Lessons from the Crypt.


Back in 2006 while I was writing the brand strategy for Zude.com, there was an 18 million user upstart cutting its teeth called Facebook. You had to be a college kid to have an account back then. Ish. They brilliantly referred to the property as a “social network.”

Zude on the other hand was not a social network. It was a webpage building tool. Our CTO might have called it an “authoring tool” to make is sound more technical. The genius of Zude was in its ability to let uses drag and drop images, text, video and other web objects onto a blank white page and create a web page. No HTML coding required. If you could type and drag and drop, I used to say, you could create your own website.

The biggest problem with Zude was our company’s Facebook envy.  The CTO wanted to be a social network; it was the haps.  It was about friending, and community and growth. So we lost our positioning way and started to build in clunky Facebook-like functionality.  The brand strategy “Zude takes web development to the people,” which was built from the product’s greatest strength, was cast aside due to MySpace and Facebook envy. And we were afloat amidst the tides, currents and winds of a different business model.  

I’m a big boy.  I can change strategy when directed.  But just because you call a goat a horse, doesn’t make it ride-able.  Lessons from the crypt. Peace.