Why is Path nailing it?

Look at the top headline on +Techmeme today: it's all about how Path is seeing huge success. +TechCrunch's +Alexia Tsotsis says it's grown daily users 30x since relaunch: http://techcrunch.com/2011/12/16/a-new-path-path-grows-daily-users-30x-since-relaunch/

But no one really has nailed why. Well, my video sort of did (I included that again, in case you missed it).

"Damn, Scoble, you really are being a smartass today, so, why did they nail it?"

Because they are building a company, not a product. Even moreso they are building a culture and a mission, not just a company.

Almost every time I see a product that just doesn't seem right in some way I later learn that there are fights internally and it isn't being run properly. Heck, I've been inside a company where that's happening (actually, more than one).

In the interview I try to unpack on what's going on there, and we get close. Most CEOs don't let the conversation go to internal dynamics but, heck, it was late at night and I could sense that one of the guys, co-founder Dustin Mierau, wasn't so media trained (his friends told me after the interview went up that this was amazing that I even got him to talk) so I just kept going and kept the camera on. 51 minutes with a startup like this is very long by my standards.

Anyway, there's something else going on here:

1. We are chasing something deeper than what Facebook and Twitter can give us. Google+ tapped into that with its circles. That deeper thing is smaller, less public, groups.

2. Addictive technologies have moved to a new level with Path. With Path I can see when you merely view a post of mine. That is very addictive. It's hard to go to sleep or turn off the app when dozens of people are checking out your photo and commenting.

3. The design of it is subtle, but feels good through the entire product. That isn't true of many other apps.

4. Dave is able to articulate where he's going with the product. This makes me believe in the future of this company/culture and product.

5. The San Francisco cool kids are addicted and addicted deeply (you should see how often many of the insiders are posting stuff, including when they are going to sleep on my group). This means that the press will continue to talk about Path. People wonder why they don't get press for their product yet they aren't willing to cowtow to the "elites" or "insiders." Funny, getting featured on Apple's store brings tens of thousands of new users every day. This stuff matters if you are building a brand and a company. It isn't only the San Francisco cool kids, either. At LeWeb people from all over the world came up to me and told me they love Path. This causes us to be even more addicted to watching this company evolve.

Anyway congrats to Dave and Dustin. Can't wait to see what's next along your paths.

One personal note -- right after doing this interview I wrote this on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RobertScoble/posts/10150410194894655

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Last night I met with Dave Morin, CEO of Path. I recorded an interview that ran almost an hour. It'll be up as soon as his embargo ends (I.E. whenever Apple approves something he's working on with his team). But I learned a few things about myself in that process.

1. Don't ever write off a born entrepreneur. Honestly I didn't like Path's original app. I'm not a private guy, so just didn't care for it. Plus, it had lots of other flaws. For instance, my best friends don't have iPhones. But he's kept at it, and I think he's onto something now.

2. Great design rocks my world. But great design doesn't just happen. In almost every case it's evidence that the company culture is healthy. That's something deep that we unpacked a bit last night. My favorite apps have employees that love working with their coworkers. Is that any accident? I don't think so. When I've found things that don't quite feel right, invariably I learn about corporate infighting and other cultural problems.

3. Facebook is forcing EVERY company to have a Facebook strategy. Even if that strategy is "we are avoiding it." We spend a lot of time talking about that too. Dave used to run platform at Facebook, and I didn't get why he was being so anti Facebook in his early versions. Today I totally get that and you'll see it in the video when that's up.

4. If you think mobile apps are done you are absolutely wrong. There's innovations yet to come. Dave gave me hope for the future.

5. You can build beautiful Android apps but they take a LOT more work than doing the same on iOS. The developers at Path told me, about one very cool UI element "on Android we coded that by hand." Plus, debugging is a chore on Android too. That said, companies that want to build a world-changing system need to build for both. I'm seeing the bar shift where companies MUST build for both to keep up with companies like Path.

Anyway, I came away from our conversation thinking I originally underestimated Morin. I won't make that mistake again.

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I believe that even deeper now. I don't always get it right.
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