Biz Stone / Getty
In June 2011 Biz Stone surprised everyone when he announced he was leaving Twitter, the micro-blogging site which he had co-founded. The high-tech world then waited in anticipation of what he might come up with next.
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Evan Williams, also a co-founding partner in Twitter, had several years earlier established an incubator called the Obvious Corporation, to look at several projects at once and he and Stone later got together again there.
Also joining Stone and Williams at Obvious was another Twitter alumnus, Jason Goldman, who had been Vice President in charge of product development before he left the company in December 2010.
So the question still was what would Biz come up with next? From last Spring on news gradually began to trickle out there might be something big in the works at the Obvious Corporation.
Stone himself even teased there could be a mysterious new venture on the way. Diverse investment heav-weights such as former colleague at Twitter Jack Dorsey, former US Vice President Al Gore and Bono, lead singer of the rock band U2 were all rumoured to be involved.
Now the covers are off for Obvious’ new baby, a next generation search engine called “Jelly”. The new product is apparently specifically engineered for mobile applications and of course runs on both Android and Apple’s iOS.
According to its early reviewers, the Jelly concept bears a lot of similarities to Google’s ‘Answers’ platform, or to the recently launched question-and-answer site Quora.
Jelly users can simply ask a question, or cut and paste the picture into their favorite smartphone or tablet, and in theory crowd source the answer through Facebook or Twitter, all organized through the Jelly platform.
According to Biz Stone and his colleagues at Obvious, any such question can be fielded not only to people on the users contact list, but also to multiple levels of indirect contacts as well.
Through this process Stone estimates that Jelly can dramatically increase the number of its potential users through the ability to provide unlimited answers and outlooks. In short perhaps Jelly will simply be able to annoy far greater numbers of people with unsolicited bombardment of social media data points than anybody else!
Reviewers reaction to Jelly so far has been mixed, although it would be fair to say that Jelly doesn’t exactly have either Mark Zuckerberg or the Google boys quivering yet. But it is early days!
Christopher Isaac “Biz” Stone attended Northeastern University in Boston and the University of Massachusetts, remaining for just one year. He then began his professional career as a designer at Little, Brown and Co, before being given the role of creative director at Xanga, a Web-log community in 1999.
Stone remained with Xanga for four years before joining Google. After two years he left to co-found Odeo together with Evan Williams, which eventually evolved into Twitter.
Known as one of the most innovative thinkers in the social media space, these days Stone is also an angel investor and advisor in the start-up community, and has backed a number of startups.
In 2009 Biz Stone and his then colleague Evan Williams were handed the distinct honor of being named joint “Nerds of the Year” for 2009 by GQ magazine. Stone has also been named one of the “Most Influential People in The World” by TIME Magazine, “Entrepreneur of the Decade “by Inc. Magazine, and amongst the “Top Ten Most Influential People of the Information Age” by Vanity Fair Magazine.
Stone is actively involved in a number of philanthropic and humanitarian causes including animal welfare, environmentalism, education, health and the elimination of poverty.