This summer, Howard Lerman emailed me asking for a reference on someone who had worked for me. I replied the way most people do in that situation: “Hey. Would rather not put this in writing. I’ll call you…”. Howard, the Co-Founder & CEO of Yext, was a busy entrepreneur and, as an executive at AOL at the time, so was I. I called Howard the next day and got his voice mail. He called me that night and got mine. The phone tag went on for six days. When we finally connected, we marveled at the inefficiency of the situation, and the ultimate magnitude of it. It was clear that there are all kinds of things professionals are willing to say but not put in writing. In those situations, Email and SMS fail. And in-person meetings or phone calls are often not possible or convenient.
There had to be a better way.
We spent the next several weeks exploring the issue and decided that while the permanence of the Internet is powerful for many things, there are many instances where it stifles and even changes professional communication. Words spoken during in-person chats over coffee or informal meetings disappear after they are heard. But emails or texts people send are permanent. Both the sender and receiver retain a copy that can be used later.
On the face of it, this seems crazy. If you were to re-imagine online communication from scratch today, you would likely have a permanent version (for when you want a record) and an impermanent one (for when you don’t want a record). Effectively, an on-the-record option and an off-the-record one.
We set out to build a professional off-the-record messaging service we’d actually use ourselves.
So we created Confide. After several months with a wide set of beta users, it’s ready for you to use for those things you’re willing to say, but not put in an email or text.
Yesterday, the world had permanence. Today, with Confide, professionals have an off-the-record option.
Every minute, 639,800 gigabytes of data is stored and cached forever on the internet. Confide’s mission is to make that number smaller by keeping your sensitive stuff off the record. Here we go…