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Etherpad and the Google Wavelet  

I wrote about Google Wave last year, and even gave a talk about the potential of Google Wave at TechCrunch's ChristmasCrunch 2009. I was very disappointed when they shut down Wave after only a year - a symptom of things being really less than stellar at Google (perhaps Larry Page's return as CEO will help fix some of those things).

For many people, it was even more of a downer that before taking out Wave, Google absorbed Etherpad, which was built on a platform, AppJet, which had similar ambitions.

So, here's an interesting story by Avery Pennarun on the demise of Wave and Etherpad, with a comparison of the two, and what he felt was better about Etherpad. Even more interesting to founders is this HN comment written, in response, by Aaron Iba, cofounder of Etherpad/AppJet. Here are some of his insights:

In the end, our decision to join Wave did not work out as we had hoped. The biggest lessons learned were that having more engineers and money behind a project can actually be more harmful than helpful, so we were wrong to be scared of Wave as a competitor for this reason. It seems obvious in hindsight, but at the time it wasn't. Second, I totally underestimated how hard it would be to iterate on the Wave codebase. I was used to rewriting major portions of software in a single all-nighter. Because of the software development process Wave was using, it was practically impossible to iterate on the product. I should have done more diligence on their specific software engineering processes, but instead I assumed because they seemed to be operating like a startup, that they would be able to iterate like a startup. A lot of the product problems were known to the whole Wave team, but we were crippled by a large complex codebase built on poor technical choices and a cumbersome engineering process that prevented fast iteration.

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