Cake
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    • The title says it all... curious to see what Cake's all about, how it evolves & whether it is, in fact, "different" ... or just another destructive social media/bubble/data-privacy-headache/destructive to society-politics-democracy-echo-chamber in waiting! Despite the "word count bias" to the negative in this introductory post, I really am withholding judgement & hopeful that someone can figure out the right kind of balance between the great conversation/community-building mission of social media platforms and the business realities of needing to monetize in order to survive. Said differently, the rubber hits the road when the advertising starts.

      Psyched to see how this evolves!

    • Welcome to Cake, Hey-Man. 😁 We have high hopes too! The world needs it.

      One example of something different that should work at scale, even with advertisers, is panel conversations. On the Internet, there is an expectation that anyone should be able to join the conversation, but in the real world we have the super-successful concept of panels where a few people can have a conversation that millions can follow. The audience knows it's in their interest to let the panel speak and it gives us a chance to hear from people who would otherwise be shouted down.

      We have a mechanism for panel conversations on Cake and the ones we've had have been pretty amazing. Here's an example of one you might like. Victoria is pretty excited about helping us organize many more:

    • Thanks Chris! Both for the welcome and the heads up on panel conversations... psyched to see how it all comes together.

      And certainly appreciating signing up to Cake at this level/age & stage where Co-Founders are still able to monitor & respond to new users... For your sake, I hope you get to the point where that's simply not possible due to growth. But if you can somehow maintain that sense of "connectedness" btw owners/founders & Cake users, you will have achieved far more success than your typical $$/metrics/KPIs might ever be able to indicate. That's a comment about maintaining truth & credibility when it comes to Values & Culture ... Every business/organization hits points in time when those words could become nothing more than "words on a wall". Too often, culture can't or doesn't scale along with the rest of the growth. And by the time you even recognize it, by definition you're months/years past the actual point when that shift started to take root. Hope you keep the current culture/vibe going, in a true & credible way, as long as possible!

    • Thank you. Is it primarily scale that makes companies lose touch with their founding culture? Or the pursuit of profit & growth above all else?

      I've heard John Doerr & Jeff Bezos say you should always invest in missionaries, not mercenaries, because counterintuitively the missionaries end up making more money. I was assuming that's because missionaries like Elon Musk and Steve Jobs manage to retain their sense of purpose and culture even when they scale.

    • Hadn't really used the "missionaries/mercenaries" semantics, but I do agree with and am passionate about hiring for culture and values-based leadership. In terms of your specific question, that depends on whether "Pursuit of Profit & Growth" IS the goal, or a/the defined value, purpose, etc. If you in fact value profit & growth above all else, at least be true to thine own self ... hire on that basis, make decisions on that basis and be honest about that as part of the brand. But don't tell me the goal is "Save the World" when in fact it's simply profit & growth. Hypocrisy rubs me the wrong way far more than straight forward policy/operational disagreements. I say if you stick to your values (i.e. you/the company makes decisions based on the values you "put up on the wall") & consciously make business decisions on that basis, profit & growth will follow assuming the business/product/service is, in and of itself, something that's valued by your customers. Personally, I have nothing against.. and in fact, like "profit & growth" a lot.. but not as the goal in and of itself. Said differently, are you willing to turn down $$, "fire a customer before they're a customer" etc. because it's not a good "culture/values" match and find a different way to achieve your goals in a way that's consistent with your Values? Or do you take the "easier path/$$" and convince yourself that's the only way? As soon as Leadership compromises their defined values, the culture is broken at worst or certainly changed at best... and maybe not in a good way.

      Jeff Bezos' first letter to Amazon Shareholders is worth a read. Amazon went public, took investor money, etc. but flat out told investors they're going to run the company with the long game in mind... so short term returns were unlikely. I read that as "Want to invest? NP... but you're investing in us, in our approach to business and in our long-term success.. so our answers to the typical Q1/Q2/Q3/Q4 results & guidance questions might not be what you want to hear... so you don't get to say I didn't warn you." Agree or disagree on any number of things that Amazon did or does or how they changed, but from a certain perspective, Bezos stuck to his guns and was at least honest as the company went through any number of "iterative ages & stages" as growth happened and the folks on the Street had to deal with it.

      What does Cake value? In terms of it's employees & work environement? In terms of it's customers? In terms of it's users? When it comes to social media, I think the biggest issue is "users & customers" are the same during the early days, but the pressure to pay for it all leads the companies to serve two conflicting sets of masters. I'm back to posting cat pics & keeping up with family & friends on FB only intermittently... bc I got sick of being the product being serviced up to billions in advertising $$/customers.

      Preserving culture is thinking about the possible Tsunami hitting California as you blissfully flap your butterfly wings in Tokyo. (Despite your Ts & Cs, that's my line/copyright!)

      That's one of the things I'm interested in as I watch what becomes of Cake.

    • Thanks, Hey-Man. We want to build a profitable company on the basis of thoughtful conversation. It forces a judgement on what constitutes thoughtful conversations.

      Every media company has to come to grips with what they will and won't allow, but one that resonated with me the other day was National Geographic. The three women who run it were asked about their mission and values. For mission they had covering the human journey. For values it was to defend facts, science and the earth.

      Here's an interesting practical example. Pinterest has this in their terms:

      We don’t allow advice when it has immediate and detrimental effects on a pinner’s health or on public safety. This includes promotion of false cures for terminal or chronic illnesses and anti-vaccination advice.

      Facebook has a ton of anti-vaccination groups and they're very popular. It sounds like a values decision at Pinterest.

    • Great exWe're most definitely on the same page. And I'm well aware of who I'm talking to both in terms of what you've accomplished and, more importantly, the "how"... which makes the genuine conversation we're having all the more appreciated and engaging. Still need to actually figure out what Cake is all about, but I'm certainly intrigued.

      I'm part of a pretty amazing story myself and still loving the ride after 14 years from the "garage days" to present day. Same 4 "words on the wall" we've been actually using the whole time to guide our decisions, big & small, every day. I wish you & the Cake team all the success and will be following along .. Looking forward to the running conversation(s) to come.