Skribe work continues

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After months of working on other paid projects, Im back working on Skribe and since I have no major freelance work on my calendar for a while, I am aiming to focus on this until its done – yes done! – hard to imagine after almost 4 years of starts and stops. Im looking forward to getting into Rails again too (with 1.2RC1 now released) And after reading the ‘Little Book of Flow’ I should be able to effortlessly fly through the work – experiencing great joy – possibly.

Skribe has defintely been a big missed opportunity. Back in 2001 we were attempting to offer a free social site with conversation/video/photo sharing (sound familiar?). And in 2001 there were very few competitors about. Now with the success of Flickr, YouTube, MySpace, Bebo (and just about everyone) – its hard to think where Skribe fits in – I still believe our small team has enough original ideas and skills to break the mould and deliver a competitive product. If I didnt, I simply wouldn’t be trying.

So I guess this post officially restarts the long dead ‘Skribe Weekly’ – (which almost turned out to be an annual event) – The idea being to post about how the work is going, and get real people to feedback on our ideas and approach. So feel free to comment/criticise here – starting with some rough design mockups (more to come soon)

November 24, 2006 17:35 by

1 comment so far

  • photo of Nov 25, 2006


    These clean, elegant designs are not only why you’re worth a fortune, but why I think that you’re simply the best at what you do, period.

    I disagree slightly with one thing that you’ve said, though. Had we gotten Skribe 1.0 out three (or four) years ago, I’m not sure that it would have been as good as a Skribe done today. The technology wasn’t quite as good as it is now. Podcasting wasn’t feasible. Video was out of the question because of bandwidth limitations.

    However, what we have today is a situation where companies like MySpace are trying to do it all and adding every feature that they can think of into their products, hoping for the best. That’s the complete opposite of your own design approach where every pixel is carefully considered.

    Don’t confuse numbers with quality. The various social networking sites have captured and lost users, and once they’re gone, they’re gone. Numbers can’t buy success. They’re a fickle indicator of what temporarily appeals to the masses.

    What really opened my eyes to a better approach was Albert-László Barabási’s book, [u]Linked[/u]. He showed that the entire Web consists of a few supernodes that people visit. Most links are hardly ever visited at all.

    In Skribe’s case, I think that by luring some key content creators in, we can create supernodes of our own that will attract a vast number of readers (subscribers). Instead of trying to be all things to all people, we can concentrate all of our efforts on giving those few people everything they need and want in order to be able to continue to create compelling output that thousands, or even millions, may want to read, listen to, or watch.

    The problem with social networking sites is that they largely seem to be dating markets based on looks. What a sad way to evaluate the worth of other people (or be evaluated by others). They seem focused more on the links rather than the content: the clothes and not the people.

    Skribe can empower people to create, store, and share their creative productions with the world with no fuss, leaving site maintenance, data integrity, and the details to us. There will be no HTML for them to worry about and no complicated obstacles to surmount. That’s a big deal.

    Also, I think about “Samuel the Utahnite,” an ex-Mormon who started blogging, and then podcasting, to expose the Mormon Church’s deceptions, as he sees it. I mention him because he’s just an ordinary fellow who was able to garner a following of thousands of people with no money whatsoever to promote himself. He tried various things, from Odeo to Creative Commons, but was never able to develop a cohesive site where people could consistently go to download his latest podcasts. We can.

    One of your many great gifts is the ability to make things so crystal clear, simple, consistent, and beautiful. Your design talents were light years ahead of what anyone could do in 2002, and they remain so today. No one has closed the gap.

    The real challenge with Skribe won’t be what we’re going to do, but what our users are going to do with it—i.e. developing content. I know that it’s going to become a powerful platform for people to stop being anonymous members of a crowd and have their own voice: to be seen and to be heard.

    No ads. Just your pure, unpolluted design. When people start using it, they’ll know that we care about them. We’re not out to rob them. We’ll communicate to them our honest goal of making Skribe the market-defining application in its category, and I’m convinced that they’ll help us to do it.

    Character matters. You and Tom have shown so much of it in your perseverance over the years to create something that matters, something that will make a difference. And our little app will have character, too. It may have taken a while, but our spunky little app, once it launches, is going to take its rightful place in orbit—opening up grand vistas to its users and, every once in a while, showing them thrilling bursts of speed. :)


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