— Mike Schinkel (@mikeschinkel) November 21, 2012
I can certainly see some of the points in the article. Pocket and Instapaper do have a very different design feel and one or the other may work for you. There is one totally erroneous conclusion though.
….there seems to be no convincing reason to pay for Instapaper apps when Pocket, backed by VC funding, offers something similar (and better) for free.
We’ll skip the “(and better)” comment mostly. It’s simply better in the author’s opinion, and in mine it is in no way better.
I’ve written before about apps needing business models, so I’m sure you can see where this is going. We have no guarantee that Pocket is going to be around, they have no business model. Right now all they have is a bank account that is steadily going down. If I ran my business that way no one would be applauding me as a great consultant, I’d be working at the local fast food chain.
We need to look no further than Twitter to see what happens to services that don’t have a solid business model. What is to prevent Pocket from totally changing their service (which they have done since they were Read it Later) in to something that pisses off users? Nothing, at some point they need to make money.
I suppose that there is nothing stopping Marco from screwing up Instapaper in the quest for more money either. In the case of Instapaper, we have a business model that has kept the company running for a few years. He has a vested interest in users continuing to pay him for Instapaper. When you have a business that makes money it’s way less likely you are going to screw with the core service everyone paid for.
So no I won’t be using Pocket. It’s not even something I’m willing to try until there is a viable business model. Only then will we start to see the product we are going to get.
It’s unfortunate that the world we currently inhabit praises companies with no business model. That’s like praising a gambler as a good business man because every so often some gambler some where wins big. Most go down in flames.