In 2005, I came 9,405th in the London Marathon in just under four hours (3:55:36, to be precise). Last year I had a plan that I would do better, and would cover it as a freelance journalist too. The organisers obliged, and I realised I’d better start a blog. The Knackered Hack was born to track my exploration of endurance fitness, and some of the issues sports can reveal to us as amateurs: something like the professional lessons of Ed Smith’s book, which I reviewed only the other day.
But I lost eight weeks of training from the first 10 of 2007 to two viruses. Thus my hopes of running a marathon were in shreds. That was a lesson in itself. And it was about that time that Nassim Taleb contacted me so that his publishers could send me a copy of The Black Swan to review. The rest, as they say, is path dependence…
Last week, Guy Kawasaki listed The Knackered Hack as one of the web’s leading journalism blogs at his newly-launched aggregation site: Alltop.com.
Not all of you will be familiar with Guy. That’s OK, because the patron saint of us uncertain folks is Herbert Simon, who some will know coined the term “bounded rationality”, which incorporates the idea that you can’t know everything. Admitting as much did not stop Simon from winning a Nobel Memorial Prize.
But I digress. Guy was one of the early Mac team, he is a venture capitalist, and renowned speaker. And Alltop.com is aimed at us head-scratchers, who don’t quite know where to start sometimes. His company is also called Garage Technology Ventures. QED.
I’m bound to say that Alltop.com is a great site, and if you start using it you’ll be an early adopter because Guy and colleagues only really announced it a few weeks ago. Although I’m no expert in these things, some of you may find that the concept is broadly similar to popurls.com. What Guy is doing is taking a non-Google, non-quant view at the web, looking for influencers and connectors, especially through the prism of Twitter and the trust networks it is both generating and reflecting.
Here is what Guy said about it on his blog:-
A good metaphor is that Alltop is an “online magazine rack” that displays the news from the top publications and blogs. Our goal is to satisfy the information needs of the 99% of Internet users who will never use an RSS feed reader or create a custom page. Think of it as ‘aggregation without the aggravation.’”
If I’m allowed to say one thing I really like about it, it is the clean way that the first few lines of each news or blog entry open up as floating text (see above) and allow you a quick preview of the contents. There are other technologies that try to do something like that, but this reminds me of something I wanted way back in the 1990s as a way to allow the reporter to mask explanations of complex terms that would get in the way of readability or the patience of cognoscenti. Like many bloggers, I use Wikipedia for that these days in most instances, but it does involve opening up a new window/tab. So it will be great when that technology finds its way into more general use.
The week before last was Annie Hall week at home here, which contains Woody Allen’s paraphrased reference to the Groucho Marx joke: “I would never want to belong to any club that would have someone like me for a member”. It was not my intention to start a journalism blog, and I’m not doing this for the brethren, but I’m grateful for the recognition. Of course, I do think journalism is important, and I do write about journalism frequently on this blog. And just so that there’s no doubt that this IS a journalism blog (amongst other things), I’ve decided to celebrate my Alltop accolade with the introduction of a new category on the right there: “journalism”. As I’m learning more and more, there are two certainties in this new world of ours: death and taxonomy.
And before we get carried away that we’ve reached the A-list, Guy shares some interesting ideas about influence from different sources on his blog here and here, that further explains perhaps our apparent non-linear rise out of the Long Tail‘s long tail.
Of course, for regular readers of KH, especially those who’ve subscribed to the email, or feed or follow the marginal entertainment of my Twitter service, you can feel especially vindicated for your loyalty and encouragement of this tired soul . Thank you.Donate and help me buy back my Fender ('About' tells you why)