August 21, 2000
7:59 PM   Subscribe

Deepleap goes into deep sleep. What's the backstory, guys?
posted by endquote (45 comments total)
I hear it's really hard to get funding in this kind of market...
posted by benbrown at 8:27 PM on August 21, 2000

This is what I would term a Damn Shame.

Deepleap was one of my most frequently used tools. Now I'm going to have to find another way to store my bookmarks. Damn.

Sorry to see you go guys. Hope you're back soon.

Maybe we could see a Pyra/Deepleap super-team-up?

I can dream can't I? :)
posted by dgallo at 8:39 PM on August 21, 2000

I think that's sad. I think that something very similar is going to be the killer app when open wireless comes along. Either everything's going to talk to everything else, or there're going to be central servers that concatenate stuff, organize it, repackage it, and send it back out to other devices. And deepleap was the best example of what that could be that I've seen.

I'm very sorry to hear this news. Best of luck to all involved...
posted by mikel at 8:40 PM on August 21, 2000

Well, I can't promise anything, but my current plans are to recreate a big portion of what Deepleap was meant to be on my own, slashdot style. No business plan, no investors -- just an open project and a cool tool.

posted by benbrown at 8:55 PM on August 21, 2000

Bookmarks can be kept on Yahoo Companion, assuming you only want to access them on IE for Windows, and of course it doesn't do any of the other neat stuff DeepLeap does.
posted by endquote at 9:07 PM on August 21, 2000

The big difference being that I have to download Yahoo's Companion (as well as subjugate myself and my data to their clutches).

Yahoo has a few good uses, but their personalization features are not one of them. Not for me at least.
posted by dgallo at 9:29 PM on August 21, 2000

Maybe we could see a Pyra/Deepleap super-team-up?

The mention of Pyra in this thread makes me worry about their future. Obviously I don't know anything about their funding, and since they recently hired so many great people (who couldn't have come cheaply), maybe they're doing fine. But if Pyra does go under, think of all the Bloggers out there who'll be left hanging.

Not that I think or wish that Pyra will do anything of the sort, but since now I'm worried, I wanted you to worry, too. Thanks for sharing!
posted by daveadams at 9:30 PM on August 21, 2000

How coincidental. I'm obviously not a pyra employee, but I was having that conversation with one earlier today. (e.g. is pyra next?)

I have no clue as to what Pyra's financal situation is but I'm fairly sure they're better off than we are. One thing to keep in mind is that companies dont hire people if they cant pay them.

Of course now I'm eating my words because Deepleap found itself in this situation, but that was due to some unfortunte financial hoopla beyond our control.

posted by bryanboyer at 9:37 PM on August 21, 2000

Yahoo Companion, which I use for bookmarks, also works for Netscape on a PC.
posted by ericost at 9:48 PM on August 21, 2000

I am sorry to see deepleap in this situation, but it is clear that the people behind the app are all immensely talented and bright, and I am sure that they will all go on to good and interesting things.

And, three cheers to them for giving users enough advance notice to be able to reorganize their information and data. Very, very decent move.
posted by kristin at 9:48 PM on August 21, 2000

I too am sorry to see deapleap shut down...

However you must have more than a couple features to exist in the market today....

Yes, I do think Pyra will be next... to close down...

While both companies have great products the business plan is lacking... both are built to flip regardless...

Pyra, can you hear me? Time to flip...
posted by efader at 10:03 PM on August 21, 2000

Hey, efader, go away.

I've said this before, and I wll say it again, you have no knowledge of Deepleap or Pyra's respective business models.

If we were building Deepleap to flip our end goal would be the largest cashout possible. Why then, I ask you, are we not selling our user data? Why did we not pack banner ads into the application anywhere we could? The reality of the situation is that there are a number of things which could have scored us some hard cash, but they also happened to violate the philosophy under which we ran Deepleap.

What is your vendetta aginst sustainable business? What is your problem with people trying to build sustainable businesses?

What do you know of (what were) Deepleap's future plans? What do you know about the direction we were heading in? What do you know of the interest that was shown by a number of other organizations?

Nothing. You know nothing.

Not everyone is obsessed with making a profit. I wont deny that the prospect of making money is appealing, but it was by no means our primary motivation. Ever. Nor is it Pyra's.

If you want to attack out business plan then fine. Oh, but I forgot! You've never read our business plan! Hahahaaaa.... joke's on you.

Frankly, it's quite insulting to see you claim that Deepleap and Pyra are built to flip. To do so is to assume that the extent of our ideas and plans are that which exist in the public realm. As we all know, no business shares all of its secrets.

And lastly, if people want to fail let them fail. Failure is good. Failure shapes development and enriches collective experience. Failure provides fertile soil for new growth.

Until you can contribute more to the discussion, please leave your obnoxious provocations at the door.
posted by bryanboyer at 10:42 PM on August 21, 2000

Hmmm...I thought we covered this "no business plan/built to flip" awhile ago. I didn't understand why you (efader) didn't see a business plan for Blogger then, and I don't understand how you can fail to see one now. I guess it's a good thing I'm running the company and not you.
posted by megnut at 10:48 PM on August 21, 2000

I will very much miss Deepleap (and all my love to the great and powerful ben brown for his plan to bring us something good). As recently as this weekend I was showing someone how cool Deepleap was, and they were suitably wowed. I'm glad I was able to snag my stuff from the server (thanks for the heads up!), but it's a definite step backwards.


If there is a silver lining in the demise of Deepleap, it is that all of that concentrated talent can go out and seed other ideas and ventures. Hey Pyra, no hoarding. You're already choc-full-o talent! Let someone else have a shot.

Oh, and efader? Can you play any other tunes on that thing? The one you've been doing is a bit tired.
posted by CrazyUncleJoe at 11:08 PM on August 21, 2000

Great flamebait, efader. Jeez. How you can possibly know what the business plan of either company is/was is beyond my powers of comprehension. Armchair quarterbacking at its best...congratulations.

And it's odd to think of silver linings in all this, but I'd like to think that Bryan's farewell to Deepleap is one. Some of the best writing I've seen lately, a 9 paragraph snapshot of 8 emotional months without leaving anything out. Be sure to read this if you've ever believed in something.
posted by jkottke at 11:12 PM on August 21, 2000

Man, one of my three wishes would have to be for all the money wasted on DrKoops and half.coms to go to the smart people at places like DeepLeap and Pyra. But such is not the way...

I guess it's still not to late to remarket all the code that was developed as a BizTalk server plug-in or something like that?

posted by anildash at 11:19 PM on August 21, 2000

Regarding my earlier post, I'd suggest snagging your XML files and filing them away for now while I work on some code ... seeing as how I'm currently unemployed and living off the mom-and-dad welfare, I'll have lots of time to get some new things rolling.
posted by benbrown at 11:29 PM on August 21, 2000

I was a little hesitant, but figured it was worth it to drag efader's real info out into the open once again. Why? To demonstrate that his own company isn't one that should lead us all to take any of his marketing or business expertise all that seriously.

Registrant: (FOURCHAIR-DOM)
4775 Kilcary Ct Apt B
Columbus, OH 43220


Administrative Contact, Billing Contact:
Fader, Eric (EF3436) efader@FOURCHAIR.COM
13955 W. Tahiti Way - Num 159
Marina del Rey , CA 90292

Oh, and re: DeepLeap shutting its doors -- I am very saddened by this. Bryan, Ben, Lane, et al, I will miss you, DeepLeap, and your creative contributions to the web community. Thank you for the time, effort, and energy that you've poured into making other people's lives simpler, easier, and more happy-shiny-glowing-super. Good luck with whatever the future brings; I am sure that it will be good.
posted by delfuego at 11:43 PM on August 21, 2000

Wondering out loud:
why is eric fader so concerned about the profitability of two privately held companies? is there some vegas line or some "over/under" line out there about deepleap and pyra that only efader knows of? is he secretly funding the next killer web-app, "Corleone," and have vested interest in seeing pyra and deepleap fail? (I think an app named "Corleone" would be something like a logging utility which will keep track of your everymove on the web (browsing/chatting/emails/downloads) and routinely send you an email trying to extort money from you by threatening to send the log to your employer/significant other/irs/fbi unless you paid them. now that's a fail-safe business model.)

did they disband the deapleap crew? are they all moving on their separate and merry ways? is this the last we will ever hear of them as a group?
posted by tamim at 12:29 AM on August 22, 2000

I'm sure you'll see more collaboration between all of us. We're all pals. Except Courtney. We all hate Courtney. :) Except me. I love her. I LOVE YOU COURTNEY.

heh. sorry.

But yeah. I'm sure you'll see something come from our collective braintrust sooner or later.
posted by benbrown at 12:37 AM on August 22, 2000

so where is the backstory now? does anybody know why deepleap cancels the ticket?
posted by piefke3000 at 2:40 AM on August 22, 2000

I'm very saddened by this development. Deepleap was useful to me from the start, and I was really beginning to integrate it into my internet habits. But what made Deepleap something special was the folks who ran it. The blogging scene gave me a window into the lives of the people behind it, and that let me put a lot more trust into the service than I would a similar service, like Yahoo's. You don't come into that kind of trust easily. I'll miss Deepleap, and I'll guard my bookmark xml file for possible resurrection.
posted by owen at 4:33 AM on August 22, 2000

I would like to point out that one of the major reasons we have had trouble with funding and are therefore shutting down is that we were *not* "built to flip." One thing we have learned in the last 8 months is that a lot of the VCs out there don't even want to hear about your product, don't even care what it is. All they want to know is what the exit strategy is, how long it will take, and what the ROI will be. Which is not to say that there was no viable business strategy in place; but we were more focused on building than exiting.

and ben, i know you love me. how could you help it?
posted by courtney at 5:28 AM on August 22, 2000

I'm sorry, you guys. Truly sorry.
posted by metrocake at 7:47 AM on August 22, 2000

and this is why things fail. lack of backbone. things are really hardcore now and if you cant make the money then its time to get out. good. next! whats important is how much space i can store my two ford explorers and that my stomach can handle a large grande. give me an article from upside and ill prove to you how things fail. i know all about what it takes for a startup. look at me. people notice me. if i was a vc i'd want to know whats in it for me. thats the first question. the next question is how soon do you expect to 'flip'. when all is said and done and dotcoms are filling up the cybercemetary i'll be the one left standing with my cel phone making the next deal.
posted by efaper at 8:40 AM on August 22, 2000

C'mon. Admit it. You guys spent all your development money on booze and strippers. Not That There's Anything Wrong With That.
posted by harmful at 8:41 AM on August 22, 2000

efaper == efaker != efader

impersonation != cool
posted by luke at 8:58 AM on August 22, 2000

The blogging scene gave me a window into the lives of the people behind it...

Amen. I'm grateful to the Deepleapers for their willingness to talk openly about their venture through their journals. One comfort I can take is that, even though Deepleap is over, the story is not.

I say stock up on the fish tacos.
posted by scottandrew at 9:06 AM on August 22, 2000

Oh, fish tacos! So lovely! So wonderful.

And yeah, good point -- I think the next few entries on bry's site, lane's site and my site will be pretty interesting. One of the things we talked about really early on is how we wanted to be a pretty open company and make sure people identified us with the company -- it's not some big shady corporation, it's us! Your friends!
posted by benbrown at 9:14 AM on August 22, 2000

and thank whatever diety we have friends like you guys. we'll be waiting.
posted by taylor at 9:43 AM on August 22, 2000

And, hey; look at Fader's website...

All that professionalism.. and then "Join the Webring" is the first nav-item I see. Obviously a site that's built to flip.

(BTW: what does that *mean*, exactly? :-)

(PS: I know; shut up. :-)
posted by baylink at 9:46 AM on August 22, 2000

Steering back on topic...

First off thanks to the deepleap folks. I'll always be impressed with ben, bryan, and lane coming up with an idea, dropping everything, and acting on it. If a similar situation came to me, I doubt I would have the guts to jump off into the unknown and make a go of it.

I'm also impressed with the open architecture of the deepleap design. With XML hooks and a well published API, deepleap showed that they could distribute much of the work to power users and developers. Over time, I'm sure the deepleap tool could have done anything.

It's a bummer that the great ideas and usefullness of the app didn't translate to the masses quickly enough or to VC folks. It was new and revolutionary and I bet it was hard to describe to thick-headed VCs that wanted to hear it was just like some offline product, except that it was on the web.

Deepleap was one of the most useful things on my browser, and I'll always miss it.
posted by mathowie at 10:48 AM on August 22, 2000

I think Cam put the kiss of death on them.

"August 12, 2000 - I ran into Bryan Boyer at the train station and we talked about Deepleap and various other things. I am continually impressed by the team Lane has put together. These guys are really going somewhere..."
posted by schlyer at 11:26 AM on August 22, 2000

Not that this was ever the intent, but I'll bet you guys could still make some money, maybe enough to pay a few bills, by liquidating your trademark. "Deepleap" is one catchy, memorable name, and you've got the domain name to go with it. I'll bet there are easily twelve dozen firms out there who would love to build that brand up.

Or, you could save it for your next start-up idea.

Sorry to see you guys go.
posted by mikewas at 11:55 AM on August 22, 2000

Or maybe it was CNet's glowing review just three weeks ago?

(Pardon me, I have a christening to attend.)

Really, this hurts. I used deepleap almost daily, and had hoped to play around with some ideas at once I had the time, and now I won't get that chance. I do think everyone individually is likely to find good, well-paid work right quick, in this economy, but perhaps not nearly so fulfilling. How many companies have stick-figure drawings of the principals? You guys did it for the love of the game.
posted by dhartung at 12:01 PM on August 22, 2000

Actually, we have about 10 different versions of the domain name. How's that for obsessive?
posted by bryanboyer at 12:19 PM on August 22, 2000

This is truly sad. It is like if the pen or pencil or the back button couldn't get funding. How long until we might see an open source? I would pay for this. Perhaps I am alone. ( it helped me in all my nefarious projects that have no exit strategies) here's hoping all the founders not only land on their feet, but stick the fucking landing. None of my business I know, but this is much too useful to just go away.
posted by bruyneel at 6:06 PM on August 22, 2000

Hmm, the kiss of death.

I'm still very impressed by the people behind Deepleap. My understanding is that they simply ran out of money. Unfortunately this happens to hundreds and thousands of companies ever year. Fout out of five small businesses fail to last longer that their first year. Those odds don't change just because Deepleap is a company whose product is Internet-based.

I wish Lane, Bryan, Ben, Courtney, and the rest the best of luck with their next jobs and careers. Each one has true talent and knowledge that should be welcomed by any company who should employ them, individually or as a group/team.
posted by camworld at 9:04 PM on August 22, 2000

Lips that touch deepleap shall never touch mine.
posted by dhartung at 9:42 PM on August 22, 2000

How did Dr. Koop attract VC money?
How does get money?

I don't think there is some ultra secret business plan in to become the "b2b - vertical portal - auction site" for all things space. Maybe they "flipped" (whatever that means).

I am always amazed at the flow of VC money to some .com startups. It is WHO you know and not WHAT you know. (Case in point, LoudCloud - the Mark Andressen ASP/B2B what ever other things he is saying it is. Another is

The good press for Deepleap came a little too late.

I want to see if C|Net article was some sort of "curse in disguise." How many products and companies fail within 3 months of getting the thumbs up from C|Net?
posted by tamim at 11:10 PM on August 22, 2000

What a drag. I've talked deepleap up to anyone who'd listen, dragged friends over to my desk to see it action, used it as a way to collaborate with three guys in three states while we were drafting a business plan.

The built to flip model blows, but it is one way to succeed. If deepleap had been built to flip and then flamed out before cash out, we wouldn't be here mourning its death. Products that are built to flip usually suck and no one but money cares about them. What products/services do you use today that were built to flip, besides big macs?

Still -- if deepleap was a business, who was minding the store? Was there money being earned? I understand that the project was in development, but if the plan was to build and grow and hold on, then deepleap should have been signing up paying customers along the way and putting the money back into development.
posted by jaffro at 12:01 AM on August 23, 2000

Just to clarify, as there seems to be some confusion, the term "built to flip" refers to companies who are founded in hopes of being sold very quickly. Basically, it's the idea that you can build a feature instead of a product and get acquired by a bigger fish and cash out.
posted by bryanboyer at 6:03 AM on August 23, 2000

To add slightly to Bryan's post, I believe the term "built to flip" was in reference to the cover and cover article of the March 2000 issue of Fast Company.
posted by jkottke at 6:27 AM on August 23, 2000

I have one question and it isn't meant to be negative or leading or smug. I'm just curious.

What was the commercial all about? Did you want to grow faster than word-of-mouth would let you?
posted by capt.crackpipe at 3:45 PM on August 23, 2000

Should I ruin it?

OK, I'll ruin it.

The TV commercial never aired. Ben and I are personal friends of the gun who started Ad Critic, so we worked a little magic.

What was it about? It was about giving us something to do on a day too hot to spend inside a garage with no AC slaving away on our alpha release.
posted by bryanboyer at 8:21 PM on August 23, 2000

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