Updated Feb, 25th 2013
I'm looking for someone more technical than myself to join me as a co-founder at Vine.IM.
I’ve been working on a chat product called Vine.IM (yes, it needs a new name, and I’ve almost settled on one) that lets lets people socialize and collaborate online in lightweight, ad-hoc groups. It’s like a cocktail party on the Internet: users can see that their friends are talking, but don’t hear what they’re saying unless they join those conversations. It's currently in private alpha, and it's built on XMPP/Jabber, so it works with existing chat clients like Adium, iChat, and Pidgin.
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I'm building Vine.IM because I want it to exist. When I left Meebo I wasn't sure what I was going to work on, but since then I've designed a product, learned new technical skills, built an alpha version, and launched it to friends and friends of friends. There are now a couple dozen people regularly signing in using their existing chat clients, so things are going well and I'm excited to get more users. I think the graduate students at NYU's Interactive Telecommunications program (from which I graduated) would be love the product, and I want to release Vine.IM to them by the end of March.
After I've chosen a new name, validated the product at ITP, and found a co-founder, I'll start to raise a round of seed financing. I think an iOS app would be a good step after that (especially for high school students), and later I'd like to build web and desktop clients as well. There are lots and lots of other features I want to build too.
I'm also excited about enterprise use case, since Vine.IM feels more like an office water cooler than any of the enterprise chat services currently available (Campfire, Hipchat, IRC, etc). That's perhaps the most promising monetization strategy, but I'm interested in pursuing advertising and/or freemium features for consumers. The messaging market has changed a lot over the years, but there have been several big winners, and I think Vine.IM's novel social dynamics will create defensible network effects.
In the long term, I believe that our future communications technologies will make our online interactions feel more like, and will merge with, our offline interactions. As these boundaries blur, the dominant social products will be those that feel natural, because those are the products that people will most enjoy using. Eventually, Vine.IM will help us be somewhere other than where we are and share the social, informational, and spatial contexts for the conversations we're having. I think that's an exciting problem to design for, and a huge opportunity.
I have 50+ people in mind who could conceivably fill this role, and am considering sending them versions of the following email: