Saturday, January 12, 2013 – 350 views
— by spacekatgal
One of the problems with being an entrepreneur is there's no resource more limited than your focus. Right now, my complete focus is on my iOS Unreal game 2 years in the making, Revolution 60. We've got a budget of 1/3 of a million dollars, and it's shaping up gangbusters. Sadly, though - I cannot get distracted and pursue other opportunities until we ship. As my Southern mom was fond of saying, "You can't get blood from a turnip."
That's why seeing the birth of ADN over the course of shipping Rev 60 is so hard for me. There is a fucking Ferrari sitting here, waiting for someone to drive off with. It's so obvious, and no one is willing to step up and make the big move to make it a feasible, successful 3rd social network.
ADN has done the hard work . They had that curious twist of fate in coming to market just as Twitter was shooting itself in the head with it's 3rd party developers. Fate was with them. They built a vibrant user base, they've built a stable backend, they are getting the API feature complete.
What they lack is any kind of personality. As Gruber said, "App.net sounds like the name of a Microsoft service." And the concept is way, way too convoluted for normal people to understand.
So, if I had a second of free time, this is what I would do to drive off with App.net's Ferrari.
First of all, I'd raise money. You cannot compete in the modern era of social networks without some capital. No one person has the skills to do what it takes to ship a successful product. Maybe I'd Kickstart it, maybe I'd hit up my VC funding contacts, but I would assemble $200,000-$300,000 for the first round.
I'd probably skip building a client. That problem is solved well enough for the moment. I'd approach Netbot and Felix and try to license their work. Then, I'd spend that sweet VC money on marketing, graphical design and branding. My variant of Netbot/Felix would be Apple beautiful , with fun-to-use swipe gestures, like Clear.
Picking a name out of the air, let's call my hypothetical client Crash (the name of my dog.) It's a billion times better than ADN. I'd pay graphic design experts to make a badass logo. ADN? Never heard of it. Crash? Yes, I've seen that.
Then, I'd pick some area ADN has a population of already, and I would BOMBARD it with marketing. There are so many areas you could do this for. Games, Linked In, SW Development. But we'll pick software development as an example.
"Crash. Do you want to know the most badass people in development? Then you need to be on Crash. Join Crash today. (Subtext: You are a professional wannabe if you don't join Crash.)"
Listening to Mule/5 by 5? Be ready to be hit with ads for Crash. Going to GDC? You're gonna see banners for Crash. Hitting Stack Overflow? You're gonna see ads for Crash.
The genius of this is @Dalton has solved the hard problem, getting a userbase and a backend built. The marketing part is easier. It's just knowing what your audience is going to pay attention to and spending your money in a smart way. I have confidence that would make it through several rounds of VC funding.
Damn, do I wish I had some free time.
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