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So what do YOU think? Join the debate at ... THE Obvious Corporation does anything but the obvious. Giles Turnbull looks at the work of a very modern web business that trades on new ideas What would you do if you had two huge successful internet companies under your belt before you reached 40? You might do what Evan Williams has done and open up your own laboratory of ideas. His is called Obvious (, and right now it's churning out one clever new website after another.

Williams made his name (and his fortune) co-inventing Blogger and selling it to Google, then co-inventing Twitter as well.

Now he and conspirator Biz Stone are running Obvious, a think-tank for new ideas. One of them, just launched last week, is called Medium ( It's like blogging, but without the blog.

They call it "personal publishing". Posts on Medium can include text and images and are collated into themed collections.

Clicking on an author's name takes you to their Twitter account, rather than to a blog home page.

The idea, says Williams, is that people can choose how much and how often they want to contribute without feeling guilty if they post nothing for months on end.

Another new Obvious site is called Branch (

It's a discussion site, but not a public forum.

Anyone can create a topic of conversation, but it's only open to invited contributors. Hopefully, that means better conversations that stay on-topic and don't get taken over by trolls.

What will this factory for ideas come up with next? Right now, they're researching artificial laboratory-manufactured meat. Obviously.

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Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Date:Sep 7, 2012
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