// April 19th, 2010 // 1 Comment » // Social Networking
This weekend has been rather crazy for me. I already had so much that I needed to get done for my Unpluggin’ HIV outreach that takes place this week on Skid Row, plus I had a Kick Start Meals “Sunday Dinner” planned for Sunday. In addition to all of this I also needed to make certain that I am fully ready for my trip to Washington DC. I think you can see that my plate was really full and any change would cause problems.
Last week was already pretty packed with trips to the doctor, appointments with the building manager and Los Angeles Housing Authority and then two trips to USC. There were also the personal things that I needed to take care of and events in was invited to as well.
Just when I thought the week would end with no major problems, Thursday morning as I was stepping out of the shower my BlackBerry would not stop ringing. At first I thought I must have missed an appointment or something like this, but after looking at my calendar everything was in place. Thursday was an all day appointment for a walk through with the housing authority. This would be the last step in being recertified for my apartment. I was so hoping they would come before too late because I also needed to head to the valley to the doctor once again to have my TB test read.
My BlackBerry started ringing again, when I answered it a friend announced that NING was getting rid of FREE social network on their platform. I was really shocked when I heard this, because there was no warning this was going to take place. Now NING has not been free from problems for me and many others I am sure, starting with trying to log in and finding that my site displays a banner that says “this site has been taken offline by its owner.” I’ve never taken my site offline, but many times when NING makes what they call system wide improvements many sites do not come back online.
Moreover four of my members and even myself have been locked out of our accounts after NING makes “improvements” to make networks better and each time NING would always dismiss these problems like it was no big deal to them.
No sooner then I hit end on one call my phone rings again and this time it is someone from Atlanta who ready my blog and also likes reading blogs on Project KengiKat, she too had heard the news about NING and wanted to make sure I as aware. Both callers know just how much Project KengiKat means to me and how much time, effort, energy and how many of my tears are very much a part of that network. I spoke with her for a while and she offered some solutions.
When I hit end of the call I then got a text from someone telling me the very same thing about NING and that said they wanted to give me a heads up, but by this time I had already read the announcement and many of the comments, including the one made by the person who sent the text. When I read the text I was like “Wow, how can you say you’re my friend and not have a problem with this?”
I was really pissed, angry and upset, but just like with all I have been through I had no time to sit and waste time. I had to make sure I was doing everything I could to make sure people on my network who blog and have items there like pictures and videos would have time to get them off the network if they wanted to. Right away I logged into Project KengiKat and sent out a mass email to all members of the network to let them know what was going to take place. Many of them got back to me right away and said they have copies or would start working to remove their blogs, pictures and videos.
My next concern was for all my blogs, pictures and videos on my network. I knew the videos from my youtube channel were safe, but here are some videos that only appear on Project KengiKat. While I was thinking my phone rang again and this time it was the person who was about to help me launch some new things on my network and had even lined up four very high profile bloggers who had agreed to blog once a month on my network about very important issues such as homelessness, HIV and AIDS, education and health care. I was so excited because this was something that these people were willing to do for me because they believe in my work and what I am trying to do. It was also nice to hear that they have a huge amount of respect for me and from what I have been through. Thursday night was also going to be the first time I would host an online chat for my network. The cool thing was that 10 people said they would log on and help me make it a success. I know had the task of calling them to let them know that I would be canceling the chat. I also had to call my friend and inform him that the new blogs would not be taking place because of NING killing the free networks.
My network on NING represents so much and for me that was many times the only since of normal on my life when I was homeless. It kept my mind clear because I had a place where I could go and release all the crap that life was dealing to me. I was able to make friends from across other networks. There just simply isn’t enough time for me to put into words as to what this network means to me.
I wasn’t about to just walk away from Project KengiKat, but I also wasn’t going to sit and allow NING to simply take it away from me either. I had read many comments from the leaders of NING and it was clear that people like me and networks such as mine are not something they want on their platform nor do they respect people like me or networks like me. Even when I was sitting on top of world I never looked down on people and I never acted like I was some how better then the next person because I had all that I did. My parents just never raised me to be this way. When I see it in others it truly disgusts me to no end.
The final walk through lasted about 5 minutes and I took Dodger out for a walk and then I headed for the train to get to the doctor. While on my way to the doctor I did some thinking about how I was going to reinvent Project KengiKat and where. I also thought about the same things while I came back home.
Thanks to the help of my friend Eric I am now looking at some other places where I might be relaunching Project KengiKat and he also helped find a easy way for me to remove my blogs from NING and back them up on a drive he gave me for my birthday.
All weekend I have been working very hard to remove my blogs from NING and place them on my website blog where I have already been blogging. It has been lots of work and caused me to cancel my Sunday Dinner and reschedule it for after my return from Washington. My goal was to be done with the removal of the blog and back on track by Sunday night, but it is already Monday morning at 1:00AM and I still have three months left for the year of 2008. I still have lots of work to do, so my days will now have to start a bit earlier and end a bit later so that I am able to remain on schedule for this week and have the blogs removed by the end of this week.
The funny thing in all of this is that NING would not have even said a word about this until they were fully ready to give the AX to networks, but someone leaked the plan because their executives were stupid enough to send out an email about it and also speak of firing people from the company as well. Below is the email from NING.
NING UPDATE: PHASING OUT FREE SERVICES
Posted by John McDonald on April 15, 2010 at 9:39am in Announcements from Ning
Today we made some changes at Ning. I want to share with you the email Jason Rosenthal, our CEO, sent to all Ning employees:
When I became CEO 30 days ago, I told you I would take a hard look at our business. This process has brought real clarity to what’s working, what’s not, and what we need to do now to make Ning a big success.
My main conclusion is that we need to double down on our premium services business. Our Premium Ning Networks like Friends or Enemies, Linkin Park, Shred or Die, Pickens Plan, and tens of thousands of others both drive 75% of our monthly US traffic, and those Network Creators need and will pay for many more services and features from us.
So, we are going to change our strategy to devote 100% of our resources to building the winning product to capture this big opportunity. We will phase out our free service. Existing free networks will have the opportunity to either convert to paying for premium services, or transition off of Ning. We will judge ourselves by our ability to enable and power Premium Ning Networks at huge scale. And all of our product development capability will be devoted to making paying Network Creators extremely happy.
As a consequence of this change, I have also made the very tough decision to reduce the size of our team from 167 people to 98 people. As hard as this is to do, I am confident that this is the right decision for our company, our business, and our customers. Marc and I will work diligently with everyone affected by this to help them find great opportunities at other companies.
I’ve never seen a more talented and devoted team, and it has been my privilege to get to know and work with each and every one of you over the last 18 months.
We’ll use today to say goodbye to our friends and teammates who will be leaving the company. Tomorrow, I will take you through, in detail, our plans for the next three months and our new focus.
I know many of you will have questions about this announcement. We will share detailed plans within two weeks.
I feel confident that this change in direction will be very positive for our premium service customers because Ning will be 100% focused on delivering the features and services which benefit you and help you achieve your goals.
I will be here to answer your questions and respond to your concerns. However, today I am focusing on my team, so there may be a delay in my responses.
Can someone please tell me what happened to integrity in business and fairness in employment practices?