Interest based conversation #FollowWhatYouLove

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Pretty simple concept: Pinguin is an interest based conversation app where users follow topics/interests they love, with an additional lens of adding proximity. It's kind of like Slack, but for all your non-work topics for people in and around wherever you are... at least that's how I understand it. Am I getting it right @bryan_o85?
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@chrismessina Yep, you got it! While Slack is an awesome enterprise tool for the workplace, we see a lot of opportunity in opening up interest-based communities to everyone. Communities like these have been popping up on Slack and we’ve created a place to make them more discoverable and useful. The added local layer allows people to connect with other people nearby that share the same interests and we hope that it will lead to real friendships and community outside of the app.
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EDIT: Founders addressed the issue and proved that this is not the case. Some very strange details around this project. In 2014, @andreineagucom, @perte and I started *Pengin* (, which was a very similar concept, for social gatherings. We went through Orange's Innovation Accelerator program and won the Smart City category. The similarities in the logo are truly suspicious: We eventually decided to shut down. Not saying anything about copying, but seeing a product with the same name, purpose and almost identical logo, doesn't just happen. Could be the biggest coincidence I'll ever encounter. Still, wish you all the best guys!
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@sebyddd @andreineagucom Strange indeed. To back Sebastian's comment, here's an actual design from the app, in 2015.
@sebyddd @andreineagucom To continue the idea, I think they could have reached out to us and see if we're willing to let go of the idea and they could have gotten with the brand and everything we worked on. Call it Panda, Bear of whatever - launch as something that's not similar to ours and pivot to the copycat edition when the market asks for it. Don't know, but blatant copying is just stupid. All of us are getting our inspiration from some other product we love — but copying the brand with all its assets and the idea seems incredibly amateurish to me. I can only wish them good luck bringing this idea to market. P.S. The power of reaching out is amazing.
@sebyddd While the logo is very similar and equally adorable, I can assure you that this is a huge coincidence. Our original concept was something completely different and played in the space of location based photo sharing. (Admittedly that doesn’t work) After holding 5 or 6 names in the span of a week, we started doing research on animals that behave in a similar way to our app. We landed on Penguins because they left something memorable in a location and would always return to that location. We swapped an “e” for an “i” to imply location with “Pin.” We don’t think it’s inconceivable that someone else had created a “Pin” or map icon shaped penguin before but we can assure you that this is the first we’re seeing it. The last thing we want is anything but support from the tech community and we’d be more than happy to connect and show you everything from our napkin sketches to what got us here now. We also hold the trademark in the US for both the name and logo.
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All of this aside, we would love to connect with your team to learn more about your product and any advice you may have for us moving forward. It’s always helpful to talk with other founders that have done this before.
Greetings Product Hunt Community! First things first... The entire Pinguin Team would like to thank @chrismessina for hunting our app. It is an absolute honor. Allow me to introduce myself, my name is Bryan and my team and I are proud to introduce to you…🥁 Pinguin! Pinguin is a social conversation app that seeks to break away from the friend model and allow you to follow your interests and chat live with the people who share them. Discover: interest-based channels on any topic and bookmark the ones that you love. Discuss: in real time with others that share your interests on topics that matter to you. Access: the community nationally or tap into your channels local community (Local feature would be amazing for product hunt meetups 😉) We are really excited to bring Pinguin to the Product Hunt community specifically because you have seen first hand what happens when a community is built around a common interest. (Also you understand the importance of an adorable mascot 😺 ❤️ 🐧 This is our Beta release, so some of the more rich features that we plan to build are right around the corner. Here is a sneak peek of what we have down the pipeline: - Photo/Video/GIF upload - Reactions on messages - Did we mention GIFS? 😂 - Web linking - Create your own channels (Public and Private) As well as a few ‘secrets’ up our sleeve 😏 Thanks for checking us out. We will be on PH and Twitter ( @Pinginapp_ ) to answer any questions and look forward to chatting with you guys on the app as well! Your feedback, criticism, praise and emojis are strongly encouraged and appreciated.
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@sebyddd @perte What was it that Jobs' had said, "Good artists copy; great artists steal"? I can assure you this is not one of those moments. We spent weeks meticulously deconstructing names and sketching proposed logos. At one point in time, we nearly called the company "Lime" standing for leave important messages everywhere. However, after much hot debate and 100s of deeply searched Google queries, we landed on Pinguin (as Bryan has suggested). I can assure you personally as the person who created the logo that I have never seen the "Pengin" app nor logo. We believed so much in the logo and that we had a true original that we spent our own time, money, and effort combing through USPTO just to confirm and finally submitted our request to trademark. We were approved, however, that wasn't the end. We had to stand up against Penguin Publishers and Ping Golf and prove our uniqueness. Trust me, this wasn't easy work. We didn't have the capital to hire a TM attorney and fight it ourselves so we had to basically learn at least on a surface level enough TM law to hold our own (because we believe in the logo that much) and we did. I understand you may be upset and still believe we stole your idea and logo, but let's be super serious, this idea of interest based conversation and even localized conversation isn't original and isn't your idea nor even ours. It stems back to even pre-date AIM by AOL. So, as Bryan said, I'm fairly confident that this is a mere coincidence that our logos have a similar look. But we've done everything to be sure we were in the right here such as holding the trademark in the US for both the name and logo. Below is a 50,000ft level view of our progression, the details are all documented: Despite everything, I feel as those you might have some knowledge that could be helpful. I'd love to open some dialogue between us and get your feedback on the space, the god and the bad. Perhaps your feedback will help us avoid any major pitfalls and in return, I'm happy to help you in any way we can. Look forward to connecting!
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@chrismessina @nivo0o0 Hi guys! Is the only way to get a comment to the top of your feed to get more upvotes than the top comment? We're being called out on an assumption and as the saying goes, perception over reality. Is there a way to pin a comment to the top?
@joshua_gunning @perte As I said, I am not accusing you of copying. Might simply be a huge coincidence. It's just very weird how all the details seemed so similar, the product, the logo, the name. I received a sketchy email earlier, which I'd rather discuss in private– I don't want to hurt your image and that was never my intention. I am honestly rooting hard for you guys and wish you all the best!
@joshua_gunning @nivo0o0 gotta get the upvotes AFAIK...
@sebyddd @perte I'm happy to publicly discuss anything, we have nothing to hide and have really busted our asses to build this product. Every day, UI elements are mimicked and sometimes blatantly copied (FB/IG with Snapchat stories as the most notable and recent). I'm not sure who thinks we stole their idea/product or anything else for that matter but it's simply and utterly false. Regardless of all this, I'd like to say we're conversation based not meet up based and even both of those ideas stem back before we both knew how to use computers (assuming you're close to my age). Thank you for your feedback and good luck wishes. We're going to keep pushing forward as hard as we can - #keeponkeepingon
Hi All, I'm Josh one of the founders and CEO of Pinguin. First and foremost, I want to genuinely thank all that have already taken the time to support us and write a message. With that I wanted to give a bit of history on myself and why I decided to help co-build Pinguin - so without further ado: Just felt like sharing a stream of consciousness I had... So much of our lives is directly linked to our friends and friends of friends (arguably, people that don’t matter nor match our interests). We pretty much have full-time access to what our friends are doing. Snapchat for the “in the moment”, Instagram for the “humble brag”, Facebook for the “family-focused updates”, and Twitter for …well I’m not quite sure “thought vomit” perhaps? However, none of this helped me much when I moved from middle Missouri to Orlando, to NYC, to SF, and then to LA. There I was in these new cities with no friends or family. All the degrees of connectivity didn’t help. I had to find friends and people of interest the old-fashioned way. To walk up and say, “Hi, I’m Josh.” This method didn’t fair too well in New York City. I was truly lonely in a city of 8.4 million people and none of my social networks could help me. The SF and LA community were a bit more receptive but most people I met didn’t share much in common, or maybe I’m just picky or maybe they didn’t like me… but that only sells my point more. It took more than enough time to develop any lasting relationships, lots of time… after 7 years of being in LA, I can finally say I have a good group of friends. That seems strange. I’m not that scary of a person and I rarely bite. This is why we are building Pinguin. We believe there’s a gap in the social space the incumbents simply can’t afford to target that lets people socialize around their interests, rather than being tied to the people they know because what’s life without expanding into the unknown? That’s exactly what Pinguin is: An interest-based social network that enhances communities both geographical and topic based through relevant conversation. Pinguin works for the same reason anything else works which is from a theory dubbed the Unified Model of Aesthetics by Paul Hekkert: Humans seek familiarity because it makes them feel safe (which we provide via topic-based channels they explicitly join). However, humans are simultaneously charged by the thrill of something new, powered by a pioneer lust (which we provide via a community of unknown people that happen to simply share an interest). We want people to connect on similar affinities. Too often we rely on our personal networks and if we don’t, we hide behind a layer of anonymity in our digital lives. I want to see the veil of anonymity lifted where you can share freely your values with people that will listen, challenge, and accept you for who you are. With that, we deny connections, relationships, and information that could be pertinent to our growth as an individual. Pinguin solves that with an elegant yet familiar experience. I can’t wait for you to participate in the Pinguin ethos.