The Tao of Steve

Apple’s Instapaper-Killer Sent Marco Arment on an Emotional Roller-Coaster

untitled 158 2 Apples Instapaper Killer Sent Marco Arment on an Emotional Roller CoasterWe witnessed something on Twitter today that one rarely finds in 140 characters: raw, human emotions. Lots of them. All jumbled and up and in conflict with one another, coming from every which way. It was sort of like watching the cycle of grief in real-time.  Join us, if you will, down the rabbit hole of  Instapaper founder Marco Arment’s Twitter feed as he heard Steve Jobs & Co. announce what sounded an awful lot like the death knell of Instapaper.

At first, Marco, thinking he’s just live-tweeting the WWDC keynote like every other Apple acolyte, comments on Jobs’ appearance:

Sad – Jobs looked and sounded awful. This might be his last keynote.

But, perhaps out of guilt for acknowledging the master’s weakness, he makes sure we know he believes the hype:

Lion-optimized apps with resume, autosave, etc. are going to be awesome.

Minutes later, things take a rapid turn for the worst when Arment, along with the rest of the world, hears Apple announce “Reading List,” an easy way to save stories to read later on that syncs across iOS devices. So easy, in fact, that Twitter starts wondering if Apple just killed Instapaper. Marco is rendered speechless. Well, almost:

Shit.

But like any good entrepreneur, Marco pivots and takes a look at the bloodshed all around him, including dead bodies at Dropbox, Sparrow, Readability, Remember the Milk, Facebook, tweeting:

At least they’re hitting a lot of other apps too. Could be worse.

Then, he moves on bargaining:

Glad I’ve invested in social and editorial features. Not dead yet!

After surveying the circumstances, Marco decides a little flattery never hurt anyone.

Steve’s on fire now. Looks and sounds far better.

Before ending the ride with some dignity:

I would never try to use the legal system to prevent others from competing with me, even if I had infinite money and lawyers.

Atta boy. But listen, Marco, if you’re on the floor, clicking your way between five different live-blogs, call us! We can talk you down. Like for instance the fact that it’s only Safari? See, we can make you feel better. Shh, it’s gonna be okay.

UPDATE: Now that the roller coaster has come to a halt, Mr. Arment is “tentatively optimistic,” he says on his blog.

Our world changes quickly, especially on the cutting edge, and I really don’t know what’s going to happen. (Nobody does.) But the more potential scenarios I consider, the more likely it seems that Safari’s Reading List is either going to have no noticeable effect on Instapaper, or it will improve sales dramatically. Time will tell.

Like we said, we’re here if you need us.

Follow Nitasha Tiku on Twitter or via RSS. ntiku@observer.com

Comments

  1. Tom says:

    Wow. You have probably never ever used Instapaper, have you?

  2. Nitasha Tiku says:

    @Tom Actually I use it all the time–incredibly useful for a reporter with a long reading list frequently trapped on subways.