Fans of Timehop's daily email, which surfaces users' social media activity from exactly a year ago, will soon have to rely on the iPhone app. The company sent an announcement to its users noting the emails will end July 17. The website will continue to operate, and cofounder Jonathan Wegener tells Fast Company the team hopes to develop apps for Android and Windows phones "in the coming months."
"It was a really hard decision to make," he added. "We came to the decision after lots of team conversations about the future of Timehop."
The rationale behind the decision was to focus on the mobile app. Maintaining backwards compatibility for new features was slowing down the team. (Interestingly, the company also debuted a desktop client last month to upload photos to the service.) Timehop's mobile users make up the "vast majority" of its base, he noted, with about 3% of new users signing up for only the daily email.
"As a startup, we have a small team and a limited runway to prove ourselves. We need to focus our time and energy on the things that are working well," said Wegener, who cofounded Timehop in 2011 with Benny Wong at Foursquare's first hackathon.
The response on social media hasn't been exactly favorable, with some complaining about the hassle of opening up an app each day. Wegener tweeted an image of his inbox showing a flood of 82 angry emails within 18 minutes. The tweet, now taken down because it hadn't redacted users' names, avatars, and an email address, said: "Product management means making hard decisions :( but seeing the reactions sucks." (The original image posted here has been replaced by a scrubbed version provided by Timehop.)
Below is the email sent to users:
You're receiving this email because you're subscribed to Timehop's daily email service that tells you what you did 1 year ago today on Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, etc.
We wanted to let you know about an important change. We're sunsetting the Timehop daily email and pulling all our efforts behind the Timehop mobile app. We appreciate your support and hope you'll understand that as a small startup we have to pick our battles carefully.
We'll stop sending the daily Timehop emails in 5 days: Wednesday July 17th.
If you have an iPhone/iPod/iPad? Get our app: timehop.com/iphone
If you have an Android or another phone, we don't currently have an app for you but hopefully we'll get there in the future. If you'd like to help us with this, we're hiring — get in touch!
Thanks for your continued support — and see you on mobile!
[Image: Flickr user Bob Owen]