Featured Sessions at the 2014 SXSW Interactive Festival showcase some of the world’s most innovative thinkers. Today’s installment of the Featured Session Feature focuses on Biz Stone of Jelly. At SXSW, catch his session “Biz Stone in Conversation with Steven Johnson” on Tuesday, March 11 at 12:30 pm. Also, follow his insights on Twitter (the company he helped launch) at @Biz.
He has been named one of the most influential people in the world by TIME magazine and distinguished as GQ’s “Nerd of the Year", but Biz Stone says he’s simply an “Internet guy who believes in the triumph of humanity with a little help from technology.”
Stone, an entrepreneur who co-founded Twitter. Inc., develops collaborative systems that are freely used by hundreds of millions of people around the globe. In an era where success is dominated by clicks, page views and profits, he is a strong proponent of a more altruistic business model designed to promote social change.
Although Stone was just 32 years old when he helped launch Twitter in July 2006, he had already been working on a number of projects and for Google when the social networking platform took the world by storm. Since leaving his day-to-day role with the company that revolutionized the importance of 140 characters, he has continued to keep his hands full.
Along with fellow Twitter co-founder Evan Williams and Jason Goldman, a former executive of the company, Stone created the Obvious Corporation with an eye toward investing in various start up efforts. Among them is Medium, an online publishing forum dedicated to mid-length stories, including entries written and edited by Stone and covering topics that range from business development and marketing to the use of technology to connect neighborhoods and communities.
Jelly, Stone's latest venture, is a smartphone app that allows users to get answers to the questions on their minds by posting a query - accompanied by a photo - to others in their social network. The question and answer service's goal is to create a comprehensive system that users can tap into at any time to get input on life's mysteries, whether it’s the solution to a tricky math problem or the name of that strange looking building that you walk by every day on your way to work.
At the center of many of these projects is Stone's firm belief in the power of technology to bring to unite people. "Our aspiration is to create a new way to search and to make it easy for people to help one another," Stone recently said of Jelly. That communal spirit also extends into his personal life: Stone has long been involved in public service, he is a member of the national advisory council for educational charity group DonorsChoose.org and supports an array of public health, environmental and animal welfare groups and initiatives.
Stone is the author of three books, including Things a Little Bird Told Me: Confessions of the Creative Mind (Hachette 2014), which is set to be released in April. Centered on his early life and experience with Twitter and Google, the book illuminates Stone’s life story and provides valuable insight to anyone who wants to tap into his or her creative potential.
Born Christopher Isaac Stone, Biz’s nickname comes from the childhood handle bestowed on him by his father, a Boston auto mechanic. Stone currently lives in Northern California with his wife Livia and their son Jacob.
Register now to be part of the 2014 SXSW Interactive Festival and to attend the “Biz Stone in Conversation with Steven Johnson” session on Tuesday, March 11 at 12:30 pm. For the full picture of all sessions and evening events at the 2014 SXSW Interactive Festival, visit the day-by-day schedule. Also, learn more about the best of the best programming for the 2014 SXSW Interactive Festival by visiting the new Recommendations page.
Biz Stone photo by Paige Green.