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Ello and the Minimum Desirable Product

Ed Cumming, writing for The Guardian:

Perhaps the most interesting thing about Ello’s emergence has been how little time it has taken for people to be rude about it. If you can’t be an early adopter, be an early denigrator. Criticisms emerged about how private it really was and bugs in the system. The founders admitted to being surprised by the level of interest and were at pains to explain it was still in beta-testing and far from the finished product.

We’ve been chatting about this at the office for a few days, and there is an interesting consensus building: First, it is clear that a lot of people are clamoring for replacements of Facebook and Twitter. Second, it is clear that the expectations of what most of the attempting start-ups call a Minimum Viable Product is really not viable at all. In fact, in Ello’s case, it falls far flat of public expectations.

What the public seems to define as an acceptable starting point, the Minimum Desirable Product, is much more than has been attempted so far. If we’re going to get the next wave of social networking upstarts, the bar is set far above the basics of messaging and friends lists.

And really, if you launch a social networking platform without a native mobile (especially iPhone) experience, you’re just too far behind to even consider.

Ello shows us that these upstart social attempts are far from perfect, but here’s hoping these startups keep trying and eventually we can break away from two monster social networks and have more great options to choose from.