At the same time, and while we were figuring out our next moves, Big Data-driven content delivery algorithms were getting smarter by the minute to grab and keep users’ attention, and to get them literally addicted to a specific platform. All content out there is ultimately competing for the same limited mindshare. And this arms race of the attention economy, lead by the Facebooks and Buzzfeeds of the world, is what every aspiring content platform or provider is up against. Which is fine, unless the objective of this race is at odds with your core mission. Remember: our mission was to serve you videos that are worthy of your time. So while we ramped up with more analytics and smarter tech to compete, we constantly had to strike a balance between optimizing for “time spent” on the one hand, and our commitment to quality — or what others have called “time well spent” — on the other hand. Trying to mitigate, we ultimately got stuck in no man’s land: staying all-in on quality meant being too niche, but relentlessly optimizing for clicks meant competing on YouTube and Facebook turf. The former didn’t allow us the meaningful growth rate and scale we set out to achieve. The latter did not put us in a position where we could offer a real alternative to our users.