ve watched great companies lose their way because they wouldn’t stop destructive behavior. I’ve also heard many a successful business person talk about early failures and cutting losses. Ideally, they take those lessons learned to the next project.
In fact, as I thought about it more, maybe we need big companies like Google with their huge piles of resources to have a few more abandoned projects. Maybe the rest of us can learn from their very public way of creating, managing, coping, and abandoning projects. Is it possible that the takeaway isn’t whether the project was abandoned; but, what can be learned from the time that the project was with us?
Frankly, I like to think that any organization that decides to end an initiative is asking those same questions.
Personally, I don’t know that we’ve seen the last of Google+. Yes, the recent conversations (or lack thereof) lead me to believe that change is in the cards. But what that change looks like and how it impacts the way I use Google+ remains to be seen.
[Tweet “What Do You Want to Be Known For”]
Bigger picture – organizations and individuals have to figure out what they want to be known for. Are you a company that starts a whole bunch of projects and never finishes them? Or are you publically testing the waters, not only for your business, but for the rest of us to watch? And, whatever the answer is…should you communicate your plans to the world or just let bystanders create memorials in your honor?
Image courtesy of Sharlyn Lauby
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