Taking on Goliath

The question I have to answer every day to myself and to an array of clients, partners and advisors is can I take on Goliath? My Goliath you see is SlideShare.com. SlideShare is wonderfully successful and boasts incredible numbers for its website and did incredibly well in its sale to LinkedIn. SlideShare has done an amazing job of centralizing presentations and providing professionals a way to share their knowledge captured in presentations, YouTube style. SlideShare is so successful and its web site traffic is so impressive that posting to SlideShare has become a part of a good SEO strategy since the Google loves the SlideShare.

SlideJar, my baby, on the other hand is relatively unknown. We are still working through technical issues and our website doesn’t get a blip of the same web site traffic that SlideShare does. Given that SlideJar seems like the same thing, why would anyone use SlideJar to get eyeballs on their content? The answer is they wouldn’t….yet. You see somebody asked me at dinner what the world looks like if SlideJar is successful, a question I found extremely intriguing, and the truth is the world doesn’t look the way it needs to for SlideJar to achieve the level of success I know it can achieve. The world where SlideJar is successful is a world that has come up with alternative paradigms for organizing information. Mind you, the world already embraces content management without hierarchy and without folders in its adoption of the Internet and the Google. Google parses through billions of web pages not because all web pages are nicely labeled, but because of how pages are networked to one another and to the people that consume them.

For SlideJar to be successful this very paradigm of how people are networked to the content we consume, must spread further into the content so things that were once entire packages of content, movies, presentations, animations can be indexed, searched and accessed at a much more granular level. Will this ever happen? I have no doubt. With the Western world already spending 25% of their day trying to find information, scanning through the web, through documents, through, media to find the one thing they need right now, we will need to change our access paradigms. Not only that but once found we need better ways of archiving and curating that content.

The other day I was surfing through SideShare and found a great slide, not a great presentation, a great slide on business models around ad revenue. Once found, by manually flipping through slides of a presentation, I needed to take a screen shot of the image, save it to my desktop and somehow archive it in a folder where I think I will know its location the next time I want to reference it. I like to call this the digital wasteland. This is where SlideShare fails and where SlideJar will succeed.

It is no longer acceptable to ignore the power of computing to sort, sift and find the information we need. When I look through a presentation, is it the presentation thats valuable in its entirety? If not, then don’t give me the presentation, give me the image, the slide, the pieces that are valuable and give me better tools to find that content. Allow me to store, curate and mash together content on my own. Let me create the value! The world where SlideJar succeeds is the world that has moved beyond file folders and has fully embraced the power of networking. In a presentation world slides from different presentations may have varying degrees of relationships based on the topics, authors, images, relationships, etc and when I’m looking for information, these things ought to be exposed. This is how our brain functions, this is how the web functions and that DNA needs to be further encoded into the technologies and platforms we use.

SlideJar was born with that encoding. Do I think we can take on Goliath? Hell yeah!

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