B.J. Novak explains why lists are taking over the internet

BJ NovakGetty Images‘The Office’ star B.J. Novak recently joined the tech world.

B.J. Novak is best known for playing Ryan Howard on “The Office.” He was also a producer and writer on the show, and has penned two books.

Recently, he’s embraced a new form of writing: lists.

Last year, Novak teamed up with Dev Flaherty (the former Fab.com SVP) and launched The List App. The app, which recently re-branded itself as li.st, allows users to make lists on any topic they want, well beyond groceries and laundry.

Imagine Medium.com, but where all of your thoughts are in list-form.

Lists are all over the internet. Ranking movies, TV shows, and albums, amongst other things, just seems natural nowadays. You could say that lists are having a moment.

BJ NovakGetty ImagesNovak with li.st co-founder Dev Flaherty.

Novak, who recently spoke to INSIDER, agrees.

“I think lists are a natural language to us in many ways. We think in lists without even realising it,” he said.

Citing examples like “What am I gonna do today?” as well as “What do I like about this or that?” and “What are the few books that changed my life?” he elaborates that “Any of these things, they are in our heads all day, all our lives, in list form.”

Novak believes that the internet has helped people understand the value of this format, especially thanks to the success of publishing platforms like BuzzFeed. He hopes that his app will provide a clearer, more straightforward way for people to share their thoughts.

Lists submitted thus far vary. Some people list possible responses to a salesperson, while others put together ultra-specific quotes from their favourite TV shows.

BJ Novak Ryan The OfficeNBC/YouTubeNovak as Ryan Howard in ‘The Office.’

No matter what kind of list you want to put together, Novak believes there is one golden rule to follow to make it a good one: honesty.

According to Novak, “On lists, people are really rewarded for being authentic and honest. And I think the form of the list helps people realise they’re more interesting than they thought.”

The app’s web version will be out sometime next month.

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