Collect and connect ideas from the web and books with Findings.com
Last week we launched a redesign of Findings. Our goal was to simplify how you collect clips, connect them to related ideas and share to friends in your networks. The redesign brought us a record number of hits, signups, and clips to Findings. It also brought us some attention from Amazon.
Since we launched Findings it has made rapid progress, nearing one million clips to the site. We saw our user numbers double over the summer. Much of this was facilitated by an increased focus on clipping from the web, a development that drove the key elements of the new design. The web clipping tool is more powerful than ever, optimized to be the most efficient way to quote from the web alongside added features to allow our users creativity and sharing. Another part of our service has been the ability to make your Kindle reading more social by importing and sharing your Kindle highlights. A few days ago, Amazon formally notified us that they believe this functionality violates their terms of service. We don’t agree with them but as a small startup, we know a few things.
This makes us sad. Kindle syncing was an important part of what we wanted to offer our users, even if it was not driving our recent growth. It is not for us to speculate on Amazon’s motives, although we know that rights issues in regards to ebooks are complex. We still use Amazon’s web service to host Findings and use our Kindles every day. We respect what they have done to drive change in a conservative book publishing industry.
Beyond my daily life running Findings at betaworks, I’m also an author. As an author, I want readers to be free to highlight, share, markup and discuss my books in any way that creativity and technology allow. As a reader, I want to do the same things with the work of others. I believe in a platform’s ability to foster interest in works even while revealing passages and fragments of the work. And as the leader of Findings, I want to provide a platform to lead in the evolution of social reading. For now, that experience will be focused on clipping from the web, but we know that the traditional book reading experience is being transformed, and we will find ways to make that experience part of Findings.
I joined Findings in May, bringing with me three years of experience sharing short text online - jokes, conversations, quotations. What fascinated me about Findings was that clips are thoughts, more dynamic and fluid than any other type of short text on the web. Clips are the most provoking part of whatever you are reading. They’re the line you want to remember, the idea you want to apply to your life. Our users agreed, and our growth has been driven by the web clipping experience. The news does not affect our roadmap for now but one day we know that sharing marginalia will be as easy on an ebook as it is on the web today. And that in turn will give more avenues to authors, readers and even publishers. Our mission remains the same: helping our users reinvent reading.
Thanks for your help and support.
Lauren + the Findings team