But not all nerds are radicals. Some are trying to just tweak what already exists and make it more powerful. That's the case with nerd No. 4 — Gina Bianchini, the founder of Mightybell.
2012 was a tough year for social Internet companies. But Bianchini believes this wave is just beginning. With Mightybell she hopes to unlock social media's power by helping small groups of people organize easily and quickly in the real world.
The largest social networks today are really broadcasting platforms, where anyone can reach a large audience of friends or followers.
In the real world, the most effective groups tend to be smaller — and built around a common purpose. If I build a great book club or baby-sitting co-op, Mightybell hopes to help you clone what I've done online and re-create a similar group in your own community.
Growing up in Silicon Valley, Gina Bianchini witnessed the region’s transformation from orange orchards to technology companies and wanted nothing more than to be part of the growing movement in business. In 2010 she became an entrepreneur-in-residence at Andreessen Horowitz, a venture capital firm in Menlo Park, Calif. It was there that she came up with the idea behind Mightybell, a company she launched last September that helps users create intimate communities around creative topics. “You could create a space for your book club or your class,” Bianchini says. “You come in, choose a theme, a background and then have the ability to real-time chat, post photos and create events.”
Growing up in Silicon Valley, Gina Bianchini witnessed the region's transformation from orange orchards to technology companies and wanted nothing more than to be part of the growing movement in business. Her first foray was in 2000, as a member of Goldman Sachs' high tech group, a tiny department at the time.
When Ning co-founder and former CEO Gina Bianchini launched Mightybell a year ago, a startup aimed at helping you accomplish things in small, incremental steps and show others how to do the same, it essentially allowed you to create step-by-step private guides for anything. But the startup is shifting its focus slightly away from the private, step-by-step product into a more collaborative, open public platform for people to share their ideas in groups.
Mightybell founder Gina Bianchini thinks today's social networks are too much about broadcasting our individual lives and not enough about engaging with each other. She's using AOL as inspiration (for real!) to try to change the way we connect online.
Gina Bianchini: Confidence Through Fear
When former Ning CEO and co-founder Gina Bianchini launched social network Mightybell in September, she had a vision for users to "take new social technologies and turn them into compelling experiences for people in the real world."
Serial entrepreneur Gina Bianchini is betting that people want to congregate and collaborate around common interests on a site other than Facebook. That's why Mightybell, a startup she founded in 2010, is unveiling a new direction and a revamped design today.
Keen On... Gina Bianchini
In 2003, I saw the early seeds of something new and wonderful in software. I saw the very beginning of people creating and organizing with other people online via profiles into "social networks." While the earliest social networks were in fact bulletin boards and chat rooms that engineers were using even before there was a commercial Internet, it wasn't until 2003 that we as a small collective of entrepreneurs living and working in Palo Alto, CA started working on a series of social networks - Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Ning - that would become a critical part of people's lives all over the world. As someone who had always been passionate about how people organize for change in their lives, I was struck by the power of the village going global. With social software, I thought the possibilities were endless. Political campaigns and model airplane clubs could find each other in ways whose scale had no analogue in the real world.
Gina Bianchini helped usher in the age of social media nearly a decade ago when she co-founded Ning, a social networking site that launched the same year as Facebook.
Ning cofounder and former CEO Gina Bianchini is back, and she's launching her latest startup: a service called Mightybell. Its promise? To help you accomplish things in small, incremental steps (and to let you show others how to do the same).
Mightybell is today launching a beta version of its tools for sharing step-by-step guides to experiences like traveling, recipes and education.