The value of variety

May 9, 2006

During one of my interviews, we talked about the optimal amount of variety. This is a question which is not easily answered. When will the advantage of variety ends up in complexity, or even in regret as is mentioned in literature (Desmeules, 2002).

Recently during the Google TechTalks, mr. Barry Schwartz addresses this issue. Barry Schwartz is an icon on this subject. He talks about the paradox of choice, why less is more, also addressed in his book.

Thinks like capability and usability is something he's addressing in his talk.


Interviews are done!

May 9, 2006

The interviews that I had scheduled so far are all done. If the respondents are reading this, I would like to say "Thanks again!". At this point, before I have analyzed the interviews, I have only transcribed them, I can already say their input is very valuable for my research.

As for now it has no use to go into detail of the contents of the interviews. First, I will treat the conversation confidentially. I respect the openness of the subjects, and will not misuse it. Second,like I mentioned, I yet have to analyze them. So I probably will give more detail after that.

For now, I can say my research is progressing as planned, and I will continue to update this blog on a regular basis. The feedback I get is motivating me to keep updating it. 

New update at Pandora: ‘community feedback’

May 3, 2006

Just one day before my interviews with Matt Nichols and Tim Westergren of Pandora, the system is getting an important update. They're extending their playlist generation with user input. It seems like an extra way to customize radio stations. When you let the system know the played song was not good, that feedback will be used for all listeners. It is called 'community feedback'.

Source: here and here.

Spotback, a new place to personalize news

May 2, 2006

From the Techcrunch site I read the article about Spotback. It is a company that lets everyone customize and personalize news. What is Spotback? According to them:

Spotback is a new breed of personalized news service. It is designed to quickly learn each user's fields of interest and style by analyzing how users rate and interact with news information. It then offers users the most interesting, relevant and hard to filter news information personally tailored to their taste. Spotback uses sophisticated algorithms that analyze social behavior. These algorithms are designed to harness the power of the entire community for the benefit of the individual user. The ideas and technologies behind Spotback are based on the understanding that every user has his own interest and tastes. The true challenge of a personalized information service lies in finding the information that will interest individual users the most rather than the information that most users think is interesting. This concept makes Spotback fundamentally different from the existing 'find the most popular content' or 'top stories' technologies.

It seems they are a company that could fit my research. I will check out the service the coming days.