Justin Williams covers several aspects of this week’s App.net news, comparing it to his own Glassboard service. On finding a profitable niche:
“Finding an audience of people interested in your platform is challenging. This isn’t Field of Dreams where if you build it people will magically appear. Once you find that niche of users, you’ve got to ensure they’re also the type of folks that are willing to pay to support your platform. If they aren’t, you keep looking for a niche that will sustain your product.”
He also hits on the main thing that was probably holding App.net back: the stigma that it was just a Twitter clone. I’m more than a little disappointed that fellow developers didn’t get the power of the App.net API. Does Sunlit look like a Twitter app? Give me a break. App.net is hands down the best API of its kind.
So now we figure out what’s next. In the short term, not much changes. Tomorrow I’ll read my App.net timeline, make a few posts, reply and star as usual. Next week I’ll do the same. At WWDC I’ll use App.net messaging apps to coordinate meeting up with friends.
There’s no shame in shooting for the stars and missing. I’m thankful that even as the founders tried a few things outside micro-blogging over the last year, they never compromised on their original mission for the service. They never sold out users or developers, and the servers hum along in testament to that fact, as if nothing that’s good will ever really change.