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Saturday, April 18, 2020

IDKA bows out

Unfortunately, our Swedish friends at IDKA were unable to make a go of their social-media-with-privacy service. They sent out this email this morning. It's a reminder that starting a new business is always very difficult, and every genuine success is hard-won.

Dear enthusiast and Idka user

As you know, Idka was started by a small group of inspired, driven and sincere privacy enthusiasts and activists, a group which has since been joined by other similarly driven people, staff, consultants, investors and other supporters. We are all very proud of the idea and the ‘designed bottom up for privacy’ cooperation and social media platform that Idka has become. We sincerely thank all the present and past staff and consultants who have contributed to this fantastic achievement.

We thank you, the enthusiast user, for your support as well. We also thank the contributors to our blog and videocast channel, who have kept the very important dialogue around privacy alive, motivating people to act – to Idka.

However, we have not managed to grow the user bases as fast as we would have hoped for, in spite of the tsunami we are experiencing in terms of interest around privacy. This has led to a need for more growth capital. The board of Idka have for some time been in close contact with funds, either existing or under establishment, which specialize in funding purpose driven companies and business ideas with a particularly focus on privacy. This is a new trend within VC funding that Idka has contributed to and which time now have come.

The board of Idka has planned for, and had gotten positive indications from prospective investors (new and existing), to raise further bridge financing, in order to the company through the Corona-pandemic and then raise growth capital from one or more of these very exciting new funds. However, due in large part to the Corona-pandemic, some of the support for the share issue was withdrawn.

As a result of this, and in spite of our hard work and your support, Idka may not be able to attract necessary short-term funding. We are still working hard at it, but due to the grave financial situation Idka is in and the implications of the pandemic lock-down, the board have taken the decision to inform you that the Idka service may discontinue at any time; and that you as a matter of priority should download any material you have uploaded to the cloud storage.

We are indeed very sorry to have to write this message, and still hope that we would manage to secure future funding. However, no-one should rely on this, so please save your digital assets as soon as possible (see below).

Stay safe, take care of yourself, your family and your friends in these difficult times.

All the best from the Idka team.

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15 Comments:

Blogger Student in Blue April 18, 2020 8:46 AM  

A graceful exit.

There's a tiny bit of hope in that message, that maybe things can turn around in the 11th hour, but they're being realistic about it.

Blogger nidus of inflection April 18, 2020 9:27 AM  

@1 A graceful exit.
Definitely. They approach the end and show themselves to be a stand-up group.
Supporting IDKA was a good call. If this doesn't pull through, it's worth considering their future projects.

Blogger Doktor Jeep April 18, 2020 9:32 AM  

Whoever controls the money controls...

Blogger KPKinSunnyPhiladelphia April 18, 2020 11:36 AM  

Vox, you are right (as you almost always are) about building your own platforms.

But it is, obviously, very very hard.

The first/final mover/survivor has a seriously entrenched position. Unmooring them is a tough tough slog.

Blogger Canadian Warlord April 18, 2020 12:53 PM  

I think there's a dangerous myth that all these alternative platforms fall for - the myth of exponential growth being important, the myth of huge numbers being important.

It's the small, tight online communities that foster real connection. Don't let your business model be tied to giant numbers. Worry about the structure being viable as a smaller one, for awhile or forever.

People used to find each other on bulletin boards, with crappy modems and dialup. Why worry about 'the masses' seeing your message? The people who want to find it will be the ones worth talking to anyway.

Blogger TaurianVita April 18, 2020 1:14 PM  

Hi all - Now that Elizabeth and I will have some extra time on our hands, I promise to return to making White Bull Business videos. We have been all hands on deck for the last 6 months. But our loss is your gain as there is plenty of great stories about how NOT to do things and, of course, some lessons learned... Stay tuned!

Blogger crescent wrench April 18, 2020 3:20 PM  

The whole purpose of "social media", as opposed to closed/community forums and comment sections, is to convince the gullible to self-collate a stasi-esque dossier for later use, and in the process build a critical mass that compels the more discerning to bend the knee or live out of a cave.

To attempt to make such a thing "privacy focused".. you may as well attempt to dehydrate water.

We've long had open pre-orwell comms protocols available that could be leveraged, unfortunately they won't be revisited until we have an industrial chicken farm full of "black swans". You'd think the army of unpersoned that followed Justine Sacco would have been enough, but my guess is this may take another decade, when chinese attempt to use tiktok data to blackmail hundreds of thousands of zoomers entering high places.

Blogger crescent wrench April 18, 2020 3:43 PM  

@5

Bitmitigate has shown the cart was put before the horse, and the essentials must be brought up first: This means iaas/paas and payment processors with TOS which guarantee no service terminations for legal activity that explicitly guard against later revocation.

Without these, modern service levels are not possible, and any desirable platform that could potentially end up the target of a mass exodus as seen in myspace/digg would be swamped at best, eliminated with a single tweet at worst.

Blogger Kiwi April 18, 2020 6:06 PM  

The one thing that makes me nervous about any platform where I use cloud storage is the thought of hearing this:

"and that you as a matter of priority should download any material you have uploaded to the cloud storage."

It's like the bank telling me the lock is broken on the vault and I should collect my money asap.

However, entrepreneurs are by far my favourite people. They're the game changers, the feisty fighters. Fortunately, they know you don't become a winner in the ring without getting punched in the face. Onward and upward.




Blogger Dave April 18, 2020 7:24 PM  

TaurianVita wrote:Hi all - Now that Elizabeth and I will have some extra time on our hands, I promise to return to making White Bull Business videos. We have been all hands on deck for the last 6 months. But our loss is your gain as there is plenty of great stories about how NOT to do things and, of course, some lessons learned... Stay tuned!

Oh wow, wasn't aware of the association. Well, something, something, can't win 'em all.

I will be tuning in for the after action reports and stories.

Blogger TaurianVita April 18, 2020 7:45 PM  

Kiwi - When you are using a free service that is in beta, there is always a chance that whatever you have stored there may not be able to stay there in perpetuity. That does NOT mean it isn't safe/secure; the "lock is not broken on the vault". Your analogy is incorrect.

We are letting users know that IF they want to download any data that they might not have stored elsewhere, that they should do it now, as they might not be able to access it if we have to shut down Idka.

Kiwi wrote:The one thing that makes me nervous about any platform where I use cloud storage is the thought of hearing this:

"and that you as a matter of priority should download any material you have uploaded to the cloud storage."

It's like the bank telling me the lock is broken on the vault and I should collect my money asap.

However, entrepreneurs are by far my favourite people. They're the game changers, the feisty fighters. Fortunately, they know you don't become a winner in the ring without getting punched in the face. Onward and upward.

Blogger Akulkis April 19, 2020 4:39 AM  

>> The one thing that makes me nervous about any platform where I use cloud storage is the thought of hearing this:

>> "and that you as a matter of priority should download any material you have uploaded to the cloud storage."

>> It's like the bank telling me the lock is broken on the vault and I should collect my money asap.

No, it's the semi-honest techs telling you that
1) Even (especially?) data-storage systems are subject to Murphy's law.
2) Other shit happens, too. See Encyclopedia Dramatica, and the numerous setbacks they've had as an organization due to the inner ring doing the blue-collar equivalent of white-collar crimes. (I.e. Heroin instead of cocaine.) How many times has someone in the leadership of the UAW, headquartered in Detroit amongst THOUSANDS of burly UAW members, run off to the Caribbean with the "rainy day" / strike fund? More than I can count on one hand in the 50 years since I started school.

Back up everything you do.
And back up your backups.

In some of my contracting career, I've worked with small businessmen. I've stressed the importance of having data backup systems, both on-sight and off-sight. "But, it's soooo expensive!!!"
"Yeah? If this office burned down tonight, what would happen?"
"Oh, I have insurance for that."

"Really. Will the insurance company magically restore all of those customer/client accounts, complete with personal contact info, accounts payable, and all of the company specific intellectual property and all the other data on those hard-drives got fried in the fire, how long would it take you to replace the data, and do you have enough money in the bank to keep your employees during the several YEARS (if ever) it takes you to piece those records back together. Is the insurance company going to give you enough money to keep those people on payroll, while you have no income, rather than them going off to find new jobs with someone else?"

Once I showed them that one little rodent chewing through the electric wires could destroy their entire business, the supposedly outrageous expense of backups suddenly looks like a really good deal.

If you don't have at least a plan C for your data, then when the inevitable happens, you deserve to lose it.

Blogger TaurianVita April 19, 2020 4:42 AM  

And thanks for the shout out to entrepreneurs! It can be exhausting, especially during economic downturns. But "one doors closes and another one opens..."

Kiwi wrote:

However, entrepreneurs are by far my favourite people. They're the game changers, the feisty fighters. Fortunately, they know you don't become a winner in the ring without getting punched in the face. Onward and upward.

Blogger Wes350 April 20, 2020 1:45 AM  

Personally, I rather suspect that social networking sites like twitter, facebook, etc. simply cannot exist without some form of outside investment.

They need a big sugar daddy to support them until they gain some kind of market dominance. Upon which they go public and support themselves by various forms of financial chicanery...

Blogger crescent wrench April 20, 2020 4:37 PM  

@15 the biggest problem is tech conglomerates feasting off multi-billion-dollar US contracts and using them to subsidize divisions at a loss.

Selling below marginal cost is considered a violation of unfair competition in more traditional sectors. There needs to be a glass steagall for tech where government divisions serving government contracts must be financially siloed from the greater company.

The failure to do this thus far has allowed vast corporate abuse of the public by corporate officers who know their companies cannot go under when the public attempts to leave.

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