Last Friday, tech Twitter was flooded with the ominous phrase, ‘it is what it is,’ followed by the emojis 👁👄👁. Thousands of people joined the mysterious waitlist
Expectedly, many people started asking for an invite. The official Twitter account, @itiseyemoutheye, suggested they could jump the queue by sharing their donation receipt to a charitable cause.
were created. Tech journalists
got onboard. Even Elon Musk
may have subtweeted the new ‘app’.
With just a landing page asking for email addresses and the Twitter storm that surrounded it, the project gained more hype and appeal than most startups ever achieve. But this wasn’t a startup. It wasn’t even a product. It was a statement.
Friday evening, less than two days since the the buzz began, the team of 60 young professionals in tech revealed themselves. They sought to capitalize on the wave of FOMO and raise money for charities supporting Black Lives Matter. And they did. Over $200K in donations went to The Okra Project
, The Innocence Project
, The Loveland Foundation Therapy Fund
Although many have lauded the success of this team in carrying out their stunt, it has not been without controversy.
Some people on Product Hunt
took affront to sharing their email address to an (intentionally) sketchy-looking website with the words “give us ur info”. Others were upset this was never a real app as advertised.
Over on Twitter, clashes between some members of the creative team and Black VC, Del Johnson, revealed support for the same cause can offend people at the heart of the movement if it's not carefully thought through and executed sensitively. The two parties have since resolved their original conflict, having even grown from it according to a recent Twitter exchange
, including a sincerely given and graciously accepted apology. Something not often seen on Twitter.
Other investors appear to have had a more favorable opinion of the stunt, with the Makers hinting they have already received VC enquiries into their funding needs. Which, according to them, is totally missing the point
Whether you see it as a prank, a movement, a stunt or as activism - it undeniably got people’s attention.