Confused by the Fuss over Snapchat?
Us too. For those who haven’t heard, Snapchat is a service that lets you take and annotate a photo, send it to friends, and have it self-destruct shortly after being viewed (but not before a recipient could take a screenshot, rendering the ephemerality of the system moot). The company is massively popular among the 13–23-year-old set, to the tune of 350 million snaps sent per day, and recently made news for turning down a $3 billion acquisition offer from Facebook, despite having no revenues or business model. For full description and analysis, see Roy Murdock’s excellent essay — and yes, the title gives away his conclusion — “Am I Going Insane? Snapchat Is Intrinsically Worthless.”
Snapchat is the first service to make me feel old. I thought it was just for perverts until I realized that every teenager I know uses it, to the exclusion of any other form of communication. A friend of mine complained that when he texted one of his friends, they would reply back in Snapchat.
As far as I know, neither Tristan nor any of his 14-year-old friends use it (and the fact that until recently, the fact that he had my old iPhone 4 with a broken camera would have ensured that ;-)). I'll have to ask him if he's heard anyone else talking about it.
Actually, you don't even need a camera. Most Snapchat users I've spotted in the wild seem to just take blank images and put their text message on top.
Adam did ask Tristan about this at dinner last night. Apparently it's common among the girls he knows; less so with boys.
Not just snapchat, but all the other companies compared in that essay other than Apple are intrinsically worthless. Most have no real revenue or income (check the P/E ratios on their stock), most have no serious business plan, most are just websites or web-enabled services, and all don't produce anything and have low moats / barriers to entry for competition.
Not only screenshots re: capturing the content of the message, but also the images themselves are stored in local device cache files, easily browsable and recoverable via android or iOS, as written up in several plcaes online. (jailbreak/rooting not required, either.)
Then again, take that guy's advice with a grain of salt in general. He brags about his idiotic move of selling AAPL to buy GOOG.