Friends Reunited was launched in 1999 and was the UK's "Facebook before Facebook" (or, more realistically, the UK's Classmates.com) but oriented around people you'd attended school with rather than all friends in general (though you could look up anyone by name). By the start of 2002, it had 2.5m users. By the end of 2005, 15m. It then sold for £120m ($208m at the time) before Bebo and MySpace (and much later, FB) ate its lunch.
All that aside, the site he mentions that lets you note "crushes" sounds a lot more pleasant than one where you rate "fitties." And one university enacting an idiotic policy does not a bad startup scene make..
Their main mistake was to charge users for membership if you wanted to communicate with other users. I believe it was £10/year. Even when facebook came on the scene, they continued charging users.
(Yes, charging users directly, however much 37signals etc trumpet it, is sometimes a very short sighted bad thing to do, particularly when free competitors arrive as they invariably do if you have a reasonably sized market).
So facebook did happen in the UK. Plenty of startups happen in the UK.
One thing to take away from all of these examples is that just having an "idea" isn't enough. You have to execute it. If all you needed was an idea, Friendster would've been successful and not MySpace... and then Facebook.
I would call it copy-writing :). On a serious note, it concerns much more than UCL. There is quite a lack of support for young startups especially in UK Universities (First hand experience). With the amount of tech talent UK has' this kind of incident shows why a lot of big things are not coming from this end. I just wish the person that made this call would be called out by a major publication.
All that aside, the site he mentions that lets you note "crushes" sounds a lot more pleasant than one where you rate "fitties."
I am sure he would have got round to sorting that out. Of course removed it from .co.uk. too.
So do I get this correct?
1) The service is not hosted at or by the university
2) The service does not seem to violate any of the university's trademarks
3) The university fines the student for £300
4) The university forces the student to shutdown the service
Maybe the culture here at my university is somewhat different - but for me this is a rather large WTF. Based on which facts should a university have the options to fine a student or to shutdown such a service?
What the fuck, UCL?
the presence of students while bringing a certain youthful air to the surroundings does detract from it's professional image as a successful media and marketing organisation
(for the record, I've been a HN lurker for almost two years now)
Your options (as a submitter) are either improve the content or improve the submission. Sometimes the latter is easier than the former, especially when it's your own material you're submitting.
Aaron Greenspan might have a few things to say about Harvard's lack of tolerance towards student startups too...
It cuts me deep to see likealittle get so much more traction, I am starting to think it has a lot to do with cultural differences and differences on campuses. The US has a great campus based lifestyle which is not present in most other countries. The amount of different languages is a challenge as well.
Having a five syllable domain name with inconsistent spelling may also have something to do with it.
Which do you think the lesser evil?
Seriously, though, I think that everyone feels the same way when he labours and pours his love into something only for another startup to come out, doing the same thing and get more attention.
And a big part of execution is getting distribution.
"No, I've got a job in the city lined-up for me. This is only a joke."
I think Markus Frind has shown that you can make shedloads of money from lonely (or horny) hearts, but free dating is a narrower, more competitive niche than Facebook, and anonymous free dating is narrower still. You'd need a serious long term vision to turn early growth for that sort of service into something that will generate more lifetime value than a UCL degree...
At least, transfer to a friendlier university and take a leave of absence for as long as needed (like the Google guys).
Opportunities like this are far rarer than plentiful bachelor's (or even PhD) degrees . As an employer, I'd take him as a dropout with an impressive track record instead of any bachelor's graduate any day. In the eyes of an investor looking for great entrepreneurs, it is even clearly better to drop out in this case.
Just putting that out there.
I know Zuckerburg started facebook as a way to find girls but at least the name is more generic
I just realized you might have meant that the initial idea of what facebook would represent to its users was a way to find chicks. That might be more likely, but I've never seen anything to suggest that's the case. I'd appreciate a source for that claim, if indeed there is a decent one.
No, that's the story from the movie. Zuckerburg started facebook because he wanted to make a startup.
Language barrier here. "Fit" doesn't sound so bad to me. Why is it that bad?
The issue here isn't one of gender, but that the public space is not an appropriate place for making sexual comments about strangers, just as most people don't think that wolf whistling at people in the street is appropriate. This amplifies that effect by putting it online, and therefore the "wolf whistle" is permanent and world-wide.
OTOH, the comment by djhworld still confuses me. The bad outcome wouldn't be misogyny but stalking or something like that. "Misogynistic" implies it's directed against females.