I could write another long email filled with criticisms about Zuckerbergs horrific track record running Facebook, but instead, I thought I would seize the opportunity created by Marks self-inflicted crisis and announce the Openbook Challenge.
The Openbook Challenge, a competition with seven, $100,000 investment prizes.
All community and social products on the internet have had their era, from AOL to MySpace, and typically theyre not shut down by the government — theyre slowly replaced by better products.
So, lets start the process of replacing Facebook.
LAUNCH is going to fund seven, purpose-driven teams that want to build a billion-user social network to replace Facebook.
We are hoping to invest in a social network that is actually good for society. This means the new social network would:
We already have two dozen quality teams cranking on projects and we hope to get to 100.
The timeline and frequently asked questions are below.
How will the competition work?
This is not an idea or business plan competition. Were looking for teams that can actually build a better social network, and well be judging teams primarily based upon their ability to execute.
The competition will occur in three stages:
What are you looking for?
We dont want to tell you what to build, we want you to come up with your own ideas. Keep in mind, that while ideas really matter, Zuckerberg has shown us, execution matters more.
Dont be too proud to copy. — Mark Zuckerberg
Is this a competition to see who can simply copy Facebooks current product or a competition to come up with a new, novel way to beat Facebook in the market?
No one knows exactly how Facebook will be replaced. In order to beat Facebook, many believe the winning team will have to not only build a base functionality that is familiar to users looking to switch, but also provide new experiences that will make users passionate about the new product. Others believe it will be a completely new paradigm. The reason we want to fund seven teams, is because we think many different paths could lead to the promised land. Its not going to be easy, but startups never are.
Who will make the investment?
Angel investor Jason Calacanis will be making the investment from the LAUNCH Incubator Fund. We will also syndicate the best projects to JasonsSyndicate.com (2300+ members).
What will the terms of the investment be?
Our incubator terms are at the industry standard of $100,000 for six percent.
How will you pick the 20 finalists?
Ability to execute.
How will you pick the seven winners?
Ability to execute. (I would also add something like Founder alignment with core mission, values)
How can we stay up to date on the project?
Next 60 days (today through June 15): Rolling review of submissions. The LAUNCH team will review submitted video tours and/or link to your full-blown product/MVP and give candid feedback.
July 1st: We will pick the top 20 projects and review them on a special episode of This Week in Startups with two social media experts.
September 30th: We offer the final seven startups, plus three alternates, the opportunity to join our incubator class starting in September.
October 12th-January 15th: Openbook Challenge, LAUNCH Incubator class runs for 12 weeks.