Sphere Chat - Updates and what I'm up to 🌐

The privacy policy is not up to date - TLDR is that it refers to a different product (company pivoted before I joined). It’s on my backlog to write the new one. It’ll be sorted before we exit our private beta, but as you can imagine there’s a lot of work on.

My position is that we’re carving out a middle ground between the two. We actually plan on adding features that exist outside of the app, and can be used even without an account, so you can see how E2EE would make that more difficult. For example, groups doing events may want to have a public facing page where people can RSVP just by entering their name and their email address. Then, if those people want to actually join that community, or share photos from the event, they would be able to sign up.

Yes - with the constraint that we’re still in private beta for the moment. We have groups using the product that are millenial, Gen X, but also we have Gen Z groups and some older groups too.

Target demographic is not age based, but essentially - communities who are outgrowing WhatsApp, who might well spin up a Slack but get stymied by the limitations of the free plan and the fact that it’s aimed at businesses, and who wouldn’t be putting up the costs to spin up something like a Discourse forum. This is obviously getting more refined as we get closer to exiting private beta, but as one example, we have things like University sports societies and also local social community groups, like groups committed to reduction of plastic in x location or other social issues.

Absolutely - there’s a fair chunk of people from here in our private beta, giving us feedback and coming to our events, and we’re super grateful to all of them.

Slack = B2B

Whatsapp = B2C aimed mostly at family and friends

We’re in the middle. Again, Discord probably the closest example.

Thanks for flagging - the public roadmap is my responsibility. It does have things past January - Bulletin Board which is on there is the current feature in development. The roadmap for the rest of the year is getting revealed on Thursday’s event, and will be added to the roadmap following the event.

The image on the Events card is an early mockup from before it was actually built. I need to update it, so thanks for the reminder!

This is what it looks like now:

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Is there really a need to be so bitter about someone coming to a tech based forum to talk about tech?

If you dont like the idea thats perfectly fine (i also struggle to see its USP), but remember that this is simons job and personal goals, im sure you wouldnt like someone badmouthing your work as much as you are to others.

Think everyone needs to remember at times to reread comments and try to add in some positive spin to mellow out the harshness at times on here.

After a year in lockdown people need to be kinder

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As we routinely get reminded every time Simmy makes a post (and it attacked for it), it’s not a tech forum it’s a Monzo forum with some discussion about competing fintech. For that reason alone the OP’s personal goals are completely irrelevant to a Monzo discussion forum.

The OP is entitled to his opinion, everyone here is entitled to theirs and I am entitled to mine. I’ve been around on this forum long enough to know that The OP would not have tolerated somebody else pushing their product at monzos expense.

Equally I’m not badmouthing him to other people. I’m stating here in a civilised conversation that I like many people here disagree with the OP’s point of view.

Remember one of the rules of this place which is not to interpret tone. The OP’s personal goals are not relevant, the fact that he is using his position as a former member of staff is and in my (albeit limited) opinion unacceptable.

People like to evangalise founders of tech companies. It is impossible to talk about Apple and comment about them without talking about Steve Jobs/Tom Cook/Johnny Ive and it nearly always descends into Apple vs Microsoft or Apple vs Google or iOS vs Android.

Equally it’s impossible to talk about Monzo and it’s direction or Starling and it’s direction with talking about Tom or Anne. In his conversation the OP is making his opinion heard through his position as the former manager of this place and representing his views under the guise of the company he now works for and who’s project he pushing here. If he cannot be mentioned by name without someone taking offence then I will continue to refer to him as "The OP’ or just his handle :thinking: oh wait his name is his handle.

If you don’t like what I am saying that’s your choice but you don’t have to read and it and you don’t have to flag it (which btw using flags to get a conversation shut down is just stupid)

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I think it’s crazy that this sort of thing gets $30m in funding. I just wonder how anyone ever manages to pitch a repeat of what is available with a very slight twist is a product that’s needed.

Maybe if you’re organising something and you pick Sphere as your group/organisation you’ll force people to download and people may use it.

But most will just pick something that they know people already have.

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I don’t think that’s fair to be honest. I’m the one that organised several Q&A sessions in the Fintech Q&A section with tons of other companies, some of whom are even competing in the same space as Monzo. We even had non fintech companies like Zevvle coming here and that was totally fine, we’ve had other former employees like Kieran and Simon VC talking about their new startups. We were always pretty clear that this was an open progressive space for anyone working in tech. It’s not like I’m holding a gun to anyone’s head, just keeping people up to date with what I’m up to, as someone who looked after this forum for a long time.

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It feels like this has taken a bit of an unfortunate turn.

Could I ask everyone to familiarise themselves with the Code of Conduct.

Please avoid the temptation to make things personal (the code of conduct is explicit on “ad hominem attacks (criticising a poster personally, not their post”). Instead, if anyone thinks that something is inappropriate, please use the flagging system to alert Monzo staff.

I’m going to close this topic for a bit now. When it reopens, please keep the conversation on Sphere - not this message and not individuals’ motivations for posting. As I say, those are issues for Monzo staff: @AlanDoe’s inbox is open for that. As a community volunteer, and not a member of staff, unfortunately I cannot help with that.

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Just catching up with this thread, and not going to make any further comments on it, the turns it took, or change to its state Peter has sensibly made, but I felt the need to 100% applaud this particular point from Nathan

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I’m certainly glad you do!

I really hope Sphere succeeds and finds its market fit and I’m looking forward to continue to follow the journey!

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This topic was automatically opened after 41 hours.

Ah, the encryption discussion is open again! Can’t believe I’d missed it until it had gotten locked!

It’s a subject I’m incredibly passionate about, and in fact the timing right now is perfect, as I’m working on a research paper with the OU that touches on this subject, and these resources you’ve shared will be useful citations to help me better frame some counter arguments as I’m far too biased in favour of E2EE and have yet to agree with a narrative used in argument against it.

Should the encryption discussion continue, I’ll hopefully get involved this time!

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You need to get moderator permissions so that you can still have your say even when the topic has been locked :speak_no_evil: :wink:

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We are planning a Sphere discussion event on this very topic in the coming weeks, so we’d love to see you there! We will be exploring both sides of the debate, so please feel free to attend once we’ve posted details on it.

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Look forward to the future updates @simonb :eyes:

This post from Peter is spot on and if you want you can message me directly. There’s been posts on the Topic which Simon has taken the time to reply to - which is great.

Simon isn’t just going to expect fully positive responses and he’s actively seeking feedback but if we can make sure that we edge towards it being constructive then that would be greatly appreciated by all.

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5 posts were split to a new topic: Potato IM

A post was merged into an existing topic: Removed Posts - March 2021

A reminder: this is not the place to discuss flags or to bring back topics of conversation that led to the topic being closed.

Thank you!

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Maybe you could be more specifc about what we can talk about. You’ve deleted every single post for the last few days and keep closing this down, I’m at a loss now it seems unless we’re praising sphere the posts get deleted

As I am sure this is about to be deleted too :woman_shrugging:

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Does that include discussion of encryption for the product or the product’s purpose and placement? As they seem to be the main things which have been discussed.

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I’ll tackle a few of these for clarity, but I’m afraid this is for information rather than discussion:

The code of conduct is available to read. Stay within it and there will be no problems.

This is not true. I have removed one post which was about flagging rather than Sphere. I moved a bunch of off-topic posts about a different product (Potato IM) to a separate topic.

This is untrue. I don’t have a particularly strong view either way on Sphere. What is unacceptable is the conflation of critique of the product (which is understandable) with what the code of conduct calls “ad homenem attacks” (which it defines as “criticising a poster personally”).

I hope the explanation above explained why it was closed. Let me quote my previous post where I tried to make that clear:

If anyone has any concerns about the way I’ve handled this, please speak to @AlanDoe privately. If you have concerns about moderation in general, you can always open a separate topic to discuss that (although accusations or concerns about specific individuals must always happen privately).

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