Silicon Alley is forever looking for the next big thing, and the tech world is buzzing about a new site called Lift from three people behind the success of Twitter — in other words, the guys who brought you a previous "next big thing." Here, a brief instant guide:
Who is behind Lift?
Two Twitter co-founders, Evan Williams and Biz Stone, who left the microblogging site earlier this year, and Jason Goldman, Twitter's former product chief. They have formed a secretive venture called the Obvious Corporation, which, they say, is "start-up lab to build products." Lift will be Obvious's first product. Lift itself was created by Tony Stubblebine, who worked with Williams and Stone at the startup that begat Twitter, and Jon Crosby, who has worked at the personal social network Path and music site Songbird.
What is Lift?
Good question. The site is still in Beta form and shrouded in secrecy. The site's splash page, entered only by invite at this point, reads "Lift" and "Achieve anything." It has been described "as a way to help users achieve their goals through positive reinforcement," says Marshall Kirkpatrick at ReadWriteWeb, and seems similar Twitter in terms of its simple structure. In an email sent to interested parties, Obvious says, "We're interested in ways new technology can help unlock human potential, especially through the use of positive reinforcement. That's all we can tell you right now."
How exactly does Obvious work?
The partnership between Obvious and Lift is "more interesting" than Lift itself, says Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry at Business Insider. Obvious says it will help the Lift team with "strategy, design, funding, recruiting," and in exchange it will own some equity in the new venture. "The 'partnering' sounds more like more hands-on version of venture investing," Gobry says, "but it will be interesting to see how it pans out and if it's really different from investing or incubating."