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Techcrunch put out an article today on a 2009 startup, Lissn. This startup originated as a “broader twitter that meets a simpler google wave“. They went through three versions and eventually boiled down their product to a simple international person match-up with voyeuristic attributes. I was very intrigued by the idea of having conversations with random people. Here is my experience with this social experiment…

The Italians
I was first matched up with two Italians (Lissn conversations are limited to 3 people and unlimited observers). The Italians were awfully rude – one of the splendors of complete anonymity. Neither of them were willing to speak in English with me. In fact, I’m pretty sure that one of them was trying to tell me that this was “Italians Only” and kepts repeating “gtfo”. Which I’m still confused about, because my best English translation of the abbreviation “gtfo” doesn’t fit with them not speaking English. However, I didn’t let their bad attitudes ruin the experience. This is a social experience afterall so, I continued on…

California to Egypt
My next match up was with a person from California. I was hopeful… someone who most likely spoke English and was in the same timezone. We started off with identifying where we heard about Lissn. Turns out almost everyone I ran into (jerky Italians aside) came from the TechCrunch article. Within minutes of our conversation our third party arrived, coined “Egypt”. Yes, someone from Egypt online and ready to share. Considering our time zone difference is almost opposite and the recent events that occurred with the former Egyptian president, I was very excited! I took the opportunity to talk about current events.

Turns out, partying hasn’t stopped in Egypt yet, and everyone is asking “what next”. Although the future is uncertain for Egypt, my new anonymous friend assured my belief that the people are resilient and will figure it out.

Egypt left us after about and hour. “California”, as we addressed each other by location was getting addicted. As was I. Lissn, in all its simplicity, has a very clean and direct conversation experience. As long as your open to talking about anything, it’s a lot of fun!

Our last visitor was, “Japan”. I glimpse into the future, 9:30AM Sunday in Japan and setting Saturday sun in Arizona. “Japan” was already into tomorrow and about to start the day! We explored cultural difference, with food and drink.

“Japan” cleared up a question I had for a long time.

After another hour of conversation it turned out “Japan” worked in a VC firm focused on renewable energies and “ventures that will change the world in a positive way“. I was incredibly excited about my new friends. We had no names, genders or images of each other. We connected and spoke for a long time with the base of English and our locations. And who is “California”? @powercircle and cofounder of Wixci.com – a web startup focusing on shared shopping review experiences. Think Twitpic meets CNET, live.

Overall I think Lissn is still a bit of a novelty. Will it catch on? I’m not sure. Its like a clean version of chatroulette. My first experience may also have been an anomaly since everyone seemed to have been there because they read about it in TechCrunch. We all had a common interest in business and technology. It’s definitely worth a second look!