Whatever became of Grouped{in}?

July 19, 2011 · 8 comments in Appconomy,mobile apps,Social Media

About six weeks ago, I announced I was working closely with Austin-based Appconomy, a mobile apps startup. The relationship was unique for me because it was structured to be an ongoing relationship. Most of my client relationships are project-based, so in my view, this one was different and special. It still is, despite a month of significant changes.

Let me explain.

I joined to help draw attention to a promising piece of beta software called Grouped{in},  a  social network designed for mobile platforms. Grouped{in} hit very close to my heart on a single feature: it allowed you to socially interact with friends, colleagues or customers privately.

I’m big on the idea of being social in private. The places where I had previously hoped to do that either grew to a point where intimacy and confidentiality became nearly impossible. In the case of market-leader Facebook, we had a category leader who has been audaciously contemptuous of user privacy and data ownership rights.

Now beating Facebook is a daunting task. I wasn’t overly confident that little Appconomy could do that. But I felt that the privacy issue alone would equip us to poke the elephant in the eye and by so doing, give users a fresh option and Facebook a very sore eye.

Then one day, we all woke up and there was Google+.

Candidly, G+ as people call it, is the most promising social network I have ever seen. It is structured on circles of people you know. It warns you to be prudent in where you share information from your circles.  It is easy to use and inclusive of long-and-short text, audio, video, chat and video chat. It is free and will probably remain so.

The privacy elements are not bulletproof. I am not yet clear on who owns G+ data. But I do know this: I trust Google with my stuff far more than I do Facebook.

On the other side of it, Google is in a far better position to compete against Facebook, than is tiny Appconomy. And then it has an additional asset: G+ is fun. Lots of fun and more addictive than sling-shotting angry birds.

Brian Magierski, Appconomy co-founder agreed with me about G+. In fact, he got there first and invited me to join in, as he did with the remainder of the Appconomy team.

It took us at Appconomy a short time to decide to opt out of competing with Google+.

From my perspective, it’s absolutely the right strategic move and I applaud the calm logic the used to arrive at it.  On a personal level, I greatly enjoyed getting compensated to tell people why Facebook should not be trusted and that reasonable alternatives will make the Internet a safer, happier place.

Grouped{in} will not be actively marketed into the end-user social networking space, but will indeed live on, and if things go according to plan, it may end up being enjoyed by many million users.

Grouped{in} was the first test of a talented and growing development team. They passed very well. Now they will shift to Appconomy’s core focus: develop a worldwide, world-class mobile applications platform–thus the name Appconomy [for the 'applications economy.'].

Our focus will be China more than the US. It is too early for me to share details, but deals have been made. Partnerships were secured. Formidable roadblocks often placed before American companies in China have been removed.

Appconomy will soon be providing a mobile apps platform for western developers hoping to get into the lucrative and burgeoning China mobile apps market.

I have never seen a company adjust course so quickly and so unanimously. Prior to this decision, we were caught at a crossroad between the social network product and the development platform. Now, we are all looking in the same direction and sharing a single vision and it looks very promising–at least from where I sit.

The Web Economy is huge and interesting and I am pretty certain I’m riding with a winning team.




{ 6 trackbacks }

Google+ Claims Its First Victim: Group Messaging App Grouped{In} | Technology To See
July 22, 2011 at 7:42 pm
Google+ Claims Its First Victim: Group Messaging App Grouped{In} | TechDiem.com
July 22, 2011 at 9:37 pm
How Good Press Can do Bad Things — Global Neighbourhoods
July 24, 2011 at 7:42 pm
社交工具Google+已经突破2500万,群组信息服务创业项目Appconomy宣布死亡! | TechFrom科技源
July 25, 2011 at 1:27 am
Grouped{in} Gives Up, Citing Google+ Competition - Liz Gannes - Social - AllThingsD
July 25, 2011 at 10:05 am
For the record: Appconomy and the future of Grouped{in} | Appconomy
July 26, 2011 at 2:39 pm


shelisrael July 22, 2011 at 8:52 pm

@bmagierski In fact, Brian, I was going to make a similar clarification. My desire for Grouped{in} to give users the ability to have some privacy when they wanted it in social media, to have the ability to be intimate, to talk about personal or confidential matters, was what brought me to Appconomy. It was not what Appconomy was founded to do and I regret that some media coverage has interpreted what I said in that way. I regret that I did not make clear the part of the perception which was mine and not Appconomy’s.

bmagierski July 22, 2011 at 8:22 pm

Hi Shel. Thanks for your post, and for your shared enthusiasm for the advances and innovation in ‘being social in private’. Moreover, thanks for your enthusiasm for Appconomy and our continued pursuit of our founding vision of becoming the leading global platform provider to build and power apps for work, life and play.

You are correct, Grouped{in} will continue to live on, and will indeed be enjoyed at a feature and capability level my many tens of millions of people worldwide through the Appconomy platform and the Grouped{in} app as a demonstration of the power of its underlying platform.

What I would correct is that our change in direction was not caused by Google+. Appconomy, as the name suggests, as always been about a broader app platform, much beyond just a group-messaging app. The group messaging problem across platforms and social networks was the core platform service that we set out to solve first, and chose to do that in the form of an app, Grouped{in}.

We have been pursuing product development, acquisitions, partnerships, and business development activities as early as from the founding of the company last year to expand this platform strategy, both here and abroad.

What Google+ has done, in addition to the rapid progress we have made on the platform development, is allow us to pivot from focusing on the end-user app of Grouped{in} to the broader platform strategy a lot quicker than initially anticipated.

This has always been a big strategy, bold vision, and global play, and that is what we are rolling with as you reference in your post.

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