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:
- Pinterest: for images / links
- Github: for code
- LinkedIn: for professional contacts
- Evernote: for personal / professional notes
- feedly: for RSS feeds
- Quora: for questions / answers
- Giphy: for GIFs
- Goodreads: for books
- Foursquare (lists): for venues
- Twitter (lists): for twitter profiles
- Homescreen: for collections of apps
- Pocket: for links
- Zola: for wedding gifts
- dribbble: for design assets
- Product Hunt: for new apps
- Quip: for mobile docs / spreadsheets
- IMDb: for movies / actresses & actors
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:
- Single-player utility
- Multi-player utility
- Network effects
- Archival / storage / ‘repo’
- Version Control
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.