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Pinterest founder says that algorithms don’t know what you want... (MIT Technology Review interview)

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Crowds of people are better than algorithms at finding content that consumers care about.

Tom Simonite interviews Pinterest co-founder/CEO Ben Silbermann. Here's my favorite part:

What was the need you were trying to fill when you created Pinterest?

We started making Pinterest around 2009, when there was a lot of attention being paid to social services that were focused on real-time text-based feeds like Facebook and Twitter. We felt the things that we enjoyed doing in the real world were hard to express in that format. The thing that was really exciting for us was that people started creating pinboards for things that they were actually going off and doing in their life. That early user base set the tone and the expectation that the way you use it is to get inspired and plan to do things, whether that was redecorating your home or planting a garden.

Ben says that the discovery experience is hard to replicate online:

Not as much attention has been paid to discovering things online as has been to search. Discovery is exploration—you go through a series of things you’re interested in and in that journey end up finding something you love and didn’t know existed.

Here are Ben's thoughts on monetizating Pinterest:

The whole reason Pinterest exists is to help people discover the things that they love and then go take action on them, and a lot of the things they take action on are tied to commercial intent. I had a kid recently, so I planned the kid’s nursery with my wife on Pinterest. I plan activities to do with my kid. A lot of those things end up being the blueprint of what I end up buying and doing. I think that’s at the heart of how we’ll eventually make money. It would be better if it showed me the perfect crib to get and I could go get it—that would be better than Pinterest is now.

Curation - Discovery - Recommendation. That's the Pinterest past, present, and future.

This is what the Pinterest employees think about every day:

How do we make Pinterest a better service for discovering things and taking action on them?

Who they hell are they to imply that I act on anything I identify with? Do they not know I have to vacate my convo on FB to drop ten pounds? Funny, because I got on Pinterest one year after I finally got accepted into their cool platform. Only because I want to score with a Pinterest MILF since I've already shagged everyone on Plenty of Fish and OK Cupid. 

I never thought of Pinterest as a place to connect since there are no decent messaging features.

Or do they expect you to fall back to Facebook or Twitter for chit chat?

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