I don’t think Guy sleeps very much, given his advising, mentoring, managing, writing, speaking and blogging schedule. Apparently all this is not enough activity: he is at it again with a new project from the Truemors team. It is called Alltop, and basically it is a web-based dashboard or table of contents for your favorite topics.
Apparently, the idea was born from observing the work of Thomas Marban who added Truemors to his single-page aggregation of news and tech sites called popurls. The traffic to the Truemors site was bigger from that page than from Google, which led the team to think there was something to this page aggregation stuff.
After testing and brainstorming, the team came up with a prototype of Alltop, with site topics such as gaming, Macintosh, sports, politics, automobiles and celebrity gossip. Each topic has the latest five stories from thirty or more sites on a single page. My favorite so far is oddities, which is a nice way to see the quirky side of the world in one place.
This project appeals to me for a few reasons:
- I was never any good at the whole "surfing the web" thing. I would stare listlessly at the Google search bar and wonder what in the world I should look for. Then came del.icio.us and Digg and a lot of other ways to see interesting topics, but all seemed a bit overwhelming. I really like StumbleUpon for its addictive randomness. There is something clean and simple about the layout of Alltop which is appealing to me.
- It demonstrates the model of "prototype quickly, launch, get blasted and revise" that I have heard both Guy and my friend Ramit Sethi talk about at length. The concept is that you do not spend months and months with focus groups and surveys to launch a product, you just "lean into" the market (to use Seth’s term), create something quickly and watch instant feedback come in. The key is to immediately and continuously revise based on this feedback, so within a short period of time the product takes consumer-friendly shape. This is how Ramit and his buddies launched a prototype of PBWiki, Super Happy Dev House style, in 24 hours with a room filled with smart software engineers, Red Bull and a good idea. 48 hours after launching, they had 1,000 users signed up. I think this model is the wave of the future for all of us, even with non-technical products.
- I like to watch how Guy handles the product feedback. Those who follow his blog know that he was reamed, crucified and ridiculed by some for his Truemors project. He responded with humor, occasional sass and straight talk. I get the sense that he views business and the internet as a vast petri dish where he can play and experiment. The ability to take really brutal feedback and keep moving is a highly evolved characteristic of an entrepreneur. As Guy mentions in his books The Art of the Start and Rules for Revolutionaries, you want to polarize people into lovers or haters of your product. And as he told me once, "controversy is good." As a recovering criticism wimp, I stand by that mantra.
I will leave it to Techcrunch and a million smart, critical engineers to pull apart, break down, analyze and improve the technical side of the product.
For me, it is fun to have a place to find a whole bunch of undiscovered wisdom in an easy-to-access format.
For the rest of you, go ahead, look at it, tear it apart and give your feedback. You know where to find Guy.