Tag / Curated Web

As the web becomes an increasingly crowded place, users are desperate for solutions to sort through the online clutter. The Internet has become a giant hairball of choice-inhibiting noise and the need to make sense of it all has never been more acute.

Just ask high-flying sites like Pinterest, Reddit, and Tumblr. These curated web portals connect millions of people to information they never knew they were looking for. Some have started monetizing this tremendous flow of traffic and though it’s too early to call winners and losers, their strategy of driving user engagement by creating daily habits is clear. These companies are following a plan implemented by web titans like Amazon and Google and are hoping to yield similar results.

Creating user habits leverages two critical factors that should be considered by every company attempting to build high-engagement products.

Happy to share the first recorded version of my talk describing the Desire Engine. Slides from this presentation are available here.

I hope you find it useful!

Part 1 here:

Part 2 here:

(note: there was a brief break when some content was not recorded)

NOTE: This post originally appeared in Techcrunch

Here’s the gist:

  • In the age of infinite online distractions, successfulweb businesses must generate new user habits to stay relevant.
  • The strength of a web company’s user habits willincreasingly equate to its economic value.
  • Forming strong user habits is more importantthan viral growth.
  • The Curated Web will run on habits.

Face it; you’re hooked. It’s your uncontrollable urge to check for email notifications on your phone. It’s your compulsion to visit Facebook or Twitter for just a few minutes, but somehow find yourself still scrolling after an hour. It’s the fact that if I recommended a book to purchase, your mind would flash “Amazon” like a gaudy neon sign. If habits are defined as repeated and automatic behaviors, then technology has wired your brain so you behave exactly the way it wants you to.
In an online world of ever-increasing distractions, habits matter. In fact, the economic value of web businesses increasingly depends on the strength of the habitual behavior of their users. These habits ultimately will be a deciding factor in what separates startup winners and losers.

NOTE: This post originally appeared in Techcrunch. (Photo credits)

Reading Leena Rao’s recent article on Techcrunch about the personalization revolution, you get the sense that the tech world is waiting for a bus that isn’t coming. Rao quotes well-known industry experts and luminaries describing what needs to happen for e-commerce to finally realize the promise of personalized shopping, a future where online retailers predict what you’ll want to buy before you know yourself.

Ironically, Rao and her pundits are missing the zooming race car that’s speeding by them as they wait for the personalization bus to arrive. That racecar is Pinterest and the new breed of startups marking the beginning of what I call the “Curated Web.”

Here’s the gist:

  • Disruptive web innovation comes from changes in interface.
  • Interfaces, which make information easier to understand by mainstream users, create world-changing companies.
  • The next stage of the web is the Curated Web, which like the stages before, will create massive opportunities for entrepreneurs who see the trend.

Is this it?  Really?  Facebook wins, cashes in its chips, and we all go home?

Of course, there is more to come and it’s a future filled with sheer awesomeness.  Within the next few years, technology will improve your life in ways you can scarcely imagine.  But if you’re looking for where we’re headed, it’s useful to know where we’ve been and most importantly, we should know the catalyst driving us from one phase to the next.