Ladies & Gentlemen,
It’s been a dramatic and emotional few days here in Opussia but I’m very happy to say that against all the odds it seems all our wishes have come true. Someone who prefers to remain anonymous has stepped up and offered to save Opuss from certain doom.
Discussions have only really just started but assuring the safety of the platform and the certainty of the community is at the very forefront of these talks and I very much believe that we are now about to embark on a new journey. A sequel if you like!
I’ll be making more announcements in due course but for now I just wanted to let everyone know that as far as I can tell, we look like we have a bright future of sharing beautiful words!
Two years ago I started planning Opuss. It was at the time intended as an “Instagram for words” although I’m happy to say unlike Instagram, we managed to last the last couple of years without being bought by a particularly fatuous soul sink like Facebook (however much a $billion might have eased the pain) but I digress…
Through serendipity the insanely talented Jeff Hodnett and Chris Knight had time on their hands and the inclination to jump onto the Opuss project and spend time with me building the first version of the app. We wanted to make something great.
With the extra help of Marcus Gustavsson & Richard Leyton we launched late in November 2011 and immediately saw an amazing amount of traffic. Amazingly talented people embracing the spirit of the app. Pouring beautiful words into it and sharing post after post of stunning prose. There were trolls too but through our burgeoning tight knit community most of these were weeded out, taken out back and shot and the good words continued to roll.
We were bowled over!
It was around this time we brought onto the team Nagib Tharani as CEO and with the primary mission to find us funding. I had sunk my life savings into Opuss to make it happen and the success we found was burning an accelerated and very big hole in the shape of server costs in the small budget that we had. We needed to extend our runway.
Apple featured us as App of the Week. Even more people came. Amazing work from all over the world started appearing. Server costs grew, runway shortened.
Opuss was never meant to be just a ‘social network’ it was always intended to be a solution for the dismal state of the self-publishing industry. A way for authors to find the skills they may not posses through peer review and crowd sourced input - open-source literature if you like and we needed money to make that happen.
The funding never came.
We tried a number of ways to hobble along with merchandising and donations and although one or two of you were really generous (seriously thank you! - You know who you are!) I’m sorry to say that the amounts were nowhere near enough to keep the servers running.
Personally I’ve had to reconcile all you amazingly talented people and this unique community with the welfare of my wife and two young daughters. You are an amazing spirit. Together you all have changed lives.
But it’s time to write the final chapter.
Opuss is coming to an end.
Please forgive us, we have tried through personal sacrifice of an insane amount of effort and personal finance to make this thing work but at the end of the day we came up short and must accept the inevitable. We shall be ceasing the Opuss service within a matter of days.
Your work is safe.
The important bit: Please make sure that you immediately check that the email that you have logged in the opuss app is accurate and up to date. I shall be in touch with you via that email address to offer you a link to download all your work in due course.
From our hearts,
Adam, Jeff, Chris and Nagib.
So I’ve recently joined this app called OPUSS and it’s pretty dope.. It’s a nice community of writers, readers & poets.. if you have an iPhone I highly recommend you grab it and look for me. If you want to add me just holler. So far it’s pretty cool, really simple and interesting - a lot more close knit than tumblr so I suggest you check it out. _ nousenoise.
We love Tumblr too! A lot of Opuss pieces are often posted here. Welcome.
Thank you so much for the outpouring of support. We want to grow Opuss into the best community out there and we think it has massive potential. We’re actively courting investors. We’ve had great initial feedback in the US and the results are promising, however the process does take some time.
We’ve seen some fantastic slogans. We’re going to select some by the end of this week and get a few printed up. If any of you have some suggested T-Shirt makers that make good quality garments at a good price so we can support Opuss please send them on to email@example.com
We have a ton of people on Opuss and this is your community. We’re looking at doing the following: Each month we’ll curate an ebook based on some of the best of the best opusses and publish it on the Kindle and iBooks stores giving the whole world a peek at your amazing talents. This will hopefully open Opuss up to a far wider audience of non-iPhone/iDevice owners and at the same time raise Opusses profile.
We’ll be choosing some works that have blown us away but we also want to open it up for you guys to nominate opusses from the archives that have moved you in particular. To nominate a work, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org by selecting the share (by email) option within the app. Alternatively send an email giving the authors username and the title of the opuss. Opusses don’t have to have been created within that month, we see no reason to miss out on the whole back catalogue of amazing work! It just needs to have been read and loved by you! The only guidelines we will give is the work has to be original and be amazing! Each month the authors of the opusses that are selected for inclusion will be contacted and given a week to provide feedback or choose to opt-out of being included. We understand being published isn’t a goal for some and they’d prefer the work they post to opuss to stay within this community. We of course, will respect those wishes.
A quick word about copyright and licensing:
You still retain copyright of your work, however the forward of the ebook will have a copyright to Opuss with a foreword stating we only retain a license per our terms from you and that you as the original author are the ultimate copyright owner. This is to protect others from attempting to take and reproduce your work. For those that are interested, this is not unlike the same licensing scheme that academic conference papers are released under - they contain the works of several parties.
This is a method of hopefully covering our costs and we plan on sharing a percentage of all proceeds with a selected list of charities. The list is to follow but if you have suggestions for charities that you think we should add, please contact us! From all of us, thank you for making Opuss such an amazing place!
Nagib (@sb2uk) and all of us at Seamonster.
When we first set out designing Opuss we wanted to make sure beautiful words were front and centre. Celebrating the power of the written word and placing creativity at the very heart of the app. This we hoped would encourage users to write rather than just passively read.
It came as somewhat a pleasant surprise to find just how enthusiastic and willing people are to post.
Finding great work is one of the most important aspects of making Opuss an enjoyable experience. How could we achieve this without curating content?
Rather than us defining what we consider you should be reading we wanted the service to be self-curated with a sprinkling of competitiveness. The best writers and the best work promoted by peers liking and following.
The Top Opuss Today/Week/Month/Year showing the charts of individual opusses and the rank showing where an author is regarded by their peers overall.
The ranking algorithm we first employed to do this was very primitive and we always knew this would need a continual refinement rather than being a fait accompli.
As more and more people have joined the service there seems to be a clear distinction between three types of poster:
Rightly so, original authors have been finding that “competing” against inspiring quotes from the likes of Einstein, Churchill et al slightly unfair.
You may have noticed recently that your rank might have changed. This is due to some tweaking we have been making to make things a bit fairer. There will be winners and losers but the key thing to be aware of is the algorithm is rewarding people for posting great work that is enjoyed by others. This includes likes, followers and also the amount of time spent reading it.
We’re not done yet - there will be more changes coming soon so expect a degree of turbulence while we work on the “secret sauce”.
So how does a good poet or author stand out from the crowd? Keep on writing great poems and stories! Let us worry about distinguishing you - because we have every intention on doing just that!
We’re putting the finishing touches to the next release of Opuss. It’s a minor update but addresses some of the bugs that have been annoying you and also one or two of the most asked for features.
We welcome all feedback (yes even the criticisms) so please post comments below.
We’re extremely proud to announce “Opuss by Email”.
Until now options for submitting work to Opuss have been a bit limited. As Opuss is currently only available on iPhone/iPod, this has been a bit of a headache when trying to submit longer works. We’ve been feeling that pain too!
So we’ve started “Opuss by Email” with the intention of making things just a little bit easier all round.
With “Opuss by Email” you’re not restricted to composing an Opuss on your phone. Instead, you can write in an email app on your desktop, laptop or even at an internet cafe using webmail such as Hotmail or Gmail and post it directly into your Opuss feed. The email subject maps to the Opuss title and the email body to the Opuss body.
Get started NOW.
These days I often find myself drawn in by comments, sometimes more than the content of the original article itself. I was reading a great piece by Nicolas Carr on why ebooks should be given away for free. This article was written from the perspective of the incumbent. Yet in the comments, I found this gem from a Bill H.:
“As publishers try to learn the lessons of the music and media industries in the shift from print to digital, anyone with some sense and an understanding of economics will seek to implement new strategies where pricing is based on usage, not asset sales.”
This strikes me as the heart of the issue, and I believe intelligent answers come from asking tough questions. Today we have hybrid models for stores and books, but let’s really go to an extreme:
"How can a brick and mortar establishment showcase a virtual asset and be viable financially?" Whether or not we realise it, we’re being forced to answer this question. I’ve seen countless people go into stores, use bar code scanners to look up the same asset online for a cheaper price. I love the ability to discover stuff and browse in person. Financially I have to ask what can be done so this is viable. I do think affiliate schemes, of some form or another are the answer. But discovery - that’s also very important. And I think a possible solution is to allow people to look at exhaustive content while connected to the stores wireless access point with a protected gateway.. maybe that would do it? Opuss is a social publishing and discovery platform. We want to make it easy for you to write and share your words with the world, online, in cafes and at stores. What makes us unique is that we’re working hard to make it easy for mobile users to create content. Mobiles and tablets are not just consumption devices anymore. We’re hard at work building Opuss for additional platforms. Which means we’re offering the ability for people to create more, not less, digital assets and allowing budding authors to engage with their fans.
"How can a brick and mortar establishment showcase a virtual asset and be viable financially?"
Whether or not we realise it, we’re being forced to answer this question. I’ve seen countless people go into stores, use bar code scanners to look up the same asset online for a cheaper price.
I love the ability to discover stuff and browse in person. Financially I have to ask what can be done so this is viable. I do think affiliate schemes, of some form or another are the answer. But discovery - that’s also very important. And I think a possible solution is to allow people to look at exhaustive content while connected to the stores wireless access point with a protected gateway.. maybe that would do it?
Opuss is a social publishing and discovery platform. We want to make it easy for you to write and share your words with the world, online, in cafes and at stores.
What makes us unique is that we’re working hard to make it easy for mobile users to create content. Mobiles and tablets are not just consumption devices anymore. We’re hard at work building Opuss for additional platforms. Which means we’re offering the ability for people to create more, not less, digital assets and allowing budding authors to engage with their fans.
There are so many great opusses written every day with only a fraction shared to the wider world of the interweb. Each opuss does however have a share page and a permanent short link to share it.
We decided there were too many great opusses being written that just aren’t getting seen. So we’ve created a small tweak to our website and added a “Read More” bookmarklet button.
The “Read More” button on the right hand side of every share page will deliver a random opuss. Great words on tap!
Get started by dragging this button to your bookmarks bar:
A word of caution: It gets quite addictive