Delicious, Foursquare, OneTrueFan and the Founders Dilemma

This week two very interrelated tech news stories broke.  The first: Yahoo may be closing Delicious; the second: Former MyBlogLog founder launched the public beta of his new product OneTrueFan.  Why are these related?  Delicious and MyBlogLog were two incredibly popular web 2.0 social products that were acquired by Yahoo! aggressively when their stock was rising.  Both were poorly assimilated, rarely updated and for the most part left to squander to the dismay of their loyal fanbases. Oh and despite it all I've used and enjoyed both of these services almost to the bitter end, so this Yahoo's failure is personal.

While the founders of MyBlogLog and Delicious did very well financially through their acquisitions I imagine they were incredibly pained seeing their vision go mainly unrealized and their dedicated users left unfulfilled.  Now years after web giants like Yahoo swallowed up hot startups we're seeing the founders try for success again with their ideas again.  OneTrueFan is in a way MyBlogLog 2.0 - the founder's attempt to create independently what  couldn't be done within Yahoo.  It's the same story as Foursquare, which was launched by Dennis Crowley years after Google acquired his first company Dodgeball and drove it into the ground.  Now Foursquare is one of the most popular mobile social networks around at the dismay of Google; will OneTrueFan achieve similar success?

I for one am happy to see founders go back and try to make a second run at their idea.  It shows passion and dedication, and proves they really cared about the product, not just the money.  It shows if you care about your product you need to think hard whether it can possibly achieve its potential when you have to play by someone else's rules.  Personally I hope like Dennis Crowley before him Delicious founder Josh Schachter tries for round two with his dream with a new version of social bookmarking; I would be much happier using his product than the one Yahoo! is embarrassingly choking to death.  I think there's a huge amount of potential to build upon Josh's original vision (and I know I'm not the only one).

In the mean time, I hope founders of great companies try to make it on their own, or at least look for better matches in their suiters.  Those of us who come to love and rely on your great work want to see what you're cable of doing with your great idea.

(But then, part of me wonders if it sometimes takes the disappointments early on for success to happen.  In other words, was Dodgeball too early for its time, was it destined to fail either way, and did the manor in which it failed drive Crowley to a new, better idea that he wouldn't have been capable of achieving otherwise?  Or maybe it takes the added flexibility and confidence of having some money under your belt, as this article suggests.)