Twitter creator's new venture: 'Jelly'

    7:32 AM, Feb 17, 2014   |    comments
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    UNDATED (CNN) - Twitter co-founder Biz Stone has a new start-up with an odd name. It's called "Jelly" and it's designed to apply the biology of a jellyfish to search and social media.

    Stone said, "I sort of got nauseous because I was sort of getting used to the idea of like, relaxing for a while."

    That's the sound of a new idea hatching from Twitter co-founder Biz Stone. You'd think he'd want a breather after riding the rollercoaster from scrappy startup to public company. But when a good idea strikes, it's back to the startup trenches. Stone's latest venture: an app called Jelly, which launched last month. He said, "Jelly is a new way to search using pictures and friends from your social networks."

    Here's how it works: You take a picture then ask a question. Your friends will then answer. Friends from your social network can answer, and their friends can answer, too. Got what you needed? You can send a thank you note. Stone said, "So people are asking like, what is this bug? Is this spider gonna kill me? We see a lot of spider ID questions."

    Ironically, in an increasingly connected world, this tech founder wants to add a human touch to search. Stone said, "The oracles of our day, the web search engines, we ask them everything. But there's got to be some percentage of our queries that are just better answered by a person. And our thinking is that maybe the true promise of a connected society is for people to help each other."

    How does that community and that network relate to the name jelly? Stone said, "The jellyfish has very unique nervous system. It doesn't have a brain. So a jellyfish is just floating around, no brain, all of a sudden a predator comes by. And what happens is, a few neurons fire, then its neighbors fire. And then what happens is, within a fraction of a second, a brain is formed on the fly. The visualization of that is how we want jelly to work."

    Years ago, CNN's Laurie Segall sat down with Stone and asked him how they got the name Twitter. Turns out they literally pulled the name out of a hat. Fast forward four years, that site now has more than 215 million users.

    So going forward with Jelly, what are your challenges? I mean you're now in the trenches again. You're at a startup. How do you go forward? Stone replied, "You basically have to be constantly uncomfortable. And afraid. And if you're okay with that, then it's cool."

    For Stone, his family has helped with that. He said, "One thing that's always been true is my wife has sorta been my secret weapon all along. She's super smart and I always ask her work stuff. And she just, off hand, offers incredibly good advice. I got this great job at Google in 2003 before the IPO and they gave me all these shares and all this stuff. And I quit, I wanted to quit cause I wanted to start a company with Evan Williams. And my wife was supportive of it. Like, even, that's crazy - look at the share price of Google now."

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