History Proves Group Messaging Is The Conduit To The Decentralized Golden Age
We find it curious how the cycle of technology adoption works. When the keyboard was adopted, people never considered they would revert to using only two of the ten fingers they have for typing. Yet, things have been changing (and sometimes changing back) in that seemingly bizarre direction with accelerated pace.
The way we communicate today is not only mobile but also multi-agent.
The volume of our group (many-to-many) conversations dwarfs the one-to-one volume we generate from communicating with close friends and family by many orders of magnitude.
We rely on group communication in our work, in our hobbies, to organize ourselves and find ourselves, to build a community around a shared inspiration or pursuit, to serve our customers and so much more.
In that respect, group messaging is touted as the annihilator of email through the enhancements it brought to many-to-many communication, a feature email could never keep up with in today’s on-demand economies.
For a time, email was good enough
Fundamentally, email is a good enough means of communication.
Yet the growing ubiquity of messaging is a testament to its busyness and disorganization. Things inevitably get lost in the shuffle.
Unfortunately, group messaging is now symptomatic and exhibits the same busyness and disorganization as email.
Some companies thrive on the reality that group messaging creates massive volumes of activity, and are cashing in on the ability to keep track of the critical, valuable messages that stream into group chats but which you inevitably miss.
It is the fear of missing out on the valuable content that drives us back to group messaging. However, we find that to be a bug, not a feature.
Group messaging should not feel so disorganized.
The nuggets of information should be easy to find.
They should make themselves known. They should have a reputation.
They should be rewarded. And recognized. Openly.
We’ve had the opportunity to innovate in the messaging space for years, but recently we observed the pain of disorganization and noise in group chat across a variety of new use cases and we have found that in most of those cases, those pains have evolved into roadblocks to progress.
Today’s group chat is 🅽🅾🅸🆂🆈
Take Telegram; it’s so… rowdy.
You’re added continuously to groups you don’t want by individuals you don’t know.
When you do join a group you like, you’re greeted by 2,000+ unread messages during the next hour.
These are messages you’d be hard-pressed to individually review if you care to harvest the group’s collective knowledge and insights.
Surely there needs to be a better way.
This lack of control — this feeling of disempowerment is a great example at the core of the case for the decentralized age and how it can come about.
The catalyst for the decentralized age — a time when people place and extract tremendous value from their assets and knowledge — requires a conduit that can spread; some unstoppable force that is changing the very fabric of the way people interact with the world.
Something like the Open Web.
Personal data as the ticket of access
There was a time in the late 1990s when sharing your first name on the Open Web was considered asking for trouble, in the form of people looking to prey on others using that information.
Browsing the deeper corners of the Internet felt inherently unsafe out of fear of exposure of some kind, the likes of which would place your personal information — and therefore welfare — in the hands of some stranger.
In the mid-2000s, things started to change rapidly.
With the launches of the MySpaces and Facebooks came a radical shift in the way people protected and shared their personal information.
The world had turned on its head.
Now, if you didn’t share everything about you, you didn’t exist.
And if you didn’t exist, you could not reap the benefits offered by other netizens whom themselves searched for better ways to openly connect and share. Could you imagine never being able to Login with Facebook again?!
These words no longer felt scary — they felt necessary.
Eventually, much of humanity was sucked into this event horizon which effectively silenced the internal voice warning not to openly share information for fear that it will land in the wrong hands.
Suddenly, the voice empathized with that possibility. It yearned for maximum exposure such that a maximum number of people could have access to that information and data.
These products of the future not only created a new reality but were purpose-built to connect and harvest as many sharers as possible — as fast as possible.
This would eventually lead to a radical and extremely lucrative shift in the way people could be reached — and thus, online advertising itself.
The birth of On Demand
This new era was a period of explosive growth, and as data-driven products began driving adoption through culture and everyday context, companies began to realize and cash in on the powers that could be.
This led to the ascent of realtime bidding-based advertising, which relies on the massive amounts of information people are sharing about themselves (or the things they search every day).
It also drove motivation in those companies to find and infer additional information about users to improve the targeting capabilities of their technologies, thereby providing greater business advantages.
The rise of open information has made it possible for the concept of on-demand fulfillment to exist.
This new network was the launchpad for companies like Airbnb, Uber, Postmates and other marketplaces, the likes of which created ripples in the fabric of work and how it is defined for billions of people around the globe.
Soon, these ripples began to make their effect on the way people see work. The concept of a 9 to 5 job became less and less a default, and more of a fallback.
An entire generation of people observed parents put in decades of hard work and sacrifice in pursuit of retirement, and decided that they prefer to put their life experiences ahead of everything else.
To live in the now.
These new business models turned out to be a perfect fit for that generation. This explains the explosion in young people travel, digital nomads, social influencers, etc., all of which look at income as nothing more than the means to their end.
Suddenly, the definition of work started to shift away from mere utility and towards that of purpose.
People have started to make optimistic and deliberate attempts to put their life ambitions front and center and to fund those adventures by cobbling together several pursuits.
Some sell trinkets on Etsy to fund their next vacation. Others rent their apartments out on Airbnb to fund that trip. Others might even drive to their dream destination while pocketing some cash on the way using Uber.
The things people own and the things they do everyday have value to the people around them and across the world, and a growing movement is adopting and demanding a future where the creation and distribution of value can be captured anywhere, anytime.
The companies that have placed themselves in the middle of these experiences have made a considerable impact on the way people interact with each other and the world around them.
However, in doing so — even today, they are also awakening a sense of entrepreneurial independence in the minds of each of the people using their products.
A sense we believe is fuelling the next great revolution.
The Case for the Decentralized Age
A wind of change is blowing again.
The world is evolving and changing in a context similar to the rise of on-demand and sharing economies.
In the late 2000s, users awoke to the realization that they could acquire value when they wanted, where they wanted, and that the assets they owned could become vehicles of revenue through the on-demand and sharing economies we interact with and contribute to.
Now, users are waking up to the realization that their assets are valuable — that they too are a vehicle for creating value, though that seems out of reach.
We are coming to grips with the cost of free.
There is a growing sense of realization that trading personal data for free experience, no matter how great, eventually leads to abuse and security holes.
There is a constant foreboding of future database breaches and personal data exposures and a strong feeling of disempowerment by those most affected by these dangerous events.
People realize it is too late, and that there is no alternative they might leverage to participate in the sharing and on-demand economies as independent actors.
They wish to free themselves of big-name marketplaces and networks which seep data from its users or position themselves as middlemen to distribute value.
Curiously, many of those people also chose to place their hat in the blockchain ring.
The benefits of decentralization are regarded as an ideal conduit for the empowerment of people in a way that enables them to claim independence from centrally-owned services they have grown all but allergic to.
A new generation looks to blockchain technology as the vehicle to a promised land where the fruit that you reap is yours and yours alone to eat and share.
The Era of Entrepreneurial independence
The trust people have in the services they use every day is plummeting.
This is happening because the companies behind the services people use have justified jeopardizing the privacy of their users for gains that, worse, never even make it to those users.
In many ways, these services are going back on the elements that have enabled them to take hold in the first place.
Facebook’s mission is to connect people, but Facebook has made it progressively harder and harder to maintain that connection on their platform and locked that value behind algorithms and paywalls that sacrifice user experience and data for revenue.
Airbnb enables the monetization of real estate daily, and its functionality and network of visitors are provided to hosts in exchange for a revenue share. Users are realizing they can continue building great Airbnb businesses without the need for Airbnb, especially when Airbnb kicks them out.
Content creators on YouTube, Instagram and Twitch, are waking to realize that the risk of building their businesses and audience on a platform they do not control is that they can be cut off anytime.
People are seeking means of empowerment and independence to gain the ability to engage with and monetize their most esteemed audience members in a context which does not require millions of eyeballs to achieve sustainable success.
That is the conduit to sustaining their income without having to put up with the reality they no longer can stand.
Our vision of this future is possible through a means of communication which is open, empowering and enabling.
Where the context and rules of engagement are set by you, as a fundamental right to communicate that can acquired and owned, wholly, without fear of anything or anyone positioning themselves in the middle.
This is what we are pursuing as we improve the first decentralized, provably secure messenger aimed at empowering you to connect with those you care about.