Path’s biggest challenge has never been the quality of its product (it’s gorgeous). The greatest obstacle for the startup has been getting the word out about the value proposition of a more intimate social network.
The company has added Nate Johnson as VP of marketing to do just this. Until last Friday, he was the Head of Consumer Marketing at LinkedIn and previously was a product marketing manager at Google.
“Prior to Nate, the size of our marketing team was zero,” says CEO Dave Morin. “Unless you count me. I’ve actually been recruiting him for a while now. He’s truly one of the most talented marketers in the Valley. As talented as he is at building brands, he really understands viral and analytical marketing too.” Morin should know, the two worked together at Apple almost a decade ago and have kept in close contact since.
For those who already use Path, the platform is typically seen as a safe place to share meaningful and authentic experiences with the people you love and trust. For those whose attention span is already saturated by Facebook and Twitter, it’s sometimes viewed as a pretty but unnecessary, derivative platform. The company hopes Johnson can add context to this conversation and drive growth and engagement. His challenge will be doing so while maintaining its commitment to design, branding and user experience.
Morin thinks that Johnson’s experience at LinkedIn is very analogous to the challenges awaiting him at Path. “If [Facebook is a city,] LinkedIn is an office, and Path is a home,” the CEO says. “Both Path and LinkedIn face the challenge of developing networks for a specific use case and approach marketing through storytelling in a very contextual way.”
Johnson is taking a few weeks to himself and will start officially mid-May. “I’m extremely intrigued by how Path built a mobile experience from the ground up,” he says. “They’ve entirely rethought how people interact with devices and share experiences. They’ve done things in an Apple-like way, which makes me happy because Apple is a core part of my DNA.”