It’s hard to argue with the fact that Google has grown to the point where it can be a real challenge to compete with it. The first public demonstration (in my memory) came this week when web calendar Kiko went up for auction on eBay, and the obvious reaction was to think that it was killed by Google Calendar. Paul Graham went so far to say that the big lesson here is “to stay out of Google’s way”. The Kiko team itself came away with some rather different lessons.
But I think that David Heinemeier over at 37signals said it best. Google isn’t the be-all end-all. In fact, no one product or application or website will ever be the best thing for everyone. There are plenty of Google applications (among them the Calendar), that while neat, don’t suit my needs. When people balked at this idea, claiming “Google is big. Backpack calendar is small. They win, you just haven’t realized it yet,” Jason Fried piped up with defining your own success. Success is not a zero-sum game. Two competitors can both succeed.
And that’s probably the most important lesson.