A little over a month ago, we publicly launched Mentza, an audio social app for interesting 20-minute conversions with growth-minded people.
Unlike the casual & spontaneous "drop-in" experience offered by the likes of Twitter Spaces, Discord, Clubhouse and others, we chose to go with pre-scheduled, finite-length, learning-oriented conversions, with recording and highlighting features as our focus. I'm happy that we've already started to see communities spring up around Entrepreneurship, Behavioral Science, Technology, Wellness, Finance, Culture and a host of other domains, in the form of both one-off circles and recurring weekly channels.
Experiencing the manifestation of the Zeitgeist on our platform has been rewarding. From circles that explore the challenge of designing for the second surge of covid, to critical analyses of the prevailing issues surrounding social media & the news media, common threads connecting otherwise disparate conversations have emerged in the unlikeliest places.
In the past few weeks, hundreds of circles have been created by users seeking to explore a breadth of topics ranging from research and innovation, gender politics, science fiction, uplifting book recommendations, productivity & capitalism and internet trolls. Recently, professional voice actor Sanket Mhatre spoke to a group of aspirants about making it in the industry.
I've had the opportunity to listen-in on circles about structuring personal finances, weekly stock market roundups and an insightful look into the life of a day trader. I've been able to validate some of my own approaches towards my investments and learn a trick or two by listening to experienced folks I would have otherwise never had easy access to. The apparent popularity of our listen-in feature seems to validate much of what has already been theorized behind the appeal of the audio+social medium: scrolling fatigue and social isolation leave users with a limited set of options for content that can be consumed while doing chores or limiting screen time.
By betting on the format of finite-duration circles, we are also able to offer our users full-length circle recordings in addition to the 40-second "Mentza" snippets that can be used to bookmark interesting insights during a live conversation. Being able to browse through past circles and find conversations of interest during an otherwise quiet time of day on the platform has been especially useful for someone like myself with nocturnal waking hours.
On a series of circles called "Midnight Musings" some of us talked about our late night lifestyles and the challenges associated with keeping unconventional hours. Participating in some of the lifestyle oriented circles have been a refreshing pause from long development sprints, and a far more engaging and productive break as compared to the typically noisy and trite social media fare.
Presently, the pandemic continues to wreak havoc across the country, seemingly exacerbated by bureaucratic missteps and questionable policies. I'm looking forward to discussing "Adaptation and Inefficiency in Governance" in an upcoming circle this week. Taking a dispassionate and solutions oriented discussion like this to any other platform seems impossible due to the politically charged narrative that typically dominates discussions on the mainstream platforms.
Social media has been primed for the rise of audio for several years now, with the pandemic providing the catalyst for the recent surge in popularity, and the rising success of podcasts as a medium before it. For years, Facebook and Twitter have been plagued by the burden of having to deal with trust and safety issues, something far less likely and feasible for bad faith actors to accomplish in the realm of audio. In time, we'll be looking at a way to integrate with the smart speaker ecosystem of products, which would further lend itself towards ease of adoption.
As our platform grows, we'll be experimenting with Machine Learning to help us build out improved moderation, user profiling and content curation mechanisms. One of the circles I'm participating in this week is aimed at talking about the relationship between AI and Mathematical modelling of data, followed by one about choosing the most appropriate cloud infrastructure for an AI solution. The data science community has recently started to take shape on Mentza, and has already sparked several interesting discussions.