Max Beaumont is a 17 year old high school junior, serial entrepreneur and creator of “Chains,” a social media platform based around ten second videos that is going to occupy way too much of your time.
“Wait,” the more astute among you are are thinking. “Seriously? This just sounds like a slightly longer version of Vine.” You would be wrong.
It isn’t often in my travels through the startup universe I come across something pre-launch that makes me stop and say, “Holy sh*t, this is going to be big.” Chains is one of those things. I don’t like to shower praise for no reason and Techli doesn’t exist to be rah-rah cheerleaders for everything we come across, but in this case I’m willing to put my personal reputation on the line and bet that Chains is going to be huge. In the very near future, dear reader, you’ll be able to hit me up on twitter and tell me what a moron I was or, as I predict, how dead on prescient I was.
Back to Max- he is a high school junior in Ridgefield, Connecticut that started building websites at age 10 and shortly thereafter created a search engine for video and sold it two months later. If Malcolm Gladwell is right and it takes 10,000 hours to get good at something, Max has probably hit his 10K over the last seven years.
The idea behind Chains is simple and is based around 10 second videos on the Chains social platform. Lets take four friends, Joe, Lisa, Mike and Stephanie. On the Chains platform, Joe creates a ten second video of himself doing a sweet air guitar because, well, Jack Black. Anyway, Joe uploads the ten second video for his friends, and Lisa sees it because she follows Joe. After watching it, she decides to film herself singing and playing the song Joe was air-guitaring on her ukelele. Now a ‘chain’ has been built. Joe’s video and Lisa’s video are each a link in the chain, and anyone that follows them on Chain’s platform can see it.
Not one to be left out, Stephanie decides she wants to add another link and adds a ten second video from a bar where she is watching a band live, playing the song that Joe air-guitared and Lisa sang while playing her ukelele. Now there are three links in the chain, and more people start to see it as each person’s followers view it. Mike decides to get involved and adds a video of himself in the shower singing along to the same song. (Mike isn’t a perv, its just his face, howling away). Now the chain is four links long and even MORE people can see it due to all the followers of each person viewing it.
This is where Chains is brilliant and will have mass appeal- by forming a platform for the users to live on, users are more engaged and anyone following any of the people that made a link in the chain can either upvote or downvote an individual link. In our case, even though Stephanie was seeing a great band, her video is hard to hear and hard to see the band because the bar was dark and sometimes phone videos just go that way. As a result, people start to downvote the link because its too hard to watch and hear. As more and more people downvote the link, eventually Stephanie’s link in the chain is removed. Now there are three links in the chain and as luck would have it, it turns out Mike could quite possibly be the worst singer on the planet and people laugh themselves silly watching it. He is SO bad that his followers feel compelled to upvote his link like crazy and share the chain with THEIR followers, who can also add their own links… and you can see how something silly and fun could go massively viral in a very short time.
Chains made on the Chains platform will be able to be shared and embedded across all social networks. When asked why the world needs another social platform, Beaumont replied, “I looked at what the other social networks were doing, and I’m trying to do the opposite. I want to make a better social network for what it means, to be truly social.”
Beaumont was able to get noted designer Frantisek Kusovsky to work on Chains with him just by reaching out. Beaumont is also talking to big names in VC, also just by reaching out. (We can’t reveal the names out of respect to the fact the deal is still in discussions). Admittedly, he got to me the same way- if there’s one thing people in startups love, its someone young and hungry defying the stereotype of the disengaged, lazy teenager.
Beaumont is trying to decide if he’ll go straight to college after high school or if his entrepreneurial endeavors will take precedence. This is a trend that seems to be picking up speed as more young, ambitious teens get involved in startups. (Trakbill co-founder Sam Sullivan turned down a free ride to Georgia Tech to pursue Trakbill.)
As of yet, Chains does not have an official release date but, as Beaumont assured me, “it’s coming.”