Curation (vs the road to junk)

The independent bookstore down the street is carefully curated. Each book takes up the spot that a different book could inhabit, so the owner makes sure that there’s a great reason a title is included.

Amazon, on the other hand, has no shelf space problem, and the Kindle multiplies it. As a result, the average book on the Kindle is virtually worthless, because once it’s easy to include everything, everything gets included. Amazon doesn’t promise to curate, they insist the purchaser does.

Christopher Nolan hasn’t made many movies (and has carefully kept his first student film hidden from view). If he puts his name on it, people pay attention.

YouTube has countless (actually countless, because new ones arrive faster than you can count the old ones) videos. And a significant number of them have less than ten views, and they don’t even deserve that many. YouTube doesn’t curate, they encourage the crowd to do that for them.

The long tail is a business model and a way of bringing work to the world. More is better.

Curation, on the other hand, offers a different reward for the publisher/creator.

Either your motto is, “we don’t sell anything, we sell everything” or “we put our name on this one.”

Lately, there’s pressure to be somewhere in the middle. To be sort of proud of each choice and sort of have a lot of choices.

It’s a very difficult path to walk. Economic pressure pushes for more, now. But more now might be stealing from we stand for something.

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