Today I am announcing the end of Pause For. A lot has changed since we got started, and it’s sadly time to move on. I’m writing this for the people who have supported us all these years and would like to hear the story of how it all came to an end. It’s been coming for a while, but recent events unfortunately accelerated it.
Pause For’s business model has always been a challenge. A successful mobile app creates engagement. Ad taps, hours of attention, microtransactions, these are the things that we have found a way to reward in the mobile app economy. The things that generate the capital developers need to run the app. Pause For is the antithesis of all of that. The explicit goal is to reduce engagement with the phone, the one thing that makes an app money. And on top of all that, I gave away what money I did make (and more out of my own pocket). This paradox has haunted Pause For since day 1. I tried many things to reconcile it, and the short story is that none of them worked.
Kin was our biggest hope to resolve the paradox. Crypto unlocks a lot of new ways to organize a business and turn activity into revenue, and Kin’s stated mission was to align the goals of developers and their users through financial incentives. For a while it was working. Pause For users used the app exactly as they wanted to, no ads, no data harvesting, no payment, and they were rewarded with Kin. And when they spent that Kin, Pause For was in turn rewarded by the Kin Rewards Engine (KRE) for driving economic activity. But those KRE rewards shrunk and shrunk as bigger apps with more engagement started getting a larger and larger cut of the rewards, while other apps took chunks of the rewards by faking activity. All this as the value of Kin dropped led to our KRE rewards (our only revenue stream) dropping very near to 0.
Then a few weeks ago they hit 0 for good when the Kin Foundation fell to infighting between the founder who had voluntarily stepped away and the people he had appointed to lead in his place. I have a lot to say about this situation, but I’ll leave it at this: I rescind any endorsement I’ve made of Kin. All of the philosophy, people, and technology that made Kin great have been fired, abandoned, or moved on. I wish the best of luck to the good people trying to make the most of the shell that’s left. But the practical effect for Pause For is that our revenue has been cut off and the technology we built the app around has been abandoned without warning.
I’m not putting the blame for the death of Pause For on the death of Kin or on anyone’s actions but my own. A business model that was entirely reliant on the KRE was a bad business model, and I acknowledge that. In addition, the KRE itself never quite worked as it should, and I don’t think Pause For (or any Kin app really, despite our best intentions) generated enough value to the ecosystem to earn what they were given. Pause For was a moonshot, and I think we all knew from the outset that it had a pretty low chance of success. But it’s been an incredible ride, and we’ve done a lot of good along the way. We donated over $20,000 to worthy causes and helped over 30,000 people spend a little less time on their phones. I wouldn’t change it for the world, and I thank each of you for being a part of this with me.
As I mentioned at the top, a lot has changed since I started Pause For. Apple created and iterated on Screen Time and Focus Modes. Android has created similar tools to reduce the compulsion to constantly be on our phones. I’ve found these tools incredibly useful for my own productivity and focus. New apps have come along taking advantage of newer technologies within mobile operating systems to more effectively hold us accountable. While I would have loved to spend the rest of my life working on this, the world doesn’t need Pause For as badly as it did in 2017.
So what’s next? Well, I’m certainly not done building things to help people acheive their goals. I’ve learned a lot in the last 6 years working on Pause For, and I’m excited to take the next step with my company Oroboros. There’s a new app in the works, and while it’s far too early to share any specifics, I would love to have the Pause For community with me as I get that started. So I’ve created a waitlist for Pause For users who’d like to be the first to try the new app, and you can add yourself to it below.
If you have Kin on Pause For, I’ll do my best to make it accessible to you. But it costs a lot of money to run Pause For’s servers and Solana architecture, and with no one at Kin maintaining their technology, things are going to start breaking fast. I recommend immediately transferring all Kin out of your Pause For wallet. I do not have access to your private keys, so there’s nothing I can do to help with this. Pause For will slowly stop functioning and one day very soon stop altogether, so please move your Kin as soon as possible.
If you’re joining the waitlist, you’ll hear from me soon. If not, I’ll be deleting all personal data Pause For has ever stored once everything is wrapped up, so you won’t hear from me again. I wish you the best and thank you once more for the part you played in Pause For. It truly has been one of the greatest things I’ve been a part of.