One of the hottest Silicon Valley start ups of last year was Pownce. It was growing pretty well, received funding, it’s founders were written about in NYT and several other magazines being termed as “cool and under 30 people to watch out for.” Everything seemed to be going so well.
Then Pownce got bought out by blogging giant Six Apart, who subsequently shut it down within a month in an attempt to get people to move over to their supposedly similar blogging software, Vox. This move apparenly angered a lot of people (read the comments in the linked article.)
Ever since then there’s been a huge buzz on Twitter about the demise of Pownce. A lot of people continue to comment about how sad they are to see it go. Some are trying to figure out where they want to go next in order to achieve the same purposes and community they had on Pownce.
The juxtaposition of Twitter and Pownce was pretty interesting. From what I understand, Pownce was trying to position themselves as a competitor to Twitter. A lot of people have commented on how Twitter “beat out” Pownce. Personally I don’t get it.
At first, I didn’t want to use Pownce. It seemed like another one of those web 2.0 social network fly-by-nights that I would sign up for and then not use. But my business partner was adamant about it, and I gave in. It took me a couple weeks of persistent use before the genius set in.
Other people pitted Pownce against blogs. Ehhh, not so much. Blogs completely miss the purpose of sharing media. Blogs are what they say they are: web logs. They are journals, diaries, editorial columns, zines. Not a good comparison.
Pownce wasn’t competition for Twitter or blogs. You know what Pownce was competition for? E-mail!
E-mail is the most overloaded application on our computers as a society today. And once people could sent huge attachments and crap like that over e-mail, awww it was on now! People started sending crazy e-mails to tons of people. People sent mp3s over e-mail, videos, huge spreadsheets, photos, all kinds of crazy shite. Now we have spam problems, mail servers crashing due to load problems, delivery issues. And it’s all so confusing! E-mail is a one way protocol. Once you send an e-mail, you have no idea whether it was received. How many times have you sent someone an e-mail and they say they never received it. Depending on the situation, you know it’s going through your head whether they’re lying. Anyways, I’m getting off course. E-mail, at its essence, should be used for essential non-realtime conversations. When you send someone an e-mail, it should be something that either requires a response, or is a response to an e-mail of the former type.
Pownce was great for what I like to call “non-essential essential communication”. It’s the stuff that you want to send to people, but don’t necessarily need them to write back about, unless they are interested and they want to. It was a place to upload music, videos, files, and interesting links and have them in a central repository so that you can always refer back to them. What a simple concept.
What to do now that Pownce is gone?
We (and by we I mean our Ruby on Rails development company TRNSFR) built a program called Schmownce for all of you that miss Pownce or never got a chance to try Pownce. We’ve been using it for a few weeks now and it has been great!
If you were lucky enough to export your Pownce file before it closed down, then you are in luck! Schmownce has an import feature for your Pownce file, so you can upload it and continue using!
As of this writing, it lacks some of the features of Pownce in terms of community and public timelines, but those are features we are adding. We only started working on it once we heard of poor Pownce’s demise. But we are working on it, and we would really like to take this past Pownce, and make it useful for people in essential and non-essential situations.
We would like to make Schmownce the place that offloads the burden off several applications: e-mail, Facebook, Twitter, etc. It’s a great place for stuff that doesn’t exactly belong on any of those… stuff that’s too private for Facebook, too long for Twitter (or to represent things that you aren’t doing right now), to non-location specific for Loopt, too cool for Kwippy, too non-resume related for LinkedIn, the list goes on…
So Schmownce people. Schmownce like the wind. Schmownce to your heart’s content. The application is there and waiting for you. And while you’re at it, keep Twittering. The two of them work really well in concert.