Wow, I just found out that Joost is officially no more. There are many times when you know that something will happen but you figure, no way that this is going to happen.
In the early part of 2007 Joost was the shit. They had articles being written about them almost daily and each one of them were all praising Joost as the next big thing. There was no reason to believe that this wouldn’t be the case, they had the infamous Kazaa and Skype founders Niklas Zennström and Janus Friis as founders. The founders had succeeded in everything they touched and had made billions together and this was going to be another industry the pair was was going to cause havoc to.
For 6 months I was amazed at the presentation of Joost, fullscreen video with overlays that contained menu navigation and widgets. Anyone saying that they were not the first to do so in this manner or scale is either lying or simply does not know what they are talking about. Everyone in the video space today owes alot to the innovation Joost created back then.
There was one annoying thing that kept happening in the first half of 2007, I had to update the Joost desktop application almost daily. It basically would not work unless I updated the entire application, granted it was beta software but come on, this is 2007 and I am still doing this?
In the same timeframe I was seriously thinking of starting a blog. I had installed WordPress, had a design for my blog and within a few hours of writing my first article I realized I was just simply horrible in expressing my ideas in words, so I scraped the blog plan. My first article was,”Joost should be web based”, basically to drop the desktop approach and become web based. Since I couldn’t write a lick I did what was instinctive for me which was to reverse engineer the Joost desktop application into a web based Flash application. Flash was simple to me and was web based, lightweight and auto updated and could do everything the Joost desktop could do.
I sent my Joost web based app to a few friends the night before my birthday who I trusted and were the best user experience, designers, project managers and engineers wanting to know what they thought. My friends started sending the link out and my app became viral. I remember this clearly because the next day I am on Moonlight beach and then eating at a restaurant on Route 101 just chilling on my birthday and I am being called by blogs asking me questions for their articles.
The whirlwind had started, I got sitdowns with the CEO’s of just about every video company, I met with Chad, the CEO of Youtube and his team, met with Yahoo. I was being flown around the country to meet CEO’s and VC’s because of my blog concept, this was totally cool.
The obvious thing I thought would happen was that Joost would contact me and we would work together. I remember Chad asking me “What does Mike think about what you are doing”. I just didn’t answer him because I had never heard from Mike.
I obviously thought Joost would change and adapt a web based approach. My app clearly showed the public wanted this, the blogs, Digg, users all voted and wanted a web based player. Joost’s CEO Mike Volpi one month later promised to do so, but he did not do so for well over a year. Guess what happened in that timeframe, Hulu. Hulu took the Joost concept and went web based and just crushed Joost, Joost never recovered.
Two years later, over the summer of 2009 I got a call from a senior person at Joost asking if I would like to collaborate on my Hulu Adobe Air player for Joost. I had the pleasure of working with the talented creative and engineering teams from Joost on my Adobe Air player of Joost.com.
Because of Joost I now have thousands of emails from users who have downloaded software I have built in the past 2 years. I now have the ability to now build a concept and have thousands immediately view it and give me feedback, this is huge. If not for Joost I would never have this ability, so I am forever thankful to Joost.
To me, I believe Joost was ahead of its time and I am very sad that this has happened. Today we have lost a company which should have made it, but didn’t.