The Third Place

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Even with all the freedom and monetization options it offers, Place faces a bitter turf war. There are countless communication tools and organization spaces available online. But by ceding control to the creators, Harrison says “a space becomes a place when it’s given meaning and purpose.”

Soon we’ll see if the public finds a purpose for the culmination of Backplane’s multi-year struggle. There are already 500 to 600 user created groups in the alpha test, and Major League Baseball will be a launch partner. It’s taken a long, winding road to get here, but the startup finally has something worthy to show off.

Yet consumers are notoriously fickle, so it could be a year before we know if Place is truly sticky. People already have a home on Facebook, and a work life on LinkedIn. Do they need a digital third place?

Whether its his company or another, though, Harrison is convinced social isn’t just about an omnipresent network where everyone is there and you have no control. “It’s going to be millions of places,” Harrsion said. While solving micro-sharing is incredibly tough, he said, “I think we’re closer than anyone’s been, although we’ve had our bumps. But name one place that hasn’t had their bumps?”


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