Nick Statt:

Nike is gearing up to shutter its wearable-hardware efforts, and the sportswear company this week fired the majority of the team responsible for the development of its FuelBand fitness tracker, a person familiar with the matter told CNET.

Yikes. Though the reality is that this seemed inevitable as something Apple this way comes:

As Apple enters the fray, Nike has a potential partner. Apple CEO Tim Cook, who was seen wearing a FuelBand at the company’s launch of the iPad mini in October of 2012, sits on Nike’s board, and has for the last nine years. That relationship has been fruitful over the years, helping Nike enter the wearable market as early as 2006, with the Nike+iPod shoe sensor package, with a strong brand partner.

I’ve been saying this for a while: Tim Cook remaining on Nike’s board while Apple readies its own health/fitness-focused device was awkward at best. Unless Nike decided to exit that business and instead partner with Apple on such a device…

(As an aside, Secret strikes first again on this news.)

Update: Nike has issued a fairly standard non-denial, denial. They’re admitting to the layoffs, but dismissing the notion that the FuelBand is being killed off. To which I say, as always with these types of statements: yet.

(Of course they’re not going to admit to killing the FuelBand right now, there is still product on the shelves — not to mention new color variations, long in the pipeline, about to launch. They could either kill the product and sell none of those or postpone that announcement and sell at least some of those. No-brainer.)

Keep It Secret, Keep It Safe

I’ve written before about the importance of “the first app you open in the morning”. But the truth is that there are about a half dozen apps that I check each and every morning. The first, currently Twitter, is the most important to me. But the other in that gang of six, all have the potential to displace the first one depending on the day.

I knew Secret was on to something special when it entered this gang of six.

Of course, I am but one person. The more telling sign that Secret was on to something was the fact that basically every person I talk to who has used the app has said or implied the same thing: the app is a must-check, and it’s incredibly sticky. And that includes people who say they hate Secret, by the way. I have this sneaking suspicion that those who “hate” the app, check it even more often than those who claim to love it.

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Chris Poole on the recent rise of anonymity and ephemerality:

The combination of anonymity and ephemerality has fostered experimentation and creativity rarely seen elsewhere. It’s incredible what people can make when they’re able to fail publicly without fear, since not only will those failures not be attributed to them, but they’ll be washed away by a waterfall of new content. Only ideas that resonate with the broader community persist, creating the most ideal conditions for the production of viral content, which established 4chan as one of the Web’s earliest “meme factories.”

He’s exactly right, of course. People tend to focus on the malicious or seedy potential with this type of content, but this overlooks something much more powerful at play: the removal of fear.

This isn’t necessarily about sharing secrets. It’s about sharing secretly. People feel a sense of belonging or validation when we’re all feeling the same things. I hear people’s internal dialogues and they resonate with me.

Secret co-founder David Byttow, talking to Kim-Mai Cutler about the service.

I’m biased here, of course, but this strikes me as exactly what I find so compelling about the service. As I read through the stream, I’ll come across something and think, “huh, sometimes I think/feel this way too.”

As the service gathers buzz and attracts new users, there will be a lot of flaming/trollish behavior. But if it all settles down to this core, that will be valuable to people.

The Age Of The Social Network Is Ending

For his story about Secret, a Google Ventures porfolio company that launched today, Mike Isaac asked me the following question:

Just basically curious as to why you’re interested in Secret — why this after we have so many “social” apps — how different, etc.

This seems to be a common question both amongst journalists and investors. And it’s certainly a fair one. If there is indeed an “App Wall”, many of us hit it long ago. But it seems to me that things are shifting once again.

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