No Soul, No Timehop Killer.
When facebook clone, they tend to get it wrong. I wonder if it’s because they don’t understand the true soul of what they’re cloning?
When they did Check-ins, it was a “Foursquare killer” — but Foursquare at its soul is a sophisticated digital location info layer to the world (using people as web crawlers), not just checkins. Facebook didn’t get that. They cloned the wrong DNA and lost.
When they did Slingshot, it was a “Snap Chat killer” — but Snap Chat at its soul is a new, liberating, realtime casual communication medium, not just disappearing photos. Facebook didn’t get that. They cloned the wrong DNA and lost.
And now they’re doing “On This Day”, a “Timehop killer” — but i think they’ll find that Timehop at its soul is a delightful daily dose of memories, many of which are quite private (or shared between close friends and family at most) not just a list of what you posted on Facebook last year. I think they won’t get that. I think they’ll clone the wrong DNA and lose.
Now, of course, at Facebook scale, even a failure — used by say “only” 1% of their users—still gives them incredible learning and data. Huge value to them, and a no-brainer to build. But it’s not enough to be a category winner. Because all the learning and all the data in the world doesn’t give you soul. And without soul, you got nothing.