Biz Stone on the future of search

Technology is transforming the way people connect; not just to each other but to technology itself. Our interactions with computers are becoming much more human and conversational with the advancements in voice technology and recent popularity of new digital assistants, like Amazon’s Alexa and Microsoft’s Cortana.

Chatbots and SMS are becoming the preferred method of how people and businesses communicate with one another, and it’s time that search engines follow suit.

Greylock’s Josh Elman sits down with serial entrepreneur Biz Stone to discuss the future of search and key lessons learned for entrepreneurs looking to build the next big thing.

The future of search lies with human conversations, not a list of links. Traditional web search excels at providing ranked search results, but results can be dated or only tangentially relevant, and search engines can’t answer subjective questions. Humans, in contrast, can provide direct and relevant answers to complicated questions. Biz believes that tapping into a network of people is the best way to find answers utilizing network intelligence to search and find the most pertinent and useful information.

In his pursuit of building Jelly, Biz learned the valuable lesson that every company should be prepared for massive viral growth. When he first launched Jelly, the response was overwhelmingly positive, and they had about a million downloads in a just few days. But his team wasn’t prepared for the influx of users — they had yet to generate enough helpful content and create an engagement loop to keep users coming back, which ultimately stagnated its growth. “If you do it right, then it’s great. If you don’t have the right stuff in place, you just blow it,” shares Biz. “Don’t turn on the tools of the trade for growth until you have a system to capture and make use of that growth.”