I think that this is very much a Stack-Overflow-only resentment that has been building up over quite some time. The theory that many users have is that there’s some sort of deadline occurring in terms of funding on SO’s end, and so they’re rapidly trying to become more profitable, which is causing them to move away a bit from the completely user-centric mentality they had in the past.
To be clear, Stack Overflow isn’t doing anything evil or bad on a global scale. They’re just paying less attention to their users on meta, and more attention elsewhere, whether that’s perceptions on Twitter, feedback from other surveys from people who often may not feel like they belong on Meta yet (e.g. LGBTQ+), or a funding source telling them to become more profitable.
In that sense, I think these complaints are very unique to Stack Overflow. There’s no external worries about anti-trust or working with the military, etc. Just a community that’s a upset with decisions the leaders are making about the company internally.
I definitely think there’s space for all of these communities to grow immensely! I think part of what’s tricky with Stack Overflow is that I believe they are trying to grow their community, and through doing so, realized that the majority of users are not on Meta. Most of the posts I’ve linked to in this piece come from Meta, and I think the people on Meta may be fairly upset. However, I don’t think many users are on Meta. Notice that the Meta post with the most votes had less than 2500 votes. And there are over 11 million users.
So even if Meta blows up and people decide to quit, I think there’s likely another community that will be happy to step into their place and keep the site running. However, Stack Overflow needs to make sure that they don’t send the wrong message to that new community as well and be more clear about where they’re getting feedback from. A lot of these changes seem out of the blue, and Meta’s not sure why they’re happening. Once it becomes more clear that feedback from “The Loop” or other surveys are what are driving change, I think the community will grow and become more supportive.
Don’t get me wrong – I’m already saddened by how little Meta has been taken into account recently – it was one of my favorite things about the site, that anyone can propose ideas and ask questions about the site itself and there’s so much transparency. But apparently there are many people who unfortunately don’t feel like they belong on Meta, and it looks like the push (for now) is to try to engage those people and take them into account in other ways, rather than trying to figure out how to fix Meta so that it’s welcoming for everyone.
That seems like very valuable user data that may extend even outside clothing! I would be surprised if someone’s sense of fashion didn’t also have some correlations with house decoration or other beauty-related areas.
I’m very worried that a company like Amazon, which is also very much a tech company, would be able to move into this space and dominate it. It seems like Amazon is likely to have more volume of users and be able to gather insights from other areas as well to apply to this area.
My guess is that since Amazon is not focused on clothing (their first attempt at fashion failed) Stitch Fix is likely to be around for a while. But I’d be concerned if Amazon turned its gaze once again towards this market.
I find the brand of Mattress Firm to also be quite interesting – when I think of Mattress Firm, I always think of the big “Going Out of Business” signs like the one you have in your header. I’m curious if maybe Mattress Firm harmed their brand a bit by appearing cheap.
I feel like if you’re going to have physical facilities for selling something, this gives you an opportunity to have the buying process be even more enjoyable – you can physically pamper your customers and get customer insights no one else has. I’m curious if maybe one way Mattress Firm could pivot would be to re-brand and become a luxury mattress store – something that focuses more on a pampering experience rather than just the buying and selling of mattresses.
It’s interesting that most of the competitors you point out are developing some sort of hardware for playing games. This strikes me as somewhat contrary to the Mattress Firm story (https://digital.hbs.edu/platform-digit/submission/mattress-firm-losing-by-betting-on-bricks-in-the-age-of-clicks/?section=2917&sort=post_date-new) in which creating physical platforms worked worse than creating a digital product or platform.
Do you think that creating their own video game online store, or physical game-playing device could help them stay afloat while they improve the quality of their games?