According to David Cho, the co-founder and CEO of Sidebark, 2012 is the year that privacy will go big (if not public). That’s because, as Cho told me when he came into our San Francisco studio, we want to share our most personal data with our most personal friends – and that can only be done by making privacy the default feature of a social network. Therein lies the rationale behind Sidebark, Cho’s new start-up which, by relying on our emails, is attempting to make “permissions” the operating-system of his privacy-centric network. And that’s why, Cho insisted to me, users can – in contrast with Facebook, Google + et al – really trust Sidebar with their most intimate photos and content.
It’s an intriguing idea. The Harvard Business School educated Cho – who gave up a position as a digital media expert at Bain to launch Sidebark (he claims that being an entrepreneur is “in the blood”) – insists that the market is huge. In 2011, he told me, 350 billion photos where taken but only 50 billion were shared. And Sidebark, he believes, will give us the security to share even our most sensitive data with our friends. Going beyond Path’s single list functionality, Sidebark – which is already available as an iPhone app – offers what Cho calls “segmented lists” which enable us to simply create different groups for each of our multiple personalities. This three person, self-funded startup is already getting traction. In the first two weeks after launch, Cho told me, 200,000 people have already been added to the private lists on the network.
Nice idea, shame about the name. Sidebark. What the hell do dogs who, unlike humans, don’t possess multiple identities, have to do with private lists? Woof woof.