Maci Peterson Wants to Help You Take Back Your Embarrassing Texts

The creator of the On Second Thought app is utterly amazing.

Have you ever sent a drunken text that you wish you could take back? Or sent a racy text to the wrong person or cussed someone else you wished you hadn’t?  

Of course you have.

But thanks to Maci Peterson, those potentially embarrassing moments don’t have to be part of your reality. Enter On Second Thought, a messaging app that allows you to take back texts up to 60 seconds before they are delivered to the intended person.

A lifesaver, right? Oh, and it's free. 

For Peterson, 29, this idea came when she found herself caught up in a similar situation.

“I sent an ex a text that autocorrect changed and when I saw what got sent, I was so embarrassed and had to explain what I really meant to say,” she tells Being her innovative self, a light went off in her head. “I did some research and found that there wasn’t an app that could take back your texts, so I asked my friends did they have the same problem and would they want technology that could help. And they all said ‘yes.'”

After winning first place in The Kauffman Foundation and Up Global SXSW pitch competition in March 2014, things started to heat up. And by December 2014, the app went from being an idea to the finished product. Since its debut, more than 70,000 people have downloaded OST, with five million texts sent in 195 countries. And those numbers are steadily increasing.

So how does it work?

Pretty simple, Peterson assures. “Go into your settings and make the app your default messaging [app]. Then, in settings, you can decide up to 60 seconds how much time you want to be able to take the messages back. I set mine to 5 seconds.”

Even better for those who have “liquid courage,” Peterson says, there is a curfew setting, where if you are going out that night, it will embargo texts until the next morning. Now who doesn’t need that after a long night at the club?

Peterson’s success is truly inspiring and continues to remind us that while Silicon Valley and the STEM world are dominated by white men, that doesn’t mean breaking in is impossible. Nor that you need permission to succeed in this field. For Peterson, her success has been ushered in with the help of like-minded people.

“Most of our investors have been Black, brown and/or women, and that is really remarkable. To have these people support us and say that they don’t care what Silicon Valley or San Francisco says,  [to say] ‘We want to see you build and succeed,’ is truly humbling,” she says.

And build they have.

“We are not surprised by the success we have had so far, but what is surprising is when I realized that we could [go] bigger, we did. Our business opportunity expanded and we’re taking on other projects and initiatives and it’s been really great, but unexpected," she said. 

Thinking about starting your own app? Take Peterson’s advice:

  • You don’t have to be a tech person: Peterson admits that while she learned how to code, she didn’t start out as a tech person — her background is in marketing and PR. But she had an entrepreneurial fire inside of her. “When I was a young girl, I would sell homemade bracelets, [had] lemonade stands and car washes and that desire to have my own business never left me .”

  • Do your research, but do it quickly: “Technology moves so quickly and the pressure is on when it comes to apps, so yes, research to see what is out there and how you can make it better, but don’t spend too long, because if you do, by the time you finally create it, it might be obsolete.”

  • Ignore the naysayers: “Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do it. Whether it’s creating an app or a new way of making blueberry muffins, everyone has a purpose to bring certain things to the world. And if you don’t do it, it won’t get done. You have to have the confidence to bring these things into fruition.”

Latest News

Subscribe for BET Updates

Provide your email address to receive our newsletter.

By clicking subscribe, I agree to receive newsletters, marketing communications, updates, special offers (including partner offers), and other information from BET and the Paramount family of companies. For more information about our data practices, consult our Privacy Policy.