From Jason Goldberg, CEO of New York start-up Social | Median:
Thanks for the opportunity to introduce social|median to Silicon Alley Insider’s readership. As a new New Yorker entrepreneur, it’s great to be able to offer our first non friends-and-family invites to SAI readers.
social|median is a social news service that connects people with personalised news and information. social|median enables you to easily keep up-to-date on the news that matters to you and to people who share your interests.
For decades, news organisations have been filtering the news for their readers/viewers, suggesting what they should pay attention to on any given day.
Our site basically asks (and is attempting to answer) a big question: What if, instead of just the media companies filtering the news, we could collectively filter the news for each other? Imagine, for instance, if you could know on any given day what articles just your most trusted friends or colleagues are finding important. Or, if you were able to know what every person who has your job title is finding interesting. Or, if you could know what thousands of people from all around the world are finding important on a very specific topic (like say, “twitter”). That’s what we’re after here at social|median.
Our thesis is:
a. Yes, there is a lot of great content out there and the Internet is making content creation and distribution easier and easier.
b. But people need help wading through all that great content and discovering just the news and information that is most relevant to them.
c. A potentially powerful way to help people get a personalised view of news and information would be through collaborative filtering by people with like interests.
On our site, users join and create News Networks. In these News Networks they are able to easily discover and share news and information from thousands of sources with people who share their specific interests. social|median’s alpha users have already created more than 350 News Networks, each based around a topic (like “android”), set of related topics (like “wireless software and devices”), or a particular grouping of people (like “marketing directors in wireless companies”). Join the networks that reflect your interests to discover and share news and information with other people like you. Once you’ve joined and setup a News Network, social|median starts to present you with stories from thousands of sources.
See something interesting? Clip it! When you clip a story on social|median, we let the people in your Networks know that you found that story interesting. All you need to do is click that “Clip it” button and we take care of the rest. It’s that easy! This makes for an easy way for you and the people around you to highlight news to each other.
Finally, your Hot List on your home page presents a personalised view of the news created specially for each member, filtered by people who share their interests.
I started working on social|median in mid-January after moving to New York from Seattle where I previously founded Jobster back in 2004.
I’m joined at social|median by fellow founders Balakrishna Hebbar, Aditya Kelkar, Sunil Khedar, Pavan Mishra, Alpesh Modi, Umang Savaliya, Deepa Shah, and Nishith Shah, who all work out of our Pune, India offices. I travel to Pune for 1 out of every 4 weeks of each month and we work by Skype, Twitter, Trac, Basecamp, and Webex in between.
Our model is to ship fast and iterate faster based on user feedback. As such, we shipped our first bit of “dogfood” code after just 3 weeks of development just a few weeks ago and have been adding to that with nearly daily code releases ever since. At the same time, we’ve been adding alpha users via personal invites at the rate of about 100/week to about 800 now.
We now think that we’re ready to add some more users. Fingers crossed that things don’t break.
I caution everyone that the product is still very, very early. There will be bugs. Some features are incomplete. There is very little graphic design. But, we need user feedback in order to build this right. So far our alpha users have been telling us that they see promise in the product and that many are already getting a good amount of value from it. Hopefully we can keep that up and continue to improve it. As noted, we’re still very, very early and adding more features daily. There’s hardly and graphic design to speak of on the site — we’ve been much more focused on features first, design second.
Below is an invite code to offer Silicon Alley Insider readers with up to 2000 invites to try our alpha site. To start using the site, please register at www.socialmedian.com using the invitation code = “SAI”. If the code doesn’t work, sorry, we’ll get you next time after we’ve had a chance to digest the early alpha user feedback.
In SAI’s “Launch” section, cool start-ups can announce themselves (and/or new products and hires) to our global reader community. If you’d like to learn how to run your own SAI “Launch” post, please click here.
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