It must be interesting working over at Six Apart these days. They reported a 16 employee layoff and a management pay cut a few weeks ago. But things can't be all that bad. They just announced the purchase of the micro-blogging platform Pownce
-- keeping several key people and the technology.
It has definitely been a mixture of interesting events for Six Apart this year. They started off with a huge hiring spree, launched Six Apart Services, Six Apart Media, Blogs.com, Movable Type Open Source and MT Pro and a suite of TypePad-powered products, including Blog It, Blog Link, the TypePad iPhone app and TypePad AntiSpam. And now they add Pownce to the list.
The Pownce Deal
According to "Venture Beat":http://venturebeat.com/2008/12/01/six-apart-acquires-and-shuts-down-pownce/, Pownce was the second most well known "micro-blogging platform":http://www.cmswire.com/cms/micro-cms/ -- second only to Twitter. Started by Digg Founder Kevin Rose, Leah Culver and Daniel Burka, the micro-blogging solution offered more functionality than Twitter, but obviously it wasn't enough or as needed a feature set to "throw the king Twitter from his throne":http://www.cmswire.com/cms/social-media/shoutem-customized-microblogging-goodbye-twitter-003600.php.
Only officially opening their doors this year, Pownce will be shut down completely in the next couple of weeks. The technology is now owned by Six Apart and it doesn't sound like they need to keep the original service running. We do not know how much this deal cost them.
Six Apart "announced the acquisition":http://www.sixapart.com/blog/2008/12/welcome-pownce-team.html on their blog saying that "We have a lot of respect for what this team has done and believe we share a common vision about making the Internet more social." Leah Culver and Mike Malone have joined the Six Apart development team, and Kevin Rose and Daniel Burka have come onboard "Six Apart":http://www.cmswire.com/news/topic/six%20apart as advisers.
Pownce Pro users have been offered a free TypePad account for one year and the rest of the Pownce user base is encouraged to set up a Vox account as an alternative.
Getting Your Data out of Pownce
They aren't leaving you in the lurch with your Pownce data -- which is good. Leah Culver is already working on an import tool to move all your notes and related attachments into Vox. And if you don't want to go there, you can still "get an export tool":http://www.pownce.com/settings/export/ that will export everything to a file which can then be used to import to another blogging platform.
Six Apart's Plans
So what's the plan here anyway? Everyone assumes it has something to do with the "rebalancing of the organization" they talked about when announcing the layoffs. Most of the rebalance appears, however, to be focused on business services of one sort or another and not technology solutions. So while they take the Pownce technology, we don't necessarily see how they may plan to use it.
Ah, the new year is coming..expect there will be lots of news coming out the Six Apart camp. Maybe someone will leak a few secret plans.