App.net and founding communities

Dalton Caldwell’s App.net experiment in proving a market via a Kickstarter-like paid commitment has passed the self-made threshold of being “funded”. Sweet! The novel way of testing a market pre-launch is super interesting and revolutionary in itself. I think we’ll be seeing more of this kind of market-validation spring up as a result of this great example. I funded it at the developer level, follow me here: @busterbenson.

Honestly, Twitter is one of my favorite companies on the planet right now. I think the next 10 years are going to be a really interesting time where Twitter and a couple other services connect people all over the world in new ways and surprising things happen that we can’t even imagine right now. I am long on Twitter.

I’m also really interested in App.net, and think it will not only survive, but do interesting things, ask interesting questions, and solve interesting problems.

My best case scenario for App.net is that it re-create the conditions of Twitter’s genesis, in a world 6 years in the future, and that it evolves along an alternate evolutionary path, and into a wholly new service that solves a wholly different problem.

Every app/service/product is defined and forged via its founding community members.

It’s very easy to see even at this early date that the spirit of the App.net community is very different from the spirit of the initial Twitter community.

I remember Twitter’s founding community to be very playful. It was largely populated by the crowd of people who grew up on Blogger, and Flickr, and SXSW interactive. People were silly. People were having fun.

App.net is a much “older” community from what I can tell. If not in years, at least in skepticism. There is a fighting spirit to it, because there is a built in “antagonist”. By simply having a counterpoint, the evolution of the site is pretty much guaranteed to diverge quickly.

I already see lots of ideas being thrown around of how to do it better in the global stream (90% of which I’m sure will be thrown out). This is the whole point. How would you build Twitter if you already knew that #hashtags, @mentions, retweets, favorites, OAuth, APIs, mobile apps, etc all existed and worked, and you sprinkled on a subscription business model?

I’m interested to find out. Will the soul of App.net simply remain a derivative shadow of its initial muse, or emerge with a personality of its own?

This duck’s money is on the latter.

 
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