Friday, August 14, 2009

Farewell BubbleShare... You will be missed.

[blogging has been slowed, and lately i've just been twittering... but now f'ing twitter has locked me out of my account for a week now due to THIER systems being comprimised, still waiting for it to get unlocked... so here I am, back on Blogger... need to catchup on my blogging still, but today, I'm lazy, so I'm just posting my massive reply to an eariler TechCrunch posting here...:]

Ironic that Michael would write a piece about it before I even got a letter up on my own blog about my good byes.

The truth is, when we launched the service — BubbleShare did kick total ass.

If fulfilled our vision of what would happen if Google and Craigslist got together to create a great photosharing tool.

BubbleShare was super simple, had “zero registration” (think craigslist style private email setup), Flash Multi-Uploader (first introduced via beta of flash8), use of AJAX for dynamic grid views, magnifying glass viewer, decorative scrap book like overlays, user audio captioning, and later video captioning — many of these were all industry firsts (or at least very damn close to it) back in 2005.

These innovations came in rapid succession as flickr was appleasing the high end of the alpha geek market (targetting bloggers), slide had come out with a similar desktop product that we had created — and then steered towards social widgets (targetting myspace users), and we had remained focused on elegant digital sharing for novice users (targetting “photo moms”).

Within a year of launch, we were entertaining a number of buyout opportunities and series-A term sheets, and it was clear where things needed to go. While financing was interesting, a number of buyout offers were starting to appear which became really attractive. Things didn’t go as smoothly on that front as we would have liked, but then the VC funding options also came, in our opinion, too late to really help take it to the next level.

But since the buyout from Kaboose in early 2007 (which really started in mid 2006 amongst a number of parties), the innovations have to a stop.

The incredible team that we we had at BubbleShare after the acquisition were diverted to some important strategic projects inside the parent company that needed BubbleShares technical DNA that we had brought to Kaboose (a strong marketing, and not a technology company). And BubbleShare languished as bits of its tech and DNA scattered across the Kaboose properties.

Since that time, after a relatively short earn out for myself, and then my peers — as expected, many of us are working on heading up new projects.

Myself on a new social analytics startup (Kontagent), our CTO on a new online/social ads startup (Chango/Tweekbucks), and much of the core team now involved in a number of other social media companies.

Perhaps one of the unintended legacy that BubbleShare will leave behind is an event that it helped spawned due to our desire to grow the local tech scene at the time with another tech community evangelist, David Crow. The event was the first “DemoCamp” which was in part setup and hosted by us to gain feedback from the tech community. Since then, DemoCamp has gone on for 25+ events in just Toronto, and spun out events as far as Austin to Dubai.

It was also super cool to see BubbleShare on TechCrunch - and be hosted to an adhoc mini-TechCrunch party at the BBC (bar) in the Bay Area by the “Early Mike Arrrington” (before his parties had dozens of sponsors and thousands of people) during an impromptu visit out west. Which lead to a series of interesting meetings with mike (who in all honesty, put bubbleshare on the map for us), including a trip to Taiwan (with him and ironically a professional innovation hero of mine, stewart butterfield/cofounder of flick ironically), then a crazy lunch with Mike, Bill Gates & Scoble, then him only writing about my deadpooled photosharing companies but never anything about my more sexy social analytics/Kontagent platform ventures (which has all the pleasing aesthetics but twice the geekiness!). =-P

Although I’m not sure I’m quite up for it, I’d sure am happy to see someone keep the BubbleShare legacy alive — and pick up where Kaboose and Disney has left off…

But until then, farewell my old friend… BubbleShare will be missed. =(


One other note... the thing I miss the most from building BubbleShare wasn't the product itself, but the continual fun and excitiment of bringing something super cool to the world with a team of fun and talented people. That above all will be the thing I miss most about my BubbleShare experieince.

1 comment:

  1. Albert--

    I wondered if you kept track of any other photoshare sites and could recommend one. I will really miss Bubbleshare and feel betrayed by Disney--they could have at least sold it so we don't have to do everything all over again and all the hours that will take. But is there another site you like?