Hi Josh! Small world. 😁
For me, Cake is an outgrowth of ADVrider. I started ADV as a hobby purely for the love of Adventure Motorcycling. We never expected it to last and keep growing these past 17 years given the rise of Yahoo Groups, MySpace, Friendster, Facebook, etc. Those companies had billion$ and armies of engineers and we had, uh, a $250 license to forum software. And yet it grew to 2 million monthly active users, and I get non-stop fan mail about it.
The thing is, on Facebook you follow people and on ADV you follow your interests. We all have interests (like motorcycling) beyond what we can talk about with our friends & family on Facebook.
We were restricted by what we could do on ADV by forum software. For example, there is a constant desire to add sub-forums for other brands of motorcycles. With forum software, you can only add so many before it gets crazy because the only way to find them is by browsing, not via search. And people want to add their own, not have to beg mods to do it.
With Cake when you start a conversation, you can choose the topics from existing ones (and see follower counts for topics), or you can add your own topics for others to follow. Cake is also general, not limited to Adventure Motorcycling.
Here's another example that I think will be important to all of our futures: at ADV, Jesse Evers wrote a Chrome plugin so you could read ride reports and filter out all comments—except from the original poster. More signal, less noise. What you'd really like, tho, is to let everyone on the ride post, but the forum software doesn't provide a way to do that, even with Jesse's plugin. So we built that at Cake, where you can form a panel conversation of, say, 6 people. The world can read it, Cake members can react, only the panel can post.
Sounds foreign at first because the Internet is the only venue on earth where there is an expectation that anyone can post. So along came Nazis and Russian trolls, and away went a lot of people whose voices were silenced because they were driven off Twitter or wherever.
In a panel conversation, they don't get driven off because it's just like panels in the real world where the expectation is we all benefit from letting the panel speak. When we scale to millions of people, I think this will be revolutionary. I believe the world will ask where this been for so long.