“Building to flip” is a term that means that you’d build a company, product, or service specifically with the intent to sell it. This strategy is not often the best strategy, since you remove customer from the equation and simply try to make the service attractive to prospective buyers. Good for you, bad for all of us. But is this always the case?
As of yesterday, we saw that Adaptive Path was able to sell one of its projects, Measure Map to Google. This wasn’t a straight sell of product for cash, since a few of the employees of Adaptive Path are going as well. However, this announcement brought out a lot of opinions. The opinions ranged from congratulatory to confusion, yet these were not based on the quality of the product itself, just the stage of development Measure Map was in when it was sold.
Measure Map is technically still in early development, so when it was purchased many started to wonder whether or not that was a good thing. Others thought that Google bought it because it was in “beta”. We all know Google love their betas.
I think there are two things being ignored here. The first being that Google stood to save a lot of money, and a lot of “redevelopment” time by purchasing Measure Map as soon as it crossed their desk. Once Measure Map was out in the open, making a profit, it would have been more expensive for Google to purchase it outright. Once Measure Map was out of beta stage, Google may have had to “reverse engineer” the work that had been done in order to use it for their purposes. Google, without seeing the end-product finished and out in the open, saw the value in Measure Map.
I’m not “in the know” so consider all of the above as pure speculation. However, when people say that building something to flip is totally and 100% the wrong way to do things, I think it depends on who your building to flip it to. Value is definitely in the eye of the beholder, and if the company/person buying your product, service, or company has any amount of creative thinking ability they will see the value, even if it is not completely finished yet.
Congratulations to Adaptive Path and Google.