As a founder, entrepreneur, and CEO, I have one question in mind when deciding what to build next: how do I help get humanity to the next level? The satisfying challenge, for me, is recognizing new technology’s potential to transform society into something new and better. As nerdy as it might sound, I believe that’s texting.
In 20 years, we’ll look back and see text messaging is the key link in the evolution of human communication.
Texting as a language has been debated by many, notably in Forbes Magazine (The Importance of Being Fluent in The Language of Texting) and TIME (Is Texting Killing the English Language?) based on John McWhorter’s TED talk in 2013. But consider this, for the eight features of language – texting ticks the boxes on all of them. One could debate that texting is simply the written version of the English language, but with the new words, grammar and conventions (or lack of), texting is evolving into something new.
Texting is not only a language, though, it’s an entire communication system. Because texting is asynchronous (messages are stored, transmitted, and received in separate stages) the process of texting has evolved its own linguistic patterns and rules. There are many messaging and chat protocols, but the real magic of texting is the fact that it’s an open system.
Closed communication systems are exclusive and only available to some people. Facebook Messenger is a closed system because you can’t use it without downloading the app and setting up an account. Closed systems never stand the test of time because they go in and out of fashion and get disrupted by the next closed system. Open communication systems like texting, on the other hand, are accessible to all people and don’t require specific access points. Texting protocols aren’t limited to one network or group, they come preloaded on every phone OS and every carrier network. Phone number portability means that businesses and consumers can keep their same phone number regardless of which network they use. The phone number is the original universal login.
Creating a new proprietary language or chat platform would be a cool project, Apple and Google and Amazon are all working on their own, but that’s not inspiring. That’s not how you take humanity to the next level. What about extending an open language system that has the potential to transform human society and the very way we communicate? That was the idea behind Zipwhip. We recognized that texting had tremendous potential of an open communication system, but it was broken. The valuable phone numbers that businesses and brands rely on and promote–landline and toll free numbers–were segregated off and couldn’t text with consumer mobile numbers. There was no technical reason texting shouldn’t work on every phone number, somebody just needed to go back and update the legacy systems inside wireless carrier networks.
Broken system? Transformative potential? The right thing to do? Check, check, check.
A communication system like texting is only good to the people that have access to it. Zipwhip is making texting a true open system for both consumers and businesses. We’re bringing together the legacy phone systems that businesses already use and understand with the killer app that pretty much all consumers use and trust. We’re taking a massive swipe at exclusion and discrimination inherent to closed communication systems and ensuring that anyone can access and share communication resources. We provide more value than any other texting provider, with a transparent value breakdown in cost and pricing.
Let’s be honest, SMS is an ancient protocol, and it’s due for an upgrade. If we do that the right way, at the system level in a way that’s open and honors the culture of texting that consumers know and love, this new conversational texting platform will form the foundation for the next stage in bot development, voice operating systems, and communication problems we haven’t dreamed of yet.