Clipboard CEO Gary Flake, three-time regional wrestling champ and former R&D lead at both Yahoo and Microsoft, once said in a TED speech that “the whole of the data that we consume is greater than the sum of its parts.”
That seems to be his touch-off point for Clipboard, which officially launched in May. At first blush, Clipboard looks a bit like a Pinterest clone. But the focus isn’t on creating static boards of content, it’s on the ability to pin any content on the Web and have it posted to the site in its original format, meaning links, videos, and layouts are retained on the site. Flake even showed a pnned Flash game that was fully usable inside Clipboard.
“It seems broken that we’re not able to save Web content,” says Flake. “People talk a lot about social curation. They’re missing the point – I think it’s saving.” Flake has found that on Clipboard, which defaults content to private, 83 percent of users’ clips stay private – unlike other sites, where everything is on display. Even the service’s most active user, who has more 12,000 clips, keeps their account private.
Apart from the sleek technology that runs the clipping, it’s the privacy and product focus that sets Clipboard apart. The average social site has 90 percent passive users, 9 percent engaged users, and 1 percent of users actually creating content. Not so for Clipboard, where only 54 percent of users are passive, with 34 percent actively saving content, and 12 percent creating new content. That seems a pretty telling indicator that users become significantly more active when their content is private.
As for the clips, Flake says they’ve surpassed the “Uncanny Valley of Clip Quality”. While some sites just take screen shots and others just pull the the basic info, Clipboard’s preservation of content in its original form is what makes the site beautiful. Flake notes that they even know how to make the Amazon’s store’s “Buy It Now” button work, so it can be clicked and users can be taken to Amazon to complete purchases.
In other words, says Flake, “This is really about getting stuff done.” The company is beta testing its iPhone app, which allows users to clip content from other apps as well as within the browser using the native “Copy” button – something no pinning site has achieved. As well, for a company that’s all about embedding, Clipboard just released the ability to clip, scale, and even embed clips. That means, after clipping content, preserving it in its beautiful original form, you can embed it anywhere else you want online.
Content stays branded and recognizable, says Flake, which has two advantages. First, it preserves the layouts and feel of the original content. And it also allows you to quickly scan through Clipboard’s boards to find the content. Flake says it’s a right-brain, left-brain layout that allows users to visually parse data quickly, but also access deeper content within it.
Flake concludes that Facebook is for the cool you, Pinterest is for your hopes and dreams, and Clipboard is for your real self, and what you’re going to do.