What will kill Quora?

You know, I’ve been thinking about this a lot. See Why do I loathe Quora Inc. by Nick Nicholas on The Insurgency. And for that matter Nick Nicholas’ answer to Is there any chance that Quora will turn into a paid website in the upcoming years?.

What would result in there being no more Quora?

Let me run through the things I listed in my blog post.

Not the at times bizarre and unclear moderation. That has chased and will chase away a lot of people, maybe even a lot of the most interesting people; but the bulk will not run into it, and will stick around. And there’s plenty more new users signing up, to make the churn of people dispensable.

Not the UI churn. It may be the most annoying UI out on the market, but it’s no more than an annoyance.

Not the taciturn customer relations. Customer relations really only need to cultivate the top writers to keep them writing (80/20 rule), and in fact from all indications, they do. (Modulo moderation.)

Not the commodification of users (the user is the product). The masses on social media are fine with being commodified. Including me.

Quora is supposed to be a business, and if it fails, it will be for lack of it succeeding as a viable business, and (failing that) succeeding in being acquired as a viable business. (Not-for-profits are businesses too, btw; but that’s not the model Quora has been pursuing to date.)

Like I’ve said:

  • Leadership
  • Vision
  • Sustainability

I’m not privy to what’s going on with these. Neither are you. Neither are the shareholders, because Silicon Valley startups are not capitalism as you or I know it, and there are no shareholders. I do hope the venture capital dudes know what’s going on.

But that’s what will do it. There’s lots that I don’t like about Quora, myself, but I’m still here, so obviously there’s enough to compensate. That goes even more for the majority who aren’t as annoyed about Quora. If Quora fails, it won’t come from its current user base.

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