These are my notes from a webinar today hosted by Creative Oklahoma, with Posterous co-founder Sachin Agarwal. Sachin is a4agarwal on Twitter, and sachin.posterous.com on his own site! Sachin talked about how his startup is seeking to reinvent blogs and web publishing in general. Posterous currently has 8 employees. MY THOUGHTS AND COMMENTS ARE IN ALL CAPS BELOW.

We really set out with Posterous to reinvent the blog and web publishing
– we really hate the word “blog” and a lot about the web too
– we are focusing about general online publishing
– it’s about how to get digital media consumed by people I care about

If I take a picture with my iPhone, how do I get my 60 year old Dad to see that?

Idea for Posterous cam
– I was working at Apple on Final Cut Pro for six years
– I was a blogger on the side, casual photographer
– I was very frustrated with the tools I was using
– started with Blogger, Flickr, and YouTube
– content was so distributed it didn’t feel personal
– I wanted to solve this problem for myself

One of our main investors (Bill Warner) believes you should build your start-up from your heart
– this whole idea was a problem I had that I wanted to solve personally
– Apple, Trader Joes, other companies really have a mission and vision for serving their company, and that is what drives them
– the business side of things follows

goal: re-invent personal web publishing
– we focused on email publishing
– also have great web editor, lots of different options for getting content online
– handle all rich media: audio, video, etc
– looks great on mobile

When you post online, you want to engage with your followers
– it is very powerful to update your subscribers via EMAIL
– that is very powerful, esp for people like my mom and dad
– to get them the updates in their email boxes, they can actually see the content

You don’t need an account to start using Posterous and publishing online
– whatever you put in the subject of the email goes in the title of the post
– anything you put in the message body goes in the most web-friendly

just post at posterous.com – that’s it
– no secret email address
– we have built entire infrastructure to insure we ARE Getting email from you
– accounts are created automatically if you don’t have an account yet

Email any audio file
– Posterous converts to flash format, as well as non-flash formats for mobile viewing

YouTube URL will auto-convert to embed code
– we do this for ANY URL that we can do something smart for…
– most people don’t know how to embed a YouTube video or another type of video: we just do “smarter” things with it

We are releasing auto-embedding for Twitter and Amazon later this week

POSTEROUS REALLY TAKES THE IDEA OF LIFE-BLOGGING TO ANOTHER LEVEL. I’VE NOTICED SCOTT MCLEOD HAS BEEN USING POSTEROUS, BUT HAVEN’T CREATED AN ACCOUNT OR REALLY CHECKED OUT THE SERVICE IN DEPTH.

We can update Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, or a blog like WordPress automatically
– that can save our users time
– we also want to post out and notify your friends and family of updates, but the drive their web traffic back to your site on Posterous

Interesting Examples

Guy Kawasaki’s site, integrates posterous now

TED Fellows Blog
– this breaks down idea of what is an email list, what is a blog, etc.
– just email into to the site, then you get email updates from the site

MAYBE WE NEED TO CREATE A POSTEROUS BLOG FOR OKLAHOMA LEARNERS, OR FOR STORYCHASERS?

Started Posterous in 2008, got great reviews
– raised 700K at end of 2008
– earlier this year raised $4.5 million in funding

Social Media Influentials using Posterous: via Sachin Agarwal

Social Media Influentials using Posterous: via Sachin Agarwal

We always design for EVERYONE, not just for techies or young people
– we think of the iPhone: it’s not easier because it does LESS

Our goal is to bring publishing to EVERYONE

Big myth: Posterous is a microblog
– Posterous isn’t!

We don’t make things simple by limiting functionality (that is a common approach)

We are an entire technology stack for Internet publishing
– we let people create a custom web presence, and then get/keep an audience
– can use Posterous for many things, CAN be a microblog, can be a family group website, anytime you want to share something digital with others, Posterous can be the solution

By focusing on email, we think we are going to reach a HUGE audience
– email is the #1 technology used on the web
– most blogs are inactive because they are

Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information, through a very simple interface

Our mission is to publish the world’s information through the simplest interface possible, which is email

Eureka moment for Sachin: In

Following the model of “built stuff first, find revenue later”
– all investor capital is being used at Posterous and Hunch to invest in people / to build the team

Examples of teachers using a posterous for homework assignments for students, other
– using a different website for updates to parents

Advice for others: If you have an idea – GO BUILD IT. Don’t wait for funding.

From Chris Dixon: Don’t wait to go to business school or work for a big company. Go do it. Build a company, start building stuff. Worst thing you can do is be secretive about your idea. Risks of someone stealing your idea are far lower than the benefits of getting good feedback from others.

CLOSING THOUGHT AND COMMENT: SACHIN INSPIRED ME TO GO AHEAD AND SETUP A POSTEROUS ACCOUNT: wfryer.posterous.com. I’M GOING TO CONSIDER THE OPTIONS WHICH THIS PRESENTS. I DEFINITELY CAN SEE THE VALUE IN POSTING BY EMAIL. I REALLY DON’T LIKE EMAIL VERY MUCH, BUT SACHIN IS ABSOLUTELY CORRECT IN IDENTIFYING EMAIL AS THE “KILLER APP” WHICH EVERYONE WHO IS ONLINE USES TODAY. IT’S THE COMMON DENOMINATOR. HOW POWERFUL TO CONNECT THAT TOOL (EMAIL) TO RICH MEDIA WEB PUBLISHING. I LOVE IT. GOOD IMPLICATIONS TO THINK ABOUT FOR STORYCHASERS!

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  • http://www.buckeyeschools.org paul shircliff

    Posterous seems like a nice alternative for some things, but I have been seeing statistics that show students (teens) do not use email. My students echo this lack of use. We are thinking of this because we are looking in to Google Apps for Ed and deciding on forcing email use or working with how they communicate.

  • http://www.wesfryer.com Wesley Fryer

    Paul: I definitely acknowledge that statistic as well about many young people not using email, but the key point is that ALL teachers do. What other technology tool can we say that about? This makes Posterous a fantastic tool for web publishing news, assignments, and student work from the classroom, because it empowers teachers to use a technology with which they are already very familiar: Email.

  • http://www.ahlness.com Mark Ahlness

    Hi Wes,
    I’ve been playing around with Posterous lately, after noting Tim Lauer using it. What I’m using it for primarily is phone publishing (with pics often), because it’s so easy to set it up to auto-send to my other apps… FB, Twitter, Flickr, my blog… one email, and it’s everywhere, immediately.

  • http://www.wesfryer.com Wesley Fryer

    Great to hear from you Mark! I’m trying to figure out how a Posterous blog could fit into my media and information diet. So far one of the best things I see is that the iPad is great for capturing screenshots, and those can be readily emailed for posting on Posterous. I have rarely used the email functions on the iPad to date, but I can see how Posterous could change that.

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