I don’t think I’m at all alone in saying that Diaspora was (and continues to be) a huge disappointment. A team of NYU students and their project aimed at decentralizing Facebook raise over $100,000 on Kickstarter. The only problem is that it wasn’t as much a project as it was a bunch few math nerds mistakenly getting really good timing. They got a huge amount of press coverage (New York Times, Computerworld, Wired, Washington Post, etc), not because their project was interesting, but because at the time there was a lot of buzz around problems with Facebook’s privacy settings. Newsmakers weren t looking for the answer, they were just looking for someone they could highlight as a potential competitor.
Even though the papers weren’t hedging bets on who could replace Facebook, these guys were presented with a massive opportunity. They had the eyes they needed, and enough funding to at least work for 6 months and develop their product.
On September 15th, the developers of Diaspora announced on their blog a developer’s release of the project, along with some screen shots and source code. There was another post on September 27th, and nothing (nothing) since. The code is disappointing, and I keep thinking about how much of a wasted opportunity there was there. If you’re ever given an opportunity like the one they were do everything you need to do to own it.