One of the premises we are betting on is that social behaviors are the most ingrained and persistent. What we’ve done is actually try to identify (of course this is skewed by our own naive perception of how people operate) the social group dynamics and sustainable behaviors that we can transfer online. In other words, if people are doing this in real life, they should be willing to do it online as well.
This works only as long as there is some incentive, some value proposition over the traditional way of realizing this social behavior. It has to be somehow enhanced, which is hard since we are fighting an uphill battle with existing habits and norms. But if we get this right the rewards are also great, since you are tapping into fundamental drives and needs. This is like Maslow’s pyramid type of stuff.
The enhancement part is tricky too. We’ve zeroed in on a number of limitations that apply to this set of behaviors in the physical realm, and we’ve been basing our strategy on overcoming these obstacles and making it easier, faster, more rewarding for the user to do this online. There are many assumptions, some of them technical, to validate. But of course the biggest hurdle is to verify the core premise that this social behavior is transferable. That’s the main challenge.
Another issue that has bubbled back up to the surface (thanks to a comment here http://bit.ly/bPsbJM by @cindyalvarez) is privacy. We considered it at the very beginning and this is yet another unknown, which is up in the air for the time being. The comment makes me think that we cannot afford to neglect the issue.
Needless to say, it’s getting increasingly complicated to not talk about what the application actually is. The wire balancing act is getting trickier by the post. Moreover the blog is moving much faster than the product, so I will try to mix in other topics that divert your attention from the elephant in the room, which is really what the whole hoopla is about anyways.