David Rose was a panelist at the Disruptive Technologists in NYC Meetup about Social Media: Is It Still Fundable? He started probably half a dozen of companies and has founded over 19 in his portfolio. He is an investor who has worked with New York Angels, which is the largest and most accurate group of angels in NYC.
Then he went back and started another company called Gust that is a disruptive infrastructure platform for the next generation of finance. This company has about a quarter of a million companies now using Gust investor relations and about 50,000 accredited angel investors that use it to buy companies. About 1,000 entrepreneurs and angels use it to manage their own deal collaborations and portfolio management.
The Social Media Magnet
Rose is heavily involved in the social media space, especially with Twitter and Quora, the question and answer site. He first started out with a personal Twitter page and slowly started to embrace the impact of his posts.
“One day I got a note that someone wanted to follow me. I looked at it – it must be a mistake! I don’t know who the person is, so I forget it. But then two months later I have 10 people who want to follow me, and I’m trying to think, ‘Okay, something’s wrong here — either they are all making a mistake or somehow, I don’t know how my dinner is interesting for them?’
So I forget it. It took about four or six months, but all of a sudden I had 150 people who wanted to follow me. They are all proactively coming to me and saying, ‘I want to hear whatever you say.’ So I opened up my feed and I stopped writing anything about my personal life. Instead, I took this as whatever it was. Knowing I was reaching a larger audience, I began carefully to hone my voice on Twitter and Coral [a classic venture capital group that added industry platforms that combines venture capital and strategic projects to solve problems for entire industries] and started doing things that I thought were useful and appropriate enough.
So at this point between these two social sites, 30,000 followers had a very interesting ability to get things noticed and to put the word out, and communicate. That’s a very different thing from being involved in the community or keeping up with friends on Facebook or making connections on Linkedin.
Is Social Media Still Fundable? It’s About Anonymity VS Identity
“But is social media still fundable? Yes, but because of other factors. You do projections to where technologies are going, but one of the things we don’t talk about too much is anonymity versus verifying the identity — and that’s really important when it comes to fundability. Look at the difference between YouTube comments and Coral’s comments: Just take two sorts of opposite things — you know on Coral, you have a moderated environment with a very strong community that requires real names in there.
The level of discourse is college or graduate school level. On the other hand, I’ve got some other core channels where people comment on things and I look at this and say, ‘From what planet are these people from?’ It’s moranic. And they are all anonymous.
“The reason anonymous versus real-time tagging is important — both in terms of quality of discourse — is seeing that what you are saying is being identified with you and so adds an additional weight. We are getting to the world where everything you can say will be tracked and recorded and linked back to you in some way.
It becomes very interesting — there are times where you are absolutely going to report something, where you want to be a whistleblower. In this case, you will need to have anonymity, and it’s going to be real anonymity that can’t be broken. On the other hand, if you want to be taken seriously and you want to be part of the discourse, you need to not be anonymized and instead, you should be able to be tracked back.”