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[Comments] (2) Findings: Week Three: This week we had a lot of meetings with people from other companies and I think I can talk about what Findings is doing in a way that's interesting without giving away all the secrets we're saving for the product launch.

When I read a good book, I encounter lots of interesting bits that really stick in my mind, for about five minutes. Once I finish the book I'm left with just a general impression of what it said, unless I engage with it while reading by taking notes and highlighting passages. But then I give the book away, so I never see the notes and highlights again. Or the book goes on my shelf, where I probably won't look at it again unless I need to look something up.

Since the 1990s, when I first read about electronic ink coming out of the MIT Media Lab, I've fantasized not just about having access to a lot of books in a small space, but of having random access to my distilled readings of all the books I've read. This would make me (functionally) much smarter and a better writer.

Fifteen years later, electronic-paper hardware is now good enough that I want to use it to read books.[0] But I'm mainly interested in the software. I don't like being done with a book after I read it. I want to pull that extratextual layer out of the book as data. At Findings we're writing software to manage this extratextual layer. Once you extract your reading of a book as data, a lot of interesting social interactions become possible around that data, so we're also writing software to catalyze those interactions.

Yeah, it's vague, but hopefully you get the idea.

[0] That's a pretty low bar, though--I never liked the original "book" hardware all that much. If ZaReason started putting out an electronic-paper book reader for which I could write software, I would buy ten.


Posted by Susie at Sun Apr 17 2011 08:54

That wouldn't have made much sense to me, but apparently, I am in on a secret!

Posted by Brendan at Mon Apr 18 2011 18:45

My life too has become rather.

I would also buy ten of exactly that device you are describing. I wouldn't even really need it to do ebooks, just PDFs. I am really, really tired of trying to read long-form text on an LCD.


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