Obvious Corporation, the new venture set up by Twitter founders Biz Stone, Evan Williams and Jason Goldman, has announced its investment in community connection start-up Neighborland. The start-up’s goal is to help residents shape the development of their neighborhoods.
Why Obvious Invested in Neighborland
We need only glance at the headlines—from Arab Spring to Occupy—to understand that people are passionate about connecting over issues. We all have issues, big and small. Toppling oppressive regimes and protesting corruption are appropriately top of mind. But what about everything else that surrounds us and shapes our daily lives? How should we go about uniting at a more modest level to improve our schools, our streets, our local shops—our communities?
Technology can help humanity work together to make our world a better place. Obvious operates under the assumption that this is a fundamental truth. Neighborland has the potential to connect residents virtually. A connected citizenry is amazingly powerful, as recent events have proven. When neighbors can collectively discuss issues, propose ideas, and unite to have their voices heard, there is virtually nothing they cannot achieve to improve their communities.
Urban planners will tell you that a healthy neighborhood is a connected neighborhood. There are certain physical factors such as density of residences and proximity to shops, schools, arts, etc. Across the US, there are some stellar examples of healthy neighborhoods. In most cases, however, our neighborhoods are not set up for residents to be as connected and collaborative as possible. It’s not likely that we can solve our physical layout problems in the short term.
We don’t live in a 1950s TV show. It’s unlikely in most neighborhoods that residents will walk over, knock on your door, introduce themselves, and ask how they can help. However, “signing in” to your neighborhood and connecting with those who live around you about shared issues—speed bumps, recycling, whatever—that is a more likely and familiar scenario nowadays. Neighborland has the potential to unite residents and profoundly upgrade our neighborhoods.
We are proud to have discovered Dan, Tee, and Candy—the founders of Neighborland. Their passion and vision for helping residents unite for positive change in their neighborhoods and communities resonated with Obvious’ core mission. Together, we can build a business that does well from a traditional perspective, but does an incredible amount of good along the way. I’m personally very excited about this partnership. See you around the neighborhood.
Biz Stone, Co–founder and Chief Creative Officer The Obvious Corporation