For those of you living on Pluto (RELOCATE!!!) Kiko is - was - a neat ruby on rails web-based calendar. For the average Joe, not that far from GCal. Long story short, by the time GCal rolled out the nice guys at Kiko were pretty much f**ked up.
The guys were smart enough to realize they were done and decided to call it quits, blaming Google to be as a treath as MS for young internet companies (many agreed, many others did not).
The company was placed on an auction on eBay and sold for about $ 250K.
Now, I have no idea what the plan was: whether they simply wanted to sell (writely anybody?) and make some money or they felt they could really lead the web calendar scene for years to come. What's worth noting, in my opinion, is that many of the thousands web 2.0 companies risk to die of the same disease. Will Yousendit survive "Google Send" or whatever they call it? Right. What this crowd of little guys is doing is basically serving as a market research agency for Google and Yahoo. For free. Either there's a market there, and the big guys are jumping in, or there's not, and you're done anyway. So the point isn't much about Google or Yahoo being evil, as much as it is about: shouldn't a start up have a strategy that goes farther than simply gathering users?
Paul Graham (partner at YCombinator, VC from Mountain View [!!!] that funded Kiko) said in his interview to Techcrunch:
What I tell founders is not to sweat the business model too much at first. The most important task at first is to build something people want. If you don’t do that, it won’t matter how clever your business model is.Great quote, isn't it? :-) But even when you have something people want AND a business model, you're not done yet. Well, having those 2 pieces together may as well make your life shorter, for it makes your research so much clearer for anybody. Simply eniugh, you've gotta build your barriers to keep people put of your garden(take Squidoo, Feedburner and Ask.com as examples of good barrier building sites other than the obvious ones). So my 2 cents for anybody working on a start up (and for myself!): Build a wall or you'll end up playing Google's game.