As August sets in and the tech world goes on vacation, it signals the return of the best part of every year: TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2014. This is the big show, folks. This is the main stage. And luckily, we’ll have a true star of the tech world up on our stage in the form of Path founder Dave Morin.
Dave Morin built Path as a way to fundamentally change the way we do social media. The obsession with numbers (of friends, likes, retweets, plusses) resulted in a less meaningful connection with more people. Instead, Path built its network with family and close friends in mind, treating social media more as talking around an intimate dinner table instead of shouting in a town hall with a bullhorn. We’re thrilled to announce that Morin will be joining us for an onstage interview this September at Disrupt SF 2014.
But while Path’s vision for social media resonates with a lot of people — Path has over 20 million registered users — the company has struggled to break into the mainstream. Whether people were overwhelmed by too many social networks or didn’t agree with Path’s friends-and-close-family philosophy, the company simply failed to take off in the way Morin and his team had hoped it would. In October 2013, Path laid off 20 percent of its workforce in an attempt to realign the company, and a round of high-profile exits the following month left critics wondering how Path could stay relevant. The social network market was already pretty saturated, and it became clear that the company would need to pivot in order to stay alive.
And pivot it did. In June, Path jumped on the temporary messaging train and retroactively made all messages last only 24 hours. Also that month, the company released Path Talk, a standalone messaging app with ambient status updates that lets friends know when you’re traveling, when you’re nearby, and even when your phone’s battery is running low. Like the new Path app, Path Talk messages automatically disappear after 24 hours, and you can send text, voice, pictures or video messages to your Path contacts.
With these changes came an updated Path app, and version 4.0 most prominently removed the 150 friend limit, symbolically giving in to the notion that the way we connect with others has fundamentally changed. At the same time, Path acquired business text messaging app TalkTo, which facilitates communication between consumers and businesses, and will work that technology into a future version of the Path app.
Morin co-founded Path in 2010 with Dustin Mierau and Shawn Fanning, and currently serves as the company’s CEO. Morin also sits on the Board of Directors at Eventbrite, and on the Board of Trustees for the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the US Ski and Snowboard Association. And he stays active in the startup scene, personally investing in homebuying startup OpenDoor and analytics startup Amplitude, and he advises companies like HotelTonight and Brigade.
We’re obviously thrilled to have Morin join us on stage. Tickets are now on sale, with early-bird pricing now through Sept. 1. If you’re interested in becoming a sponsor, reach out to our sponsorship team for more information.
Anthony Dominico contributed to this article.