Arik Hesseldahl

Recent Posts by Arik Hesseldahl

App.Net Meets Fundraising Goal With More Than a Day to Go. Now What?, the curious effort by Picplz founder Dalton Caldwell to create a new social media platform, has reached its $500,000 goal via a Kickstarter-like campaign, with about a day and a half to spare before its deadline.

“We did it,” Caldwell tweeted a few hours ago.

It’s the latest step on the road for Caldwell — whose prior companies also include the music-sharing service iMeem which he sold to Myspace in 2009 — toward building what he calls a “paid service for mobile app developers” that won’t be supported by advertising. The idea is that ads ruin the user experience, and this is one of his primary criticisms of Facebook and Twitter. His proposition is that by not allowing ads, but charging app developers to use it, consumers could use the site, and find apps they want to use.

Now, in its very early alpha form, resembles a stripped-down iteration of Twitter, and while its users post status updates, the network’s focus is the creation and discovery of mobile apps.

The whole effort has had something of a controversial birth. First disclosed in mid-July. Caldwell accused executives at Facebook of using bullying negotiation tactics.

This put Marc Andreessen, the venture capitalist and Facebook director, in an awkward position: He also sat on the board of Caldwell’s company, Mixed Media Labs; his firm, Andreessen Horowitz, is an investor. Andreessen resolved the conflict by resigning his board seat at Mixed Media; he was replaced by AH partner Scott Weiss.

Meanwhile Google’s SVP of Social,Vic Gundotra, got in a few good punches while Facebook was on the PR defensive. Saying he wasn’t “interested in screwing over developers,” he linked directly to the Caldwell post in which the bullying accusations against Facebook were made.

So, now that has some 7,300 backers who have kicked in anywhere from $50 to $1,000, what’s next? A key step: Creating a terms of service policy. As Caldwell wrote on his blog today:

“We have a great deal of work to do. One of the most important things we need to do is put together a Terms of Service for the operating site. I will [be] spending a great deal of time in the coming days creating a draft of our ToS, and our forward plan is to host it on github. This way, folks can see it, offer feedback (even pull requests), and will be kept abreast of any future changes. Along these lines, there are still a great many questions that need to be answered before should be thought of as an operating service, rather than just an alpha prototype.”

In a word, now the real work begins.

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik