The Clipboard team came together for the first time last May in a small little garage / office located in the Old Town section of Bellevue, WA. All of us present on that first day chose to leave behind the security and comfort of a big company to be part of a vision that we passionately believe.
This vision is deceptively simple but deep in its implications. We believe that you need to easily save parts of the web in order to accomplish meaningful goals. As you save ever more parts of the web, your personal collection of clippings starts to form a more accurate reflection of where you've been, who you are, and where you're going.
After six weeks from our start, we invited less than a hundred friends to the service. In October, we opened up slightly more as an invite-only beta release, allowing us to test feature ideas on a larger group people.
Today, it's just a little more than a year since we first set foot in our garage. It's a big day for Clipboard, and we have several significant announcements to make.
For the impatient, the news is threefold: (1) we're immediately opening up the service to all; (2) we've added several exciting new user features to the site that go live today; and (3) we're unveiling a developer / publisher component to our service that will allow 3rd parties to deeply integrate our clipping technology into other web sites.
Making Clipboard publically available means that anyone can register without an invitation. However, you can still invite your friends and colleagues into Clipboard with our handy tool, it's just no longer required.
During our invite-only phase, we closely monitored user engagement to learn where we could improve. As of today, our user engagement is exceedingly high, which is part of the reason why we are opening up now. Here are some quick stats to give you a feel of where we are:
These engagement levels are remarkable for two reasons. First, there is a well-known pattern of social media that suggests that 90% of users will be passive, 9% will be engaged, and 1% will be creators. Clipboard completely breaks this model because people need to save things if just for selfish reasons.
Second, when you make an action optional, conventional wisdom is that no one will take that action. And yet, more than half of all clips are annotated (even private clips!) and a significant number are tagged. To us, this means that not only are people saving clips, but they are also fussing with them after the fact.
In combination, these metrics led us to believe that we've been on the right track and that our vision was sound. But before opening up completely, we wanted to make sure that the product quality was up to the high standard that we had set for ourselves last year.
This brings us to the second bit of news: our new features. There is a ton of fit-and-finish that we've slipped in over the last month, but the bulk of the new features relate to boards, people, and likes.
You know about clips and you probably also know that tags are labels that you can add to a clip by inserting a hashtag, like #funny, into a clip's annotation. A board is simply a collection of clips that have the same tag. Thus, a clip can be in several boards, and boards work with tags (not against them). The difference between a tag and a board, however, is that boards have the visual appearance of a single unit and are, therefore, a more natural way to group your clips together.
To see a collection of beautiful boards, please see Locknessie's public page.
The next batch of features are concerned with how you find and connect with other people, and there are three main things to call out. First, if you register and look on the upper-right side of our site, you'll see a button for people that will bring you to a dashboard for managing various types of relationships. From there, you can connect Clipboard to your social network accounts, invite friends, follow people and topics, see who follows you, or even get recommendations on whom to follow.
Second, you can now search for people by name and login. When you search from the people page, we assume that you are looking for other users. But when you search from anywhere else, we'll give you the option of redoing your search for other users by simply clicking a button.
Third, every user's public page now shows their followers and whom they follow. Simply click on either button to view the entire list. Each person is represented by a small contact card, and clicking on the username in the card will show you that person's public page. Of course, you can then see this next person's follows and followers, which allows you to effectively traverse through the social graph as a way of discovering new people.
Collaboration is one of the cornerstones of our vision for Clipboard, which is why we hope these new features make it easier for you to use Clipboard with your friends, family and colleagues.
You can now see a list of the clips you've liked, as well as the clips others like. Your likes are accessible from your home page. Other people's likes are visible from their public pages.
As always, privacy is a top priority for us, so we only reveal clips that are liked and public. To be clear, if you like a clip that is privately yours or has been privately shared -- but not made public by clicking the publish button -- then you and only you will be able to see that you like it (and from your home view, not your public page).
The third and final announcement is that you can now put a Clipboard button on your own site, and bind this button to content that you specify. By doing so, users (with or without an existing Clipboard account) will be able to save the content that you specify with single click. Here's a simple example of how this works:
After a user saves a clip from your site, they can also see their clips and other clips directly on your site.
It's a bit of a cliche to say this, but today marks the start of journey for us, and not the end.
To our existing users -- thank you so very much for all of the helpful feedback that you’ve given us over the past eight months. We see your fingerprints throughout our site and we hope you do too. To our new users -- welcome! We think the more that you use Clipboard, the more that it will become an essential part of your online life.
As always, please let us know how we can make your Clipboard experience better.