Why Khoros Succeeds as it Fails

@Karlstens recently posted this quasi-question on the new and “improved” Airtable Community. Unsurprisingly and in a deep twist of irony, the perma link option to it failed; I had to navigate to the post to manually capture the link.

Khoros; you remind me every time I visit why I no longer stay.

Back to the point of this point…

It does seem nearly impossible that so many issues could exist in shipping, presumably tested, and at least a somewhat reviewed solution at Airtable and other adopters like Microsoft. The answer is likely found in the architecture of Khoros which I sense was designed with a bazillion knobs and dials that determine its behaviours. Five syllables …


Khoros wants to be everything and anything to its suitors. It’s a blog. It’s a marketing outreach platform. It’s a community platform. It embraces the Cluetrain Manifesto (which it doesn’t BTW).

As Ross Perot once famously never said …

You can’t put an armadillo in a barn, set it on fire, and expect to make liquorice.

Follow the money to understand why it succeeds. Examine the architecture to see why it fails.

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Khoros is a Jack of all trades, master of none!

Bill, you were the one who originally discovered that Khoros’ key investor Silver Lake is one of the top investors in Airtable. Silver Lake was part of the Series F investment round in Airtable for $735 million on December 13, 2021.

Just a coincidence, I’m sure…. :roll_eyes:


This type of business decision scenario is so common when it comes to user communities. Often, there is not a single employee at the company that makes the product who uses the product as much as their power users and/or developers. And even if they do use the product that much, they have easy daily access to the engineers who build the product, so when they have questions/problems/etc they don’t need to come to the user community to solve them.

When I worked as an engineer at a major software company, I was one of only a very small handful of employees within our division who spent time hanging out on the developer/power user community spaces. The engineering teams were always very hungry for real world data. It gave me a TON of leverage in product meetings to be able to support or oppose feature work by saying: “actually there was a huge thread about this on the user forums just last week…”.

Anyway, this creates a situation where the Business Decision Makers can look at a product comparison checklist on a marketing slide and say: “This Khoros system will allow us to unify all our customer outreach into one integrated tool without disrupting our existing strength in the forums space.” Any one of us could have told them before they made the change that it was not going to work that way (in fact, I did, and I suspect others did too).

These changes are often only considered as one-way paths. I’m sure a LOT of meetings were held and slide decks reviewed that talked about how to migrate the Discourse forum over to Khoros. And I suspect that not a single slide was created thinking about how to migrate back the other way if Khoros turned out to be a dud.

And, when they got pushback from the change, I’m sure they initially chalked it up as standard user resistance that occurs after any major change. I have noticed what appear to be staffing changes over on the community site. No idea if these were voluntary moves, layoffs, or firings, and whether it had anything to do with our perception of a Debacle having occured.


Absolutely brilliant analysis, @NathanielGranor!! :clap: :clap: :clap:

Very well said.

Also looks like both companies are based out of Austin.

I can see the meeting …
Business Teamwork GIF by StickerGiant

And this is making it to my useful quote diary… :rofl:

As Ross Perot once famously never said …

You can’t put an armadillo in a barn, set it on fire, and expect to make liquorice.

Yah, me too. That was too coincidental. Either, AT staff were mortified by the ####show that was pushed upon them, and that they weren’t going to stand for it… or, perhaps they were between a rock and a hard place, and decided it was no longer the place they wished to remain. Gossip I guess, so nothing will come of it.

I don’t think middle-management consider just how much disruption the wrong product can bring when replacing another in an otherwise stable/working environment.

I’m really enjoying these forums, for what it’s worth.

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