The Filter Bubble

I have been thinking about personalization for the last few months as it has become a common theme among all of my investments.  On the one hand it is the idea to jump at you when you start thinking of the disruption possibilities when you have powerful computers ubiquitously available and constantly connected.  The holy grail of the implicit web put personalization as a convenient first step immediately ahead of any product team at any internet venture.

On the other hand, you have the danger what my friend Eli Pariser is talking about at this great TED talk.  Too much personalization definitely carries the price tag of losing context, getting trapped echo-chambers and missing the greater perspective.  Our worlds are not entirely personalized and the danger of over-personalization is a bit difficult to define.  Eli looks at it from the content side and defines his "filter bubble" very well, taking into consideration ethics, tact, civic responsibility and missions.

Eli warns us against a "web of one". I agree with his call and continue to have faith in the connected world's ability to design around the danger he points out. Product design is both an art and a science.  Decisions around personalization will differentiate the best artists and the scientists.

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