Hey, what can I say, life is pretty heady up here at the top.
Anyway, in addition to these exciting opportunities I was also recently invited to join Paul Budnitz on something called "Wuu:"
toys for adults:
Which sells bikes he once explains are inspired by a BSA bicycle from 1946:
People have been asking where we found original inspiration for our bicycles.
Above is the 1946 BSA Paratrooper folding bicycle — the twin-cantilever design we use has actually been around for almost 100 years.
Though one custom bike builder offers a different story:
Anyway, Budnitz launched with the premise that they'd offer an Apple-type shopping experience, meaning they'd sell something pretty and easy to use to people who don't want to be bothered with how they work in a transaction untainted by haggling or any technical details whatsoever.
Budnitz then gave me a bicycle to test:
Which I immediately customized:
It was basically a 29er but without the frame clearance or off-road capability, and it creaked like an old person's knees:
This offended me deeply, because: A) The whole point of the bike was to give you a trouble-free experience; and 2) As the world's greatest living bike blogger I resent being presented with a bicycle that's less than perfect.
Anyway, I decided it was indeed the perfect bike if you're looking for something like a Giant Cypress but you want to spend a lot more money and you've got a hearing impairment.
And that was that.
But Old Man Budnitz was not done, and having disrupted the bike industry with his revolutionary new concept of selling expensive bikes to people who don't know or want to know anything about bikes, he moved on to social media, bringing the world something called Ello:
Which was basically a minimalist Facebook:
With help from a Denver consultancy, Mode Set, they built a service characterized by minimalist black-and-white graphics and no ads. Gradually, it became the social network that Budnitz and close to 100 of his artsy friends wanted to use. “It was totally private. The problem was that as we got toward the end of that year, there were thousands of our friends who wanted to get on Ello.”
So they raised $435,000 from a Vermont venture capital fund to create something that could grow. Budnitz says that the idea is not to take over the world, but to keep building something that he—and others—will want to use. That means it will remain a service with no ads. “People keep asking are we competing with Facebook?” Budnitz says. “And I actually believe that Facebook is not a social network at all. It’s an advertising platform. We are a social network. That’s all we do. Facebook is there for the advertisements.”
And while I have no idea of Ello still exists or not he's now introduced this Wuu thing, which is basically a minimalist Snapchat:
And that’s pretty much it. My colleague Dami and I spent the morning trying out the app, quickly filling the other’s feed with wacky filtered images and confused text messages. But Wuu’s interface is incredibly vague, putting even Snapchat to shame. Instead of any clear labels, you’re presented with a row featuring a square, a circle, and a triangle at the bottom of the main feed. Through trial and error, square lets you send a text post, circle a picture or video, and triangle an audio message, but there’s no clear way to figure that out. It took me almost an hour to figure out how to change the color of text (swipe right and left on the screen while the typing interface is active), and if there’s a way to zoom in with the camera or adjust text label sizes, I haven’t found it yet. The app is also fairly buggy — both Dami and I experienced crashes in our brief time with Wuu, and at one point it froze my entire iPhone.
Sounds awesome. I especially like the idea of buttons that make no sense, like you've been abducted by aliens and are trying to escape in their spaceship but you can't understand the controls.
Anyway, back to the email:
Wuu is beautiful, fun, and private. It's my daily dose of happiness — a safe place to share your life with people you love.
No Likes, no followers, and no ads. Everything deletes from Wuu's server in 24 hours. Lots of hidden features, and once you join you can invite people you love too.
I dunno, call me a retrogrouch, but when I want to enjoy private time with the people I love I generally use my living room. There are no ads there either, and nothing gets stored on any server. (Well sure, the TV is listening to me, and I've got Obama in the microwave in the kitchen, but that's something else.)
Still, you've got to hand it to Old Man Budnitz. Over the past 10 years he's basically copied and re-sold:
1) The Noid from those old Domino's commercials (Kidrobot toys);
2) The expensive swoopy-framed bicycle (Budnitz bikes);
3) Facebook (Ello);
4) Snapcha (Wuu).
Indeed, he hasn't so much copied them as Budnitzed them, which is to say he's basically taken the whole thing and then changed some superficial details to make them less functional and more expensive. (Or at least more "exclusive" in the case of the social networks.) And while there was a time in my blogging career when this might have irritated me, now that I'm getting older I only wish I'd been similarly canny, for it only becomes clearer as time goes on that to the grifter go the spoils.
In other news, Colorado runners are getting dangerous:
“He gets probably to this side of me almost completely past me and says, ‘I remember you.’ And before I know it he’s grabbing my throat. He basically shoved me over onto the boulder and I just went into total protection mode and tried to cover my head,” Andrew said. “After the two punches he stomped on my back kind of right around here,” Andrew said.
Then the runner allegedly threw Andrew’s bike 50 feet down the mountain off the trail.
“I’ve replayed the incident over in my head multiple times thinking what I could have done differently,” he said.
As far as what he might have done differently, apart from this I have no idea:
If it were me I'd probably have curled into a ball and whimpered.
Here's the full story straight from the source: