Solving the Discoverability Problem

Technology is good for the world. That is a statement that believe in, but one that I recognize many people, especially people from different generations could disagree with. To their credit, I do not think technology is all good for the world. And I do not think all technology, even for its best effort, is actually improving our lives. This is not a cynical essay. This is an optimistic one.

This essay explores a theme I have seen lately among a certain breed of emerging companies: the quest for simplification. A wave of startups aim to take all of the good parts of technology – all the tools and services – and make them actually useful. Simple.

They will help us “sift through the noise,” find valuable information, do our work better.

If you have been reading this blog for a while, you will remember a few friends and I launched Pouch – a chrome extension that helps you find your files quickly. Here is the idea:

One inefficiency I recently noticed, among my coworkers/peers, as well as in my own workflow, was that I was spending a stupid amount of time switching between tabs and searching for information.

The whole idea with Pouch is that we can erase the need for you to constantly juggle through tabs and services looking for your information. Starting with Google Drive (and Dropbox), you can access all of the relevant information you need without ever having to leave your productive state.

While the execution was not the best, the idea scratched the surface of what I see as an obvious opportunity. I also worked on this problem via my friends’ and I’s project: Wonder. We again were working to solve the discoverability problem in the digital world.

It exists! It is a real problem. And now everyone is trying to solve it.

There are tons of companies effectively building “librarians” for the software world. The point being that it is really hard to navigate all of the world’s modern databases and tools and services…It is an overload of information! It makes us work slow and stresses us out.

The recipe that will win: a tool that integrates with all of our existing tools and helps us find the information we will need. Eventually, it will suggest us tools, documents, and information.

So I am just going to make a massive list here of companies I see trying to solve this problem…which will win? I am not exactly sure. I imagine many will be acquired by big companies (Microsoft, Google, Atlassian, etc.).

Okay…here it goes:

Also published on Medium.