Kibits Cuts Through the Chatter with New Micro-Social Network App

3/29/12Follow @gthuang

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specific groups, incorporating calendar appointments and users’ location—but it does so in a fresh way. “There’s a lot of new here,” Cutler says. The app is “really geared towards encouraging dialogue and increasing the pace of the dialogue,” he says. To that end, he thinks it will also help drive people towards faster actions and decisions, since text-based phone interactions tend to be short and direct.

For now, though, the Kibits team is all about getting the app out in the hands of users—and learning what it takes for them to get comfortable using it—before worrying about making money. “It’s going to take time and a lot of experimentation to get that right,” Cutler says. “We’re not trying to swing for the fences our first time at bat.”

Cutler mentioned an early use case from a distant relative of his. The relative’s father was going through a series of difficult organ transplants, and he was getting bombarded with texts, e-mails, and Facebook messages. He decided to use Kibits as a unified, private place to share updates with his personal network. “It hit really close to home. I felt humbled that we could help incrementally in a tough situation like that,” Cutler says. “How big is that market? I don’t care.” The important thing, he says, is that his team’s technology helped solve a real problem.

Indeed, Kibits seems to be taking a fairly mature approach to issues like user privacy (not broadcasting locations to the world, or blasting messages out to Twitter, for instance). Part of that comes from the principals’ previous experience in building products and companies. Cutler previously co-founded NetGenesis, the Cambridge, MA-based Web analytics company that went public in 2000 and was acquired by SPSS/IBM. More recently, he served as chief marketing officer at Boston-based Visible Measures and as an advisor to several startups. To my mind, Kibits is part of a next wave of smarter social-consumer products being built by local companies like HeyWire, Springpad, LoseIt, and FitnessKeeper.

Cutler sums up Kibits’ grounded approach more succinctly: “We’re Boston, baby.”

Gregory T. Huang is Xconomy's Deputy Editor, National IT Editor, and the Editor of Xconomy Boston. You can e-mail him at gthuang@xconomy.com or call him at 617-252-7323. Follow @gthuang

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