We have been acquired and will continue building the future of conversations at Twitter

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I’m excited to announce that Twitter has acquired Squad! The team will be joining Twitter to broaden the spectrum of conversations people can have on the service. Specifically, we’ll be bringing our expertise in audio and video to the creation space — and are looking forward to building new formats that allow for fun, meaningful & engaging conversations.

Twitter is the place where the world meets up to talks to each other, and I love that we’ll get to bring new types of interaction and self-expression to hundreds of millions of customers.

As part of the acquisition we’ll be shutting down Squad on December 12th so we can focus on building inside of Twitter’s app. …


Say goodbye to boring calls — shared activities & self-expression lets you do more than just talk when hanging out on Squad

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Two years ago when I started sharing what we were working on many people seemed skeptical that the future of hanging out with friends and strangers would be in voice and video chatrooms.

I’d get asked, “Do people really want to co-watch videos, play games and shop together while FaceTiming?”

Then the pandemic hit and everyone suddenly understood the need for building more meaningful shared experiences because the current tools just aren’t good enough. The best video services are meant for meetings, not for chilling.

Our team of 8 has worked to consistently dream up and deliver new functionality to help facilitate magical moments on Squad since early 2019. We’ve welcomed millions of best friends, long distance relationships and families in so they can stay connected with each other — especially in a world of social distancing. …


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Mobile apps have reigned supreme but a shift is underway that will redefine years of consumer social behavior

Back in 2007 when I was making my dent in the early YouTube community everyone was talking about the “social web”. Then Steve Jobs launched the first iPhone, which set in motion a huge shift from the open web to the walled gardens of mobile operating systems.

For the past decade the biggest players in social have fought over their App Store and Google Play Store rankings. Many social products like Instagram and Snapchat remained mobile-only for years and have only recently started expanding offerings to the desktop web. A personal favorite is the Snap map for web.

In 2018 when we started building a place to have shared experiences we focused our efforts entirely on the mobile app experience, starting with Squad for iOS. There we were the first consumer social company to bring a simple, fun way to screen share from inside of an app to your friends while video chatting together. …


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What it’s like when someone dies but you can’t have a funeral

Two weeks ago, a woman named Sandra Skenandore died suddenly. She entered the crosswalk at South 1st Street and South Chase Avenue around 7:30pm, just after dark, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Moments later she was struck by a speeding SUV. The force of the impact threw her 100 feet — causing her to die immediately. The driver sped off, fleeing the scene.

She lived in an encampment under the bridge in one of the coldest cities in America, and was crossing the street to get to a bus ministry that was handing out food and basic supplies.

While local news outlets reported “A 36-year-old homeless woman was killed” the reality of her death hit my family like a freight train. …


Squad’s $5M seed round was very diverse: yours can be too!

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Now that we’ve announced our seed round was led by Hayley Barna, partner at First Round, I can talk about something I’ve become very passionate about — our cap table.

Shortly after launching Squad it was obvious we had hit on something magical so I decided to put a fundraising process together to fuel our product development and growth.

But as I started lining up investor meetings I realized I needed a shortcut to figure out who I wanted to join the company, so I came up with two key questions I scored investors on after every meeting:

  1. What unique value, experience, or network do they provide to accelerate us?
  2. Do I believe the world will be better off if this investor becomes richer and more powerful?

(And yes, I turned down multiple investors simply because I couldn’t get to an enthusiastic yes for #2.)


How I turned the biggest struggle of my life into Squad: the best way to hang out with friends while in your favorite apps

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The beta version of Squad is live in the App Store. An Android version is coming soon — so get on the list if you want to hear when it drops.

Just like Twitch unlocked the gaming experience by letting you stream to everyone on the internet, Squad unlocks your phone experience so you can share your apps with friends.

You’ll get to have more face-to-face communication so you can feel like you’re hanging out together, even when you’re miles away.

YouTube with friends. Instagram with friends. Listen to music or podcasts with friends. Tinder with friends. …


After 17 years I’m ready to tell my story because I’m not ashamed or afraid anymore.

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My 18-year-old self (September 2001)

I turned 18 the week I started my freshman year of college. Just three weeks later I found myself at an off-campus frat-hosted house party with roughly 30 other students and recent grads.

That night I was drugged and sexually assaulted by a 22-year-old frat guy.

One of his friends heard me repeatedly say no and watched as the guy forced his dick into my mouth anyway.

I imagine if either of them were asked today about that night they would say, “It never happened.”

There were only three of us in the room — one guy would have to admit to assaulting me (unlikely) or the other guy would have to admit to being a complicit witness (unlikely). …


If you saw me in November 2017 you’d probably have thought everything was just fine. Maybe even great. I’d just raised $1.5m for my company and gotten accepted into Y Combinator, the most prestigious startup accelerator in the world.

I lived in a beautiful apartment in San Francisco. I had two amazing kids. I had a brilliant group of friends.

But I was not doing well. At all.

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In October I returned home from an AI conference in Toronto and was told by Chris (my partner of 3.5yrs …


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The domain buying industry is notoriously shady and secretive but you don’t have to be to succeed

Last year my cofounders Ethan Sutin, Chris Messina and I were trying to decide on a name for our startup that automatically answers questions for you.

We wanted to use Molly but when we looked at Molly.com it was clear the domain was owned and in use. So, like most founders, we tacked a verb onto the beginning and snagged TryMolly.com as our backup.

This is where the story could’ve ended.

That’s where most people probably would’ve given up.

But here’s the first lesson when it comes to buying domains: just because a domain is being used doesn’t mean it’s not for sale. …


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Welcome to the era of ubiquitous computing where every person, brand, and connected device is at war for your attention

(Without help, your happiness is doomed! Read on…)

by Esther, CEO of Molly— sign up to our beta if this subject interests you

From the moment we’re born we are driven to communicate. It’s how we declare to the world that we’re alive. 👶 😭

It’s not enough for us to communicate with our own kind. Starting as kids we anthropomorphize everything in our environment — imagining our toys, plants, and animals can speak to us too.

Maybe that’s because for most of human history things were pretty quiet. But these days we can’t get the world to shut up. 🙉

Communication is now a compulsion, thanks in large part to tech companies who use design hacks that psychologically push us to share our every thought and whim. …

About

Esther Crawford

CEO of Squad. Life story: “Nevertheless, she persisted.” Optimist. Technologist. Wearer of many hats.

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