The new Wisdom social audio app has been launched in the US, UK, Australia and Canada, attempting to “create an inclusive space where diverse people come together to have conversations that matter,” according to founder Dayo Akinrinade .
Akinrinade said she was inspired by the success of Clubhouse and Tik Tok, which prompted her to create her own platform that could “democratize access to mentoring.”
“As a black woman working at London’s largest diversity startup program, One Tech, I saw firsthand how lack of access to mentors contributes to systemic inequality,” Akinrinade told ZDNet .
“On top of that, I observed that future mentors on other platforms today have a clear problem: they have no way of engaging the many inbound requests they receive, so they ignore all of them. , unless they get a “warm introduction,” which in itself is a crystallization of systemic inequality. I created Wisdom to address this and democratize access to mentors.
Akinrinade envisions the app by focusing on conversations around a variety of topics, including parenting, fitness, dating, startups, mental health, and beauty. Thousands of people have already signed up to be mentors on the platform, according to Akinrinade.
The app will allow members to chat with experts and listen to live or playback recordings themselves. There will be a timer to ensure conversations are not dominated by one person and questions can be queued.
Wisdom will be powered by a deep learning neural network that Akinrinade says will be able to direct users to the type of conversations they are looking for.
Speakers on the app will be paid in “Mentorcoin”, a virtual coin that can be redeemed for Amazon or Starbucks gift cards. Coins can also be donated to charity. The app is free for users, but Akinrinade explained that it will provide mentors with “monetization tools” that will allow them to grow a business. Monetization features will be added to the app later this year.
She noted that the popularity of audio-only applications has skyrocketed in recent years, as audio is “the antithesis of the heavily filtered nature of today’s visual applications.” Social audio like Clubhouse has generated great interest because it brings “interactions and conversations back to their roots,” according to Akinrinade.
“Seeing the early days of social audio start to take off with Clubhouse, I saw how audio is the perfect medium for the mentoring and counseling message. Audio is intimate, you can have the feeling like someone is sitting next to you. It is also genuine and in real time, and good conversations are exchange and sharing. I felt there was an opportunity to combine mentoring with ‘social audio and create a platform for conversations that matter,’ said Akinrinade.
She said Wisdom is different from Clubhouse because it is designed from the ground up for mentoring and focuses on personalized advice for hundreds of audiences.
The Wisdom app is also different because it allows mentors to monetize their expertise while building their brand. She noted that mentors can even download an MP4 file of their speech and use it for their own podcast or other project.
Wisdom also allows mentors to control how long each guest can join them, from 1 minute to 60 minutes with a default of 10 minutes.
“When I joined Clubhouse, I started editing rooms on tech and dating. But when I moderate Clubhouse rooms, in addition to thinking and talking, I have to filter audience bios, admit them. guests on stage and use my phone’s timer function to keep the queue of moving guests in line – that’s a lot to deal with at once, ”Akinrinade said.
“Wisdom is optimized to put the expert in control, with only one guest at a time and a timer format to make it easy and socially acceptable to move on to the next person in the queue. is audio and audio first only. I think the ability to use it hands-free is important. Social audio is at its best when truly hands-free. “
Unlike Clubhouse, Wisdom shows users a single chat when they open the app and lets them cycle through different chats, helping the algorithm learn what a user likes.
Asked about the potential for abuse, which plagued other audio platforms, Akinrinade said they have a proactive monitoring program and a reactive review of abuse reports.
They have a 24/7 human review of all chats, while making it easy to report abusive profiles and chats. She said that as the app grows, there are plans to take advantage of an ecosystem of algorithmic moderation providers.
Although the app is very different from Clubhouse, Akinrinade noted that Wisdom has received an influx of users through its chat in two very large Clubhouse rooms.
In the first 48 hours, around 10,000 people signed up, including thousands of mentors that she personally recruited in the months leading up to the launch.
“The only way a community can spread is word of mouth. After each conversation, we invite our mentors to share it. One of the hardest things in tech is getting a social app off the ground. It takes time, it takes technology, and above all it needs community. I think the world needs to slow down a bit, take stock, think, listen, ”she explained.
“The Wisdom app is designed for that. It is not as cluttered and fast as other social audio apps. One app and one community in a sea of social media giants may not be able to change the world,” but the world changes one person at a time! And this is how Wisdom works, with mentors helping one person at a time, but with an audience of thousands of people. No one else is doing it yet, and so Wisdom can succeed, it will be because our community of mentors embraces and nurtures him. ”