By Jason Calacanis
A year ago SNS (social network service) Path.com launched as the anti-Facebook. With odd product choices like a 50-person friend limit and an iPhone-only release, the service created a lot of discussion.
I became a huge fan of the privacy-first Path because, as many of you know, I've had a slight problem with the way in which Facebook has flipped user privacy, with opting folks in to features they would never embrace.
The government had a problem with Facebook's approach as well, and just last week Zuckerberg admitted his track record was a disaster.
Facebook agreed to a 20-year, third-party audit.
It's worth reading the settlement.
Back to Path. The service was considered dead. It didn't help optics with users like myself that the company launched a second app called With.me in June. I figured with that launch Path co-founder and CEO Dave Morin acknowledged he had given up on the Path app on some level.
Last week I woke up to 10 friend requests on Path. My immediate thought? Oh, Path must have fixed their email server and I've gotten some backup requests. This happens from time to time with all startups.
Techmeme quickly alerted me to a new version of the software and upon loading, I noticed that my favorite SNS, which had been in a coma for over six months, was alive and running around the track!
Path 2.0 is filled with amazing little goodies, like the ability to say you've gone to sleep or woken up. This feature serves no real function other than it's fun and it gives you something to remember to do with the program. When you put Path to sleep it gives you a nice stand up clock -- which is a $0.99 purchase in the App store. Someone at Path was paying attention with that feature.
Oh yeah, you get to put a billboard up at the top of your feed. And you get to search a database of songs to say what you're listening to.
It also opts you into "neighborhood sharing" if you don't read the permission pop-up carefully. Imagine you called in sick today and you really were in Vegas? Oops!
Anyway, putting aside that slip-up, the product is a redesigned delight, and now my feed is absolutely filled with activity!
From zero to hero in one product release.
This proves the basic tenant of startups: STARTING IS EASY, FINISHING IS HARD.
Like the corny catchphrase from the awesome "Star Trek" parody film "Galaxy Quest":
Never gave up, never surrendered!
Which seems to be clearly based on the Winston Churchill speech:
"Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never - -in nothing, great or small, large or petty -- never give in, except to convictions of honor and good sense. Never yield to force. Never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy."
If you're running a startup that's an absolute disaster. If your product sucks and the early adopters have left. If you've been beat up and dragged through the mud, and if the world has counted you out, consider yourself blessed!
The precursor to kicking ass is getting your ass kicked.
Congratulations to the Path.com team on brushing themselves off and creating, because in life you're either creating or you're waiting.