Quora has got lot of attention lately
including more of mine than I initially thought. When I discovered Quora a few months ago, my first thoughts were “Not ANOTHER social media/Social Network/professional network/<insert social …. here>” tool and channel of noise.
I was wrong.
After spending some time using Quora and trying to figure out what the ‘X’ factor is, I think I get it now.
Quora is solving the problem that Google’s been trying to solve forever – creating the database of intentions.
As John Battelle wrote in his book The Search by John Battelle, the the holy grail of search is to interpret the user’s intent and direct them seamlessly to the content, or ideally, give the answer directly. The old example of typing ‘New York’ into Google springs to mind. The context matters – so is it the song, the state, or the city that the searcher is looking for??? This is the challenge in a nutshell.
“What question do I ask to get the best answer?”
Quora takes a huge leap towards solving this by helping me with “what question do I ask to get the best answer” because someone has probably already taken the time to
- craft an intelligent and well-formed question to extract the best quality answers, and
- other clever people have decided what the best answer is.
The emphasis here is on ‘people’. The quality of the people answering the questions is great so far, and there’s very little junk with the wiki-type approach to filter out the fools, so it just works, and works extremely well.
The Quora social element works well
- it’s unobtrusive and
- gives me more value the more people I link to.
- I’m linking on an expertise basis, not a random job title or company name.
- I like it.
How did Quora improve on my normal approach?
In contrast, my typical approach with finding an answer elsewhere is :
- post to Linkedin and wait. Great quality answers but from a limited audience – my network. And Linkedin wants to limit the number of questions I can ask unless I pay?
- ask Google the question in 10 different ways, slowly sorting through link-bait until I end up at Yahoo answers.
- Read rubbish on Yahoo answers until someone posts an interesting link to a site trying to sell me something in exchange for the answer, or
- Try one of the paid answer sites, like Jason Calacanis‘ Mahalo . Jason has done a great job with Mahalo so far, but Quora is going to kill the paid answers business.
It’s the age of the crowdsourced internet – why should I pay unless the answers are better quality, are unique or are directly from the CEO.
except, Quora answers ARE directly from the CEO
Have a look at questions from/answered by
Quora is going to be huge and valuable.
Very soon. Watch this space.
You can find me on Quora here
and some of my activity here…
- How do you consume news? Has this changed in recent years?
- What are the must-have iPad apps? Why?
- How useful is Gist.com, and what are the strengths and weaknesses of the product?