Why Did I Invest in the Company Pose?

Posted on Jan 18, 2011 | 86 comments


What a sweet feeling it was last week to see the launch of the photo sharing site Pose, whose application targets shoppers of apparel.  If you don’t know it and own an iPhone (soon Android) please check it out.

What I’d like to do is tell you the story of how the investment came to be, what my thesis is / was and share some thoughts on macro trends.

I always try hard to make this blog a place where you can learn lessons rather than an advertisement for portfolio companies.   I hope you’ll excuse me when I do the latter in combination with the former to try and explain how I see macro trends and help you think about the mind of a VC.

The Team – I’m on record as saying that 70% of my investment criteria are team related.  I’m also on record as saying I invest in lines & not dots.  If you haven’t read the post the thesis was that I care way more about watching the trajectory of your performance as a team (or individual) than I do about how good you “pitch” on the first day you come to see me.

Pose is no different.  I first met the founder of Pose, Dustin Rosen, when he was a junior person with an LA-based venture capital firm called The Mail Room Fund.  The MRF was a committed fund of Accel, Venrock, AT&T and William Morris (one of LA’s largest talent agencies).

Dustin was junior but I’m not hierarchic so we spent a bunch of time together.  I learned that he was originally with William Morris as a junior talent rep but wanted to be more in the business of helping digital startups.  The guys who ran the MRF – Richard Wolpert & Paul Bricault – are guys I hugely respect so anybody that they chose as part of their team already had a degree of “social proof” that they were smart, disciplined and achievement oriented.

I later learned that Dustin was an undergrad from Wharton.  My wife is an MBA from Wharton and she always tells me that “the really smart people are the Wharton undergrads” so I had a positive bias going in.

Despite working for one of the top 2 talent agencies in LA, despite having had VC experience, Dustin chose another route.  He wanted to be an entrepreneur.  He quit the MRF and quietly amassed nearly $100,000 in angel investment to build a company.  The people who invested were all the people who knew Dustin the best – obviously a positive “signal.”

Still, I didn’t chase the deal.  I registered it in my background consciousness.  Great guy, I wonder WTF he’s up to?

He waited to pitch me until he had a strong sense of what he wanted to build.  He researched his market, he thought hard about how he thought it might ultimately monetize, he built a prototype and he created a very compelling vision for where he thought his market would head.

The Deal – I instantly loved the idea for the application, the market and Dustin’s vision.  I will describe this in a moment.  I asked him to present to my partners.  They loved his vision, too.  Our firm invested at a very early stage in retail brands including CostCo, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Ulta, Starbucks and many more.  I point this out because they instantly got why Pose resonated with both consumers AND the retailers.

Boom.  Within 48 hours of meeting him we had a term sheet agreeing to fund $1.6 million (his seed / A round money) and a commitment to take the entire round.

I have a philosophy that my goal is to maximize the potential for success in a company rather than maximize my individual ownership in any single deal.  So while I was ready to take the entire investment I was also willing to share.  I contacted some of my favorite VCs and told them I was willing to fund the entire round but also willing to split it.  I gave them my thesis on the team & market but also told them it was obviously up to them to decide whether they were equally passionate.

My first two calls were to True Ventures & Founder Collective.  When I was an entrepreneur I had a term sheet with True Ventures (my second company) and thought highly of them.  I still do.  I wanted a smart NorCal investor who had done more mobile investments than I had and Jon Callaghan had very relevant relationships & experience.

Jon also loved the idea, the market & Dustin.  The other “first call” went to Founder Collective.  I had spent a great deal of time talking with Eric Paley, one of the founders, as he & I share a common philosophy on company building (we’re both ex founders).  I figured it would be a great outcome if we could get both East Coast money and somebody who viewed startups and the world in a similar way that I did.

I also have tremendous respect for Chris Dixon who is part of Founder Collective.  And despite an occasional debate about whether one should take “super angel” or VC money for an early stage deal (usually said both in jest and in intentional competitive positioning) – I would gladly have Chris involved in anything I’m working on.  In his blog posts & our in-person debates I find myself thinking 98% of the time – I agree with him or he’s got a more insightful perspective on this topic than I do.

I have other VCs that I love to work with but through a combination of desired geography, no known competitive investments and also Dustin’s preferences we settled on these two.

While my investment decision was committed and independent of their decision making – I was delighted to learn that they were both interested as well.  If they said “no” I would have owned a larger stake, but with them saying “yes” I knew I had people that I greatly respected around the table who would help in the inevitable times where we’ll hit bumps in the road.

The Market – OK, enough of your blah, blah, blah about team / co-investor love fest – what really jazzed you up about this opportunity?

I’ve long been a believer in technology that “captures” new media types: photos & video.  I am on record as saying that my opinion is that Web 2.0 was driven largely by the massively reduced cost of media capture through mobile phones with cameras, the Flip Video, the rise of digital SLRs and now the capture of videos through mobile devices.

I said as much in my post about The Future of Social Networking

    “And importantly Web 2.0 ushered in the era of “participation” – we all know that.  But less considered is the fact that the success of the Web 2.0 companies versus the Web 1.0 ones were enhanced because they coincided with hardware that allowed us to capture more content instantly – namely images and video – otherwide Web 2.0 might have been a lot less differentiated.  Suddenly we were all creating blogs on Blogger.com, Typepad & WordPress.  We started uploading images of ourselves to our blogs.

    But the masses didn’t want to blog.  They wanted to publish pictures of themselves & their friends, share them, communicate with others, stay connected, have common experiences, find people to date, etc.”

And they still do.  And the devices for capturing images are getting easier & more powerful.  The applications for uploading and sharing the photos are obviously more viral and visually compelling.  I think we’re in the second inning of photo & video capture.  Let’s be honest – the majority of images are still snapped and left stranded on mobile devices.

I recently sat on a panel at a Qualcomm VC day with Rich Wong-  who I consider one of the best thinkers in VC about the mobile sector – and Jeff Clavier,  a friend and VC whose opinion I also greatly respect.  We were asked about what areas of innovation in mobile interested us.  I laid out my vision for image capture & sharing.

Jeff was obsessed with Instagram at that time as nearly every Silicon Valley VC seemed to be (and still is).  Rich shared common views that the explosion in media creation will only continue to accelerate.  I wanted to shout out loud that we had been working on Pose for the past 9 months but, oh, stealthy CEO’s.  Gotta respect their wishes ;-)

I know this all sounds kind of obvious.  But let me say that when I invested in Pose there was no such thing as Instagram – at least not as a live product.  There was no live product called Path.  We clearly knew that Dave Morin was working on Path because he chose to invest in Pose also!

Here’s the deal.  Most of us want to share information with our friends and our colleagues.  We also want to discover what our friends, colleagues and people we respect are saying.  That’s why companies like Twitter have been so successful.  The things we share come in the format of text, images & video.

I’ve always  been interested in what people want to share and why.  And I’m a big believer in vertical use cases (in additional to more generalized platforms for sharing content).   Shopping for apparel (and other items like furniture) is an obvious use case the appeals to a large market segment.

Instagram has broad appeal and I can see why people love it.  But I also believe that while they can be a broad sharing platform there won’t be one photo sharing app for every occasion.  That’s dumb.  At Pose we have a very solid use case around people wanting to use Pose to take pictures of what they want or what they bought.  We’re very much a “mobile first, web second” app as outlined by Fred Wilson.

I don’t want to give away all of our future strategy but imagine a world in which the system and your friends know what you have and what you want.  Imagine  a world in which the system knows what items go well with what you bought or what looks good on you.  Imagine a world in which you could look at whether retailers have other colors, sizes or similar outfits.  Imagine if you could tag items and ask to be notified when they go on sale.

What if you could instantly poll your friends on whether you look fat in an outfit.  Or whether a color palette goes with your skin.  Or whether this end chair would go well in your living room.

And imagine more broadly – your clothing, furniture and other accessories in a private, semi-private or public closet.    Imagine not only your own clothes but being able to discover what other people are wearing, what other people think is hot, how other people have accessorized their outfits.

The Future

Who knows.  We’re in the awesome romance stage of having shipped a beautiful product with our typical minimum feature set and learning how people actually want to use it rather than our hypotheses.  I know we will be retailer friendly rather than becoming the lost-common-denominator comparison shopping engine.  We believe there is so much value in helping consumers with discovery, sharing, the feedback loop, recommendations, inventory management and much more.

But right now I’m just super proud to see what Dustin and his team have created and to watch where it goes.

  • http://communico.co.nz Julian A Waters

    Interesting post Mark, I think one of the most valuable things you can write about is the real world decision making process you go through. Will be very interesting to see how uptake of this product goes. Also very thought provoking in the area of real-world scenarios that can be enhanced through mobile+social apps.

  • http://www.jkatzur.tumblr.com Jon Katzur

    Very interesting post, re: blog for learning vs. advertising, I definitely found value in this post. I think it is really nice for potential entrepreneurs to hear what is going on in a VCs mind when they invest. Obviously, this type of post can't happen every week or it loses its value, but enjoyed this one.

    Quick question about the team. It appears to me that Dustin isn't technical, given his background within William Morris, VC, and Wharton. Did he put together a strong team of technical talent as well? You have mentioned your ideal startup as having the product focused CEO and 5 technical members.

    Thanks!

  • http://bothsidesofthetable.com msuster

    Ah, yes. Great points. Dustin was helped greatly by a friend of mine who is very technical. He helped assemble a world-class tech team. And another friend is spending a lot of time helping with tech management. Funny you ask – our original team was Dustin (founder) + 4 tech people! We now have some awesome female customer advocates who are helping with user requirements, marketing, content, etc.

  • http://bothsidesofthetable.com msuster

    Thanks, Julian. I'll try to do from time-to-time but not too often. Yes, I'm excited to watch update, too.

  • http://www.jkatzur.tumblr.com Jon Katzur

    Nice job- exactly your ideal team. This is further proof that good long term relationships with VCs are incredibly useful to aspiring entrepreneurs. Landing that tech talent & advice obviously puts Dustin in a solid position. Thanks for your response and good luck! I'll definitely be following him/them.

  • Inboulder

    I'm not sure I understand the #s, shouldn't someone with Dustin's job history have been able to scrape together 100k to bootstrap the venture, rather than needing to seek angel capital?

  • http://twitter.com/L1AD LIAD

    A gorgeous app, with a strong (definitely female skewed) use-case and a frictionless onboarding process – all good.

    What I think Pose may find hard, initially at least, is the issue of liquidity. For the experience to be compelling, they need to have real-time concurrent liquidity. I'm in the changing room, trying on something, I zap out a photo, and then I start the wait. If I don't get feedback whilst I'm still wearing the clothes or at the least whilst I'm still in the shop/mall – the experience would become frustrating – quickly.

    If the real-time feedback aspect is just the thin edge of the wedge and the real functionality will be inventory management, recommendation and general sharing etc – that's another story.

  • http://www.scottshapiro.com scottshapiro

    Congrats on the investment. Dustin and team are going to crush it!

  • http://twitter.com/AndySack Andy Sack

    Mark,
    I usually like short posts — making one point or two. You captured my attention for longer than 30 seconds — nice post! And you manage to walk the line of educating/lesson learned while tactfully pimping your company. Looking forward to checking out pose. Let me know if you come to Seattle. Coffee at sbux is on me :-)
    Andy

  • http://www.mac-live.com Shane Mac

    He got me for way more than 30 seconds too :)

    And, about that Seattle talk. I'll scrape up pennies for a week and buy you both coffee if you want (or just stop by the Gist office because we have a pretty sweet coffee maker)

    Great post Mark and good to see you back around Andy!

  • http://bothsidesofthetable.com msuster

    Life isn't all about “scraping together money.” He brought in some of the best angels in LA who also became mentors, coaches and actively helped him. That's how the startup industry works.

  • http://bothsidesofthetable.com msuster

    for sure to share and get feedback you need a minimum number of friends who you are connected to. But help with that we obviously allow you to reach out through existing social networks, text messaging, etc. to draw people in. Also, I think many people will find value (just as with Twitter) in looking through products created by others to get ideas for shopping. But we'll see! Thanks for your comments.

  • http://bothsidesofthetable.com msuster

    thanks, scott. appreciate the encouragement. Hope all is well. When are you moving back to LA?!?

  • http://bothsidesofthetable.com msuster

    Thanks, Andy. I suck at “short.” I'm coming to Seattle for a week this year at the encouragement of Dave Schappel (sp?) and Neil Patel. I look forward to connecting.

  • http://twitter.com/L1AD LIAD

    you don't just need connected friends. you need connected friends who will respond to you in real-time.

    My previous business required real-time liquidity – (multi-player turn based games for money). Our main failing was in attaining concurrent liquidity.

    If I want to play a game of backgammon for $20 and I don't have an opponent there within about 2 minutes of sitting down – I'm gone.

    The same with Pose, for the feedback loop to work, I need friends to respond within seconds of me sending the photo – optimally whilst I'm still in the changing room.

    Like you say though, there are a ton of ways to leverage existing social graphs to build up general liquidity, it just needs to be optimised for real-time feedback

  • http://twitter.com/hongdquan Hong Quan

    Mark,

    Thanks for sharing your mindset on investing in Pose, even if you fear it comes off as pimping the portfolio. I for one wish the post was longer so we could all get a deeper view into VC thinking. Would love to meet up one day and show you some early dots on our line. I'm a non-technical CEO but have four devs cranking to build the dream and launching our mvp this week. Would fly to SoCal for coffee, or if you're ever up this way (NorCal) please let us know.

    Cheers,
    Hong

  • Dinesh Vadhia

    @marc
    Photos and videos are already the new text. It is becoming quicker to take a photo or a short video on your mobile and post it to social networks than it is to write a text message.

    There has been a surge in photo-sharing startups that technically do more-or-less the same thing. Some differentiate by giving a choice of filters, others by whether the front or back camera is used and so on. The later entry startups are experimenting to see what sticks. Does this mean that a person will carry one photo app for taking and sharing 70's style photos, another for front camera shots, another for shopping and so on?

  • Dave W Baldwin

    Your vision is correct. I'm going to send you something that will make you laugh.

  • http://hdemott.wordpress.com Harry DeMott

    Congrats on the investment.

    I'd love to know what you thought about Fashism – a NYC based company doing something very similar – pictures with real time commentary – or Honestly Now – a slightly broader question site but with a visual focus.

  • JoeYevoli

    Mark, would you ever try to bring other VC's in on deals without having them meet the entrepreneur first? Should entrepreneurs be wary of VC's who try and do this?

    Thanks in advance.

  • Pascal Rossini

    hello Mark, thanks to share your VC point of view on one of your portfolio company, it's very interesting. I'am sorry but I'am very surprised that you invest in this kind of company, completely fashion trendy with very low entries barriers. What's the business Model? recommendation vs advertising who cannibalize ad display? What's type of exit you will see? Is Pose is an attractive and serious target for a future acquisition?

  • http://www.victusspiritus.com/ Mark Essel

    Same here Harry, I was thinking of Tereza and HonestlyNow while reading about Mark's investment in Pose.

  • http://twitter.com/ebellity Emmanuel Bellity

    Tried it a few days ago and was seduces by the look and feel of the app. It's a good product.

    And of course I am convinced by the potential of mobile for sharing opinions / polls – that's what Opismart is all about !

  • http://www.victusspiritus.com/ Mark Essel

    Here's a fashion app that represents the future of remote shopping. See 3:53 into the following video interview by Robert Scoble at CES: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v

    It's augmented reality and mobile, and enables trying on glasses without the glasses. Potential shoppers can rotate around the glasses in 3D. That concept extends to clothing and beyond. Imagine suggestions from friends.

  • http://hdemott.wordpress.com Harry DeMott

    There's another one out there – called gotryiton.com as well. And I'm sure that we will see more and more of these sorts of sites out there. There was a post on Techcrunch yesterday by Mike Arrington about Hipster – http://eu.techcrunch.com/2011/…/

    Same sort of stuff – location based, real time answers from your social network or beyond.

    The big issue as well put by LIAD in this comment string is whether you get a liquid enough network. If I'm sitting in the dressing room with my new skinny jeans on looking for affirmation from my social circle – there better be some reasonably real time feedback – otherwise, what's the point.

    If you keep it tight to your social circle – you don't get liquid enough.

    If you go too wide – you end up with hot or not – or end up in comment hell like the techcrunch blog comments.

    The key is finding the right balance.

    If it were up to me – I would do the following: I would have real salespeople in the stores try on every outfit and or every combination of outfits in sizes that fit them – so people could see them and post them to all the sites. In addition, I would then make sure that each and every piece was linked in the picture systems to url's taking you directly to my website – so that even if you didn't get instantaneous feedback – you had an instantaneous way of purchasing once you got that feedback. I would link the picture systems to foursquare and facebook – where you are likely to get a greater number of friends following you. I would use the picture systems as a feeder system for clothing models – sort of a crowdsource catalog. Finally, I would give users the ability to upload all of their own clothes into the system – ideally with brand tags and sizes to build out a virtual wardrobe. Once it was there – I would have the retailers use their own in house stylists to recommend pieces from their collection that go with yours – a far easier sell for the retailer.

    I think that's it

    Suster: I'm ready for your board!

  • http://twitter.com/kullar pardeep kullar

    That's a passionate post Mark… almost tempted to say that you'd be happier in a startup rather than as a VC

  • http://markgslater.wordpress.com/ markslater

    it goes without saying that i wish you and the company the best of luck.

    If the CEO or yourself are in boston – you may want to consider meeting Greg the CEO of Karmaloop. he's an old friend and i was a very early member and investor – its now the largest etailer of streetwear worldwide. (A new York VS just invested $30M) – it could be a great fit for the company.

    we can also grab a coffee and i'll tell you a bit about getabl ;)1

  • http://blog.alexguest.me Alex Guest

    Fair point, LIAD. On the other hand, unlike for a live, two-player game like backgammon, if you don't get real-time feedback on your apparel, you can always go back to the store or order online (where possible) once you've received positive comments.

    I haven't played with it but the screenshots suggest that you can share directly to Facebook or Twitter. If so, you instantly have the 'liquidity' that you need.

  • Ella Dyer

    Many thanks for this informative article. Good to know that betting on the “jockey” continues to be a favorable approach. When we began http://www.fashion-ade.com/ I bet on Jody Fennell, formerly of weather.com. We too are on our way in this fascinating space of social media (and commerce).

  • virtuallybing

    It's nice to read a post with a specific deal used as an example of how a VC evaluates an investment rather than a general explanation of investment strategy, which is also useful but lacks detail.

    It's interesting to me that Pose is being compared to so many photo sharing apps. It seems to me that the image in Pose isn't really the thing that's being shared, it's the information that is gleened from it – friends' opinions, inventories, product discovery, etc. Pose strikes me as a different animal.

    Congratulations on the investment, and I'll look forward to hearing about the progress of the company.

  • http://www.victusspiritus.com/ Mark Essel

    Going out on a limb here and assuming you've spent some time thinking about this market. That's a heckuva plan.

    Still not seeing how that pipeline connects to how you look in a pair of skinny jeans ;). Me, I prefer baggy, and always have since I was a skateboarding kid. You can move better in baggy, and spandex doesn't suit me.

  • michael_nurse

    This is a great post! You can't buy this type of insight into the mind of an investor! Pose sounds like a really interesting company and I wish you, Dustin and everyone else involved best of luck.

    The concept of investing in lines, not dots is really interesting – and logical. My question is: in your experience can an entrepreneur effectively demonstrate their line leading up to the dot that is your first meeting?

  • http://twitter.com/L1AD LIAD

    I don't mean to labour the point, but just because you can share directly to FB and Twitter doesn't mean you have instant liquidity.

    Just because your sharing, doesn't mean anyones listening….

    What is the likelihood that your sitting on your FB newsfeed the exact time someone's photo comes through AND are compelled enough to give them instant feedback?

  • http://twitter.com/EggTV EggTV

    I've always been skeptical of social sharing software for retail. Growing up with two sisters taught me that they won't be seen in anything until they are positive it looks 100% (which could still work for Pose). Further, social retail is asking people to consume conspicuously, which is something that may scare away girls who can't compete/don't want to interact with the girls posting a new pair of $500 heels every week.

    It's been our thought that seeing a friend in a piece of clothing devalues it as a possible purchase (but increases it as a possible borrow), except in things that are functional (ugg boots, rain coats, sunglasses).

    But at the end of the day you have a Wharton kid on it, so who knows.
    Great read, as usual.

  • http://hdemott.wordpress.com Harry DeMott

    Skinny jeans would come up to my calves – and stop there. It would be a tremendously frightening sight. Hot? NOT!

    As to the thoughts – I met with Brooke Moreland – who founded Fashism, a while ago. She worked for many years for my best friend in NYC as a video editor before going out on her own. So most of those ideas came out of that conversation. I also know Tereza from Honestly Now. As you know we are all denizens of AVC – and Tereza lives in the next town from me. So I've thought about the whole space for a while.

    The post here is very interesting, but I do think it misses out on the one missing piece of the puzzle. All of the people working with Pose are technical in nature – or experienced with mobile – but there isn't anyone here with clear connections to retailers – who are ultimately going to have to be partners if this is to succeed. If I am Suster and company – I'd take all of the above advice (I am highly biased on this) and I would also make sure to bring in people connected to the larger retailers somehow.

  • http://www.jawaya.com Charlie Crystle

    Sounds something like http://HonestlyNow.com as well, though that is more oriented toward friends' opinions.

  • http://www.logicalconsensus.com Lucas Dailey

    I agree and was going to raise the same issue, though I think you're underplaying it's importance.

    This seems to rely on *inactive*, passive users in its primary use case.

    The user reaches out, but no matter the technologies used, if their friends don't respond quickly it detracts from the experience.

    Maybe Pose should push images to a public Hot-or-Not style site, crowdsourcing the instant feedback.

    If instant feedback isn't essential, I'm not sure I see the difference with other photo sharing apps (which I don't use, so I could be wrong).

  • http://twitter.com/L1AD LIAD

    The use case, as set out by TC in their initial post on Pose – hangs the apps functionality and value on the instant feedback. Mark sets out a broader and more sophisticated value-add.

    If they're basing the appeal on the real-time human feedback – I think things will be hard. Even with willing recipients to give instant feedback, I'm still not sure the experience will be fluid enough to work efficiently within a real life shopping environment.

    If they're planning on a more generic algorithmic recommendation engine, with social discovery and feedback thrown into the mix – I'm sure they'll do just fine.

    Either way, as with everyone who rolls their sleeves up and takes risks – I'm rooting for them.

  • http://www.victusspiritus.com/ Mark Essel

    Do they not have a “domain expert”? Maybe Pose doesn't need one at this stage but if I was going into the social fashion space I'd make sure to have someone in the founding team who lived and breathed fashion. First person I'd turn to for opinions/advice would be a childhood friend Ray who graduated from FIT.

    I wonder if Pose is more of a Walmart/Target (big market) clothing play or a stylish name brand (more passionate market) thing or both perhaps starting with the 1% fashion nutz and growing to include the Target/Big&Tall crowd.

  • Wingman

    Mark – You forgot to address the most interesting part of the whole company. How did they land the Pose url?

  • http://joshuadance.com/ Joshua Dance

    Love seeing a little bit about how business decisions and are made and how things progress. Thanks for sharing.

  • http://twitter.com/du_ro Dustin Rosen

    LIAD – thanks for the comment. Real-time liquidity is certainly something we are working on as it relates to the product. Your thoughts as to other functionality are very insightful and, as Mark said, we believe the opportunity to capture and enhance the in-store shopping experience does not end at feedback. I hope you look out for future features and I look forward to your feedback.
    - Dustin Rosen, POSE

  • http://twitter.com/du_ro Dustin Rosen

    Thanks, Julian. At Pose, we are fully committed to capturing and enhancing the in-store shopping experience and, as you said, we believe the intersection of mobile and social will enable this. I look forward to your thoughts on the evolution of the product. – Dustin Rosen, POSE

  • http://davidfishman.tumblr.com/ David Fishman

    Big idea that makes complete sense …. although you have large a chasm to cross with the retailers / ecommerce labrynth + platform juggernaut. Some good Cos. out there to partner with who have already solved part of this equation :)

  • http://twitter.com/Paul_Gassee Paul Gassée

    Mark: great stuff as usual. Read a lot of your stuff, and this is a great peek into what makes a decision for you, for an early stage deal. I don't know that many VCs write about this the same way you do. Here, you give us great visibility. We get to see your thought process, and the mental journey that finally led you to invest.
    Also, just downloaded the app, and it looks great. Think it's a ripe vertical (fashion), that hasn't yet seen enough attention from tech (although I'm hearing that's changing).
    Cheers from a fellow Triton.

  • http://www.rateitall.com/ lawrence coburn

    “But I also believe that while they can be a broad sharing platform there won’t be one photo sharing app for every occasion.”

    Totally agree, and not just for photos. Photos that I would upload to Instagram, I would never push to Pose (and vice versa). The functionality is similar, but the use cases are totally different. I don't use Facebook Places because my Facebook social graph didn't sign up for that sort of content. And why do I get so many spa deals on Groupon when I've never been for spa? And yet they are still the fastest growing company in history?

    There is lots of room for verticalization and specialization in many of the booming areas of the mobile / local, social web. And together, these thousands of tiny, emerging services represent the single biggest threat to Facebook.

    Best of luck to Pose.

  • Lien

    Can they get distribution is the #1 question.

  • jeffsolomon

    This right here is the win… “Imagine if you could tag items and ask to be notified when they go on sale”. Love that!

  • http://MeetInnovators.com Adrian Bye

    interesting post. its interesting to see your thought process on how you do this

  • Adrian Meli

    Mark, enjoyed the post and your thoughts on Pose. I found the detailed thought process behind working w/ Pose, keeping the entire seed for yourself, and your view of the product going forward very thoughtful. For us non-VC people, understanding how you work behind the scenes is illuminating at the least. It is very helpful for people in the idea stage to understand the process to market/vc funding better. Curious to hear you future thoughts on Pose as they progress. – Adrian Meli