At Skylark, we aren’t just working to create a new standard for independent, privacy-conscious web services. Behind this work lies the business that must keep everything running. As we’ve laid out our service offerings, we’ve taken time to consider how we can run things here while keeping our customer’s best interests at the core of our work. This has brought us to two key pillars of our business: independence and fairness. But what do we mean by those words, exactly?

Here are some of the principles that we’re taking to heart as we grow Skylark.

A fair charge for a fair product.

Skylark wants to be a different kind of company. By putting an emphasis on healthy, sustainable business practices and a focus on a fair charge for a fair product, we don’t need to resort to more nebulous monetization strategies that are more common with startups today. It’s also important to note that we’ve taken no money from venture capitalists and are entirely bootstrapped. This ensures we don’t have allegiances to shareholders or an incessant need to max out our profits, and it enables us to create a healthy and debt-free business from the start.

Our pricing structure is designed specifically to provide an exceptional value without breaking the bank. What you see is what you get: a clear, up-front price for your services, with no ads or spyware.

An independence you can trust.

There are many big players that have come to dominate the cloud ecosystem in recent years, including Google, Dropbox, Microsoft, Amazon and many others. Often times these companies give a lot of lip service to you and your rights, but frankly you can only trust them as far as you can throw them. Whether it’s Google closing services that can’t be sufficiently data-mined or Amazon literally hanging on your every word, businesses that are built on handling your data for (almost) free are simply not sustainable without other strategies for monetization. And these strategies almost always come at the expense of your common-sense privacy rights.

So Skylark aims to provide a clear alternative. Being independent and only beholden to our customers makes us uniquely positioned to offer said customers an exceptional product that truly works for them.

Respect for you and your data.

In other words: your data rests with you. Only you can access it, and we don’t sift through it. That much is clear.

You will also be kept out of the “walled gardens” that prevent so many of the big players’ services from playing nice with each other. Whether we’re talking proprietary file formats or unnecessarily-restrictive APIs, Skylark has no interest in keeping your data walled up inside just one service, only usable by our ready-made clients. Data can be shared using tried-and-true standards and open-source file formats that work with a wide variety of different clients and services. So if you prefer to use the Calendar app on your iPhone or Microsoft Outlook instead of our built-in web interface, then go right ahead!

And, while we hope you will see the usefulness of our service for a long time, you will be able to export your data at any time and take it to another service, if you see fit.

Experience you can count on.

Of course, the nicest-sounding words in the world won’t do any good if you don’t have the experience to deliver on them. That’s where Jake comes in.

Founder and lead developer Jacob Cook has years of experience in cloud technologies, virtual servers and software development. He created arkOS, an open-source software stack to help individuals run cloud software on their own hardware, from the comfort of their home. It was among the first to bring the “app store” interface we all know and love to the world of personal servers, and much of its code makes up the core of what will run on your Skylark nests.

We are using this experience gained in the world of personal servers and open-source development and putting it to use for you, to provide you with the best possible experience.

What’s next?

This week we are announcing exciting details about the service and the people behind it. Stay tuned tomorrow for more details about the software and how it works, as well as an exciting preorder opportunity!

If you have any questions or comments for us about the adventure we’re embarking on, please let us know. Your insight will be very valuable to shaping the future of our service!

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