Today's Internet excels at bringing the world cute pictures of animals,
but how often do you discover a song by an unsigned band or a self-published e-book
online that you like well enough to buy?
There's a simple reason the current Web doesn't work well for disseminating creative
or intellectual content: it doesn't have a way to tell what's good. All that today's
Internet really knows is what's popular.
- Under this approach, content needs a lot of popularity to be even marginally
- Content creators need to get virtually everyone they know "liking" or otherwise
recommending their material to all their friends, and they have to do the same
with all their friends, and so on.
- Without this frenzy of initial endorsement, content tends to stay trapped in
the invisibility of a black hole.
Raw popularity may be a workable proxy for quality in pictures of animals
(everybody "gets" these), but it's a disaster for evaluating significant creative
or intellectual content.
With massive popularity a prerequisite for visibility, the supposedly more "open"
Internet is now more rigid in its demand for mass-market appeal than the
traditional mass media are.
- What if Albert Einstein had to get all the people he knew as a patent office
clerk "favoriting" his General Theory of Relativity before anyone else could
take a look at it?
- What if all of William Faulkner's neighbors in rural Mississippi had to "like"
his stories before anyone in New York could learn of his work?
We've based our service and tools on the following principles:
- To discern quality in creative and intellectual work, you need discerning people.
- This work can be done better by a limitless supply of independent "taste mavens"
online than by the limited set of overwhelmed employees now tasked with screening
demos and manuscripts by record labels, publishers, and agents.
- It's absurd to presume that everybody values, likes, or wants the same things.
- Just as people now go to particular clothing stores to find subsets of apparel that
suit their tastes and budget, they'll want to visit carefully culled subsets of
creative content reflecting tastes similar to their own online.
- The proper tools can enable people who recommend things online to play a more
significant role as content "retailers."