Hot Koehls

The more you know, the more you don’t know

This content is a little crusty, having been with me through 3 separate platform changes. Formatting may be rough, and I am slightly less stupid today than when I wrote it.
02 Dec 2008

Pownce shutdown announced

I awoke to an e-mail this morning containing the following…

We are sad to announce that Pownce is shutting down on December 15,
  1. As of today, Pownce will no longer be accepting new users or new

pro accounts. To help with your transition, we have built an export tool so you can

save your content. You can find the export tool at Settings > Export.

Please export your content by December 15, 2008, as the site will not

be accessible after this date. Please visit our new home to find out more: Our thanks go out to everyone who contributed to the Pownce community, The Pownce Crew

If you’re not in the know—there are quite a few of you, apparently—Pownce was “a way to keep in touch with and share stuff with your friends. Send people files, links, events, and messages and then have real conversations with the recipients” (from the Pownce homepage). In other words, share stuff. Stuff that can be shared via any other social networking site. I would argue that sharing stuff is the focus of the web itself, and that social networking is merely a focused version of the web’s core purpose, but that’s a different topic. Social networking is just like any other market, it has a saturation point, and the weaker players will eventually close up if they are unable to make a dent in market hold. Pownce certainly had its unique traits (the desktop client was a neat idea), but ultimately it wasn’t enough. The good news for you Pownce fans is that it looks like the service was actually bought by Six Apart, so you may see the same tech pop up in their Vox service. For its part, Six Apart looks more and more like a conglomerate of moderately successful web properties leveraged to sell advertising and overpriced buzz-wordy services to unsuspecting companies. At first glance. I could be wrong. Moving on, I don’t think Pownce going under is the big news; web properties pop up and fade away all the time. I feel the real point of discussion is that media-proclaimed new-age mogul Kevin Rose was a Pownce co-founder. Seeing as how it’s actually a sale and not a shutdown, I’m sure he’ll come out ahead financially, good for him. But most articles covering him fawn over his ability to turn seemingly any website he touches into gold. The cover story in a recent issue of Inc. Magazine is a great example of the perception (look at the url). However a sellout seems to fly in the face of the image we typically get of Rose. There are only three reasons for selling a business:

  • You can’t make it profitable on your own
  • You intended to sell from the start (and thus never intended to grow its profitability)
  • You want out (which usually has something to do with profitability)

I don’t suspect that Rose simply wanted to get out, the property only boosts his cred as “the next Rupert Murdoch,” as described by Jeff Jarvis in the Inc. article. So he either expected to sell out, or failed to make it profitable which, again, runs counter to Rose’s pop image in business circles. Don’t get me wrong, the guy’s talented. But superhero status has the same effect as a nonsensical buzzword: they generate an inaccurate and wholly unattainable image for the uninformed, making business dealings more difficult. “We’re looking to [blah blah blah], like Kevin Rose.” I still have clients describing their need for a “synergistic solution.” So I’m hoping that the Pownce sale bring the down the fever pitch surrounding Rose a little bit.

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