In my recent visit to the Silicon Valley we visited some of the best known internet brands. Before heading over to the West Coast, I was obviously excited about visiting the Twitters and Facebooks of this world. In hindsight those were not the most insightful visits: Youtube was a software engineering ghost town with everybody silently hacking on, Facebook resembled an oversized kindergarden with 24/7 services and supervision and Twitter shared little news beyond what one can learn when reading up on them.
Talking to founders and understanding their way of thinking and vision is the only way to observe what happens at the cutting edge of innovation
Contrast this with one of the highlights: visiting storify.com. Burt Herman and his team have realized the disruption social media brings to journalism. They went out and built a tool that leverages social media as an additional source. Additionally they want the journalists to do what they’ve always done and what seems more and more important: curating. How should mere mortals stay on top of the news and non-news that we are exposed to? How should we be able to prioritize what is happening in all the channels available today? Storify has a bold vision: change how stories are being told.
Talking with Burt Herman – one of the co-founders of storify – you could feel the many hours he and his team have been thinking about every feature of the tool and how to make it as simple as possible to use. You could feel how well they understand the disruption social media is to today’s journalism and you could feel the passion they have for journalism and new ways of story-telling.
Not surprisingly the backend software engineer happy with solving really hard coding problems in the core of Facebook’s code or the marketer trying to bring the magic of Twitter to ever more countries around the world have less to tell. Talking to founders and understanding their way of thinking and vision is the only way to observe what happens at the cutting edge of innovation.