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Robert Trigaux

Tampa start-up Unthink: Mad as hell and isn't going to take (Facebook) any more?



unthink-logo-green-full.jpgWake up and good morning. Admittedly, a lot of Tampa Bay area social media activity and buzz about technology start-ups zip under the radar of traditional newspapers like the St. Petersburg Times, the one I work for. That's not really why we're here, though in an ideal world we'd obviously cover more technology in general, especially when it comes to how it's influencing how people (especially younger folks) get through their day and perceive the world.

But a Tampa start-up called Unthink caught my eye because it's billing itself as the Anti-Facebook. Calling it a David versus Goliath story would be an exaggeration. This is a pimple on the side of a whale. And that's why I like it.

Here's how area technology reporter Sarah Perez of the online tech news site TechCrunch describes Unthink earlier this week:

"Scrappy outsider startup, which bills itself as the 'anti-Facebook,' is opening up its doors today, allowing in its first round of beta testers. The Tampa-based company with $2.5 million in funding from DouglasBay Capital sees itself as a more open, more honest form of social networking – one where its users are the owners of their data, and not the product being sold to advertisers.

(DouglasBay Capital is an Isle of Man-based firm. We don't know how (yet) how this investment business hooked up with Unthink to the tune, as TechCrunch reports, of $2.5 million.)

Adds Perez: "Unthink is the kind of startup that could only come from outside of traditional tech hotspots like Silicon Valley or New York, as there’s a certain level of audacity, and perhaps even ignorance, that you need in order to think you have a shot at displacing social networking giant Facebook and all of its 800 million users."

Unthink is apparently the brainstorm of co founder and Spiro Verras and CEO Natasha Dedis who apparently did her best rendition of the movie Network's "I'm mad as hell and not going to take (Facebook) any more" at the September gathering of Tampa's BarCamp. Reports Perez: "If we want to be free, we have to control our own communications…we have to claim that power,” Dedis "shouted with vitriol" to the BarCamp crowd before delving into all the ways that Facebook does its users wrong.

Unthink came to Dedis after her son wanted to sign up for Facebook and she read the terms of service. Read the full TechCrunch story here.

An earlier WFLA report interviewed Verras who says this is not just a Facebook clone or Google Plus.

A Tampa start-up at 3837 Northdale Blvd. with "audacity" to confront Facebook? We like that kind of spunk.

-- Robert Trigaux, Business Columnist, St. Petersburg Times


[Last modified: Thursday, October 27, 2011 7:58am]


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