Yesterday we gathered 23 Kred Leaders from across the globe to check out the hottest startups in Silicon Valley and discuss the power of social influence. We had the opportunity to meet with tech innovators from Path, Highlight and Twitter.
At Path’s office, which has a breathtaking view of San Francisco Bay, its executive team Dave, Matt, Nate as well as Paul from Highlight shared their vision for the future of the social web with the Kred Leaders. “Path’s customer and development philosophy comes from the two companies where the startup has its roots: Apple and its design focus, and Facebook’s “Hack and break things” philosophy,” said Matt Van Horn, VP of Business. “Its core focus is on family and people you care the most about.”
Highlight founder Paul Davison added to the discussion by sharing the vision for his hot app – place a little bit of information about ourselves in the ether so that people can instantly find things in common, be it authors they love or shared friends (just like the Things in Common’ click-through on the Kredentials). He noted that “customers are better than users,” which is also part of our philosophy at Kred and a big reason that many of our key features came from the ideas of our friends and colleagues.
Merging an insightful brainstorm session with a quick lunch break at Kred HQ, the leaders discussed the potential for selecting and supporting causes where the group could contribute by motivating their networks with the wide diversity of skills and talents. This was a very ‘influential’ room, with over 2 million total followers and an average Kred score over 825.
We were very excited when April Underwood, Michael Sippey and Jenna Sampson from Twitter stopped by for a thought-provoking session about how the platform could evolve. The Kred Leaders offered suggestions like community alerts (like the Amber Alerts for missing children), the ability to tag followers for group messaging, DMs to multiple users, mass unfollow and introducing more contextual data about people with whom you connect. The Twitter team told us that they are focused on making it easier to move great content in and out of Twitter. It’s easy to find anything you’re interested in, but only if you know what to search for. This is a big focus of the new #Discover section on the recently redesigned site.
One of the highlights of the day was a wine and cheese reception at Current TV with Chief Executive Officer Joel Hyatt and California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom. Joel spoke first, stating that Current was the first TV network to use Twitter after meeting with founder Biz Stone before the 2008 presidential debates. He also explained how he selected Current’s newest on-air star, Gavin Newsom, to host a Friday night show because he thought the lieutenant governor’s support of technology would make him the perfect person to interview people on the cutting edge of cultural, governmental and technological developments. The show’s unique goal is to celebrate the diversity of views in California through the eyes of a current elected official, not a past official (like most political shows).
Mr. Newsom spoke next and described a digital divide that he sees increasingly from the perspective of government, noting that it took him almost a year get the Office of the Lieutenant Governor in the cloud. He added, “Many people see government as a vending machine; insert tax dollars and services roll out. If you don’t like what you get, you shake the machine.” Newsom prefers a framework that bridges understanding of what’s going on between the private and public sectors, and to think of government as a platform for developing solutions (as Tim O’Reilly puts it).
In the Q&A session Kred Leader Peter Shankman challenged Newsom about how local politicians running can provoke action once in office. Newsom answered, “One way conversations with your constituency are dead, which was proved out with the example of Reed Hastings and Netflix’s user base. The trick is to underpromise and overdeliver, and have people you trust on staff who can speak your language in social media.”
Jodee ended the Q&A with a tough question for Newsom: How can we take someone so innovative and help you bootstrap your peers? Mr. Newsom sees it as an issue of misaligned incentives, “The usual formula – raise money from special interests, have positions that appeal to your basis, spend money on TV, and suppress turnout – still works. Even so, there are exceptions and the political world is changing quickly and dramatically. Now the tools and technology need to adapt.”
The day closed with dinner at Kred HQ and a drum circle – old-school social networking communication in action. The leaders all remarked about the amazing people and companies they met, and left inspired and ready to tackle day two of the summit.