Quora: Revolutionary Content Creation Company
My content creation habits over the past few years have been that I blog off and on (although not nearly as regularly as I would like), email ferociously and tweet a couple of times a day. I am a sporadic creator of online content, but an extremely heavy consumer. The average internet user is even more skewed towards consumption vs. creation than myself.
The 1% rule states that only 1 out of 100 people that view internet content actually create content. Even more specific is the 90-9-1 rule which states that 90 out of 10o people solely view content, 9 will edit or modify it and just 1 will create the content. Wordpress (and blogger and the other blogging platforms) was one of the first wide-scale platforms to increase the percentage of content creators by allowing simplified content creation/sharing, but the number of regular bloggers is still quite small.
When Twitter began, they started to elongate the tail of content creators, giving a platform for any user to easily and quickly create and share content. Twitter definitely had (and is continuing to have) a strong influence in increasing the number of “content-creators,” but Twitter has no mechanism to keep 1) the quality of content high or 2) the demand for the content that is being produced high.
Thus, much of the content produced on Twitter falls on deaf ears and is not useful to others or for general posterity. Looking purely at the amount of high quality content, Twitter has not created a revolutionary transformation.
Enter Quora. The company that will.
I discovered Quora in early 2010 after chatting with Keith Rabois who was borderline obsessed with the product. The Palo Alto company, started by a couple of smart ex-facebook engineers has figured out a way to substantially increase the amount and quality of content, while providing mechanics that are going to be game-changing in bringing out better content from a much larger proportion of internet viewers.
The best internet companies find a way to bring together the demand and supply side of a transaction (eBay, craigslist…) and Quora is doing this with content better than any company before has.
In its most basic form, Quora is a Q and A site, offering users a platform to ask questions within topics or to specific users, but on a deeper level, it is a mass-scale content creation and reputation platform.
By offering content creators incentives (votes) on giving high quality answers and its strategic slow-rollout beginning with the Silicon Valley elite who became natural moderators, they have figured out a way to keep content quality and creation high and users satisfied.
Quora takes less time than blogging and more time than Twitter but users know there is demand for specific content (and how much demand there is based on the number of followers per question). With Twitter, a user doesn’t often know whether a particular tweet had much of an audience and with blogging, the author is writing either what 1) they want to write about or 2) they think people want them to write about.
With Twitter, a user doesn’t often know whether a particular tweet had much of an audience and with blogging, the author is writing either what 1) they want to write about or 2) they think people want them to write about.
Imagine if every day, you could ask millions of readers what you should write about. This is essentially the power that Quora has. So far, it has been fantastically executed and the only gripes I have are that there is so much good information, it is hard to keep track of everything without constantly checking in and perusing the stream. I am sure this is something they will work on, but their priority right now is quality and amount of content creation and they are doing a great job with that.
Demand Media (and other companies like it) are paying people $10 or more to create content on specific topics and Quora has figured out a way to get it for free, in much higher quality.