We Need More Humanist In Tech!
Jhamar Youngblood (Captain @ The Blast App Inc.)
For you to understand our vision of how we at The Blast App Inc see the future of online communication, we first have to convey to you an idea that is extremely simple but difficult to grasp only because many people are not used to it. That idea is the fact that computer science technology is everywhere, in every aspect of our lives, and it controls everything. Moreover, we, as citizens of the world, need to unite to either become more empathetic product makers or support product makers who are building technology products that are making our world a more comfortable place to live. Until now we have merely allowed technology to “happen to us” without fully understanding the people behind these products and their personal agendas. Many people claim that some of the big tech products of today are as toxic as cigarettes. I am aware that this claim may sound too extreme, but we do know that some of these products from the bigger tech companies are directly connected with anxiety, depression, and overall stress amongst our most important age groups; teens and young adults. And during the last decade children’s hospital admissions for suicidal thoughts/actions doubled. If there were an over the counter drug, food or beverage that had such alarming effects on our youth, the product would be banned by the government. However, government regulation seems impossible or a few years away, at a minimum. So if we can’t rely on the government to help us cure this virus, what can we do? Below we share a few ideas that can help us break away from many of these big tech products. These ideas include; 1. understanding the people behind these products and their agendas, 2. understanding the current state of technology and how we all can become empathetic product makers, and 3. joining a movement that supports small tech companies and developers so we can compete with products from the big tech companies.
Narrowly Defined Profiles
What if we told you that homosexual men created the fashion industry and the reason they selected tall skinny women to model their clothes is that those women had the same body type as teenage boys? Don’t want to believe us? Well, take that up with clinical psychologist Sam Vaknin. Professor Vaknin claims that generations of women have made the mistake of thinking men like thin, anorexic women when in fact studies have shown men to favor fuller women with more curves and “love handles.” In summation, Vakin suggests that most of the early fashion houses and fashion magazines were created and funded by homosexual men who conditioned women to pursue a body type that resembled young teenage boys. If his claims are true it means the ideal female form that most women desire is that of an adolescent male; such a bizarre thought if professor Vakin is correct.
So what does this have to do with big tech? The makers of many of today’s big tech products have a very narrowly defined profile. We say this with no ill intent but they are all men and after reading several first hand accounts we learned that many of them were asexual or had low sexual activity. Many were socially inept, many have never felt ‘unsafe,’ and we doubt any of them have been on a New York City subway. To us, the New York City subway is the most beautiful place on earth because there you will find a variety of people from different races, genders, ethnicities, political and spiritual beliefs, and social classes all acting in harmony. How is it possible to “connect the world” if you’ve never been to the most connected and diverse place in our world?
However, just like the homosexual men who created an industry based on their liking so did the makers of a few of these big tech products. These big tech products were made by them and for them without any input from outsiders or any empathy towards the impact their products may have on other’s identities. Also, today we see the effect that these unilateral decisions are having on our society as many women, minorities, non binary, and other identity groups are becoming addicted to these products and are slowly becoming just like the creators; unaware and socially inept.
Product Founders > Tech Founders
In 2013 and while in graduate school at Dartmouth College, I studied why American entrepreneurship has declined despite globalization making it easier than ever to start companies. My research led me to a theory that suggested a majority of college-age aspiring entrepreneurs weren’t starting companies because they felt as if they lacked any groundbreaking ideas and if they did have an idea they didn’t have the proper tech skills to turn their ideas into actual products. So after surveying over 100 college-age aspiring entrepreneurs at both Dartmouth College and Harvard University, the lack of groundbreaking concepts and the lack of tech skills were the top two reasons why students weren’t becoming entrepreneurs. What started to become clear to me after doing research and having started TBA and other startups as a product founder is that there is a myth that is associated with idea creation and technology innovation.
Many people think new ideas and new technology are created and invented in a garage or college dorm room by an undiscovered genius. However, what we learned over the years is that people coming up with new inventions do not invent great products or evolve technology. Technology evolves by people putting existing designs together in new and creative ways. The perfect example of this is the computer in the 1940s. There were 50,000 distinct inventions in the first computer. Those entrepreneurs who deeply understood the machine went on to build new technologies like programming languages and computer software which then led to another set of entrepreneurs creating website products and online businesses.
So what does this mean for the rest of us aspiring tech entrepreneurs and product makers that don’t fit the stereotypical startup founder profile? For starters, we must understand that most of the breakthrough innovations of the next 25 years or so in computer science already exists. Moreover, as the world becomes more connected online which allows us to network with developers from all over the world and as more “no code necessary” tools enter the market, the time and resources needed to build tech products will drop significantly in the upcoming years. This means that anyone in the world with access to the internet and a profound understanding of current technologies will be able to build amazing products that will make our world a more comfortable place to live. The theory here is that product founders are more important than technical founders because the challenges of today require founders to think more deeply and strategically in an inclusive manner as opposed to socially inept technical founders building products for themselves and doing anything in their power to addict billions of people to their products.
Support Small Tech
Reid Hoffman, who is the founder of LinkedIn and early investor in some of today’s biggest tech companies was once asked about his approach to investing, and he responded: “I invest in one or more of the seven deadly sins.” If that wasn’t alarming enough, Reid Hoffman also invested in an organization that was creating and spreading misinformation about members of the United States government. Also, in his latest book Blitzscaling: The Lightning-Fast Path to Building Massively Valuable Companies, he teaches entrepreneurs “the techniques needed for scaling up at a dizzying pace that blows competitors out of the water.” He says the objective of Blitzscaling is “not to go from zero to one, but from one to one billion –as quickly as possible.” Our intention isn’t to single Reid Hoffman out because this approach to company building is shared throughout Silicon Valley. So the truth is, if you want to become a billionaire in today’s economy, this model is the most effective to make that desire come true. This playbook has been a part of Silicon Valley for decades; get scale, collect data, and make as much much money as possible. Also, mottos like “move fast and break things” were created and it inspired a generation of entrepreneurs to try to build products that were highly addictive by touching on negative human emotions like aggression, envy, and hatred. So do you expect any different from companies whose early investors thesis is to investing is investing in “one or more” of the seven deadly sins of humanity?
We have a vision for the next batch of entrepreneurs. These entrepreneurs will take a more empathetic approach to product building and understand that they can’t follow the same stale playbook used in Silicon Valley for the last 30 years. The manner in which new products will survive in the modern world isn’t through quantity but by providing a better qualitative experience than everyone else in the market. Our goal is to convince a generation of entrepreneurs to blow up old tech models and create new ones through love, inclusivity, and sharing the same vision of making our world a more comfortable place to live. This goal will be difficult as we compete with big tech companies with billions of dollars and massive network effects. However, with your support, we know we can do it. So if, you believe in our vision and want to show support here are a few things you can do;
1. Download The Blast App on the Google Play and the App Store.
2. If you want to join the TBA community send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know why and we will send you a free referral code!
3. Follow our movement on Twitter at @theblastapp to stay updated with other products from other small companies and developers that we will feature.
4. If you are a small company or developer and want to collab on events or any other ideas, please reach out at email@example.com
The Blast App Inc.
Our mission at The Blast App Inc is to build the most meaningful online communication products our world has ever seen. We will try to not cause harm to our society and we will use our business to inspire people and other companies to try to make our world a better place. We currently have two products in market, Info by TBA and The Blast App. Info by TBA is a public opinion tool that allows us to collect authentic public opinion data from authentic people. And The Blast App is an instant messaging app and our goal is to turn the lock screen on people’s phones into the new social feed. The Blast App is a super app that lets you blast various types of information directly to your friends, customers, supporters, and other people in your world via silent push notifications. When recipients reply they are replying privately or publicly to you and you only. THINK BCC ON EMAIL BUT FOR MOBILE. We started working on The Blast App in 2014, and our mission has always been to build the most effective, efficient, and authentic online communication service our world has ever seen. We were entirely self-funded for the first two years, but things changed in 2017 when we won a grant to build a safety feature to help protect women and teens from domestic abuse and street attacks. These grants and partnerships permitted us not to have to rely on advertising dollars to keep our service alive. This means we are not in the business of hoarding your data and sharing it to make money. Here are a few reasons why we think we have the most effective, efficient, and authentic social communication/information sharing product on the market:
Effective — You can blast messages privately to friends in your address book or publicly to everyone that’s following you on the app. On TBA you are sharing information with the people in your life who care about you the most. Being that these are your closest friends, customers, supporters or new strangers that you want to meet, it’s nearly impossible to come in contact with any trolls. If you do, we have a feature called “Hide” which hides you from any user on the app. It’s like you don’t even exist to them.
Efficient — We are convinced that the new social feed will be on your device’s lock screen. This means you no longer have to open an app and scroll through a bunch of noise before you find the information that you genuinely care about. Every time you touch your phone, the information that’s most important to you will be right there. Moreover, as the sender, you can guarantee that a large percentage of your audience will see your message. On traditional social media most content is seen by less than 3% of friends and followers but on TBA we got that number to 76%.
Authentic — TBA is one of the only places online that is designed for you to be your real self. We do not display followers amount nor do we use a like system. This allows users to share more authentic information with the public because they aren’t necessarily thinking about who’s going to see it or if they are getting enough “likes”. This also means that you can unfollow someone whenever you want and they will never know. We also created an internal points system that displays your value to the TBA community. Users earn Blast Loyalty Points for sending blasts, inviting friends, and buying badges to show support. We also allow all users to apply for a verified badge. These verified badges keeps the service more authentic.
Thank you and I hope to see you as a member our our community soon!