Yes, there has already been garden-variety innovation in content Discovery. However, mitigating the disequilibrium in the content market requires a lot more work on both the supply and demand sides...

While Discovery innovations have helped, they’re only one leg of the stool. For example, even though curation algorithms sift through all of the content supply out there and [try to] find you the right video at the right time, it still takes you ~30 minutes to consume a 30 minute video (or 8 minutes for an article or 20 minutes for a podcast). In that time, an insurmountable supply of new content has come online, meaning that the disequilibrium between supply & demand continues to mount.

The imbalances will accelerate henceforth too, because content is undergoing a secular shift toward richer, longer-form formats like video. And, as I mentioned, what little time we’re structurally afforded for actual consumption is already skewed by video.

The questions is: how else can we attack this deadweight loss from the demand-side? Your article makes the same observation that I quantified: consumers are cutting-corners to cope. You said, “we have unknowingly become powerful summarizing machines,” which is an improvised, demand-side solution for Consumption. Maybe there’s something there though… maybe the way we “opt for highlights” is a real, organic solution and the “exploiting” is the new problem — an unintended consequence that needs solving.

Talking about exploitation reminds me of Wikipedia’s early days. ‘Here’s something that’s a boon for consumers, but it’s susceptible to exploitation.’ Great, we’ve identified the problem, so let’s fix it, because people need it.

Listen, we should celebrate the material net benefits of free & open knowledge. We should encourage people to consume more knowledge, and we should enable them to do so. Adding friction to the consumer experience isn’t innovative; facilitation is the real innovation.

Stay tuned, because Part II of my series will delve deeper into the solution…

“Perfection is achieved not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away...” 👉

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