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Monday Q&A: Josh Miller on Branch, comments as content, and the state of online discourse

๐ŸŒˆ Abstract

The article discusses Branch, a new discussion platform co-founded by Twitter's co-founders. It explores the platform's unique approach to online conversations, its business model, and the motivations behind its creation.

๐Ÿ™‹ Q&A

[01] The Concept of Branch

1. What is Branch and how does it differ from other online discussion platforms?

  • Branch is a discussion platform that aims to create more intimate, thoughtful, and linear conversations, unlike the chaotic and unwelcoming nature of typical online comment sections.
  • It is not Twitter, as the discussions are longer-form and invitation-only, nor is it a traditional comment platform, as the conversation itself is the content.
  • The platform is designed to replicate the experience of having a conversation in the real world, such as around a dinner table or at a bar, where the focus is on back-and-forth dialogue rather than monologues.

2. What are the key features and principles behind Branch?

  • Branch has a generous 750-character limit to encourage more thoughtful and less polished responses, with no edit or delete buttons to foster a sense of accountability.
  • The platform aims to move away from the "monologue" nature of many online platforms and instead create a space for genuine dialogue and the exchange of ideas.
  • Branch wants to provide a platform where users can share their "half-baked" ideas and get feedback from others, rather than feeling the need to present a perfectly crafted opinion.

3. How does the "dinner party" metaphor help explain the vision behind Branch?

  • The "dinner party" metaphor is used by the CEO, Josh Miller, to describe the type of intimate, direct conversations Branch aims to facilitate online.
  • It highlights the desire to create a space where users can engage in back-and-forth discussions, similar to how conversations unfold in the real world, rather than the more chaotic and impersonal nature of typical online comment sections.

[02] The Business Aspect of Branch

1. What is the business model for Branch?

  • Initially, Branch was self-funded through sponsorship deals, where the founders would sell sponsorships for $1,000 to support the platform.
  • With the investment from Twitter's co-founders and Obvious Corp., the focus has shifted to building a product that can "change the world" rather than immediately worrying about revenue.
  • Potential revenue streams include sponsorships from brands that want to be associated with the conversations happening on the platform, as well as contextual advertising opportunities related to the topics being discussed.

2. How does the team approach the business and product development of Branch?

  • The founders, particularly CEO Josh Miller, are more interested in building a transformative product than optimizing for immediate revenue or profitability.
  • They have been actively soliciting feedback from users to improve the platform and address pain points, such as the inability to edit posts, which they acknowledge is an important feature to add.
  • The team is willing to experiment and iterate on the platform, recognizing that it may not be perfect from the start but aiming to create a unique and valuable experience for users.
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