Vendor lock-in sucks: Making it easy to leave smugmug
Most people these days “get” photo sharing, particularly people doing the whole internet thing here in the Valley. They nod their heads politely while I describe all the neat features we have at smugmug. Some aren’t unique, some are. But the thing that always stops them in their tracks is the fact that we make it easy to leave smugmug by exposing a rich API, offering CD/DVD backups of your photos, and the like.
“What?!” they exclaim, “If you don’t achieve lock-in, your customers will leave as soon as there’s something better!”.
“Yes,” I explain, “that’s sorta the whole point.”
And it is. We call smugmug the ultimate in photo sharing, and I’m quite confident that we are. But if we don’t have to work at keeping it great, we’ll soon fall behind and cease to be great. Success can kill your company, my father always says, and I agree.
If, on the other hand, falling behind means that it’s easy for people to stop using our service, it will keep us on our toes. Our customers won’t get pissed at us because we’ve started to suck – they’ll just leave. And that hits us where it counts.
So we’ve made it easy to leave, and we’ll continue to make it even easier. It’s our way of saying that we’re committed to being the ultimate in photo sharing for a long long time – and if we aren’t, kiss us goodbye.