Towards a Leisure Society: Information Overload

Reblogged from theleisuresociety:

“The new inequality will be an information absorption inequality. You can’t switch the information off. You can’t opt out without the trade off being that you will be dumber and less informed and thus probably more rubbish at making investment choices.”

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On Life

“Life is moving forward and sometimes it means leaving things behind. Success is for those who understand that and embrace the future, love the present and remember the past and don’t dwell on it.”

— Me telling a very young friend about the reality that is life.

And Then, Suddenly, It Works

Chris Dixon once said:

An idea getting tried over and over tends to be a positive signal (which is one reason that competition is overrated). It’s very easy when you spend lots of time around startups to get cynical. You could tweet and blog predictions that every new startup will fail and how the ideas are derivative and you’d be right 95% of the time. The hard part – and what matters for founders and investors – is figuring out the right mix of timing and execution to finally get it right.

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He got it right, at least for me. You see, once you’ve been deeply embedded in the technology scene for years, the easiest thing in the world to be is cynical. But that’s a mistake. Great ideas often fail to have liftoff simply because of a mixture of small imperfections in execution and mostly, timing.

Great ideas, however, are still great ideas—ideas that need to come out and be shared to everyone. They always find a way. If not today, then maybe tomorrow. The point is, nothing—not even critiques and imperfections—can keep it from coming out.

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Back from the Dead

Has it really been six months since we wrote a real update? It’s really all a blur. Sorry for the radio silence, we’ll be updating much more frequently now. To be honest, we’ve been silent mostly out of fear. Fear because we were confused about what we were doing, on where we were going, and on how we were going to get there. We find out a little more each day and we’ve gritted our teeth to get to where we are now.

I won’t take you through all the twists and turns, the highs and lows. All you need to know is that we’re almost ready with something that we believe will change the way some of you feel when trying to keep up with all the things on the web. Information overload, anxiety, feeling overwhelmed, fear of missing out, filter failure, whatever you want to call it – we think it’s all pretty intertwined and that it’s only going to get worse.

So for over a year now, we’ve been trying to zone in on what the hell exactly we’re building.

Some of the initial credit for the path we’re headed down goes to Dan Porter of OMGPop, Draw Something, and now Zynga fame. If it works, I’ll give him some credit, if it doesn’t, maybe I’ll try blaming it on him.

Dan spent that random 30 minutes with me and gave me his thoughts on why RSS hadn’t caught on with him personally. Somewhere in that conversation, the negative appeal of manual on-boarding/curating one’s sources and the lack of intelligence behind static readers struck a chord. After talking about it with Daren, we realized we were well on our way to creating a better RSS reader that still no one would want.

After our brainstorming sessions with Dan, we went back to the drawing board and out came something that was a lot more technically sophisticated then we had the chops for at the time. We’re talking things that have never been done before by some of the best and brightest technology companies out there. In all honesty, we’re still unclear how much of the full vision associated with the predictive personalization technology we’re building will be realized, but even if we come close, it will be pretty awesome.

Then again, consumers don’t care much about the cool technology going into a product unless it adds real value to their lives. But, we think the tech combined with our UX will do the trick. We’re on a mission to leave you feeling self-assured, content, and in-control of your browsing routines on all your devices.

That’s all for now. Back to working in the new digs. Will send a pic!

(This was written while listening to the viral hit, “Call Me Maybe,” on our Skim.Me homepage. That video is holding the place for a future Skim.Me tutorial video.)

Much Love,

Clinton, Daren, Shawn, Neil, Eric & others