At that time I was not aware of a tool that would help me with this problem and my solution was to add a bookmark to Delicious with a readlater tag.
It worked, but I didn't want to mess my bookmarks with links to articles that I wanted to read later.
I felt that I needed a tool for the job and for about a week in my spare time I built a simple website to manage my online readings. It was simple, It had a bookmarklet that I could call to save a link of the page that I was visiting, add a title, description, tags and the ability to save it privately.
On February, 8th, 2008 I announced on my blog the release of Fullread. The feedback was a mix of "I use delicious with a tag for that" and "Looks nice, but not very useful".
At that time I built the tool mainly for myself and I truly believed that there was a need for this kind of thing, but the majority of the feedback was not that great. I continued using the tool but I didn't add more features to it. If the people didn't liked why bother?
Well, 25 days later Marco Arment released Instapaper and posted on his blog. Marco went further and added an iPhone app, that was in my opinion the killer feature.
Right now Instapaper is the market leader in this category, it's a fantastic tool with a continuous development and I use it every day.
So, why Fullread had no success compared to Instapaper?
In my opinion the factors were:
- Mainly because Marco made a great job.
- Marco was the CTO of Tumblr and was well known by the community, this helped with the media coverage. I'm a simple software engineer in Portugal.
- I abandoned Fullread development.
What's the future of Fullread?
The answer is not simple. It’s very difficult to compete with Instapaper or Read it Later at this time of the game. But, in the name of pride, I'll eventually improve/rebuild Fullread, maybe with a different approach.
So, is there a lesson to take from all this, I ask?
Yes: Believe in yourself, believe in your ideas!