» Path is where the A list hangs out, don’t tell anyone.

Path is where the A list hangs out, don’t tell anyone.

Silencio Paris
The trendy Silencio Club by David Lynch in Paris, where Sean Parker held his party at LeWeb, pic Paris by Mouth

I was about to name them but no, Path is about privacy first, so I won’t. Want to know where most influential and successful entrepreneurs, VCs and tech writers hide online these days? How they spent their new years eve and with whom? Want to be able to interact with some of them so famous and with so many gazillion followers on Twitter and Facebook that there is no chance they will read you and reply there?

Look no further than Path, it’s the new “club branché” where almost every A-lister in Silicon Valley I know hides these days.

They share thoughts, pics and short videos, very intimate. They share what they eat and it’s ok because it keeps you in very close touch, they share quick smileys and yes, they even share when they go to sleep and when they wake up.

Thanks to many unique features such as notifying you exactly when and who has seen your pictures or your feed, Path is the ultimate way of keeping you in touch with your close friends. Close is the key, you can’t exceed 150 friends on Path and you get so many notifications that you’d better make sure you really want to hear about people you friend there because you sure will.

Path has also been designed entirely mobile day one, and it shows. The attention to details and how pure is the UI make it one of the best iPhone app I know these days (see Path founder Dave Morin comment on this at LeWeb). It’s inspiring to use just to see how a really near perfect mobile app looks like. It’s entirely native and it feels really nice and fast. Facebook has been basing its iPhone app more and more on html5 and I have to say the latest versions feel slower to me, especially when you refresh the feed or want to post an update, you can feel there is a lot of web stuff being loaded, a choice that Facebook has been very public about. Sure it makes it very easy to update the app but it doesn’t have the same feel.

Path’s recent growth isn’t about features, though, it’s more about people. Facebook and Twitter have become very mainstream, many people have hundreds if not thousands of friends and connections there. Despite Facebook’s efforts to add “who you can share to” features most people feel that what Facebook wants more and more is for you to share everything in public. It’s the default setting. Path fills that gap for some people, it created a small place where you can hang out online anytime with your close friends and it does a superb job at pinging you all the time about them. And that’s okay, since they’re your close friends, you do want to hear about them all day long.

When Path added recently the option of sharing to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Foursquare simultaneously, it became de-facto a posting client for them.

Basically the way I see my friends using Path is: “if it’s for my close friends, I just post to Path. If it’s for the masses and I don’t care that much, I will crosspost it from Path to Facebook and Twitter”. Basically if it’s important keep it in Path, if it’s more mainstream that who knows can read it and it’s a whatever update, share it to the social networks for the masses.

Sure, Path is still in its infancy and it’s very small compared to Twitter and Facebook. Yes, like every hip and fashionable restaurant or night club it might lose its appeal at any moment the A-list decides, that’s how fashion works. And of course it isn’t a real threat to Facebook or Twitter yet, it’s very small. Yeah, you can look at it as a well done app for a few people that has very cool features.

Since I was with Dave Morin on stage at LeWeb I started using it daily and I was very surprised on how addictive it gets (bummer I forgot to say when I went to bed and woke up on Path last night, my friends will miss that information badly) because my friends are using it. It has become the app I use the most daily on my iPhone and the very first feed I read. Then I also read and interact on Facebook, Twitter and the growing Google+, of course, but it doesn’t have the same feel.

Time will tell, but I think Dave and his team are onto something really big by aiming at keeping it small.



  • Dom Leca

    yep

  • http://www.mercenaire.net/blog/ Thierry BEZIER

    so you won”t add me at your path? ;-)

  • http://www.loiclemeur.com/ Loic Le Meur

    I already have 150 friends there sorry, it’s very frustrating….

  • Amandiner

    well…in feel very lonely in Path in Paris. 1 friend ! what will I do with him?

  • Amandiner

    well…in feel very lonely in Path in Paris. 1 friend ! what will I do with him?

  • http://www.loiclemeur.com/ Loic Le Meur

    Invite others!

  • Malo_72

    I use it with most of the friends who where already in twitter and Facebook now they also start using foursquare because of Path. and now even the ones that doesn’t have tweeter or foursquare use Path just cause of the effects on the pictures or get to get to know what everyones does rally not like Facebook. I have now 10 friends using it and some of them oversea. to get people into it you just have to install the app for us and tell them ” je te l’installe essaye et tu veras” and just because of the interface that is so nice and friendly they will use it ;) 

  • Malo_72

    I use it with most of the friends who where already in twitter and Facebook now they also start using foursquare because of Path. and now even the ones that doesn’t have tweeter or foursquare use Path just cause of the effects on the pictures or get to get to know what everyones does rally not like Facebook. I have now 10 friends using it and some of them oversea. to get people into it you just have to install the app for us and tell them ” je te l’installe essaye et tu veras” and just because of the interface that is so nice and friendly they will use it ;) 

  • Malo_72

    I use it with most of the friends who where already in twitter and Facebook now they also start using foursquare because of Path. and now even the ones that doesn’t have tweeter or foursquare use Path just cause of the effects on the pictures or get to get to know what everyones does rally not like Facebook. I have now 10 friends using it and some of them oversea. to get people into it you just have to install the app for us and tell them ” je te l’installe essaye et tu veras” and just because of the interface that is so nice and friendly they will use it ;) 

  • http://twitter.com/Net Net Jacobsson

    Fully agree. If you want to know who your friends are just run them through Path. I feel facebook has become too diluted and regardless of the richness of the privacy settings , I still feel I have no control. At the end of the day, we really truly only care about a certain amount of people not everybody you run into everywhere (regardless if they are in *the business* or not. 

  • http://twitter.com/Net Net Jacobsson

    I’ve noticed ;)

  • Amandiner

    yes, frustrating. My friends are 1. oldfashioned, 2. lazy, 3. not friends ?

  • Guillaume JOVER

    A really good post !! Thanks for making Path better known. I’m trying to convince my friend to use it cause it is so awesome. Take care Loïc :)

  • http://disqus.com Peter Mullen

    Ha!  For a brief second, I thought I was on UNCRUNCHED when I clicked over here.

  • http://twitter.com/rigal François

    Le Putain, j’adore les clubs branché!

  • http://twitter.com/gaspashow CHARLES MATHON

    This 150 friends restriction can also be a good way to monetize the app.
    If you want more about your friends, you pay !
    A-list wants more.

  • http://twitter.com/ericschiller Eric Schiller

    I think the friend cap defines the social structure of the network.  Letting people pay for more, would be like twitter premium users getting 256 characters per tweet.

  • http://twitter.com/gaspashow CHARLES MATHON

    I understand it with twitter, but in a closer sphere as Path, I think people will be ready, still not exceeding 200 or 300.
    I also understand enjoyement comes from frustration, especially in those mass-flooding periods on social networks.

  • http://twitter.com/marcusnelson marcusnelson

    One of the things I really like about Path is the feedback loop- knowing who has seen your post. It’s quite rewarding.

  • http://twitter.com/joseiserncomas Jose P Isern Comas

    Stumbled upon this quote by Dave Morin, and what a quote: 

    “First, we are now in the Post-PC, Mobile era. In the PC era we would often ask: are you online or offline? In the Mobile era this is no longer the case. You are simply sleeping or awake.” Dave Morin, on Quora.

    Never though of it like this before but he definitely got it right.  Brilliant!

  • http://www.loiclemeur.com/ Loic Le Meur

    yeah, I got inspired by the simple template

  • http://www.loiclemeur.com/ Loic Le Meur

    loving this Jose!

  • Anonymous

    Good article yes, i have some space with the 150 friends limit…only few of my friends know and use it. Very good app !!

  • Anonymous

    Like this article and think the idea that Path could become the ‘client’ for social posting is an interesting one.  Given your perspective with your product, it’s definitely worth thinking about!

  • http://www.loiclemeur.com/ Loic Le Meur

    for casual use, definitely, but not for “pro” use as it doesn’t support multiple social accounts of the same service (like 2 twitter accounts) or facebook pages…

  • Anonymous

    Do you think that the mass market will eventually want tools that enable them to cross-post?  

  • http://www.loiclemeur.com/ Loic Le Meur

    nope.

  • Jeremieworld

    Dear Loic, I tried to paste the link to your blog note on my path… But how do you share a link on path? :)

  • http://pestcontrolseo.wordpress.com/ Thos003

    Interesting concept to keep a social network more intimate. I wonder how well it will work.

    How offended are people going to be when you give them the boot from your VIP list?

  • Felixnoelf

    Good review loic, as allways. I try todo do this same clustering when posting to a selected google+ circle or reading its stream. Why is path better in this matter?

  • http://www.loiclemeur.com/ Loic Le Meur

    Try!

  • Jeremieworld

    A friend told me that path is not for sharing links… :(

  • http://twitter.com/StephZibi Stephane Zibi

    C’est une super application en effet. Reste à savoir si le business model ira au delà des achats de filtres. 
    Et dire qu’au début on avait juste 20 amis max on pouvait considérer que c’était des ultra proches, avec les changements je trouvais que 150 cela faisait trop et bien finalement pas….