Susan Mernit on 43 things

· The Power of Many

Quoting from Digging 43 things:

The 10 minutes I was going to spend on the 43 Things beta from robot coop turned into 45 somehow.

This list-maker from a new company formed by a bunch of Amazon’s personalization wizards has a social network aspect and a team or groups component that are both cool.

I’m especially entranced by the highly usable and clean interface, courtesy of 37 Signals.

Josh Peterson, one of the creators, had some interesting things to say:

3 out of 4 of the first members of Amazon.com’s personalization team work at The Robot Co-op, but we’ve built some other interesting projects too – like newsbot.msn.com or allconsuming.net. We definitely think about recommendations and personalization – and started of thinking about some of the most interesting data we could imagine. We think we’ve come up with something really interesting by focusing on things people want to do, and helping to pull together (in loose form) resources that might help them discern their goals and achieve them.

We thought a lot about building a complex system that is based on simple technologies. This is true for how we built Amazon’s personalization systems as well. 43 Things is very open ended to allow all sorts of emergent behavior to develop – both from users and the system itself. We are also unapologetically aspiration-al in our outlook. What we love about sites like flickr or craigslist is that they go to the trouble of being useful before trying to make you use them. We really have very little idea what the path will look like for 43 Things, but we built it so it could useful for many purposes. Evolving is exactly what we see 43 Things doing as it finds an audience and practical applications. We are optimistic, in part, because in sharing the simple idea of 43 Things through Twinkler, we saw over 200K users build lists of goals over 2 weeks through word of mouth alone. Hopefully the release will prove useful and interesting as well.

As a list maniac, I’m pleased to see this and curious how long I’ll stay interested–persistence is always one way to judge lasting value.

(By the way Susan, my newsreader still thinks your weblog is called “an.”)