Last June, Biz Stone and Evan Williams teamed up with long-time collaborator (and early Twitter employee) Jason Goldman to dust off and re-start The Obvious Corporation — the very idea incubator that produced the micro-blogging service we know now as “The Twitters”.
The goal with Obvious was to help develop new projects, lending seed funding, product support, and office space when needed. Several months later, the idea angels announced their first incubation project, a startup called Lift, an app development platform founded by Tony Stubblebine and Jon Crosby. And, today, the co-founders are officially announcing the addition of Mark Hendrickson as Head of Product.
Since Obvious announced that it would be incubating the startup last August, Lift has been heads-down in stealth mode, building an app that aims to “unlock human potential through positive reinforcement.” At the time, Marshall Kirkpatrick did some poking around and pieced together the early history of Lift, which he claims derived from an earlier app that the pair put together. Though Stubblebine admits that the early app was the original inspiration, after more than six months in stealth, the app (we hear) now looks quite a bit different. And by quite we mean a lot different.
That’s in part due to the influence of Hendrickson to the Lift team, who brings his experience as the founder and CEO of Plancast, a social site for planning events. Prior to founding Plancast, Hendrickson was a writer/developer at TechCrunch, where he served as our long-form analytical specialist from 2007 to 2009. Unfortunately, as it so often goes in the startup world, Plancast proved to be an uphill and ultimately unsuccessful battle, which Hendrickson detailed in a post-mortem on TechCrunch in January that is a must read for all product people.
Since leaving Plancast, Hendrickson has been working with Stubblebine and Ev Williams to design Lift. The guys are still being vague about what they’re building, other than they are using positive reinforcement to help people achieve their goals, and, says Stubblebine, “it’ll be mobile friendly.”
But collectively the group has a lot of entrepreneurial experience, as Stubblebine is the creator and former CEO of CrowdVine, and has previously worked at Wesabe, Odeo (where he teamed up with the Obvious trio), and O’Reilly Media. Furthermore, his longtime collaborator, Crosby, was the Engineering Director at Path before joining Lift, and is also a former employee of Engine Yard and Songbird.
Hendrickson tells us that the team is combining its design and engineering experience to focus on bringing a little positive change to the world, starting at the level of the individual. On a high level, he says, the impulse behind Lift is in a way similar to that which drove Plancast, in that Plancast the impulse to help people achieve their goals in their every day lives was directed towards helping people share and discover events; whereas with Lift, Hendrickson says that the team is “primarily focused on the individual,” in that it’s a product designed to help people realize their potential.
While the Plancast founder admits that this may come across as fluffy and a bit pretentious, the idea is actually quite simple:
It hinges on the basic idea that our habits are what define us, not so much our isolated accomplishments. And consequently, if we can help people develop even incrementally better habits, compounded, this results in beneficial, long-term changes to their lives.
The idea behind Lift seems to blend the realtime sharing impact of Twitter with the productivity helping hand of apps like Evernote, and maybe even the love of SendLove or Cheer. The team still isn’t ready to reveal much more of what they’re up to, but likely will have something more to share in the next few months. But judging by the startup’s job page, I’d there’s a fairly good chance that it’s a mobile mobile-friendly product…
Stay tuned. To sign up for the wait list, check Lift out at home here.