What we’ve learned

after 500 articles


5 weeks ago, with the notion of “moving fast and breaking things,” we launched Vyrtex Beta, a bare bones version of what we hope will become the first option that millennials turn to for quality content on subjects they’re passionate about.

Yesterday, we surpassed the 500 article milestone — that’s 500 articles that have been added to the platform — and we figured now would be a great time to update you on what we’ve learned along the way and the exciting path we’re paving for the future.

“Lately I’ve been overwhelmed with the number of news and content sources. Vyrtex gave me a way to find articles I didn’t know I wanted to read — it’s got me reading again and looking for articles to share myself!” — Savar Sareen, (Like this photo on Facebook to help us win a trip to LA to pitch Vyrtex to investors.)
  1. For some, like Savar above, Vyrtex has become the motivator to seek out the best content to read and share with others.

Going in, we knew people just like us who were dissatisfied with their content discovery experience. That’s not to say that there aren’t tons and tons of sources out there to find things to read. But, when there’s so much — and when most of that happens to be low quality — it makes it pretty impossible to cut through the clutter and really latch on to the gems that we’re finding people share on Vyrtex.

Because our members know they can come to Vyrtex to find really great pieces of content that interests them, they also feel the urge to participate in that value creation: a contagion effect. This creates a constant loop of value gain and value add, and it’s the reason the community on Vyrtex will thrive.

2. Identity is important.

From the creation of collections to the adding of articles, the actions members take on Vyrtex seem to be strongly tied to their identity. It was always our goal to let the content speak for the things that you’re passionate about, and because that sense of identity is created from the moment you name your first collection, you feel a stronger tie to what you’re contributing to the community.

For example, taking a look at Clara’s profile, we can easily say that she’s probably living in San Francisco either now or some time in the future, she’s interested in Facebook and it’s involvement with the news, she probably has some strong opinions about international development, and she’s watching the 2016 election a little more closely than others. This is also why we constantly get asked to be able to edit the names of collections (a feature which we promise is coming soon).

This sense of identity also correlates to the articles being added to collections. We know that people aspire to be knowledgeable about the things they’re most interested in. Our members continue to add higher quality articles because those are associated with the aspirational parts of their identity. It’s the reason — we believe — why we’ve only seen one Buzzfeed piece since we launched five weeks ago, and even that article happens to be on the upper tier of quality for a brand like Buzzfeed.

3. Vyrtex is also helping people look beyond their passions to learn about things they were not previously exposed to.

We are often confronted with the concern that eventually Vyrtex will do nothing but contribute to the idea that no one — millennials in particular — will seek out information that doesn’t already align with their interests and beliefs.

On the contrary, we’ve actually been asked multiple times not to get rid of the “General” feed, in order for people to remain exposed to content that they would be unlikely to come across if they were just following people or collections that align with existing interests.

When we wrote “Stop Shitting on Millennials” we meant it. Vyrtex also stands for the kind of intellectual curiosity that leads you towards passions and interests that you don’t call your own, seeking out information from others that you otherwise wouldn’t come across. We’re keeping all of these things in mind in how we shape recommendations, custom emails, and personalization of members’ experience moving forward.

4. Vyrtex is already social, but you’re looking for even more ways to connect.

We’ve had a number of conversations with people about articles they’ve shared on Vyrtex. It’s clear that when quality is the standard, this content is that much more of a catalyst for dialogue and interaction.

Just being able to follow people and see what others are sharing isn’t satisfactory enough, so we’re looking forward to providing ways for you to interact directly with others on the platform. These could include things such as a “like” feature, commenting, direct messaging, etc. We’d love to hear your suggestions on how we can create the best interactive community for you.

5. If we continue to build around our mission then everyone in the Vyrtex community will benefit.

Our mission is to empower everyone to share and discover knowledge that aligns with their passions. As members, we want you to feel just as tied to that mission as we are. At the end of the day, we created this with you in mind. We wanted to put the power in your hands to create the kind of content experience we’ve been longing for, and you haven’t disappointed!

This is only the beginning, and we hope you’re as pumped as we are to see where we can take this together!


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