On Friday I caught up with Jason Shellen, one of the members of the original Blogger team. Following Google’s February 2003 acquisition of PyraLabs, the company behind Blogger, Shellen joined the search engine giant, working first on Blogger and later on other projects, including Google Reader.
In July 2007, he became a member of the ex-Googler club, joining Six Apart spinoff LiveJournal for a brief stint as VP of product development. He has since left that gig and is now focused on a new startup, Plinky, which doesn’t have a web site just yet. (Now there’s a Web 2.0 name if there ever was one!)
Shellen has co-founded Plinky with CTO Simeon Simeonov, formerly chief architect of both Macromedia and Allaire, but now a partner with Polaris Ventures in Boston. Polaris has invested $1.5 million in the company; a handful of angel investors are looking to join this investment round as well, Shellen said. The company currently has four employees, though it plans to hire a whole slew of engineers as soon as it finds permanent digs in Berkeley.
“I think a lot of attention is being paid to the aggregation and new kinds of social media tools but not enough attention (has been paid) to creation (of the social media),” he said. “When blogging was getting going, there were lot of interesting ideas, and now the technology has progressed enough that we can try out those ideas.” So what’s the plan? Shellen wouldn’t offer any details other than to say that he’s working on “content encouragement.” In other words, they’re building something aimed at getting people who aren’t bloggers or content creators to participate and create.
How? I don’t really know, and he wouldn’t say. One thing I do know: Shellen is a smart guy and having known him for a long time, I trust that he has something interesting up his sleeve. I guess we’ll have to wait and find out when the company launches its first offering this fall.