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SocialSocializing Is Iterating a Pivot and Rightsizing Redundancies

For a Team to Be Focused on Teamwork, It Needs to Come Together as a Team

By Published on . 1

EDITOR'S NOTE: Last week in this space, SocialSocializing Founder-CEO Simon Dumenco answered some frequently asked questions about the launch of his new social-media startup, which he says will revolutionize social engagement by refocusing on sociability. Almost immediately, rumors began to swirl around the controversial company. Ad Age obtained an internal memo in which Mr. Dumenco addressed some of those rumors; we're publishing it in full here.

Dear Team:

As you all know, the response to last week's launch of SocialSocializing -- our revolutionary new social-media platform -- has been incredibly gratifying. TechMunch said that our company "is not only rewriting the rules of stealth startups, but might just rewrite the way that the rewriting of rules is done from here on out," while Business Blindsider, in a post titled "EXCLUSIVE: Mark Zuckerberg Facebook Stock Price Apple iPhone 6 First Look Google Something Something," called us "much buzzed-about" in the eighth paragraph.

Credit: Illustration by Kelsey Dake

Over on Twitter, Justin Bieber tweeted, "yeah you r excited...energy is great" (he may not technically have been referring specifically to SocialSocializing, but I think his take on the passion that 's out there is spot-on, and you can't discount J.B. and his engagement with his 30 million followers).

At the same time, there's been a lot of disinformation floating around about SocialSocializing. Some of it is true, and some of it isn't, and I want to take this opportunity to set the record straight.

First off, I'm happy to say that reports that we've completed a Series A round of funding are mostly almost true. Because the paperwork has not yet been finalized, I'm not at liberty to disclose the identity of our new investor quite yet. But suffice it to say that it is a VC firm that 's majorly engaged in the engagement space, and this imminent investment represents a great leap forward for our company and an important endorsement of our passion and our vision.

You may have also heard that SocialSocializing is iterating a pivot. This is also correct. While we remain passionate about our passion and committed to our commitment, our latest round of financing necessitates a broadening of our vision to take into account peripheral opportunities in our vision that we now realize we may have been overlooking. While we will continue to focus on revolutionizing social media, we will now be adding additional emphasis to visually driven hyperlocal mobile gamification.

We're also changing our monetization model from our own custom iteration of so-called native advertising -- what we called ambient pre-native advertising -- to something we think will be much more effective and engaging. There's been a lot of snark out there, particularly on Twitter, about how our switch to bleed-through pop-under mobile takeovers represents a move to intrusive advertising, but tell that to our users; 99.9% of them have opted in (per the designated default setting in revision 26 of paragraph 14.5.b of our clearly delineated Privacy Policy) to receive messaging from SocialSocializing and our affiliates in this fashion. That said, we are considering making certain defaults in the app version of SocialSocializing opt-in-outable (e.g., "Click here if you do not not want to grant SocialSocializing the ability to override the off switch and mute setting on your mobile device").

How does all this affect you and your role as a team member at SocialSocializing? Before I answer that question, let's look back at how we got here.

As many of you know, I'm a serial entrepreneur. Whether I was working on my very first startup, a large-print edition of the internet for boomers (later acquired and shut down by Yahoo), or DollarTofeanutsClub, a subscription-based e-merchant offering gourmet, gluten-free, soy-based snacks for children with peanut allergies (later acquired and shut down by Whole Foods), it's always been clear to me that highs and lows are intrinsic to any launch.

For a team to be focused on teamwork, it needs to come together as a team and rally around a clear and singular mission. Some of you will be learning today that you may be assigned to a new mission: seeking out a different mission at a different company. To put that another way, we are rightsizing our redundancies. (Also, given the government-mandated redistribution of health forced on us by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act for our remaining team members who work 30 or more hours a week, we are considering instituting an Obamacare subsidy of 10¢ to 14¢ on the paid version of SocialSocializing.) The Human Resources/Team-Member Concierge Team will be in touch with each of you this afternoon to discuss your future at either SocialSocializing or another company that is not SocialSocializing.

With the iteration of this pivot (or pivoteration, as the board and I like to think of it), we believe that the SocialSocializing team can better execute on our revised mission (remission).

It's been an honor to share this journey with all of you.

Happy Holidays!

Simon Dumenco, Socializer-in-Chief

Simon Dumenco is the "Media Guy" media columnist for Advertising Age. You can follow him on Twitter @simondumenco.

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