Twitter’s new CEO and owner, Elon Musk, is shaking his social network’s cage and ruffling a lot of feathers both inside and outside the company. But while some in the tech world describe this kind of chaos as a trash fire, others see it as something very different: an opportunity.
Federated social networks for years, legacy social platforms which have their own issues and a cacophony of pre-existing fringe efforts are all emerging as possible alternatives to Twitter. And in that vein, so do completely new ideas.
One is being crafted by Gabor Cselle, a repeat founder who wants to build what he described to me as “a new Twitter.”
In true valley bustle style, Gabor always focuses on small details like a name and what exactly it will all entail. He does that in real timewith a multi-tab Google Doc that you can view.
But as a first step in generating interest in his new Twitter, Gabor has create a registration list for people to register their interest while he is working. (Note: the name on the registration page, T2, appears to be an abbreviation for Twitter 2, but Gabor says it’s just a placeholder name.)
Now you might be wondering why pay attention to this? Isn’t Gabor stepping forward a bit here? It doesn’t yet have a name, or even a product.
Well yes. Gabor is in this sense only one of the hundreds of millions of founders in the world who feed on ideas. But there are a few things that set him and his alt-Twitter effort apart.
For starters, he’s a repeat founder who sold his first company, YC-based mobile email startup reMail, to Google. His second venture, native advertising startup Namo Media, was sold to Twitter itself.
He worked on the products of these two titans between and after these acquisitions, and this experience – he focused on the timeline, new user onboarding and logout experiences on Twitter; and on many different consumer ideas as director of Area 120, Google’s internal incubator project – gave him a taste of what’s interesting and what’s not. And what works and what doesn’t.
Gabor left Google in July 2022 and has since tweeted his daily journey for what to do next. (Day 106for example, was moved to TechCrunch Disrupt, where he came to see Paul Davison, another hustler, talk about the highlights of Clubhouse and the lowlights of Highlight.) Gabor’s public column gave him a boost and viral attention Twitter-style and, naturally, an overview of the conversation on Twitter itself.
He tells me that Elon’s initial push to buy Twitter sparked a huge whirlwind of interest among his friends and contacts, who chattered quietly about how the whole place would fall apart.
Then Musk bought it. And then the layoffs hit – a tipping point for Gabor.
“I’ve been thinking about a new Twitter for a while,” he said. “But after several of my friends still in the business were laid off last week, I thought, ‘This is the thing I’ve been thinking about for so long! Maybe now is the time.
Gabor is long on big ideas right now.
“I want to build the next public discussion place. I want it to be enjoyable and fun, rewarding and valuable, and free from harassment,” he tells me. “We now have 15-20 years of experience moderating content on the internet, so let’s incorporate that.”
He is also a big fan of Andrew Chen’s Cold Start concept. For his own cold start, Gabor is first focusing on bringing together a critical mass of people – a community to kick off as soon as “T2” launches. According to the Google Doc, this is currently scheduled for September 2023, a date that Gabor tells me he might try to mount.
He even had some investor interest, which he built through iMessage. That inbox includes an unnamed ex-Twitter-turned-investor who once texted asking how much money Gabor would like to get this new bird off the ground.
And he got a lot of unsolicited advice. Twitter is great for that.
“Someone asked last week, why doesn’t someone just start a new Twitter? It would only take three days and $50 million,” he said. which first led me to ask what a roadmap might look like, I think for me it wouldn’t be a three day build, but it doesn’t take $50 million either.
This raises many other questions… including why it thinks it can build what Twitter has never been able to build itself, or why even more centralized social media walled gardens have a future given all the problems Twitter has. we have seen in those we have seen. have today.
For now, his intuition is what he has: creating something from scratch will be easier than trying to fix something that’s already big and working, and it certainly won’t be as easy as to simply bring together what he calls “the best people”. ”, but not impossible either.
“I think right now I see this empty space,” he said, “and I want to be in this space.”
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