In this exclusive Q&A interview, we sit down with Luis Amodio, the visionary founder of the Throw mobile app, whose mission is to revolutionize social media by creating a space of authenticity and genuine connections. Inspired by the complexities of the current social system, the founder recognized the need for a healthier way of interacting online—one where individuals thrive by assisting others rather than capitalizing on self-image and ego. The result was Throw, a unique platform where users can engage in anonymous and private interactions, fostering a safe and secure environment.
Join Grit Daily as we delve into the mind behind the concept of “Throwers” and “Catchers,” and discover how Throw is effectively striking a balance between anonymity and user safety.
Grit Daily: What inspired you to create the Throw mobile app?
Luis Amodio: Our social system is pretty complex and deeply based on gossip as Yuval Noah Harari explains in “Sapiens.” And with social media built on top of that it’s become a world of facades. A world with little authenticity, of social competition, where people only show what they want others to see. A world of pretending, where only the seemingly richest, extroverted and aesthetically beautiful thrive. To me it seemed like there was something missing. “There must be a better and healthier way to do this.” And it would be great to build a platform where people would thrive by helping other people instead of it being a result of capitalizing on their identity and ego. I’ve always been fascinated with technology as well. So when these thoughts aligned it just sparked me to get to work and build Throw.
Grit Daily: Tell us more about the concept of “Throwers” and “Catchers.”
Luis Amodio: The concept was designed around the nostalgic setting when at school and tossed a piece of paper with a message to one of your friends. You expected to get a response back but you were doing all you could to avoid it getting intercepted by another classmate or being seen by the teacher. Both scenarios which would have your message revealed and possibly made public exposing you to ridicule. It kind of works the same for Throw. The thrower tosses or “throws” the question the catcher “catches” it and responds to it. Here, we’re making it fully anonymous so messages are not seen by the public and also the identity of who asked and who answered stays private, thus avoiding trolling, bullying and public ridicule. It is a very private experience, opposed to everything that’s out there where everything you post is out in the open.
Grit Daily: Anonymity is a key feature of Throw, which sets it apart from many other social media platforms, like Reddit. How did you strike a balance between providing anonymity for users and ensuring the platform remains a safe and secure space?
Luis Amodio: Absolutely, this is one of the key elements of our platform. The way it works is that instead of assigning subreddit admins or moderators that respond directly to our company executives or to specific groups of users which kind of works like dictatorships do. Every time something is reported or flagged, this (the report) is vetted and validated by the community itself who act as a virtual and unbiased jury. We present a poll to a number of catchers who in the end determine if the claim is actually accurate or not. This system works more like a democratic consensus where the community itself is empowered.
Grit Daily: Is Throw truly anonymous?
Luis Amodio: Yes absolutely. There is no way for anyone in the platform to be able to identify another user. Unless of course if that user voluntarily reveals his identity or personal details on the content itself. We don’t even require a name or nickname to create your profile.
Grit Daily: With the rise of toxic online environments on certain platforms, content moderation is crucial. What guidelines are in place to neutralize negativity and maintain a positive experience on the platform?
Luis Amodio: It is somewhat sophisticated but as soon as something is reported, our system immediately repackages that content inside a poll, asking if the content really is what it has been flagged for. And that poll is shown to a group of users that act as a virtual jury to validate the accuracy of the claim. Once the voting is concluded, based on the result there are different scenarios and consequences which could go both ways. Both in the case the claim is unfounded or in the case it is accurate. The main consequences revolve around significantly affecting the wrongful user’s score which is the main metric on the platform and virtually the reputation of each user.
Grit Daily: How does Throw’s sophisticated moderation protocol effectively neutralize negative contributions and maintain a positive online community?
Luis Amodio: We divide reports in two categories, Offensive Content and Trash Content. Depending on the category of the report as well as on the result of the poll the consequences can go from receiving 1 warning and some decrease to your score to over 4 warnings and decreasing your score very significantly. The score is a scale of 0 to 5 starts and you can get down to 0 pretty quickly with a report and with 8 warnings you’re out of the platform for good. This does not mean that we don’t do anything until you get 8 warnings. We assign frequency of the questions and amount of the compensation based directly on the score. So people with only 1 warning will already be significantly impacted. So, basically users that misbehave will be automatically filtered out.
Grit Daily: Can you elaborate on how Throw compensates users for their time and expertise?
Luis Amodio: Yes, of course. Today you can get very specific knowledge from thousands of places on the internet. Starting with Google. Have a question? Just Google it l, right? And now there’s ChatGTP and many other AI tools that can do amazing things. So why do we need humans for that anymore? Well, what about the personalized and empathetic human touch? It’s very unlikely any machine will be able to comfort a person suffering depression or someone who suffered some kind of abuse for example. We base most of our metrics to determine their score around how much good or bad a user has done on the platform. With this said, for every answered catch each user receives a variable compensation directly determined by their score.
Grit Daily: Traditional Q&A platforms like Reddit often have subjective subreddit structures. How does Throw address this issue and provide users with a more objective and relevant expertise?
Luis Amodio: Yes, subreddits are monitored by their creators, which can quickly start to feel subjective for other participants on the thread. There’s just an inherent potential for bias and lack of impartiality when the creators of a thread have the ultimate final say in, well, pretty much everything.
In the Throw online community, there’s never just one person ruling supreme over other users. In fact, there are no subthreads or subcategories on our platform — everyone is on the same platform. As part of our core values, we connect every user to the people who are most likely to provide the right answers for their questions and the best experience possible. Every time someone asks a new question, our system will do the people matching behind the scenes for an objective, relevant, and equitable connection
Grit Daily: With the app now live on the App Store and Google Play, what feedback have you received from early users? How has their response shaped the further development of the platform?
Luis Amodio: Feedback has certainly been key! We actually conducted a beta release a few months ago and feedback from that small group of users helped us significantly enhance the platform to its current state, for example implementing the Home Screen feed which has been a success and a few others. And feedback from users after our recent launch has already given us light of possible features that may make sense to remove because they seem to be counter-effective as well as new significant features and improvements. All of which will surely improve the user experience and engagement. We’re such a young company and we know a good part of success relies on listening to your customers and being able to iterate towards a delightful product that makes sense to them.
Grit Daily: How does Throw prioritize protecting users’ personal information and ensuring data security within the app?
Luis Amodio: It is of our utmost priority. From the moment I began designing the platform I made it a core priority to require the least personal information possible. So, only to the point that it is necessary to be able to provide the best service and to keep that information secure and confidential both to all other users in the platform as well as 3rd parties. We want our users to feel comfortable that we’re taking all measures possible to keep their information secure.
Grit Daily: Looking ahead, what are your long-term goals and visions for Throw? How do you envision the platform evolving in the future to cater to the changing needs of its user base?
Luis Amodio: Even though it is too early to say, and that sometimes adjustments and changes must be made along the way, I have a very clear vision of where I wish to take this company. I believe the future of work will be way more dynamic and offer more opportunities to the average person. Knowledge and skill will be better capitalized and people may choose to provide services for a range of topics with time flexibility instead of holding a traditional 9 to 5 job. I believe we can play a leading role in this evolution.
Grit Daily: How do you believe the Throw mobile app can positively impact users’ productivity, creativity, and mental health, particularly in comparison to other distracting social media platforms?
Luis Amodio: Because the way the platform is designed everything is centered on the content itself and how helpful it is to other users, not like every other social media platform where the center is the identity and ego of the users and all content is created around that. In Throw, users’ reputation is reflected on their score and earned by positive and helpful content and interaction. So, instead of being self-centered and lazy scrolling users now they need to make an effort to help others to the best of their capabilities. That is on its own a very entertaining and rewarding experience.