Pinguin Book Club: People Over Profit

This month the Pinguin Team read a very important book, Dale Partridge’s ‘People Over Profit’. The book explains the four stages of honesty and deception and how companies can avoid ending up in the latter stages in the first place.

POP drills home three lessons:

Lesson 1: All companies start out honest.

Lesson 2: Don’t try to avoid transparency, it’s a fool’s game.

Lesson 3: Become a better consumer, because half the responsibility is on you.

Our Take Away:

While most business books focus on strategy and tactics, this one is more about business philosophy. It’s very easy to get caught up in tactics. As a business, your goal is to grow and for a lot of company’s, growing means making money fast and doing whatever it takes to do so. When you operate with speed you often cut corners. We are by no means saying speed should not be your goal but this book makes you think about your moves before you make them. It’s very valuable to be methodical in your movements when growing your company.

For Pinguin, our goal is to bring tremendous value through building communities. You cannot do that by cutting corners. We know that community building is the most authentic form of social engagement and we are focused on making sure our company makes people a first priority. The word ‘user’ is often used to describe a person who downloads your app. We want to make sure we never take a user for granted but forgetting that they are also a person.

Pinguin Book Club: Without Their Permission

We have read many books that seek to inspire and motivate entrepreneurs on their quest to change the world with an ambitious startup. When we picked up ‘Without Their Permission’ our goal was to gain insight into the mind of one of the internet’s most successful community builders, Alexis Ohanian. The reason I start off like this is because this book is different than all the other books we have read. While it absolutely motivates and inspires, it felt real. It was written in a way that not only connected but entertained. Also being an NY boy myself, anyone who can quote Jay-Z and Winston Churchill has my full attention. (the footnotes are something you do not want to ignore either #gold)

The book serves as a blueprint into the conception of Reddit, the internet’s now #4 biggest website in the US. In addition, WTP gives a closer look at what it takes to start a startup, with Alexis’ biggest advice being to simply ‘please start’:

“the only advice I can give that I guarantee is true is that you’ll never succeed unless you try. Just please start. You don’t need anyone’s permission, certainly not mine”

Ohanian drops knowledge throughout the book by sharing his experiences with other companies he has started and invested in. By doing so he paints a clear picture of the startup world and the highs and lows that come along with it.

Our take away:

If your currently building something, you know first hand that it’s hard work. And if you have something build, then you for sure know it’s also hard to get it off the ground. This book is one that does not sugar coat those hardships, but what I liked is that it doesn’t spend too much time highlighting them. (also he reinforces the importance of a cute mascot 🙃)

We already know what we are trying to do is fucking hard. Hearing that other people (successful ones at that) have dealt with similar hardships, is the truth we all need, but how they overcame them and the perseverance, is way more valuable to us as a team. ‘Without Their Permission’ served as words of encouragement in the form of shared experiences (both good and bad).

Our goal with Pinguin is to develop a community centered around high quality, useful and entertaining conversation on the things that you actually care about. And that is why we encourage people to #FollowWhatYouLove. As a company, are living that tagline every day and while the journey has been hard, we cannot wait to see where it leads us. 🐧

Launch Day

The last 24 hours have been a complete rollercoaster and if that’s any indication of our future, I couldn’t be more excited. First, I’d would like to thank everybody that checked us out on Product Hunt, downloaded the app and showed support on launch day. I would also like to thank the rockstar team that worked around the clock (and around the globe) to make sure we were fully prepared for launch.

On Tuesday night we were hunted by the top hunter on Product Hunt, Chris Messina(We owe you a HUGE thank you too). We saw incredible feedback from the Product Hunt community and today we were named iOS App of the day!

This is a small victory but I think it’s appropriate to take a minute to celebrate my team and all of the new users we got to meet today. We’re looking forward to getting to know you and building the communities that you’re proud to be a part of. Back to work.

Thank you!


Fewer connections, but more connected

Social networking has become an increasingly crowded and yet impersonal space, a problem I blame, perhaps ironically, on the explosive rise of social networks. In a world where social has connected us to more people than ever (over a billion people are now on Facebook), yet, somehow we feel lonelier and more distracted as a result of it. This is by design.

The effect is definitely one of the most unintended consequences of having a billion people on social media and having 300 or more, on average, friends or followers. I think what’s happened is, we’ve been so keen and focused on connecting to one another that we’ve overlooked the importance of being connected to things that personally matter to us. This is where Pinguin makes its entry.

Social networks make their money by having you on their platform as long as possible. I beleive this to be a poor way to measure a social platforms success or value. Instead, what if you measured net positive contribution? Or avg amount of time well spent? What if we made social networking more valuable and less distracting with an engineers user experience to do just that. What if we engaged only with the things that mattered to us? What if we were able to immediately tap into a community that shares a similar affinity for that thing or topic we also love? We’re fed up with meme factories, social collateral damage, minimal or flat engagement, it’s getting old quick. That is why we’re building Pinguin.

In conclusion, I urge you to next time you’re on your social network of choice, stop and think for a moment. How much of the content you saw did you enjoy? How much do you think you actually engaged with? and did you feel “sucked in” to something that didn’t really matter to you? My bet is that you’ll quickly become immediately aware of all the wasted energy and time.

I’ll end on that note and let you come to your own conclusions. Feel free to ask questions in the comments. I’m happy to answer any you might have. Stay tuned for Pinguin’s upcoming release. We’ll be re-launching in early April with our revised product. I look forward to your feedback!


Josh Purvis
CEO/CoFounder of Pinguin

Why Am I Seeing This?

How often do you ask yourself this question when seeing something pop up on one of your feeds? Social platforms do a great job of showing you what they think you want to see based off of your friends and activity on the platform. There’s one problem with that. You’re not your friends.

You are friends or acquaintances with people based on your circumstances. You keep tabs on people from high school or people that you’ve met throughout your life but how much do you have in common with them aside from that?

We’re setting out to enhance communities through meaningful conversation by connecting you to everybody that shares your interests. Connect with all of the people that share your interests, not just the few that you’ve encountered by circumstance.

As we get set to launch our latest version of Pinguin, we’re turning to you to identify the communities that you want to be a part of. Do you have something that you love that you want to talk about with other likeminded people? Tell us about it and we’ll make sure you have a community to talk to on launch day.


Pinguin Book Club : Hooked

We as a team always want to keep learning about the social space we are seeking to be a part of. Reading is a great way for us to study about how to build the best conversation app possible.

This month we read the book ‘Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products’ by Nir Eyal. In it, the book explains the four phases of building habit-forming products: Trigger, Action, Reward and Investment. The book dives into each phase and how when used together helps to create an experience that forms user habits.

The part of the book that caught our attention was the responsibility we have as product makers. Habits should not become addicting to users and the habits we do create should enhance a person’s life. The entire reason we are creating Pinguin is because we feel social media has become addicting while being inefficient. Our goal is to create an app where users don’t have to spend a lot of time to get the things they want out of it. We feel this will create an experience that keeps people coming back for more.