Eighteen years ago I did a presentation at South by Southwest, in Texas, where I proposed a trivial new standard for online bios. The problem at the time was that blogrolls (sidebar links to favorite blogs) had no descriptions.
The concept was that people should describe themselves or their blog in one line and it was called one line bio. It quickly took off in blogs, then was built into weblog publishing software and Biz Stone integrated it into a new platform called Twitter, after I showed him it while I was camping out of the Odeo offices in South Park as they were building it.
Now it has become a ubiquitous part of social media, so much so that it doesn’t seem like an innovation, just obvious. Precisely because of that, it’s the one thing I’ve designed that I’m most proud of.
Anil Dash did a really good write up of its history, here .
Nowadays I work at a Venture Capital firm and one of the interesting things about VC is how you get deal flow and how quickly you can grok what a company actually does. Most descriptions are too long and most company names, like most people’s names don’t tell you much about them. In standard deal platforms company descriptions are not very clear and when people do have one line descriptions they aren’t useful.
I remember years ago working with a team that wanted to build a new product within our startup and they produced masses of presentation material, but couldn’t answer the simple question: what is it and what does it do? This is what a one line startup bio should answer.
For all the reasons one line bios are useful, one line startup bios would be useful too. So I’m proposing people sent me them for their startups and I help craft them so that they are really punchy, easy to understand and say what their company is and what it does in one line.
I’m on Twitter at @daveg, send me your one line startup bio.