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11/4/2008
06:58 PM
Michael Singer
Michael Singer
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Six Apart CEO Aims To Disrupt Social Networks

How do you transform a Web 1.0 company into a more powerful force in the Web 2.0 gene pool? Why, change the rules. That's what CEO Chris Alden and his team at Six Apart are planning for these days.

How do you transform a Web 1.0 company into a more powerful force in the Web 2.0 gene pool? Why, change the rules. That's what CEO Chris Alden and his team at Six Apart are planning for these days.I sat down recently with Alden who took the reins last year at blogging software and hosting services to ask about the company's strategy. At the top of his list was the evolution of Six Apart from a pioneering blog tool into a more diverse ecosystem. The idea is to become a force within the social networking marketplace as it did within the self-publishing arena.

"At first, we were a tool that helped average people blog," Alden said. "We were really disruptive in the way we helped change how people got their messages outside of the mainstream media outlets."

The second phase for Six Apart was adding services to Movable Type and TypePad, according to Alden, with the last phase being the addition of Vox in 2006.

Now, Six Apart's focus is to become a disruptive force again, but this time within the need to feed their blogging fix through social networks like Facebook, MySpace, or Ning or hosted blogging services like Google's Blogspot or Six Apart's Movable Type.

"We want to make our products easier for people to interact with other platforms and perform common tasks right out of the box with less hard coding and more interacting with the various communities," Alden said.

In doing so, Alden said Six Apart's approach would develop a so-called activity syndication on what he referred to as a "Blog Grid."

"Whether you're on or off the grid, everything follows your interconnections, whether you are commenting on a blog or reading a blog or tracking back a blog," he said. "It allows user profiles and their identities more flexibility to follow them around."

The concept is partially driving a redesign of TypePad's abilities and services, which is due out early next year.

One of the side benefits of Alden's master plan is that intertwining TypePad and Vox with other social networks begins to establish Movable Type as low-budget content management systems that could even compete with Interwoven and Vignette.

"The first option is to build a CMS in-house, which can be very expensive," Alden said. "You can purchase a system such as Interwoven or Vignette, but then you have an easy to use system like Movable Type, which is far more extensible."

For more insight on Six Apart, InternetEvolution senior editor Nicole Ferraro had a similar conversation with Alden.

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