SixApart, Fare The Well

In March of 2003, I heard Ben & Mena Trott talk about their blogging software that they started in 2001 after both lost their jobs in the DotCom Bust – Movable Type – and their new company named after the fact that their birthdays were only six days apart, SixApart, at SXSW 2003 and decided to try it out in April of 2003.
Seven years later I am still here, still blogging with Movable Type, still using it as a CMS for clients, and still hoping against bizarre hope that Movable Type and SixApart will continue to innovate in the blogging space. A silly hope now that WordPress has clearly won many hearts and minds, but I do like MT better for a variety of reasons.
Today TechCrunch leaked that SixApart had been bought out by VideoEgg for its advertising network and both would become a new entity known as Say Media.
Various bits of the blogosphere are a bit up in arms about this, although many SixApart / Movable Type veterans are warily watching what will happen next.
For a few months, I have been planning on moving my blog to a VPS, upgrading to MT5, and using HTML5 for templating. All of this planning would also include a major redesign to better integrate my mobile photo blogging with text blogging that I do.
Now these plans will be on hold. I will wait and see what is up. I don’t want to spend 40-80 hours on a major redesign and upgrade 7.4 years of blogging only to have the software be unsupported in a few months.
Just in case the new Say Media, formerly VideoEgg formerly SixApart, axes Movable Type, I went an purchased an Expression Engine license today, because I know EE already supports mobile blogging. Due to the complexity of a move and a whole new platform, as EE’s templating is rumored to be a pain, versus the free time I have to spend on such an endeavor right now, as well as loyalty to my favorite blogging engine, I will wait and see.
In the meantime, I would like to say a Big Thank You to all the SixApart employees, current & former, who over the last 7 years have made my blogging life happy: Ben & Mena Trott, Anil Dash, Mie Kennedy Yaginuma, Byrne Rese, Jay Allen, Tim Appnel, David Jacobs, Arvind Satyanarayan, Ginevra Kirkland, Beau Smith, and many others. As well as the whole community of Movable Type bloggers, developers, designers, and other enthusiasts who have weathered a great many storms together.
Thanks for a great 7 years, y’all rock.
Update from 9/22/10 at 8:10am : Maarten Schenk at Movable Tips reports that Six Apart in Japan will continue with the development of Movable Type. MT is very popular in Japan and as Maarten reports it has been the most active hive of MT dev and innovation for sometime, so it makes sense that they will continue on. Go read: Movable Type and “Six Apart” live on… in Japan!
Update from 9/22/10 at 8:48am: A tweet from last night as I was writing this article:

I really wish @sixapart had sent an official announcement out to bloggers, devs, & customers before the tech press leaked the buyout.

Actually, this morning this is the part that makes me the most frustrated, is why didn’t SixApart send an email to licensees and the ProNet mailing list before letting this get leaked to press? If everything is alright, then longtime customers and developers should be the first to know so that the rumor engine doesn’t get started.
Update from 9/22/10 at 12:59pm: Today at 10:33am, David Jacobs, the VP for Services and Products at SixApart, sent an email to the ProNet mailing list entitled “The Future”. I won’t reprint it here, but basically he reiterates that SayMedia will be continuing to support and develop Typepad and Movable Type, which should have been sent before Michael Arrington scooped the story. Don’t say to me, “How could they have know that Tech Crunch would have printed in the night before the announcement?” Companies need to tell their own story first before the press hears it from their sources and tells it for them, particularly in the Echo Chamber that is known as San Francisco/Silicon Valley.

5 thoughts on “SixApart, Fare The Well

  1. Hey Jen – I am sorry to hear about MT… but welcome to EE!
    I have been using EE for about 4 years now. Originally I was using it as a blog platform, but have developed several full sites and also integrated many addons and even the forum. I have been using 1.x thus far, and will soon be getting a 2.1 license to start migrating my personal sites over to it.
    Let me know if you need some direction to the wealth of resources out there!
    Welcome aboard!

  2. Hi Mike,
    My concern about EE is that is it is mostly used as a CMS for websites and not as a blog. I very very rarely hear of highly active bloggers who aren’t designers talk about EE, most active bloggers use WP or Typepad. My other concern is about the dynamic PHP publishing. While I am not a big fan of Perl, I do like the static publishing aspect of MT.
    I have been meaning to check out EE for over a year as another option for clients. But as a blogging client for me, I will first have to make sure MT is well and truly dead, of which news out of Japan is that it is not.

  3. thank -you-! One of my favorite things about having worked at Six Apart has been the amazing connections it’s helped me find.
    I use TypePad still for a lot of things, and really love how far 6A’s taken that platform. I use Tumblr for lighter-weight blogging (and their themes are slick!) and MT/WP for work stuff. There’s never the perfect platform for everyone, but I’m glad to see that folks seem to be returning to longer-form blogging. That’s the real killer app.

  4. Hi Ginevra!
    I have been keeping up with you and your move to freelance and just saw the bit about New Orleans – how exciting.
    I agree about the best part of my own involvement with Movable Type and SixApart, beyond the great blogging software, has been the great people I have met both in SF and at SXSW.
    I like the proliferation of blogging softwares, be they for long form, medium form or micro. I like that the eco-system allows for more expression for writers, artists, social folk, designers and developers.
    Many blessings in NOLA, keep us updated on what y’all are doing.

  5. Funny that, after almost a decade using Blogger, I chose this year to switch to Movable Type. I don’t regret the decision, but now I care more about this change than I would have earlier. I hope it works out. There has been very little mention of that venerable software in this discussion, but for various reasons I need to maintain an installation on my own server, and MT best meets my needs now.
    I was pleased to see a 5.03 update (minor as it is), but I also don’t see how well a personal blogger running MT fits into the new Say Media strategy. Then again, it was hard to see how it fit into Six Apart recently, even if it was how the company started. I’ll remain optimistic, plan to continue using Movable Type, and keep my options open. But I’d like to hear something from Say Media about plans for the product.
    I’ve posted some longer discussion over at my blog, focused on Movable Type (since that’s what I run), but also talking about this acquisition more generally:

Comments are closed.