This evening App.net founder Dalton Caldwell announced the App.net Developer Incentive Program. Essentially this says that App.net will “financially reward the development of great App.net applications”. I think that this is a good thing but it is also likely to be the catalyst for a number of new blog posts and news items which re-visit the concept and viability of App.net as a platform and then spell out what Dalton and his colleagues are doing wrong and what they should be doing. This really annoys me.
This isn’t a specific issue I have with people spouting off about App.net and I get angry whenever I see it applied to individuals or companies that are small but App.net is a great example of something that people are more than happy to doom to failure and explain their thoughts about why this is the case missing the wonderfully ironic point that this is how App.net came to be created.
App.net was set up by a handful of people who financed it via crowdfunding. Dalton didn’t go and get millions of dollars from venture capitalists (well as far as I know), he was simply a guy who disagreed with the way Twitter’s service, wrote a blog post about it and then, crucially, decided to do something about it.
Now obviously I’m not expecting people not to comment on or critique things and it is something I do all too often myself but if you are getting to the point of telling someone why they are wrong and what they should be doing then perhaps you need to stop talking about it and go and fix the problem.
On a completely different scale this is what Steve Jobs and Apple did with MP3 players, smartphones and tablet computers. They didn’t invent them, they didn’t actually complain about them in public, but they saw the faults and problems, thought they could do better and did. You don’t have to be the size of Apple to do this, nor do you have to be like Steve Jobs. You just have to be a guy who, like Dalton, isn’t satisfied with the theory and wants to make it a reality. Whether App.net succeeds or fails isn’t what’s important to me. Witnessing someone turn a critique and a controversial idea into reality is.