This post is heavily inspired by the events of #RIPTwitter and the recent Fine Brothers fiasco, but it could apply to just about any company, product or person. When I say user base, I could easily mean customers or fan base.
There is a tendency for success to breed a certain level of arrogance. I think many of us have fallen victim to that in a small way from time to time. Now magnify the level success you might have encountered by several orders of magnitude and I think you will start to realise how disconnected most successful people and companies can become. As you become more disconnected, the normal feedback mechanisms start to break down. You are surrounded by hangers on who act like everything you say is the word of God. Without those feedback mechanisms holding you in check, it’s easy to spiral out of control. We see it again and again with popstars and actors. Recently we’ve seen examples of this in social media, as mentioned earlier.
In addition, companies are in the difficult position of having to be seen to grow and develop. If a company stands still, everyone, including the shareholders, believe they are dying. Balancing the needs of the shareholders and the user base is not an easy thing. Having said that, annoying your user base never pays off. Even if you think you’ve got away with it, it’s filed away ready to be resurrected the next time you annoy them. Twitter and the Fine Brothers have had the equivalent of an extramarital affair. As a result, some will choose to leave. Some will stay, pretending they can forgive and forget, but in reality it’s all just been stored in the bank for use later.
As I said at the start, this could be a post about any number of products, people or companies. It doesn’t matter who it is targeted at, the message is the same.
You can only kick a dog so many times before it bites back!