(Viewers are reminded that the following article does not represent the views of anybody else at all by default, though they are welcome to agree if they like. This – obviously – includes anyone else who works for my soon-erstwhile employer. Keep your arms and legs inside the cart at all times)
As reported in Techcrunch UK yesterday:
Trutap, a leading UK mobile startup, is to let go almost 80% of its staff after failing to hit its window for a second round of funding. The blow comes only a month after the launch of its latest software application for aggregating social networks on the mobile, the milestone of over 250,000 users and the launch of a revenue-raising advertising platform.
Trutap, for those of you playing along at home, are the people who give me a paycheque every so often.
To quote one of my coworkers, just when we got our ducks in a row, someone switched off the duck harvesters. I am in the 80% of the cull, unfortunately, and so am currently looking for a brand new job. Trutap is a company it has been my absolute pleasure to work for for the last two years or so, and I’m going to be sad to leave it. This is the second startup that’s gone against the wall as I’ve been working for it. I’m hoping I’m not doing anything wrong…
Mostly, we’ve been shafted by circumstance. Our main investors – as the article says – wandered out of the market just as we were needing a new round of funding.
The various technical news sites have taken something of a depressingly predictable view of why we failed. Classically there are a couple of classes of detractors, both with the same root argument, embodied by this comment by “The Spy” on TCUK:
Doesn’t everyone, who’s anyone, just own an iPhone now? So this app/service is a waste of time
This comment annoys me for several reasons. Mostly because of the sheer level of bollockry it contains in a few short words. No, not everyone has an iPhone, whilst they are very nice devices (and yes, I have one as my primary handset) they are clearly not a panacea. They aren’t ready for prime time as a business handset yet (The lack of support for Apple’s own caldav server, let alone anything else, is a case in point) and whilst the battery-life is better than it was, it’s still not great. Also, they are expensive. I have ranted before on why you can’t just ignore the 99% of the world that does not have an iPhone, and so shall not do so again. This time.
But there are technical hurdles. Future Platforms developed the Java Applet bit of Trutap, and recently published a couple of articles on the process specifcally to us and also in general on the platform, and it’s remarkably like the same arguments that were being made a few years ago about developing websites for different browsers. You start off sniffing for specific browsers and using different page versions for each one, sharing as much content as you can, but eventually you realise that this is not a process that scales far enough and go for a general solution that uses the features you can find.
As for the TT service itself, it’s not going anywhere for a little while. The cutbacks are not total, and we’re aiming to keep the servers on for as long as we can.
As for me, I’ve got an interview to go to. And another tomorrow. And another the day after. And potentially another on Friday.
It’ll all be fine.