Posts Tagged ‘Peter Pham’

Color Labs Chief Product Officer DJ Patil Resigns

July 11th, 2011 07:39 admin View Comments

Color Labs Chief Product Officer DJ Patil will soon be leaving the company as a full time employee, we’ve confirmed. Patil, who was LinkedIn’s chief scientist until March, was only with Color for about 5 months. He’ll transition to become an advisor to the company.

Color lost cofounder Peter Pham a month ago. This is the second high profile loss for the struggling company.

Source: Color Labs Chief Product Officer DJ Patil Resigns

Instagram + Color = Instacolor

July 8th, 2011 07:09 admin View Comments

If photo sharing apps Instagram and Color would mate and have a baby, it would likely look something like the Instacolor app made by tinkerer Rakshith Krishnappa.

Basically, the app aims to help Instragram users discover other users in their neighborhood, and lets you view photos posted by people around you in real time.

The app can be downloaded from the App Store now and costs $0.99.

Ever since Color launched its photo sharing app, the $41 million startup has been having a rough time. Co-founder Peter Pham left, or was fired, according to CEO Bill Nguyen, who also told the New York Times that the company is going back to the drawing board.

Their biggest challenge right now: nobody seems to be using the app.

Instagram, meanwhile, is on a roll. They’re at well over 5 million users now and roughly 100 million photos have been shared using the app to date.

Earlier this year, Instagram debuted a realtime API to let third party developers build things like Instacolor, which takes both ideas and morphs them into one app (but uses Instagram as the foundation). Krishnappa also built Gramfeed, a Web interface for Instagram, by the way.

Source: Instagram + Color = Instacolor

Fly Or Die: How Color Became The Ishtar Of iPhone Apps

June 25th, 2011 06:45 admin View Comments

Ever since Color launched its photo sharing app, the $41 million startup has been having a rough time. John Biggs and I reviewed it on Fly or Die back in March, when CEO Bill Nguyen joined us to defend the app ( you can watch that episode below, we both gave it a “die”). The company continues to struggle, so we decided to revisit our assessment in the new episode above.

Things don’t seem to be getting much better for the company. Nobody is using the app. Co-founder Peter Pham left, or was fired, according to CEO Bill Nguyen, who also told the New York Times that the company is going back to the drawing board. It might scrap its photo app altogether in favor of, well, something big and vague. According to the NYT article:

Mr. Nguyen outlined an ambitious plan to compete with Apple, Google and Facebook by tying together group messaging, recommendations and local search, all while making money through advertising.

Okay. Good luck with that.

Their first idea didn’t work. It happens. At least they still have a lot of money left to try something else. We’ve analyzed this from every angle by now. But how many do-overs do they get? Can they overcome such a spectacularly bad launch? Or is Color doomed to become the Ishtar of iPhone apps?

Watch more episodes of Fly or Die here.

Source: Fly Or Die: How Color Became The Ishtar Of iPhone Apps

Color Me Badd

June 20th, 2011 06:42 admin View Comments

Come inside, take off your coat
I’ll make you feel at home
Now let’s pour a glass of wine
‘Cause now we’re all alone.

The opening lines of Color Me Badd’s seminal “I Wanna Sex You Up” sort of perfectly encapsulates Color — the company/photo-sharing app, not the band. After one of the most-hyped launches in recent memory, it was supposed to be the app that changed proximity-based sharing. Instead, it was an app used to share a lot of drinks, often with yourself or one other person.

Unfortunately, also like the song, it was all foreplay. No sex. And now even Color is admitting that.

In an interview with The New York Times over the weekend, Color founder Bill Nguyen essentially admits defeat — at least with regard to their eponymous first app. This follows our story from last week that co-founder Peter Pham had left the company. While we had heard conflicting stories about the exit, Nguyen doesn’t beat around the bush, telling NYT that he was fired.

Whether Pham was a fall guy or not doesn’t really matter. What does matter is that Color has to figure out what the hell they’re doing now. NYT suggests they know:

Mr. Nguyen outlined an ambitious plan to compete with Apple, Google and Facebook by tying together group messaging, recommendations and local search, all while making money through advertising.

If you thought the initial Color idea was crazy, this must sound absolutely insane. Talk about setting a high bar! Color will apparently release such an app later this summer. The original photo-sharing idea? That has likely been totally scrapped.

But the truth is that I’m not sure that a lot of people thought the original Color idea was all that crazy — they just ran head-first into a poor initial experience. And that was compounded by the almost comically absurd $41 million pre-launch funding round.

Fundamentally, there’s still an interesting concept there. Using the location element baked into all of our smartphones to automatically create implicit networks is something that we’re going to keep seeing startups working on. Others, like Yobongo, are already working in this space as well.

I’m still not convinced that if Color had simply launched a couple weeks earlier, at SXSW, it wouldn’t have been a hit (for that week, at least). Certainly, it would have been the perfect environment to showcase the impressive technology being utilized behind the scenes. Instead, the app ran into the problem where early-adopters were often trying it out with no one around them.

It often looked like ghost town. And because of that, that’s exactly what it became.

Imagine for a second if Foursquare hadn’t launched at SXSW a few years ago. The early-adopters would have booted it up for the first time and not seen any friends checking in around them and would have wondered what the hell the app was good for? Foursquare has since expanded the product to add a lot more value. But remember that at first, there weren’t deals or recommendations — there was just the check-in (and yes, the badges and game element related to it).

Further, while this isn’t a popular sentiment, I actually quite like Color app itself. I completely agree that the initial version had some major UI/UX issues, but the more refined version is actually pretty slick. It’s well-made. It’s fast. It’s not like these guys are a bunch of jackasses who took $41 million and built nothing. So part of me is sad that it’s already time to die.

At the same time, there’s no denying that the $41 million was jaw-dropping. But I also thought the company was being unfairly pre-judged because of that. As Nguyen tells the NYT, they took that much money because they could. He’s had success in the past when he’s had a lot of capital to work with. Had the company raised the $14 million they originally intended to, people would have buzzed, but we would not have seen the same level of backlash.

I’m just not sure how you can hold that against the entrepreneurs. An insane amount of pre-launch funding is on the investors. For whatever reason, Sequoia wanted to put in $25 million by themselves. Maybe Color shouldn’t have accepted all of it, but again, Nguyen has had success doing just that in the past. Kids don’t turn down candy. It just doesn’t happen.

So now we move into the really interesting time for Color. They’re essentially working with a gun against their head. Working on an app, mind you, that’s going to be a Facebook/Apple/Google-killer. Or something.

The mulligans are over. They’ve still (hopefully) got $35 million+ in the bank, but that won’t save them if they flop in a similar manner.

They really need to sex us up this time.

Source: Color Me Badd

Troubled Startup Color Loses Cofounder Peter Pham

June 14th, 2011 06:27 admin View Comments

Peter Pham, the president and a cofounder of mobile social startup Color, is no longer with the company, we’ve heard from multiple sources. The company launched publicly less than three months ago.

Color has been controversial because it raised so much venture capital – some $41 million – and had such a lousy launch reception. The service creates proximity based social networks based on who’s around you, a promising idea. But one that Color has so far failed to execute on.

In late April I criticized Color for making misstep after misstep and asked “How many do-overs does a startup get before users give up on it for good?”

This is another black mark for Color. We’ve heard mixed messages as to why Pham is leaving, but it’s never a good sign when a cofounder and executive leaves a startup just a few months after it launches.

So far, the company won’t comment about this story. And Pham hasn’t answered my phone calls.

Source: Troubled Startup Color Loses Cofounder Peter Pham

Google Android: 100M Activations So Far, Now At 400K Activations A Day

May 10th, 2011 05:19 admin View Comments

At Google i/o today, Google director of product management Hugo Barra dropped some numbers about the success of Android today, introduced by a video of a 3D Android robot scaling a mountain of Android activations. There have been over 100 million Android activations worldwide, through over 36 OEMs and 215 carriers. There are 450,000 Android developers, developing for more than 310 Android devices in 112 countries .

Android was activated on 100k Android devices a day a year ago and is now at 400k daily activations, Barra said.There are currently over 200K available apps on Android Market including Pulse, CNN etc.

Barra also revealed that it took 2 years for the first billion application installs and now Android is hitting 1 billion downloads in less than 60 days. There are currently 4.5 billion application installs from Android Market in total.

Peter Pham

100M Android activations so far & 400,000 new activations a day – 200K apps.. Wow

Source: Google Android: 100M Activations So Far, Now At 400K Activations A Day

Color Wants to Prove its Point: Partners with Fox for Film Premiere

April 15th, 2011 04:02 admin View Comments

When location-based photo sharing app Color launched last month, it arrived to a chorus of complaints – all justified, mind you – about a confusing, puzzle-like design and a terrible user experience. Still, users seem to be confused about what the app is for, as you can often hear people ask “Why do I want to share photos with strangers?” whenever the topic of Color is brought up.

This weekend, Color will partner up with 20th Century Fox to show users one example of how Color, the power of the crowd and proximity can all come together to create a new and interesting experience.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the two companies have teamed up for Sunday’s premiere of “Water for Elephants.” As the Reporter explains, “The photos and videos taken using the Color app by attendees at the New York premiere at the Ziegfeld Theatre will be instantly shared to those in the immediate vicinity in a Water for Elephants premiere group (or “conversation”), which acts like an automatic feed.”

When the app first launched last month, many people tried to use it by themselves. Since then the app’s creators have come out and explicitly said that the app is not intended for using by ones self, even adding a warning to the iTunes entry for some time. For those that attempted the solitary experience, this weekend’s premiere may offer a glimpse at what’s possible when using Color in a crowd – its intended use case.

For the premiere’s attendees, the photos should be available by using the app, while the rest of us can pay attention on the Web at, which goes live at 1 pm PT on Sunday.

Color co-founder Peter Pham told The Hollywood Reporter that this was likely not a one-off experience and that “Color has received a ‘tremendous amount’ of interest from high-profile musicians who want to use the app for their tours, with possible announcements to come.”

This week, I tried out the app at a Giants game and it did everything it promises. It gathered all of our photos into a single collection, even merging those photos with those of others using the app nearby. Can Color change its perception problem and convince the public its useful with some proper event placement? Perhaps. This weekend will be a trial run.

If you still haven’t seen Color, here’s a quick intro:

Color Demo from Color Labs, Inc. on Vimeo.

Source: Color Wants to Prove its Point: Partners with Fox for Film Premiere

Color Updates Its iPhone App With More Intelligible Icons, Navigation And Faster Speed

April 1st, 2011 04:45 admin View Comments

Bye bye 69 symbol. Valley media darling/scapegoat Color has updated its iPhone App in iTunes to address certain um, user interface issues. Peter Pham tells me the update was crowdsourced and and already it looks like the largest user complaints have been addressed, at least cursorily.

The homepage icons now have text descriptions like a Map for “Nearby,” a Globe for “Feed,” a Calendar for “History” and a Letter for News. It’s also a lot easier to delete a photo and to view user profiles.

Already this is an improvement over what existed before but Pham tells me there’s an even larger re-vamp to come, “This is just the beginning.”


Source: Color Updates Its iPhone App With More Intelligible Icons, Navigation And Faster Speed

An App By Any Other Name …

March 27th, 2011 03:27 admin View Comments

“One of the deep mysteries to me is our logo, the symbol of lust and knowledge, bitten into, all crossed with the colors of the rainbow in the wrong order. You couldn’t dream of a more appropriate logo: lust, knowledge, hope, and anarchy.”

– Apple exec Jean Louis Gassée on the naming of Apple

Why is Color named “Color”?

“A tribute to Apple’s color logo from the Apple II. This computer changed my life when I was seven (also a reference to another company name I’ve used.)

My dad bought one from ComputerCraft run by Billy Ladin in Houston. He was one of the first computer resellers back in 1977. In an odd twist, I meet him in an elevator 15 years later and worked for him. He introduced me to the Web.

Working at Apple was a dream. Color’s name is a tribute to Apple.”

– Bill Nguyen, Color founder on why he chose the name Color

Reading Semil Shah’s post on group messaging this morning, I was struck by the sheer numbers and diversity of the startup names scattered throughout: Yobongo, Disco, SocialCam, SoundCloud, Beluga, GroupMe, Fast Society, Rabbly, Whatsapp, Kik, textPlus, Convore, SMSGupShup, MessageParty, TextSlide, Bump Technologies, Color Labs and so on, all contenders in the saturated mobile social space. Some like MessageParty or textPlus had names that were actually related to their product, but many like Yobongo, Beluga and Disco had only a tenuous connection.

It’s now pretty clear the app ecosystem has gone mainstream: People talk about apps the way they used to talk about music or drugs (“Omg have you guys tried COLOR. Omg you have to try it. Omg we’re on it right now”). And naming your startup has become like naming your band — An intricate dance between a multitude of contributing metaphoric and literal factors. So which approach, picking something random or actually related to what you do, makes more sense?

Chrys Bader@chrysb
Chrys Bader

You can tell it’s a bubble because startups are raising so much money they can actually afford vowels in their domain names.

about 2 hours ago via Twitter for iPhoneRetweetReply

Two notable app launches this week highlighted how exactly an app’s name plays into public perception. The most visible instance of this was the launch of Color, an ubiquitous noun/verb name picked by Bill Nguyen and Peter Pham for their photosharing app with a hefty $41 million in funding.

While initial complaints held that the app was unsearchable in both the Android and iPhone App Store and on Google because of its common name, that problem now seems to have been solved on Google. Perhaps all the inbound links from news and other sites are responsible for the fact that the service is now the eighth result for the word “color”? Color also somehow went from being invisible to being the first app to appear in the Apple App Store under the “color” search term (I’m hearing Android is still having issues).

Color’s name, while initially striking some people as slightly off if only for all its other connotations, is valid in that it accurately describes a core function of the Color Labs product, namely the fact that people are sharing images (a collection of colored pixels) through the app.

The Color guys tell me (and Quora above) that they first came up with the name Color in a tribute to Apple’s original reverse-color logo and then bought the domain name for $350K.  In order to appeal to English speakers in other regions, they also bought the domain name and redirected it to And yes, this did not stave off complaints.

Alison Tan@alisontan
Alison Tan

The ‘Color’ app isn’t spelt the way I like it… #COLOUR

about 3 hours ago via Twitter for iPhoneRetweetReply

Contrast Color’s name with that of the other hot five-letter app of the moment, Disco. Currently it’s unclear whether Google made the $255K purchase of the domain for a Slide-related purpose, or just to have on hand (Google has not given me a straight answer in any of my emails). If the latter is the case then it wouldn’t be the first time Google stockpiled domains ( anyone?) for future use.

Whether purposefully acquired or not, the name Disco seems to have a less of a direct relation to its core product than Color. While a disco (nightclub) does bring people together in a sense, the noun has absolutely nothing to do with group messaging, and I think users have already picked up on this distinction.

“This one fits to the product #color, This one doesn’t fit at all #disco,” tweeted Berrehili Réda. “I don’t know, when I first heard about google’s product #disco, I thought they had finally released their music streaming service…”

While it’s possible that the name Disco was already on the drawing board at Slide pre-Google acquisition, if Disco’s makers first chose a vague name and then built out a product for release, then they wouldn’t be alone. Private photo-sharing service Path still called itself Path (at back when it was a list-making tool. Guess they thought the Path designation still held after the photo-sharing pivot.

In a seminal post on the subject, VC Rich Barton holds in that making up a new word (like Kleenex or Yobongo) is much more powerful than trying to appropriate a already existing literal word like Color or Disco. But if you’d have to go with an existing word, I’d go with the one that has a strong tie-in to the actual product.

Then again there’s always exceptions. No matter which apocryphal origin story you believe, the word Apple has nothing to do with computers. “If somebody had told me in 1970 that Apple would be the name of the top tech company, I would have laughed to death,” said VC Dani Nofal.

Yes, and if someone had told me in 1990 that someone would name their company Color in homage to that top computer company Apple, I too would have chuckled. Color probably hopes it’ll be laughing all the way to a featured slot in the App Store.

Alexia Tsotsis@alexia
Alexia Tsotsis

Are you there Steve? It’s me, Color.

48 minutes ago via Seesmic DesktopRetweetReply

Source: An App By Any Other Name … Pitch Slides Lampoon Tech Bubble Absurdity

March 24th, 2011 03:43 admin View Comments

“Find someone. Take pictures together. Party. Play date. Lunch?” — Color Labs copy

“As far as I’m concerned, it’s official, we’re in a bubble.”Jacques Mattheij

If you’re like most people in the tight-knit incestuous family we’d like to call the tech industry, all of the headlines in this Techmeme cluster on social photo-sharing app Color nabbing $41 million are actually declaring one thing, “Tech Bubble, Now Official.”

While the Color team, helmed by Lala founder Bill Nguyen and BillShrink’s Peter Pham is impressive, the media frenzy surrounding the company’s funding and launch is pretty jarring. I mean WSJ’s “Sequoia To Color Labs: Not Since Google Have We Seen This” headline reads like it’s from the Onion.

Tony Bacigalupo, founder of co-working space New Work City, took this opportunity for parody a bit further and created a fake slide deck for a fake app called, which hypothetically lets you share your favorite colors with your friends. Tagline: “People. Colors. Apps. Cats. Bacon. Organic. Bieber. Mobile. Social. Local. Pivot.” Highlight: “But will people want to know Ashton’s favorite color?”

Bacigalupo tells me that the slide deck isn’t meant to specifically skewer Color, but rather today’s irrationally exuberant investment climate.

“I don’t have any problem with the app itself or the people behind it, my concern is with the fever pitch of ever increasing investments in companies that have less and less obvious utility,” he says. “Obviously I’m poking fun at Color, but the vast majority of what’s in the slides is not directed at Color at all … People are increasingly feeling that a bubble is forming in the industry.”

In fact Bacigalupo actually likes the Color app itself, “It’s a cool concept, even though it crashed my phone. I’d like to see them build some really cool tech into it — And it’s extremely young, they’re obviously going to do a lot with it, so I’d like to see where it goes.”

And while the slides are hilarious, and all in good fun, what’s more disconcerting than the possibility of a looming tech bubble is the fact that some didn’t get the joke, “A very small number of people thought that we were being serious. I don’t know what to think about that,” Bacigalupo says.

Well, probably that it’s time to party like it’s 1999.

Source: Pitch Slides Lampoon Tech Bubble Absurdity