One problem with products made by startups is that they have short life-expectancy. Even if a startup succeeds and gets acquired, their products often go into maintenance-mode and die. There are countless examples of successful startups whose products have stagnated and died: Etherpad, Stypi, Cloudkick, Slicehost, Sparrow. Take a look at Google and Facebook’s acquisitions. These are “successful” startups, but the percentage of dead products is startlingly high.
We’ve been burnt by flash-in-the-pan startups before, and we don’t want to be one of those. We want to build something that lasts, even if our company doesn’t. That’s why we pledge the following:
- If we shut down a product, we’ll make it possible for anyone to run a fully-featured instance. That includes releasing source code and documenting how to install and configure our software.
- We’ll build export APIs and scripts to consume them. Your data will not be held captive.
- We will keep everything running long enough to give you plenty of time to set up your own instances.
We realize our pledge isn’t perfect. It’s rather vague. It doesn’t have timeframes. That’s because it’s a pledge, not a contract. Rest assured, we’ll follow the spirit of our pledge. Gamesmanship is not in our nature.