After 3 years of hard work, Roomkey.co has finally invented a totally new way for virtual networking to happen online. Digital communities, starting today, can now access our product for free. This means they can set up a community lounge for their team, and host free networking events, and virtual meetups. Roomkey is built for the admins of Discord, Slack, Facebook, and Linkedin Groups!
My name is Don Stein, and I’m the Founder of Roomkey.co. As a first-time entrepreneur trying to figure out the right way to operate, it’s really instrumental to have VC’s who are willing to roll up their sleeves and get their hands dirty. I’ve been so fortunate to work with many great backers like Larry Braitman, Spark Capital, General Catalyst, betaworks and more. They are the type of investor who offer advice, guidance, mental support, and many introductions. It’s so valuable. But one special investor has really leaned in to help me over the past six months, and I’d like to thank them. They are the investor who was willing to work on a project with me from start to end, fitting into deadlines as needed. Always doing what’s best for the company. That’s the type of investor we have with Biz Stone of Future Positive.
Future Positive is a new fund started by Biz Stone and Fred Blackford (who recently joined the Board of NotCo, a leading food-tech company in Latin America). I believe they are one of the strongest global teams for investment in the world, with close ties to London and Silicon Valley. Fred is well connected within the realm of capital. And Biz, he’s an All Star within entrepreneurship. Having co-founded Twitter (NYSE), Medium (yes, this Medium), and Jelly. If you’re in the mood for a good burger, he’s also on the Board of Beyond Meat (NASDAQ: BYND). Biz has great access and support in the UK as he’s currently involved with Oxford.
In partnership with Future Positive, Roomkey co-hosted The Social Entrepreneurship Festival 2021. Biz and I spoke for 2 hours on the virtual stage over the course of Thursday and Friday, in a public setting within the Roomkey.co app. The feeling of inspiration was just as strong in-person as with his avatar.
1: Serendipity can change your life, keep meeting people online!
At the age of 9, Biz had to work on a lawn mowing company in order to help bring in money for his family to pay for food and other necessities. He ran this company through high school. He maintained an optimistic spirit to build his own startups. He initially started Xanga prior to Twitter, and despite it growing to 1M users, he felt his time was better spent working on projects with Ev Williams. So he discontinued with Xanga and buddied up with Ev. At that time, Ev was a popular blogger, so his friendship with Biz was a natural fit. The serendipity of the internet brought these two together, Ev and Biz, the co-founders of Twitter. Although they were working on a product, it was not until this extremely unique moment when they incorporated.
2: Act fast when you see an opportunity
Don’t let opportunity pass you by. There are many stories of elderly people on their death bed regretting ‘not taking action’ to capture something they feel is an opportunity. Biz is not in this category. Prior to even starting Twitter as a business, they built it as a product with an SMS messaging system. During their trip to SXSW, they witnessed the power of this platform. After this story happened to the Twitter co-founders, they knew they had an opportunity, and incorporated Twitter Inc. the next day. We are glad Biz Stone, Jack Dorsey and Ev Williams went to SXSW!
3: Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much
You’ve heard the saying. It’s the common theme of Biz’s career, book, and life philosophy: the power of groups of people. Biz finds great people and sticks with them for a long time, and his platforms allow others to do this as well.
All of his companies; Twitter, Medium, Jelly, and even his first one, Xanga, are about helping people share ideas into a pool of collective intelligence. A virtual space where people come together to engage with each other’s ideas, and build bonds. In some ways, ‘’the internet already is a mini-metaverse.’’
4: Follow your passions, even if you have no money
The reason why Biz is so inspiring to myself, and to others, is because we all have that one passion we care about. The thing that we would do regardless of money, yet most of us have financial or psychological reasons why we are not pursuing our passion. Even while growing up on welfare, Biz found a way to do what he loves. Part time, full time, half time, or just a little time, any time you can find to work on your passions is time well spent. (Mine are music and startups). Below, he discusses how as a 9-year old to help get his family off of welfare he would work lawn mowing jobs, and continued to work various gigs his whole life.
5: Attitude determines your latitude
Biz’s unique combination of nurture and nature made him a global citizen who thinks deeply about the world and gives back with philanthropy. Every time we have an adviser-advisee call we laugh a ton, and it’s because of his comedic wit plus genuine nature. Biz has a theory that “money doesn’t change you, it amplifies who you already are.” As he frames it, an evil billionaire will let go of all of the caged tigers in San Francisco. But a good person will give back and help others who have a social cause. Given the entire thesis of Future Positive is to help those who want to achieve success in the right way, it’s great to know who will be funding the next evolution of businesses. Always humble, it’s hilarious to hear the founder of Twitter say, “I’m not great with technology.’’
Truly a fun conversation, if you’d like to join our virtual world and bring your community so you too can host these types of events, you can get started for free with your first events! roomkey.co/download. Available anywhere (iOS, Android, Windows, Mac).