A popular Twitter activity is Follow Fridays, where users recommend some Twitter users for others to follow. I’m going to do something somewhat similar on here. Every Friday, I’m going to write a post about other people, blogs or companies. I’ll either recommend a blog to read, post a few blog posts that I enjoyed in the past week, discuss a company that I think is being innovative and/or building a sweet spot product, or something similar. I read a lot of blogs daily via RSS Reader on my iPhone and enjoy reading about innovative startups or larger companies that are doing something to gain a competitive advantage. When I discuss a blog on Friday, I’ll also add it to my blogroll on the right rail so you can easily go to any of the blogs I recommend from there.
For the first week, I’m going to do a double-header, although both are from the mind of the same guy: Chris Dixon. The first is his website, hunch.com, which is a true decision engine, not a search engine with extra data like bing. It relies on users adding structured data to provide recommendations on topics that are not factual or black and white.
Anybody can add a decision point such as “Do you want to sit outside?” for a restaurant recommendation. The algorithm behind the site asks you these questions, tailoring which question to ask based on your previous responses until it can make a recommendation personalized to what you want. It’s a service that gets smarter, and stronger, the more people use it. Leveraging Wisdom of the Crowds with structured data and throwing in some personalization based on your activity on the site, hunch can help you make a decision on anything from which cell phone to buy to where to eat lunch today. I’m a fan of products that get stronger as more people use them, as this ensures they are building in a competitive advantage that will be hard to duplicate because, unlike easily duplicated functionality, it will take time and be hard for competitors to play catch up.
Chris Dixon, the man behind Hunch, also writes a blog at cdixon.org that I read as often as he posts, and I follow him on twitter @cdixon. His blog covers a range of topics from strategy to economics to startups and venture capital to product design. Here are a few of my favorite posts on the blog:
- Developing New Startup Ideas – The concept here is that you should not be secretive about your ideas, hoarding them scared that someone will hear them and start a company with your idea. This post was one of the inspirations for this blog, in which I will be blogging more often about ideas in the future.
- Techies and Normals – The idea is that to have a successful, scalable product, it needs to appeal to more than just techie early adopters and reach the mainstream audience.
- The Next Big Thing Will Start Out Looking Like a Toy – Covers disruptive technology similar to my post on disruptive products
- The Challenge of Creating a New Category – A great topic of interest for me. It can be difficult to properly execute on a sweet spot product because either users don’t know how to relate to the idea or because it gets related to the wrong category, which totally misses the point and benefit of what it provides.
- Increasing Relevancy of Recommendations with Human Pyramid – Part 1
- Improving Online Dating Sites Step 1 – Move Beyond the Static Profile
- Is Innovation in Short Supply at Your Company? Hold a Hackathon