If you want to read a great overview about curation and opportunities that arise from this, let it be Infobesity: the splendour and misery of curation overload from Marie Dollé. If you're not subscribed to her newsletter In Bed With Social yet, do so now. Go ahead. I'll wait here.

Something I find amazing is that there are posts out there filled with product ideas and concepts around curation & discovery, and people literally begging for them to be turned into solutions. So check that "desirability" box. Some examples:

  • Looking For Syllabus 2.0 (2018) - Goes deep into the problem that "people want to ramp up to proficiency on new topics, but are missing a compelling way to do that quickly." The article also includes ideas about monetization and projects already working on solutions.
  • The Social Information Platform Of the Future: GPT-3, The Next Wikipedia, Stepping Outside Filter Bubbles, and Unprecedented Learning (2020) - "In the next few paragraphs, I'll share my findings, explain their importance, how they connect with each other, and how their symbiosis results in a sum larger than its parts. I truly think this will revolutionize how we discover, consume, and produce information." The tweet sources alone are worth the read.
  • Digital Tools I Wish Existed (2019) - "I discover relevant content I don’t have time to consume, I find time and become overwhelmed with my scattered backlog, I wish the content were in a different format, and then I’m unable to find something again once I’ve consumed it." That post covers queue management for inbound digital content, a universal book log/ recommendation & sharing system, intelligent PDF viewers/ eBook readers/ audio book & podcast players, and a centralized search interface for the digital brain.

Another angle on discovery is to find better ways to access the sheer amount of apps, podcasts, and newsletters out there. There are almost 3 million apps on Google Play, Apples' App Store is almost at 2 million. There are tens of thousands of newsletters on Substack alone and god knows how many podcasts. Finding the nuggets on this claim is figuratively a gold mine. And I'm not talking recommendations here, but discoverability and information extraction. In issue #369 of Benedict's Newsletter, he wrote:

"So, what does any content platform do when it has 100m users and 1m creators? The leader boards break, and search probably breaks too. Now what? Apple’s app store was paralysed by that for years. Yahoo's directory was killed by search. FB built algorithms. Now see Substack (and Clubhouse, another hot content app of the moment). How does discovery work at scale? That isn't just a high-quality problem - 'what happens when there is more stuff on your platform than anyone can look at?' is an essential, existential question - it can define the whole of what your product really means."

Closing this topic, be warned about the "I can build this on a weekend with tools 1 through 10" fallacy or don't step into the "isn't that just Evernote or Notion" trap when thinking about "feasibility". Don't think about just features. Think about building an experience. And of course, find a business model because at the end of the day, your solution has to be "viable."

This post originally appeared in Basic Problem issue #20.

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