Twitter Co-Founder Launches Jelly, but Will It Go the Way of Aardvark?
If I were to bet on a company doing great things, it would be one founded by Biz Stone. I’ve had the pleasure of chatting with Biz and he’s one smart cookie–I’m stating the obvious considering he co-founded Twitter.
Say you’re walking along and you spot something unusual. You want to know what it is so you launch Jelly, take a picture, circle it with your finger, and type, “What’s this?” That query is submitted to some people in your network who also have Jelly. Jelly notifies you when you have answers.
No matter how sophisticated our algorithms become, they are still no match for the experience, inventiveness, and creativity of the human mind. Jelly is a new way to search and something more–it makes helping other people easy and fun.
Assuming they can ensure politicians don’t use the app to ask random women to identify different parts of their genitalia, Jelly sounds promising. Right?
Well, maybe not. You see, we’ve seen this before. Back in 2008, Aardvark launched with a similar mandate: ask your friends to help answer your questions. I suggested that the company might suffer from “participation fatigue” once the novelty wore off (remember when we all used to read and reply to each other’s tweets?).
We never did get to find out the answer to that question, because Google came along, acquired Aardvark, then promptly shut it down. Why? Likely because they wanted the people and they saw Aardvark as a feature, not a product. In other words, it was something that could be rolled into Google, but couldn’t really make it as a stand alone product.
Fast forward to 2014 and we have Jelly. Will it be a success? Who knows? I was one of the many early adopters of Twitter that couldn’t see if 140-character messages would ever take off. The answer comes, when we define “success” for Jelly. If it’s to become as big as Twitter, then that might be hard to achieve. If success is to sell to Google for $100M and move on to something else, then I suspect it will be very successful!
As for marketing? It’s still too early to tell how it will fit in with our marketing strategies. We’ll keep an eye on it. In the meantime, let me know where you see Jelly working for you.