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Home Business & Finance Gawker’s nemesis is working on a social network offering access to the...

Gawker’s nemesis is working on a social network offering access to the rich

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A proposed new social network is hoping to entice millions of people to pay to get close to superstars of technology, business, and academia, according to a pitch deck (pdf) sent to MIT Technology Review. The nascent site, called Column, already has major connections, per the deck: it involves the man who created the legal strategy that killed the gossip blog Gawker and says it has the support of Silicon Valley investor Peter Thiel—who, however, denies it. The presentation for Column, which describes it as “a social network to make us all smarter,” names businessman Aron Ping D’Souza as CEO and Thiel as a founding user. […] But the real draw for Column, which appears to be meant as a paid, invitation-only version of Facebook, is the people it wants to head up their own private communities. […] These include Leonardo DiCaprio, Harvard geneticist George Church, philanthropist Laurene Powell Jobs, Chance the Rapper, SpaceX founder Elon Musk, conservative pundit Ann Coulter, self-help guru Tim Ferris, and more—a list of the rich and powerful evoking exclusive events such as the TED conferences and Davos.The plan is for these luminaries to buy in to the service: the document suggests that Column could raise $50 million from “500 equity holders that are public intellectuals,” each paying $100,000 to invest in the site and lead their own private community (or “column”). […] When asked whether Thiel has committed to working with Column, a spokesperson said, “it’s not true.”Sign up for The Download — your daily dose of what’s up in emerging technologyHow it worksWhile details are limited, Column appears to be conceived of as a service that would allow users to share posts and media with each other either in public or private spaces.