For years I've been disappointed with the quality and substance of technology news. The vast majority of it is far too niche interest (regular updates on AAPL) or marketing disguised as news (new Android tablet everybody!), and much of what's left is just not interesting to the average person interested in technology. The Brief is my answer to that. Every day I collect the news that is actually news and summarise and link to it.
It's very much inspired by sites like the Evening Edition, an iteration of previous projects of my own, and the trend towards aggregation in general (services like Circa and, more recently, Summly). I tend to come down fairly hard on the idea of "curation" as it exists in the minds of people like Maria Popova, but I think there is tremendous value in the idea of taking a large morass of stuff and identifying just the bits worth paying attention to. The Brief is my application of that idea to technology news.
I'm still working on my selection algorithm. Sometimes it's difficult to tell what has lasting impact on people that don't actually work in the industry and what doesn't, particularly as someone deeply involved in said industry. Our now-regular patent battles are an example of this, I think: generally speaking, Google acquiring such-and-such patents, or Apple suing whoever for infringing whatever patent isn't news, but the overall picture is a potentially significant effect on innovation overall. So I'm still battling with things like that. But I've been at it for about 6 weeks now and I think I have a pretty good feel for it.
It's funded by sponsors, and I've practically given away sponsorships to friends for October, November, and December, giving myself three months to refine the idea, measure feedback, and gauge the actual interest in something like this. Ultimately, this will live and die on the interest of other people. If nobody cares, I won't get sponsors, and I won't be able to afford to run it. Simple.
At the weekends, I'm also doing a round up of more in-depth, big picture things. Not news, but things that are interesting if you like technology, things you can sit down with and get immersed in. (Yes, #longreads if you like, but it's more inspired by, say, the NYT's Sunday magazine.) This Sunday (or maybe next Sunday) will also be the introduction of what I hope will be regular essays with an eye on talking about what specifically is bad with technology journalism--I'm still in two minds about that particular feature, but we'll see where it goes.
I'm having a lot of fun doing it, and I'm very pleased with the feedback so far. So now I'm trying to get it out in the world and see what other people think. Metafilter was very nice and helpful about my last project, so I can't wait to hear what you guys think. If you go there today, you'll see one of my weekend posts, so a better starting point to get an idea of what I'm offering might be Friday's post