Apparently lots of people are still talking about Instagram’s sale to Facebook (last week seems like ages ago to those of us in the attention-deficit-disordered world of blogging, but I guess a $1 billion pricetag will tend to keep tongues wagging for a while.)
The latest Instagram/Facebook detail the chattering classes are seizing on? Silicon Valley venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz’s position in the deal. Basically, Andreessen Horowitz pitched seed funding into Instagram in its earliest days but ultimately opted to place more of its money and support behind PicPlz, a competing mobile photo sharing app. Today the New York Times published an article about the situation — the not-so-delicately titled “How Andreessen Horowitz Bunted on an Instagram Investment” — that tells the story in all its schadenfreude-inducing glory.
Well at least one person has had enough of the snark: PicPlz co-founder Dalton Caldwell. In a comment today on the Hacker News thread about the aforementioned New York Times piece, he defended PicPlz (which was eventually pivoted into being a part of into Mixed Media Labs, a broader smartphone app development company that has since spawned mobile platform App.net) and encouraged other entrepreneurs to ignore the score-keeping perpetuated by the media and tech industry gossip.
His whole comment is kind of awesome, so we’re reposting it in its entirety here:
“Anyone reading this article needs to remember to never be afraid of putting yourself out there because you are afraid of failure.
I saw the market first, I created picplz, and I went for it. I was a huge believe in the mobile photo sharing opportunity, and I went for it with all of my heart. Clearly, picplz didn’t win, but I have ZERO shame or regret for doing my best.
When I read articles like these, which are about myself, my company and people that I know well, I can’t help but feel vitriol aimed at me for DARING to create, launch and raise funding for picplz. I am not clear on what exactly people want, an apology for trying?
The fact is, I saw the writing on the wall that we wouldn’t win early and pivoted out of photo sharing which I had ~90% of my series A cash still in the bank. It certainly seems like that was the right move, but all of this press makes it look like pivoting was the wrong call(?) The press I read is written in such a way that it assumed that the A16Z investment is dead and my entire company should just be written off to zero today. That is bullshit. If I started to take press like this too seriously I might as well just dissolve my company and stop coming into work.
I say this to the hn comminity: never be afraid of failure. No one knows what will happen. All of this arm-chair quarterbacking is a waste of time. Stop reading this kind of crap and instead put your energy into doing your best work. Sometimes you win, and sometimes you lose, but if you give yourself the opportunity to win enough times, you WILL be successful.”
Marc Andreessen also weighed in on the thread, writing:
“I’d like to add that all of us at AH are very proud of Dalton and his team, and we are highly excited about the new plan (including all the parts that aren’t public yet :-).”
In all it serves as an important reminder that for all the fun that we have buzzing about the tech industry on blogs and Twitter, the people who are hard at work building things are the real reason we’re all here in the space at all. It’s always going to be easier to pick things apart than to put them together — but in the end, those who stay focused on being productive and positive usually wind up better off than the others, in one way or another.