Some thoughts on Ello and its VC funding because people have been asking me:
First off, I think overall everyone expected way too much from Ello from the beginning. This is not necessarily a negative thing: It shows that deep down people are truly fucking tired of Facebook and Twitter and thirsty for an alternative.
That's good. We need alternatives badly, and something like Ello reminds our beneficent digital feudal lords that we are sick of their bullshit. With any luck, it makes them shake in their boots and realize, however briefly, that their model of user exploitation and mass-surveillance is dehumanizing and unsustainable.
But Ello is not embarking on some grand utopian adventure. The way it was designed -- a centralized network owned and controlled by a company rather than a distributed one collectively owned by everyone -- precludes any possibility of it being revolutionary. Remember Diaspora*? We need something that puts users' data completely within their control while learning from those past mistakes.
Again, this is not Ello's fight. Yes, they should have disclosed the funding. Yes, the road to VC is paved with good intentions. But to suggest a small local investment necessarily precludes having any principles whatsoever seems premature. I'm looking forward to seeing if Ello will be valuable in the long run -- definitely not for giving us the decentralized network we truly need, but at least for slightly expanding the possibility space around what social networks can be.