Betabeat’s heard from multiple sources recently that Hashable—the much-hyped (and also, sometimes derided) New York City startup whose app on launch was billed as the ultimate way to exchange and share contacts, underscored by a gamified social broadcasting component—is undergoing a full-scale pivot.
The pivot, we were told, involved moving further away from the combining of all of one’s social networks into one social platform, and more towards an ultimate address book app; in other words, way less social, way more efficiency. Betabeat reached out to Hashable CEO and founder Michael Yavonditte, who refuted this claim, noting, “That’s not true.” He explained that Hashable was about to unleash upon the world the best address book pretty much ever, which sounds…not like Hashable?
In July, Erick Schoenfeld at TechCrunch reported that Hashable was “turning inward” with a “quiet” redesign, including a switch to the aforementioned social component of the app: “Instead of encouraging users to broadcast each meeting, the default is now private.” Mr. Yavonditte told the ever-intrepid tech news outlet: “The service has really morphed into a mobile CRM. Our heaviest users preferred more privacy, less broadcasting.”
CRM! Sounds less social network-y, more SkyMall business-y. Five days ago, Yavonditte Tweeted out the following:
Getting closer 2 launching the best mobile address book in the marketplace. Trying 2 eradicate dupes, syncing across all screens.Coming soon
— Michael Yavonditte (@mikeyavo)
Two days ago, Mr. Yavonditte sent the following message out to the private Hashable power users group, leaked to us by one of the members:
I now have the NewHashable on my iPhone. It’s so much better than the version in the marketplace today. It’s now my primary address book “plus” mobile CRM. It’s not only my primary address book but it’s the only one I have that combines Linkedin, three gmail accounts, and iPhone address book. I have almost no duplicates in my new address book. I have much more powerful search: by name, company, school, tags (marketing, CEO etc) and I now have access to my address from any web device! We have a few more weeks of bug fixing then will begin to let this loose!
Over the phone, Mr. Yavonditte explained to Betabeat that the new Hashable “has an address book we think is the best in the world. That’s the only difference.” The new update, he explained, is set to launch in January. “Four months ago, we were in phase one of the two-step phase to build a mobile CRM, and we’re about to conclude that process.”
“If you call a better product a pivot, call it a pivot. I call it a better product,” said Mr. Yavonditte. “We’ve always had an address book, we had one that was incomplete, and hard to explain, and now we have what we think is the best one in the world. Go with the sensational version of that. I call it a much better product.” And this was always the plan? “Yes. Always.”
Another source explained to Betabeat that earlier this summer, this wasn’t being worked on. And now, “internally,” they noted, “it’s considered a pivot.”
Today, after we called Yavonditte, he started started broadcasting on Twitter:
-Getting closer 2 launching the best mobile address book in the marketplace. Trying 2 eradicate dupes, syncing across all screens.Coming soon
-Everyone that knows me knows I’ve been trying to build a mobile CRM for a year now. We are close! Soon will be the best mobile address book!
-you’ll just see the same app but with an address book that will become your primary. Took 5 months to build, very very hard
Maybe Mr. Yavonditte isn’t such a fan of the word “pivot” because he’s had to adjust his plans before (Hashable started out as a Yahoo! Finance competitor called Tracked), or maybe because as Betabeat writer Mike Taylor—in assessing Hashable as “worthless“—put it in March, the word “pivot” is “start-up talk for ‘try to make something that’s at least a little less stupid than what you originally made.’”
Whatever the word “pivot” actually means at the moment, it appears Hashable is about to unleash upon the world a dramatic change in what they do, and what will be—in Mr. Yavonditte’s own words—”the best [address book] in the world.” We look forward to seeing it, and are relieved we won’t be scored (or judged) by what’s in it.
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