Facebook just announced that there are more than one billion people actively using the social network. People look at that number and say, wow! I look at it and say, hey, wait a second. The world population is 6.9 billion people. If Facebook users like to socialize, that means there are a lot of anti-social people out there. With my latest epiphany, I intend to reach them.
Now before I conjured up this little brainstorm, I knew that some of the 5.9 billion people that aren’t on Facebook may be on a different social media site. But I wasn’t going to worry about them. This epiphany targeted a different crowd: I wanted to build a social networking site for people who aren’t on a site at all.
Who are these anti-social people? Why aren’t they endlessly pecking away at their computers and smart phones? Why aren’t they sharing, posting, and dealing with endless technical problems like the rest of us? Are they luddites, crabby, or just have better things to do?
I believe they’re just loners. They like to stew in their own juices. They don’t see the appeal in posting personal details to “friends” they used to know in high school and haven’t seen or heard from in 20-30 years.
Knowing this market like I think I do, I decided to launch the perfect alternative to Facebook and such social media sites. I called it Mirror – The Anti-Social Network.
Making Venture Capitalists Jump Out Windows
Here’s how Mirror works: There is only one person in your network – you. You get on and reveal your own thoughts, post pictures about your own life, and comment on your own post. No one can look at your profile, no one can see your thoughts except for you. For the introverted person, it’s the digital equivalent of talking to yourself. Thus, the name “Mirror.” (I initially called it HubCap, just because I’ve always wanted to name a company HubCap, but opted for Mirror for obvious reasons.)
I visited a few venture capitalists that hang out at the nearby coffee shop. My reputation for breathtaking epiphanies preceded me, and a few actually dove out a window as I entered the room. I cornered the others in the men’s room, and pitched my new epiphany. Either the sheer brilliance of the epiphany or the suffocating smell of the urinal mints overwhelmed them, and they agreed to fund Mirror.
Next, I needed to build the site. I liked the structure of Facebook, and I really didn’t have a ton of programmers or money to create my own, so I simply did a Copy and Paste of the whole website/application. Once I’d cloned the entire site, I switched the logo from “Facebook” to “Mirror” and voila. I was up and running.
The hard part came next: Recruiting people to my anti-social network. I realized this would not be easy. Facebook spreads like a virus because all those social people can’t stop blabbing to their friends and family. The anti-social people I was targeting didn’t want to see friends and family, much less blab to them.
But this did not deter me. I set out for the woods that once housed Ted Kozinski, the Unabomber, from many years back. I knew Ted wasn’t the only guy seeking refuge from the world, and so I spent months combing the woods to find another one.
Eventually, I stumbled upon a decrepit little shotgun shack, and I found a bearded man with hollowed out eyes. He was pointing a shotgun at me.
“Care to get online and post things to yourself?” I asked.
He held the gun up, taking aim at my head.
“You can also post photos of your shack. And no one will see them but you. And no one will be able to talk to you but you.”
He hesitated, and then the realization of what I was offering suddenly hit him.
“Why, yes, yes I would,” he declared.
Cyber-Space in a Shack
I learned his name was Melvin Holloway, and even though he hated me and modern society, he decided he’d give Mirror a whirl, right after he ate some bark stew for lunch.
I spent the next two weeks carting in a complete workstation and a satellite dish via mule. I called the power company and had them run a power line to the hermit’s lean-to, and soon we had him up and running. Mirror had its first customer! It only cost me $453,005.05 to get him online, and I’d be paying $1,350 to keep him running every month. As Mirror is a free service, I knew I’d have to make up the shortfall through advertising sales. Not a problem, I thought, knowing there were plenty of corporations targeting decrepit hermits living on the side of the hill in the middle of nowhere.
Unfortunately, Melvin Holloway was eaten by a bear two weeks later. I found myself back to square one.
I decided that maybe instead of targeting a rural hermit, I should target an urban one. A very wealthy, urban one. I went to the public library, and found one of those dusty old things they used to call “phone books.” I looked through the listings, searching for names that sounded like they belonged to rich people. I circled the “Von Hathaways”, the “Mellingtons”, and the “Von Hathaway-Mellingtons.”
The addresses lead to various apartment buildings in New York City, and eventually I found the one I’d been looking for. It was a ten-story building, owned by Reginald Biscuit. Mr. Biscuit’s family invented “the biscuit”, which was patented and then licensed to people like Paula Dean and other southern types. Reginald was 99, and from what I could dig up on the Internet, he had lived off the family fortune for years. He has also not emerged from his building in decades. Bingo.
Expanding the Network…Sort Of
I knocked on the door, which was opened by a 99-year old butler.
“I’m here to see Reginald Biscuit,” I proclaimed.
The fact that a visitor has actually come to the household caused major heart trauma for the butler, and sadly enough, he expired on the spot. I stepped over his body and started looking for Reginald.
I found him on the fifth floor, drinking soup and staring at dust motes in the air. “Hey, Biscuit, give this a gander!” I shouted.
Lo and behold the power of Mirror. After shock and amazement that such an invention as the computer existed, Biscuit was soon setting up his own profile and clicking away. I decided to charge him $1 billion a year for the service.
“I have that in my mattress,” he wheezed with a smile.
My business model intact, I began to seek out other extremely wealthy introverts. I only got four more, but that’s all I needed. Five customers meant annual revenue of $5 billion. I’d already surpassed Facebook’s annual revenue, and my venture capitalists were happy as clams. We went public, and my IPO made me insanely wealthy – rich enough to have my own Mirror account.
Four weeks later, things went kerflooey. EMTs arrived at the Biscuit mansion to retrieve the body of the decomposing butler, and Reginald overheard them discussing the “Anti-Social Network.” Ironically enough, one of the EMTs learned about it on Facebook.
Reginald called me on the phone, screaming, “I want to be alone!” Within minutes, his account was deactivated. An hour later, the other extremely wealthy introverts had also cancelled, and my epiphany crumbled.
Penniless, I was evicted from my home. With nowhere better to go, I headed to the hills, and was forced to take refuge in Melvin Holloway’s old lean-to. And there I spent the rest of my days, all alone in the woods.
The one bright spot? Because I wouldn’t be spending all my time totally immersed on my computer, I could keep an eye out for those pesky bears.