Back from the brief hiatus on the blog, exams took their toll, and then there was Need for Speed: Most Wanted, and in general lethargy to post, though there are a couple of things that are at the back of the head, and will be posted in due course… Meanwhile, another question that’s worth asking:
Time and again, I have observed, things start small, and everything is beautiful, perfect even. It is fresh, bubbling and has a nice homely feeling. And then it grows. Because it has to. Because that is the natural progression. But growth brings alienation, staleness, the usual crap. It slowly starts passing out of your hands, till one fine day, you just cannot associate with it anymore, and spend time thinking about the good ol’ days when it was small.
Here are some examples:
I was coached at the Chate Coaching Classes (CCC) for my tenth grade exams, which are quite a big deal here, and my parents, like all good parents, wanted me to excel. Dad was against it, and to his credit, I now realize it too, but it’s too late. (I should probably make a point to post this separately.) Anyway, so this CCC was a big-timer in the Solapur-Akola-Kolhapur area, and was a new entrant in Mumbai. And they were big, but being new in Mumbai, they had the small-new-fresh feeling… I enjoyed my ninth grade coaching there, and then gradually, things started changing… The branch manager there was pretty close to me and my friends, as was the area manager. Slowly, the relationship strained, and things drifted away. Professors were slowly getting the “professional” drift, and it was just not the same anymore. The whole nicey-dicey thing was lost.
Jasubhai Digital Media, the publishers of Digit, had earlier launched CHIP, licensed from the original CHIP publishers in Germany. And boy, what a computer magazine it was… Totally took the Indian audience by awe. It was so much more classy and better designed than PC-Quest and the others. I was instantly hooked from the first issue, and got myself a subscription. The it grew, because it was a commercial venture, and it had to make profit. It branched out into other categories, the magazine itself changed its focus from computing to technology, and soon they had a conflict of sorts with the licensors. They decided to move on to a new name, keeping all their staff and tech center the same. But, something went wrong at the transformation. Slowly, it began to loose its touch. It seemed to be close and personal earlier, and now, appears far, and behind a customer support desk! It was as if, it has lost its soul. Sad to say, I no longer subscribe to it.
The Google story, from what I see at the blog, seems to be very similar.
Which brings me to the question, I wanted to ask, as promised in the first paragraph: Is growth necessary? Can small be good, and can small be sustained? Or is it necessary to get ever increasing profits, users, or whatever it is that you plan to achieve by getting bigger than what you already are? One crucial aspect is: Are people going to miss you if you do not grow. Consider GMail, if it was to be small, and therefore limited to only a few people, most would loose out on a wonderful piece of doing email. Is this right?
Some day, I might be in a position to have my own start-up. Or maybe join a friend and do something. What will we do then? Will we grow and risk alienating our close users / clientele, who joined us for the fresh-small-personal feel? Or is it possible to grow, balloon even, and retain all of that?
Three vivas to go. Everything will finally end on Friday, and then will start the project work, gaming, and some development.