|Developer(s)||Ponder Products, Inc.|
|Initial release||July 27, 2015|
|Written in||Objective-C and Python (programming language)|
|Available in||7 languages|
|Type||Microblogging, photo sharing, social networking service|
Ponder is a mobile photo-sharing, video-sharing, and content discovery application designed for content to be openly discovered by emphasizing personal relevance instead of limiting shared content to a user's social circle. User feedback plays a primary role in determining the how far posts spread, allowing well received content to regularly reach an audience far beyond what would be typical on traditional social networking platforms.
The company, officially Ponder Products, Inc., was founded by William LeGate in early 2015 during his Thiel Fellowship. It attracted financial backing pre-launch from prominent investors including Sean Rad and Justin Mateen (founders of the popular dating app, Tinder), Mark Cuban (star on ABC's Shark Tank and self-made multi-billionaire), and Greylock Partners (known for early investments in several top social networks, including Facebook), among others.
The company is based in Los Angeles and released Ponder as a free, iOS only app in 2015. Despite attracting numerous celebrities and hinting at an upcoming Android release, no formal announcements have been made regarding when an Android app is scheduled to be released.
Ponder was founded in early 2015 with a mission to combat the influencer marketing that was plaguing social media. Less than 6 months after releasing the initial public beta, billionaire entrepreneur and investor Mark Cuban joined the app and invested an undisclosed amount in the company shortly afterwards. Originally founded in San Francisco, LeGate was convinced to move the company to Los Angeles after meeting with Cuban and Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti.
It was after moving to Los Angeles that Ponder caught the attention of Tinder founder Justin Mateen who invested alongside Cuban. His brother, Tyler Mateen, soon began bonding with LeGate over a frustration with the current state of social media and would go on to join the company as a founder.
Ponder's core feature is its "endless" and "personally curated" stream of unseen photos and videos which is designed to resemble a deck of playing cards. When viewing the stream, a user can swipe a post either up to give it a "Push" making spread to others or down to simply "Pass" and see what's next. It's this constant user feedback that allows for their stream to be personally curated, featuring posts that others with similar interests have pushed.
Ponder is designed to give every user an equal voice by heavily emphasizing a post's quality, as determined by as opposed to other platforms such as Twitter where the person's "popularity", i.e. the number of followers they have, has a significant impact in determining its potential to go "viral". This reverse model of distributing content has led to Ponder being perceived as a more democratic platform compared to competitors like Instagram or Twitter with the New York Post going so far as to dub it "the anti-Kardashian photo-sharing app."
Related Instagram Controversy
In 2016, Instagram appeared to align itself closer to Ponder by announcing that it would begin considering the popularity of posts when determining their order in their previously chronological newsfeed. Although intended as an improvement to the $37 billion (USD) app, the change came to the dismay of many users over concerns that it could limit the exposure of their newsfeed posts which had already been restricted to a user's followers.
In this same time period Ponder received praise for its ability to show users relevant posts from beyond their social circles—a contrast in sentiment suggesting that Ponder has been able to alleviate the concerns raised by its ability to expand a post's audience while maintaining the relevance of users' streams.
Ponder's emphasis of content quality over fame—along with its preventative measures to reduce cyberbullying—has been attributed to its appeal, particularly amongst artists, musicians, actors, and other creatives with varying ranges of fame and notoriety. Notable registered users include:
- Cody Simpson, pop singer from Queensland
- Pete Wentz from the rock band Fall Out Boy
- All members of 5 Seconds of Summer, an Australian rock band
- All members of R5, an American pop band
- Mark Cuban, multi-billionaire starring in the ABC reality series Shark Tank
- Madison Pettis, lead actress in the Disney Channel sitcom series Cory in the House
- Troian Bellisario, lead actress in the American television drama series Pretty Little Liars
- Colton Haynes, leading actor in the MTV drama series Teen Wolf
- Kendall Vertes and Mackenzie Ziegler, reality stars from the Lifetime series Dance Moms
- Josephine Skriver, supermodel and Victoria's Secret Angel
- Caspar Lee, popular YouTube personality