Le Web: Dave Morin's Path from Facebook

A liveblog of Dave Morin's talk about Path at LeWeb 11 in Paris.

Adam Tinworth
Adam Tinworth

Dave Morin had a hand in the launch of the Facebook platform – but now he’s the founder and CEO of Path, a mobile journalling app, that’s just relaunched. They’d been working on Path 2 for over six month and were “over-whelmed” by the response to the new version last week. Path is, essentially, a modern journal. We all carry mobile phones, and people want to capture moments with them – and often in a private way. Path is designed to allow you to pick and chose who you share with. It’s “slightly social”, as Morin puts it. You can use it on its own, or share with the people closest to you – even mundane stuff that might matter to them, but not the others in their network.

They’re a completely design driven organisation – it’s at the heart of how they work. And they’re now on both iPhone and Android – Android has more sizes to design for, and less documentation and fewer frameworks, that made it a harder build. But their intention is to be ubiquitous, on all platforms. They’re really committed to the idea of the post-pc era. HTML5 wasn’t an option for performance reason – and they tried. They couldn’t get the “intimate touch” experience. 20 people in the team. And then intent to move to tablets soon. It’s a different experience, though, and they want to make sure their tablet design really takes advantage of that.

Will they become a platform? That’s the plan over time. He think that the way Facebook has made it much easier to build product that require people’s real names is a good model.

How did they move from version 1 to 2? Mainly talking to users, looking at what they said they thought of it, looking at what they were trying to put in Path  – there was a lot of screens hotting of other apps going on, so they made it easier to allow frictionless sharing of other information.

Funding and Facebook: Path's path ahead

They have over $8m in funding, so they’re in this for the long haul.

Isn’t this treading on Facebook’s toes? Not really, says Morin. Facebook is very focused on becoming the identity service for the web, and has public as its default. Path is focused on family and very close relationship, with default privacy. “Several hundred thousand” users right now.  They intend to monetize through premium services – a fermium play. They have some small filtering options already.

But the key message is iteration. They iterate the product every two to three weeks, which is as fast as they can. The product wasn’t perfect when it launched – the changes between the versions proved that. But if you wait until you’re happy with the product to launch, you’ve left it too late…

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Adam is a lecturer, trainer and writer. He's been a blogger for over 20 years, and a journalist for more than 30. He lectures on audience strategy and engagement at City, University of London.