The First Year: Looking Back (and Forward) with Ello
This past week I gave a few interviews to online news organizations.
One of the journalists scoffed when I told him that Ello is built on principles we believe in, and that in 2015 we did everything we could to grow slowly. Rather than sell out and make another giant network the world doesn’t need, we decided to take our time to build the beautiful and inspiring place we have today.
I felt sad for the guy. It's awful going through life never believing in anything.
So in the spirit of the New Year, and because it was clear that this journalist wasn’t going to believe anything I told him anyway, I figured I'd publish a short list of things Ello will never do:
Diverge from our mission to empower and support creators to inspire one another, and move the world forward.
Tolerate hate. Ello has many tools, some visible and others not, that help keep this network positive.
Sell ads or user data to third parties.
A little more than year ago Ello blew up in the media. All at once, it seemed like everyone in the world wanted to join our fledgling network. By October I had 200 name-brand VC firms in my inbox begging to invest in this company. The catch was, we had to change course and live up to the hype of “Facebook-killer” instead of building the inspiring network we’d already begun.
Ello's seven founders got together and unanimously said, "fuck that". We share a collective history of pursuing things we believe in. For me personally, a successful career is defined by having the freedom to choose what I do (and don’t do).
Instead, we committed to stay the course, and to create the network we ourselves want to use. We took on friends as investors, who unconditionally agreed to support our mission, and let us to keep complete control of our company. The Ello we are enjoying today — safe, inspiring, and remarkably positive — is a direct result of that choice we made a year ago.
Ello’s first users were artists, designers, photographers, animators, and videographers. We now have storytellers, adventurers, DJ’s, chefs, creative coders, curators, minimalist poets, cartoonists, ski inventors, futurists, activists, car lovers, fly-fishermen, and mushroom hunters.
@arinewman from Techstars, a DJ and one of our committed investors, pointed out that Ello is the only visual network in the world that isn't filled with selfies. I'm not sure that's strictly true, but the selfies that are on Ello are usually amazing, too.
So, here’s Ello’s commitment to you in 2016:
Ello is not going to grow as quickly as possible. Last year we did everything we could to slow growth, and to allow time for Ello to grow the right way. We’re keeping that course.
Ello will grow in other ways — in quality, in positivity, through community, and in new features and updates designed to support a visual network filled with love, light, and unbridled creativity.
2015 was the very beginning. Lots more amazing things to come in 2016.
Thank you for helping create this wonderful place!
PS: If you're new here, or just want an Ello refresher, please check out The Ello Manifesto, The Ello Bill of Rights, and the Ello WTF section. Ello's PBC Charter outlines legal commitments we've made that govern this network's growth. You can also read hundreds of posts by Ello's founders, or talk on Ello to many long-term members of our community.
PPS: Yes, the Android App is coming in 2016. We built the Ello iOS App first to make sure we got it right. Now that we have 5-star reviews in the App Store (thanks everyone!) we'll bring Android out next year.