Paul Budnitz knows from hype. When his social network launched in March of 2014, Ello's anti-advertising stance struck a nerve with an online audience sick of being sold down the river by Facebook's data-mining policies.
Promising, "you are not a product," the site quickly became the toast of the Valley, with invite requests skyrocketing to 4,000 by late September, jumping to 31,000 the following day, and ultimately increasing by 34x.
A few months later, the bloggers that had fueled the site's ascent were ready to write it off, declaring Ello's untimely death in no uncertain terms. For its part, the site has carried on, utilizing the calm after the storm to focus on new platforms and features - some of which, Budnitz admitted to us back in August, really ought to have been present at launch.
"When all that hype happened, [we were] a company of seven people, all of whom were part time," he explained. "We put out a product where it was basically like what we'd been using for a year. Which was you could follow people and you could post. You couldn't even comment, you know what i mean? You couldn't love, you couldn't bookmark, you couldn't repost, you couldn't share, you couldn't do anything."
But Budnitz ultimately saw the whole thing as a blessing, explaining that, "Blowing up helped [the company] raise money pretty early."
Having watched things play out in a fairly similar fashion for newfound social media darling Peach, we asked the CEO to weigh in with some helpful advice to get the iPhone messaging app through what may well be a make or break time.
While Budnitz admitted that his knowledge of the app was extremely limited, having never actually tried the thing out, he did happily offer up some words of wisdom for the company (and everyone else in a similar position):
"My advice to anyone would be to ignore the hype and stay to your course and build the network you want to build. That's what we did, and it's why we have such a passionate, positive, and brilliant network filled with top creative people today, instead of the horrible network clone the press wanted us to build."
Or, in the words of the inimitable Chuck D - well, you know: