Index (pt. II)

More thoughts & revisiting ‘Github for X’

A few weeks ago I published quick thoughts on ‘index’ software: tools and platforms for helping organize & structure data. In hopes of expanding and developing this framework of product thinking, here a few more thoughts (and would love feedback & additions from you!)

Apologies ahead of time for the lack of structure here, seeing if I can port my stream-of-consciousness style brainstorms from my Evernote >> Medium ☺

Here are a few of today’s products and services that have features of an index:

There are even more basic / fundamental index products as well:

  • Calendar — for time
  • Google — for web content
  • Wikipedia — for encyclopedic content

To me, it’s no surprise that some of these become $1B+ assets. Over time, their utility for both personal and enterprise becomes increasingly indispensable in the ‘steady rain of information’ environment we live.

Here’s a first-attempt to unpack a few of the key characteristics / traits / functionality to better understand the key variables that go into making these tools and platforms:

  • Discovery
  • Personalization
  • Sharing
  • Search
  • Single-player utility
  • Multi-player utility
  • Network effects
  • Accessibility
  • Archival / storage / ‘repo’
  • Version Control
  • Organization
  • Vanity
  • Commerce

A few (of many) open questions:

  • What index products are missing from the list above?
  • Which of these index products do you use? Or the 1 that you love?
  • Is the ‘Github for X’ conversation worth revisiting? Seemed to spark around their fundraise (news bringing things top-of-mind), but perhaps a bit quiet since… Few quiet posts on Quora with no answers (here | here).
  • Is there a vertical / application for an index that should exist but doesn’t yet? Ex. recipes (some good work on this front emerging), people (ex. next-gen contact book), curriculums, travel (will share a blog post on this soon). Where have you felt a need?
  • What constitutes core / foundational functionality (ex. structure, organization, single-player utility) vs. emergent functionality (ex. social collaboration / forking / APIs)?

Thanks to all for sharing ideas & friends for editing! Hoping it takes just one more rough-cut on this index topic and then I’ll distill insights.