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Finding Signal in the Noise: The Importance of Curation

The sea of content is massive and will keep multiplying. How do we find the right content? Curators will play an important role. Web3 will enable new business opportunities for both creators an

We're headed full speed towards a future with more content available than ever before. Netflix invests $15B+ a year into content production. Per a February 2020 statistic, users upload more than 30 000 hours of video to YouTube per hour. More than 2.4 million podcasts with close to 70 million episodes are available online. And so on.

Wherever you look at content volume, there's a singular trend: number goes up.

One driver for this trend is the rise of the Creator Economy. If you haven’t already, you should read Li Jin’s amazing article on the topic. In the era of the Creator Economy, anyone can create, distribute and monetize content. Everybody can be creators on the internet.

Another accelerant to content production volume is the entrance of sophisticated AI tools. It enables creators to craft more and higher quality content faster than ever before.

  • Helps you write articles -> Lex

  • Creates stunning visuals from text -> Midjourney

  • Edit video faster -> Runway

  • And so on.

(Lex wrote two paragraphs in this article. Can you spot them?)

We're already in an era of content overload. And it's not stopping. The volume of content available to us will probably be 10x within the next few years.

Why Curation is Important

Exponential content creates an exponential challenge: discovery. How do we discover and navigate to "our" content in this vast sea?

This is where content curation comes in.

Curation is the process of sifting through a bunch of content, and collecting a subset of it. Separating signal from noise for an intended audience.

The perfect curation for an individual consumer is a delicate balance between

  • The content the user knows she wants to consume

  • The content the user doesn't know she wants (but does)

  • The content the user doesn't want but will enjoy

The Future of Curation

One interesting trait of content curation is that it creates no net-new content. It's all about existing content.

Signal density separates high/low quality curation. Excellent curation = strong signal density for the intended audience.

While it doesn't yield new content, it generates value. For a consumer it's valuable to access a high-density stream of signal. As opposed to sifting through all that content yourself.

So as the sea of content grows, the importance of great curation will increase. And there will emerge new business models from it.

A great curator will build trust, reputation and an audience over time. That's all monetizable.

The Curation Platform Opportunity

Within a few years, we'll see more content-curation platforms emerge.

They'll be purpose-built for curators:

  • to build an audience

  • distribute curated content (probably combining different types of media)

  • deploy curation-specific feedback loops to calibrate signal strength over time

  • monetize the value of curation

  • collaborate with content creators

Unfortunately, curation doesn't always benefit the content creator. It might lead to more eyes on the content, but rarely anything else.

  • Pay-walled content is less likely to be curated

  • Free content captures none of the value from the curation

All the monetization happens upstream of the original content. That's not fair, because the value consumers pay for is the combination. Without content, there would be nothing to curate and nothing to pay for.

Content creators doesn't have any insights into curation, either.

They don't know who curates their content to what audience. This leads to missed partnership opportunities.

Enter web3-enabled curation

That's where web3 will be a massive unlock. Imagine that pieces of content are NFTs. A curated collection of content is also an NFT, composed of all the curated content NFTs.

With this you're able to

  • Have insights into who curates what

  • Monetize curation and set up downstream payments to the underlying content creators

Web3 enable all the pieces to be inter-connected.

The composable nature of web3 enables novel ways to collaborate, too. A creator that's putting content behind a paywall could offer taste bites. Allowing a high-quality curator to bundle a piece of pay-walled content for free. Letting the curators audience "jump over" the original content pay-wall.

This creates a two-way growth machine:

  • Marketing and distribution for the creator

  • Increased value of curation for the curator

I hope somebody is already building this platform.

As the content available to us increases exponentially, the need for curation will also increase. This is an opportunity for great curators of content. More so, web3-enabled curation platforms will enable new ways for creators and curators to collaborate and monetize together and drive consumers to the content they desire.

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