Needed: The Busy-Person’s News Reader
Albert Wegner (from Union Square Ventures) has a great post up where he talks about the need for an Opposing View Reader, a news reader where you can see stories from different angles, with different opinions. While it’s a very important problem (and a really tough one to solve!), we also wanted to draw attention to a similarly urgent issue – the need for a “Busy-Person’s” Reader. But first, let’s debunk a myth…
The Perfect News Reader
The usual review or feedback of a product in the news space ends up being something like this:
“it’s great for use-cases X & Y, but I won’t use it for all my news reading because of reason Z“.
Ever since we’ve been in the news reading space, we’ve seen this common theme of the “Perfect Reader” that should exist, but nobody has built it… yet!
It’s arguably understandable why people could expect a perfect reader — lots of industries are like this: social networking = Facebook, search = Google, news = ??? — but after talking to news readers, from casual Twitter users to “1000-feeds-need-to-read-them-all” junkies, we believe there’s no such thing as a perfect reader. It doesn’t exist . News reading behaviours are too diverse! On average, we’ve found that people actually have 2-4 news sources that they use daily to get their news, in very different ways. For example, it could be Twitter for real-time news, Reddit for funny pictures and cool comments and Summify for when you’re busy and just want to be on top of what’s happening… whatever the mix is that suits you, we think it’s OK! It’s OK to have more than one tool in your news toolbox, and it turns out that’s how most people actually consume it in the offline world as well: newspaper, TV, radio, etc.
Why a “Busy-Person’s” Reader?
It all starts from the explosion in social sharing that’s happening on the Internet right now. There’s lots of content, growing at an exponential rate, and an increasing focus on real-time breaking news, whatever is happening NOW. Well, that means a lot of interruptions and I think we all know that interruptions and frequent context switches significantly affect productivity, especially in activities that require a high level of concentration (most modern jobs).
At the same time, nobody wants to be left out of the “loop” and not be aware of what’s going on today in the (my) world. So how do you balance lots of information, constant interruptions and the need to still be productive during the day? With a “Busy-Person” Reader, of course!
We think Seth Godin explained it best (Day old news is fresh enough):
The value of breaking news (news = whatever is new to you) is dramatically overrated, and the cost of keeping up with what someone else thinks is urgent is just too high.
If it’s important today, it will be important tomorrow. Far more productive to do the work instead of monitoring what’s next.
We’d like to hear what do you think. Is there a need for a “Busy-Person’s” Reader? If so, what would it look like? We obviously have some ideas on the subject (hint: check our homepage), but we’d really love to hear other opinions.