PicPlz, the San Francisco-and-Seattle-based mobile photo-sharing platform founded by Dalton Caldwell, who is now founder of Mixed Media Labs, and this blogger is on (along with a number of others including Instagram) just sent an email an hour ago announcing that it was shutting down “permanently” July 3rd 2012. Here’s the email:
picplz Shutting Down Permanently
On July 3, 2012, picplz will shut down permanently and all photos and data will be deleted.
Until then, you can log in and download your photos by clicking on the download link next to each photo in your photo feed.
Thank you for your support of picplz and we apologize for any inconvenience this may cause you.
And PicPlz sent out a Twitter tweet Friday evening with the same news, albeit in a more hidden way, but not so much that blogger Adrian Roselli didn’t spot it.
This is a bit of a shocker, as there was no previous news of the possibility of PicPlz closing down. Last July, TechCrunch reported that with the establishment of Caldwell’s Mixed Media Labs, PicPlz would continue on as a service ran by former Nasper exec Ali Aydar, teamed up with Caldwell and Mixed Media Labs.
Then came Facebook’s $1 billion purchase of Instagram, an event that sent shockwaves through the tech social media community, and put extra focus on how PicPlz had not grown to Instagram-level user size, and a NY Times article on how its investor Marc Andressen “fumbled” a potential Instagram investment because, at the time, Instagram was totally different – something called “Burbn“. That caused Dalton to issue this note on Y Combinator’s Hacker News Forum:
Anyone reading this article needs to remember to never be afraid of putting yourself out there because you are afraid of failure.
I saw the market first, I created picplz, and I went for it. I was a huge believe in the mobile photo sharing opportunity, and I went for it with all of my heart. Clearly, picplz didn’t win, but I have ZERO shame or regret for doing my best.
When I read articles like these, which are about myself, my company and people that I know well, I can’t help but feel vitriol aimed at me for DARING to create, launch and raise funding for picplz. I am not clear on what exactly people want, an apology for trying?
The fact is, I saw the writing on the wall that we wouldn’t win early and pivoted out of photo sharing which I had ~90% of my series A cash still in the bank. It certainly seems like that was the right move, but all of this press makes it look like pivoting was the wrong call(?) The press I read is written in such a way that it assumed that the A16Z investment is dead and my entire company should just be written off to zero today. That is bullshit. If I started to take press like this too seriously I might as well just dissolve my company and stop coming into work.
I say this to the hn comminity: never be afraid of failure. No one knows what will happen. All of this arm-chair quarterbacking is a waste of time. Stop reading this kind of crap and instead put your energy into doing your best work. Sometimes you win, and sometimes you lose, but if you give yourself the opportunity to win enough times, you WILL be successful.
The last news was that Mixed Media Labs was working on a new project, but from all content, it looks as if PicPlz was expected to live on. Whatever happened, that’s not the case now.
And Ali Aydar’s Twitter profile lists him as CEO of Sporcle, an online gaming site, and “an early contributor” to Napster, SNOCAP, and imeem – but nothing about running PicPlz. In fact, none of Ali’s profiles mention PicPlz at all, however he did join Mixed Media Lab’s board on March 9,2010.
An update: the NY Times article noted this: “its founders finally ditched Picplz in July, choosing instead to spin it off to Sporcle, a maker of online trivia quizzes.” That bit of info wasn’t confirmed by Caldwell earlier this year, but in hindsight it was accurate, and that it was out there may explain why he was upset with the piece to start with.