Ben Trenda, Founder of Goodtalk, joined Bold Business hosts David Grasso and Lyndsay Christian to share how you can turn group text messages into a broadcast with the Goodtalk App.
Posted by BoldTV on Tuesday, December 11, 2018
What is Goodtalk?
Goodtalk is a platform that allows you to take a group text message conversation and turn it into a broadcast “so that other people can follow along like a fly on the wall. They can listen to the conversation, and they can submit questions for screening. They can also ‘like’ things. But they cannot jump right into the conversation and interrupt what [the conversation-starters] are doing,” Said Goodtalk founder Ben Trenda.
The Goodtalk app works by initiating a group text. The group text can be made up of three people, total, for instance. As soon as all three participants respond to the text message then the conversation goes live. “This means that the conversation now lives on [their] phones like a normal text. But it also lives on [the Goodtalk app] which you can access either through our IOS and android apps or through [Goodtalk’s] public webpage. The content is also portable: So you can put it on things like your Twitter or your Instagram. Wherever it is relevant. Wherever your audience already is. This is a way for people to have conversations in public like we do on television, radio and stage. [But] without everybody else piling into the conversation like what happens in social media.”
Do we like witnessing other people’s interactions?
“We do,” Trenda said. “If you look at traditional media, I think, this was actually the primary use. You watch television and you then see conversations. Most of radio, too. Most podcasts. But if you look at the major internet platforms, they weren’t designed like that. They were designed for everyone to have a voice in every conversation. This is very democratic and good for the world in some ways. But it is really bad for having a good conversation because there is no line of distinction between people that have expert knowledge of information, those who merely have an opinion and those who want to troll.”
Who is Goodtalk’s target audience?
Trenda and his co-founders built the Goodtalk app because they wanted there to be more intelligent conversations in media, in general. They thought about how there is only 50 million people who listen to podcasts. “Podcasts are a pretty good way to start a good conversation, but podcasts are still kind of hard to create and to consume. Goodtalk, [on the other hand] is a way to reach pretty much everyone with a mobile phone. Everybody already knows how to text. We spend more than twice as much time in text than we do on all social media platforms combined. So, if you want to tackle this problem, then text is a pretty good place to start.” Goodtalk has several hundred subject-matter experts who are considered high-profile from television, radio and journalism that use the app. “Just now,” Trenda said, “we are coming out of ‘stealth mode’. We are growing 135 percent, month over month, and we have got tens of thousands of people seeing [our] content. We have also just opened [Goodtalk] up so that anyone can come in and start a conversation about something that they care about.”
What types of conversations will end up on Goodtalk? Is there a filter?
The conversation-starters of any one particular conversation get to decide who gets in and what content gets in. “No one else can just jump in. It is self-filtering in that way,” Trenda said. “Also, our platform curates the very best of the conversations and makes them publicly searchable. But a lot of the stuff that happens on the platform is not publicly searchable. You would have to discover it somewhere. Although, if [you] were to start a conversation, [you] could put it on your Twitter, LinkedIn or Instagram and people can come in and find it.
Is there a feed when you log in?
“There is, if you use our apps,” Trenda said. However, Trenda and his co-founders designed Goodtalk so that the consumers can access it via text message or through their app. However, consumers don’t need the app if they don’t want it. Likewise, one doesn’t need the app to consume the content. “The content lives wherever it wants to live,” Trenda said. “Most companies like this are built in Silicon Valley, and they are designed to sort of capture your data and keep you in a closed-wall environment. We didn’t want to take that approach.”
Do you feel your Goodtalk team was knowledgeable?
Trenda said that he has always been good at recruiting, and that he got really lucky to have people like a CTO from Stanford, and ClassPass. And to have a co-founder that used to produce television shows and one designer that worked with Apple. “So, it’s a good team,” Trenda said. “What’s similar to other companies that we’ve built is that it is a business that is generating network effects. Meaning that, in a network, every new entrant makes the platform a little bit better for everyone else. The hardest part [is creating] value for those first users. Imagine being the first seller on Ebay, or the first buyer on Ebay. So, we really started by trying to create a lot of value for content-creators. Now that we are doing that, and we have great content on the platform, people are coming in and generating more content.”
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