Very Goods reminds me of app.net, a Kickstarter backed project. Like app.net’s Dalton Caldwell, Very Goods has a forward-thinking and passionate founder in Ben Pierrat. The philosophy of building something for the real people using the service.
While I have little doubts about the promise of not selling out Very feGoods, I‘m taking a cautious approach on its long-term sustainability. Having a close-knit and active community is the building block for any successful venture, especially those that are dependant on content generated by users. However, it‘s a fine balance of having a small and passionate audience and those that seems so exclusive that it shuns off any potential sign ups.
The way I look at it, it seems like the way app.net started out. To join, you must be a paying member or you must be invited by an existing member. Scalability is always going to be a problem this way. Things started out brightly for app.net then, with many people complimenting on its platform and how it offer a voice instead of the shouting game that‘s called Twitter. Developers flocked in and they have contributed to the influx of extremely high quality and polished apps, like Felix and Riposte. In fact, Riposte is one of my favourite app anywhere and it may be the source that sparked off the mass adoption of sloppy swiping.
Things though, went downhill just before app.net reached its first anniversary. Some members felt they weren‘t getting much value out of this, as most of their peers went back to Twitter or just cross-posted from there. Some members downgraded to the free tier. Some people abandoned it altogether. When app.net announced the shutdown of the developer‘s incentive, it‘s a shame because it has such potential. But it‘s also inevitable. For a members-supported service to be in the black, it needs to grow and scale, something which app.net failed to harness in time.
This isn‘t about app.net but I find the similarities between them and Very Goods apparent. Of course, Ben Pierrat would have a rough gauge of how much resources is needed, having built the original Svpply. $50,000 for the first year. $25 to back the project. The Deck has invited them to join and that‘s good news. That will supplement their income a little while ensuring the choice of sponsors will be classy and relevant. Very Goods could potentially be around for a long time, as most people who are backing this project are already active users of Svpply. They are disheartened to see it die, shut down too soon too sudden by eBay. There is a sense of attachment to virtual goods that takes time to build up.
Unlike Pinterest, which I generally treat it as a giant scrapbook to pin interesting finds, the items in Svpply are generally things users desire. Throwing away this pinboard is like having a part of our innate wants taken away. Comparatively, app.net fosters conversations and relationships. Once developed, friends and followers could move on to a different platform or take the conversation elsewhere. Even good old email is suffice to keep in touch.
Because Svpply runs deeper than words and characters, regular users are more likely to continue and build on their portfolio. This presents Very Goods with a reliable source of recurring income through subscription. Of course, not every paid model guarantees sustainability. Deep down, I want them to succeed. The opinionated, small group of tastemakers will ensure the products and brands are nicely curated. It will set the wheel in motion where more quality crafts get exposed to these influencers.
P.S.: Congratulations on VG getting funded. As much as I wanted to back this project, I couldn’t. My financial status just doesn’t allow me to spurge on services like this. I even waited till the very last hour, but having a strong will and a dark cloud looming in the future held me off the purchase.