“Namesake” Is A Real Time Conversation Network — 9 Questions With The Founders

By Neil Vidyarthi Comment

Serial Entrepreneurs Brian Norgard and Dan Gould, founders of Newroo (acquired by News Corp) and Ad.ly (the largest micro endorsement platform), experimented their way into next creation: the world’s first real-time global conversation community.

Today, that community exists in limited release alpha at Namesake.com.  Compared by many to Twitter, Quora, Facebook, Yahoo Answers and more, Namesake stands on its own differentiating laurels.  Operating as a real-time conversation engine, the platform enables members to converse around topics which they are passionate about via an extremely intuitive user experience that has no peers.

As the site boasts a diverse, welcoming, intelligent, and at times refreshingly but analytically low-brow member set, it is increasingly likely that Namesake will go mainstream in the not too distant future.

We thought it would be a good idea to track down the founders for a few questions.

Here are their responses.

1. How do you think Namesake differs from other social media platforms, and how do you envision monetizing it?

Namesake is not like other social platforms. No one wants to use another Facebook or Twitter.

We want to create the richest conversational experience ever built. Why focus on conversation? Conversation is one the the most important tools humanity has to offer. Our mission at Namesake is to build trust through conversation. It’s the early days but we’re tremendously optimistic about our prospects.

The combination of real identity, endorsements, and real-time conversation creates a dynamic  experience that unique to Namesake. Our entire focus is on building an amazing product experience. There will be a variety of ways to make money once we’ve created something people love.

2. How is Namesake different than Facebook, Twitter, Quora or Yahoo Answers or any other social networking site?

Twitter: Twitter is a short form broadcast medium. The Twitter product is not focused around conversation.

Facebook: Facebook is the place you go to check in but not really engage: you look up contact info, check out some pictures from that party you went to, see who someone is dating, etc. Namesake is built around an open social graph where you’re going to go and actually talk to your friends and people you share interests with.

Quora: Quora is about the best answer to a given question. At the core, Quora is an information network. Namesake is about real-time conversation. If Quora is the library, Namesake is the quad. In fact, the products are extremely complementary.

Without getting in to each specific social medium because we could go on for hours, and honestly, we want Namesake to stand on its own, head over to our blog a few weeks back.  Because we get this question asked a lot we did a post. [AZ: Namesake vs the World, May 22, 2011]

3. There are frequently threads of new visitors stating that they don’t understand the site.  What’s the problem, and are you doing anything to address the issue?

It’s natural for people to be inquisitive about new products, especially if it’s their first experience. Our real-time conversation experience is—at times—very stimulating. Usually the questions about the Namesake product are new community members simply attempting to get a sense of what’s happening.

4. Why have so many influential people joined Namesake?

Namesake has a very strong community and its early members tend to be individuals at the cutting edge of their fields—blogging, finance, art, entertainment, etc—who enjoy the unique experience of engaging others in the topics they love. We’re thrilled to have an accomplished base of early community members.

5. After becoming a Namesake community member, it’s apparent your team is utilizing some very hardcore real-time technology.  How long have you guys been developing Namesake?

We started the company at the beginning of 2010 (mostly through a series of failed experiments). We’ve been fascinated with real-time technologies since 2006. Once we saw the potential of how real-time changed the entire UX for customers we began working our the plan for the technology. We don’t get into detail about the stack but our technology team are some of the brightest and radical dudes you’ll ever meet.

6. Where did the idea of Namesake come from and how did you choose the name?

We liked how the name made us feel and we were able to acquire the domain.

7. You’ve gone to great lengths, some might say obsessive lengths, to build a great product at a very early stage, even sacrificing early growth opportunities to do so. Why?

Everything begins with product.

Customers want to be delighted, mesmerized and loved.

It’s absolutely true that we obsess over the tiniest details of the  product experience. Building a great product is not easy or fast. On the consumer Internet you generally either get struck by lightning with a great product  (fluke) or you have to grind it out over time until you get it right. We’ve deliberately held back our growth focus while we were developing the product and crafting the experience. We hope it shows in the intuitiveness of the product and the quality of the real-time experience.

8. Is Namesake going to come out of private Alpha soon?  Can SocialTimes.com readers join?

Yes and no.  The site has been invite-only for 98% of the time, but we’re offering all SoicalTimes readers the chance to join Namesake.  [AZ:Join away – http://nmsk.co/fXu3uq]

9. Any last words?

Pura vida.


Adam Zuckerman, an entrepreneurial attorney with an MBA, is a blogger and people connector inspired by the intersections of business, law, media, technology, and all things outdoors. Converse with Adam on Namesake, connect with him on Twitter, find him on LinkedIn, or visit his web-site.