At Ind.ie, we appreciate your support but we will never pander to it.
“When I find new information I change my mind; what do you do?” — as attributed to John Maynard Keynes by Paul Samuelson
There is a reason why eschewing venture capital is a core tenet of the Ind.ie Manifesto. Getting financial support from venture capitalists comes at the high cost of selling them your future users as part of your exit strategy. This is why, with Ind.ie, we chose to ask individuals to donate to us. And over 1,500 of you did.
I’m sure that the overwhelming majority of you donated to Ind.ie because of the right reason: because you believe in what we’re trying to do (which is to create an alternative to spyware). During our crowdfunding, we made it very clear that these were donations. For the top two tier donations, we also promised you access to the private pre-alpha of Heartbeat for OS X Yosemite. I’m working every day to get that ready for 26th January.
Yesterday, we announced that, after a review of our available resources, we would be focussing our attention only on Mac and iOS in the foreseeable future and that we would be dropping Android from our roadmap. I know that this has not been a popular decision with some people and yet I also knew that this would be the case. Unfortunately, for us to have any chance whatsoever at creating a great experience we must focus our very limited resources.
Ind.ie is four full-time people. We are not some fly by night money-making scheme and I take offence especially at people who work at spyware companies making high-figure incomes insinuating that we are. Quite the contrary, we set up a company limited by guarantee, not shares, which means that we don’t have any equity. We couldn’t even sell Ind.ie if we wanted to. We’re all making sacrifices to work here. We’ve converted the living room of our rented house in Brighton into our office. No one at Ind.ie makes over £30K a year. I’m personally not taking any salary at the moment and if I do, it will be under that amount also. If we cared about making money, we would probably be working at a spyware company. That, however, would be our nightmare. Instead, we’re trying to build a sustainable alternative organisation.
Please support us for what we’re trying to achieve not because you want to control every step of how we get there. If we cannot remain flexible, and if we cannot alter our plans in light of new information, then we can neither compete with companies not beholden to such restrictions nor create a successful product.
We appreciate your support but we will never pander to it. If we ever did, that’s when we would have lost our way.
In the meanwhile, we are going to continue on the path we’re on, guided by the Ind.ie Manifesto and our desire to create an independent platform. A platform where you can share the things that matter to you with the people you care about without also sharing them with a stranger.
Our vision hasn’t changed. Our ultimate goal is still to create a consumer device – which today we think will be a phone – with independent hardware, software, and services. But we need to get there with baby steps. With increased focus, we have a much greater chance of getting out of the cradle.
We’re in this for the long haul. I hope we can count on you to be beside us for the journey.