Way back in 2009, GM expressed a healthy dose of skepticism for a Georgetown startup called LivingSocial. Why that skepticism seems ill-placed for a little while, the inevitable came about: last week it was revealed that Living Social was sold to its ostensible rival, Groupon, for $0.
So although there was some rather eye-catching valuations between GM’s original skepticism and the zero dollar valuation, GM still feels justified. And for that reason (and because he doesn’t have any other article ideas at hand) GM will re-run his 2009 article below:
What are your five favorite bands? How about your five favorite movies? How about your five favorite fast food restaurants? If you’re a Facebook user, these inane questions probably sound awfully familiar. That’s because the ubiquitous social networking site has been lousy recently with people announcing to the world their top five favorite-things-that-nobody-else-cares-about. The application that enables this pointless ranking system is called LivingSocial, and surprisingly enough it was developed by a start-up company based right here in Georgetown.
And as of this week, LivingSocial became the number one Facebook application, registering 20 million active users. In doing so, it knocked out of the top spot another application called Causes that helps charities raise money.
Perhaps it’s a depressing sign of the times that people are less interested in charities than they are in broadcasting their five favorite 80’s power ballads, but so it goes. LivingSocial is run by four dough-faced guys that GM is convinced are brothers despite the different last names:
Before LivingSocial, CEO Tim O’Shaughnessy spent time at a post-AOL project of Steve Case, which he left in 2007. He started his own company around the brilliant observation that the life-blood of social networks like MySpace of Facebook is the use of other peoples’ artistic expression to describe each user’s unique individuality.
So raise your five favorite beers to your social networking neighbors as they straddle atop of the biggest damn thing to hit the Internet since Friendster or whatever else was the last biggest thing ever that nobody uses anymore.