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SXSW Highlight: Biz Stone admits defeat in post-Twitter foray, asks ‘Does anybody want Jelly?’
Twitter co-founder Biz Stone is looking for someone to take Jelly off his hands. During a talk at SXSW in Texas, Stone admitted to a massive group of fans that Jelly is dead. (Gasp).
“We built Jelly as we figured mobile devices are humanity’s hyperlinks so we can democratise info to bring knowledge online,” Stone told a packed hall at the Austin Convention Centre. But in less than a year his great idea flopped, bottoming out of the App Store within its first month.
Read more: Jelly’s first week: 100k questions asked, 25% answered
Despite being Silicon Valley’s nice-guy, Stone just couldn’t get traction on the startup he so passionately sold during every single interview. Considering that he invested his own millions (made from Twitter’s IPO) in Jelly, a lot was at stake in making it a success.
Even if Jelly didn’t become popular nobody would’ve predicted that Stone would give up on it, not even the straight-talking guys over at Valleywag stating in March last year:
“[Jelly] is by no means dead. It has enough money-momentum to fuel its unpopularity until Stone can convince a friend to acquire it, or it pivots into a Candy Crush clone or something.”
Turns out Jelly is dead (in the sense that Stone has given up on it), and for Stone this was hard to admit. During the SXSW Q&A session Stone said Jelly “made me nervous because over at Twitter everybody was like ‘what a stupid idea'”. He sort of blames the users and seems to believe that the sole reason why it didn’t take off was that people simply didn’t ask enough questions.
Thus, true to ValleyWag’s prediction, Stone pivoted — that overused buzzword that the HBO series Silicon Valley so ingeniously mocked — saying “I’ve actually never worked on anything where I didn’t pivot from the initial idea”.
Understandably is seemed hard for Stone to admit defeat in what can now officially be regarded as a massive failure, although he doesn’t want to describe Jelly as such.
“I have this thing, if you want to succeed spectacularly you have to be willing to fail spectacularly. You have to just go. For me failure has always been … it hasn’t been a shameful experience, it was just ‘oh that didn’t work’.” (Shame guys).
In an attempt to avoid continuing on the failure of Jelly, questions were asked about his time at Twitter and what he thought of the company’s future to which he answered: “There’s lots of stuff that I think Twitter should be doing differently, but I don’t want to say it.”
Stone preferred to promote his new app which “celebrates the old mashup culture”: Super. After tech journos stumbled upon the app back in September, Stone said the project was still in beta and not really a big deal. Now that he’s admitted publicly that Super is in fact a pivot from Jelly, it seems the app is in fact official (launched with little fanfare). Try it out and predict the app’s success in the comment section below.