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Books Productivity & Work Tech

What do we read next?

We suffer from the infinity of choice, to what type of books we’re interested in, all the way down to the format we want to read them in.

Amazon’s recommended book algorithms allay the frustration of making decisions by taking into account your past reads and what others have read to suggest what to consume next.

Algorithms (or recipes) therefore resolve two things: Indecision fatigue caused by the avalanche of choice and the wisdom of crowds.

Spotify Discover Weekly works the same way — after it gets to understand your habits and preferences it recommends prebuilt playlists to appease your taste.

Algorithms free up our brain space to do rather than toggle between the options. They are the antidote to the chaotic linear 21st-century feed.

The more time we spend consuming rather than selecting what’s next is time well spent. By outsourcing our digging, we create more time to learn.

Even the proactive tastemaker must yield to the occasional “if and then” statement to build on top of the symphony of algorithms. A remix is not always artistically lesser than its origins.

In an increasingly algorithmic world, there can still be an element of human touch to prove we’re not headed toward complete thoughtlessness after all.

Categories
Productivity & Work Social Media

One too many chips

Continuous partial attention makes it too easy to snack. Instead of waiting for the main meal, we fritter our hunger away on too many chips and salsa. We’re full before the entree.

Replace chips with social media, and you start to see the excess wear and tear we put on our bodies and minds. We can’t possibly consume all this information and still devour the main meal. It’s like eating all the popcorn before the movie starts.

Unless we plan on taking the food home with us or putting on some extra weight, we better slow down and refocus our attention on why we decided to eat out in the first place.

If you’re going to snack, do it in moderation, so you still have plenty of room left over to absorb the good stuff.

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Uncategorized

Good Tips

People pay for curation today, not the content. The content is cheap and mostly free.

Apple just have away a U2’s new album. You can already stream any track you want on Spotify, YouTube, and SoundCloud. Unless you’re reading the Financial Times or the Wall Street Journal, there’s no paywall preventing you from getting free news. Meanwhile, Amazon is pushing for an all you can eat books model as part of their Prime service.

Free content means that what people are really paying for are the quality of recommendations thy get in return. Peer recommendations don’t suffice.. You only want to consume the good stuff that master curators spend the time to find.

What made Songza different than the rest of the music streaming networks was its handpicked, contextual playlists based on time of day. Echo Nest plans to turn Spotify into a recommendation engine. What makes Amazon so good at recommending books is its smart algorithm.

The wisdom of crowds theory that said that the best result is the summary of what everyone is looking for is dead. People don’t want to be manipulated by mainstream culture. The best services will find out what niche genres a person likes and make long-tail recommendations around those. Make the users feel like they found it first.

Content and curation are BFFs. The two go hand in hand. The act of curation gives content it’s true value. People just want to hear about the good stuff and ignore the rest.

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Uncategorized

Discovery 101: Lean In Vs. Lean Back

When it comes to information and music I’m more lean in than lean back. Everyone is interested in these topics but most people would rather consume them from the top-down rather than playing the part of curator/influencer and actively searching for them.

For example, most people prefer to listen to the radio because it takes the stress out of deciding what song to hear next. Actively building playlists takes a lot of time, especially for someone that just uses music to enhance their mood. The same can be said for news: most people would rather get all of it from one source like the New York Times.

The 90-9-1 rule of social media says that 90% of people just consume the feeds, 9% curate them (e.g. retweet), and 1% of users create original content. Lurking along is easy. Curation is hard. But creativity is harder.

Everyone needs a ‘lean in’ topic where they get to show their expertise. It doesn’t have to be tech news or electronic music, as I tend to discover and share. It just needs to be seething you’re passionate about. There’s a niche online for everybody.

Categories
Arts

Li Zhenhua: ‘The curator stands between the artist and the audience’

via giphy

“The curator stands between the artist and the audience.”

Li Zhenhua
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Uncategorized

You should be able to look at any good painting from several sides.

Ed Ruscha