Let me introduce you to Gina Bianchini. She’s awesome. For real.
Gina was the Co-founder and CEO of Ning.com–a website that lets you create your own online social community for your friends, fans or brands. Ning is used by rock groups like Linkin Park, skaters like Tony Hawk, organizations like the Peace Corps, educational groups like Classroom 2.0 and a ton of other activists, non-profits and companies who want to start conversations and inspire action. (By the way, Gina is also one of the Fortune 40 Under 40.)
Gina helped grow Ning’s user base to 90 million (!) and later sold the company. She co-founded Ning with Marc Andreessen, “American entrepreneur, venture capitalist, software engineer, and multi-millionaire best known as co-author of Mosaic, the first widely-used web browser, and co-founder of Netscape Communications Corporation.” (Marc also has stakes in Facebook, Twitter, Groupon, LinkedIn and Zynga.)
Mightybell: Make Space for Your Passions
Today, Gina is the founder of Mightybell.
Mightybell is a privately-funded startup based in Palo Alto that allows you to create groups for your interests, passions, projects, and classes. They just launched, and creating this new type of online group is easy, colorful. And dare I say, fun?!
I was introduced to Mightybell and Gina by the amazing Steve Hargadon of www.FutureOfEducation.com when he interviewed me for my book Resumes Are Dead and hosted my video content and other supporting documents on a Mightybell space.
I’ve been privileged to have a sneak peak at the behind-the-scenes of the next version of Mightybell, test out the new features and provide some feedback. That’s why I’m introducing it to you. I like it. It’s useful. It’s fun. And I’m not getting paid to say that. :-) This site is a game changer. And I’m not the only one who thinks so.
“Will Mightybell Be the Next Facebook? Or The Next Foursquare?”
That’s what Forbes is asking.
When the site launched in 2011, Gina said in an article:
“We’ve spent the last 5 years calling success the number of friends, fans and followers we’ve accumlated – [but now] people using social software want more. Mightybell seeks to offer a simple way to take new social technologies and turn them into compelling experiences for people in the real world. We think the next innovation in social software will be its impact on daily life.”
A year later, and after thousands of beta testers have provided feedback, the Mightybell team launched the second version of the site on June 4, 2012 (my son’s birthday, so it’s charmed no matter what).
Richie Norton Interview with Gina Bianchina, Mightybell Founder and CEO
What’s the story behind the name “Mightybell”?
The bell is the ultimate social symbol. It’s been used for thousands of years to bring people together. When you think about doing that for the 2 billion people using digital technologies today, that’s a pretty Mightybell.
What motivated you to start Mightybell? What gets you most excited about the site?
I love meeting people and seeing how lives are changed when you can go deeper with people around the things you care about the most. I think social media can be challenging at times insofar as you can see interesting people from afar but have no way to go into something and build strong relationships because you have a project or a shared interest, or are learning something together. Those are the moments that motivated me to start Mightybell. I love this stuff.
What did you learn your first time around this last year with Mightybell? What kind of experiences are people having with the site?
After we launched, it quickly became clear that what people wanted from Mightybell was something that didn’t exist before now: a place to explore passions and curiosities in colorful, unstructured ways.
Instead of linear list thinking (“I need to do this, then this, then that”), they wanted to spend their free time in an unstructured world where new ideas could lead them down unexpected paths with friends and likeminded people (“This looks cool, I want to explore this.”)
The new Mightybell is a place to make space for your passions. As we made revisions to the product, we centered on three important themes:
Simple: “I want to see everything in one place. I want to experience the whole thing, then click step-by-step.”
Social: “I want to collaborate. I don’t want to tell people what to do or be told by someone else what to do.”
Serendipitous: “I want to explore things I’m curious about in a deeper, more interesting way.”
The new Mightybell offers groups their own colorful space where you can chat, comment and add posts, photos, questions, links, files, videos and events. Spaces can be topic-oriented, like kiteboarding, yoga, knitting and photography; or activity-oriented, like planning a trip, furnishing your first house, designing a DIY wedding, or organizing a series of backyard movie nights. Mightybell spaces can be public or just your friends.
One is unstructured and ad hoc, the other is a linear set of steps.
I saw that there was a feature to add premium content to the site. Could someone make money on Mightbell? How does that work?
In our Steps by Mightybell product, a creator can create a premium experience and charge for membership. It’s like setting up a social diet, or training program, or exercise plan.
If people could only remember one thing about why they should try out Mightbell, what would it be?
Because making space for your passions shouldn’t be lost in the constant stream of keeping up with social media. Mightybell is a way to go deeper with people you like.
Thanks so much, Gina. You have built something incredible.
Mightybell Video: “It Started with A Piece of Cake and it Grew into an Experience on Mightybell”
Check Out My Mightybell Space: I’m Using Mightybell to Help Me with My Next Book
- I need a collection of ideas and things that were seemingly stupid, or against all odds or silly, or maybe there were past failures or haters / naysayers that told someone they couldn’t do something, but they did it anyways. Or maybe it’s something that you yourself thought was stupid, but it turned out to be great.
- You can post YouTube links, links to books, articles, websites or even make write your own comments and tell your own story in this space.
- I’d also love quotes about the importance doing the “crazy” stupid things to live a life of meaning and make great things happen…even in the small.
- Winner of the Resumes Are Dead giveaway is Kimberly Oyler. Congrats! Thanks for following my blog and reading the book. Hope the Kindle Fire keeps you warm while you read, read, read.
- Can’t wait to post about my trip to China and what surprised me while running around Shanghai, Hong Kong and Shenzhen!