by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
code, community, elitism, techies


Ten Lines Of Code Is Easy; Building Community Is Hard

from the yup dept

Fred Wilson has a good post pointing out how ridiculous it is for various elitists to scoff at a certain internet startup because it could be recreated in "ten lines of code." I certainly know the feeling (and have, at times, felt it myself), but as Fred notes, the comment is really far off the mark, and is a situation where techies tend to be doing the same thing that content owners have been known to do: overvaluing one part of the product over what's likely to be even more important. While content owners overvalue the content itself, techies often overvalue the code. But with certain services, it's the community that's more important than the code. The fact that the code can be (and has been) replicated is meaningless, if you can't also create the same community around it.

This is a point that's also important when it comes to the various discussions we have about patent law around here. Some patent system defenders insist that they need to "protect" their invention. But, again, if that invention isn't bringing users, there's not much worth protecting, at all. You can copy all you want, but if no one's willing to use what you do, you haven't done much valuable. Ten lines of code may be meaningless. But if those ten lines of code bring in millions of users, it's a different story.

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 Mar 2009 @ 8:34am

    Re: True

    oh man, I have a friend that tried to make a website that would be a monster.com killer. He succeeded in everything but the human element. Brilliant code, brilliant database design, brilliant everything... except he prescribed to the idea of "If you make it, they will come."

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