I was fascinated with video conversation. I loved the intimacy video provides, it’s almost like talking with someone in person. I wanted to build a video social network. I called it Seesmic.
About 8 years ago on April 23, 2008 I launched Seesmic video comments on Techcrunch. A few days after I took the whole of Techcrunch down. Can’t find the post in which Mike Arrington was congratulating me for taking the whole website down, it’s somewhere on Techcrunch. I definitely miss getting my butt kicked by Mike. It was justified, I took his website entirely offline. Imagine!
Video conversations were definitely too early to take off. We had to use Adobe flash heavy crap to switch webcams on. There were no iPhones and no Androids, just Nokia phones. It did not take off but there was an incredible small community of users who loved it.
Then there was this exciting new thing called Twitter and we went all in building great apps for it. We were quite popular and successful at it even though we weren’t the leader, Tweetdeck was.
Twitter encouraged us for years to invest in the ecosystem. I remember how I presented the new apps and strategy to the whole Twitter team in their office and got help and support from them.
Then Twitter decided they did not need their developer ecosystem anymore and asked us to stop what we were doing. They did not want apps like ours anymore and take control of their users. We ended up selling the company to Hootsuite for not much. I learned a lot.
Twitter founders and employees I was interacting with are still friends today. I am not upset a them and was never upset at them, they just changed strategy. It was probably a mistake to get rid of their third party developers like that looking where it is today. I wish Twitter the best and Jack is trying hard. It was my responsibility to invest so much on Twitter so I’m the only one to blame for my entrepreneurial choices. I got a lesson.
I will never build exclusively in someone else’s garden anymore.
8 years after we launched video comments Facebook launches video comments and it’s announced on Techcrunch.
When we launched Seesmic video conversation platform I sat down one on one for an hour with Mark Zuckerberg at the World Economic Forum and he loved video already.
Mark told me “would you like to do this with us” at the end of the meeting.
Facebook was very small but growing like crazy. I was just getting started, just a few months in launching my new startup. I wasn’t interested in being acquired. I would have joined Facebook 8 years ago with my whole team and who knows what would have happened next. Another lesson.
Interesting how your life as entrepreneur unfolds sometimes. Mostly with a collection of wrong choices! Then sometimes you do a few things right, too. It’s all about trying constantly.