Web Wide Matrix

For many years, I’ve been really suffering from the problem of information overload: I’m subscribed to many content feeds, which are very valuable to me, but don’t have any way to effectively consume them – even if I’d sit all day & read them, I won’t be able to cover all of them.

Thinking about this problem I understood 3 things:

  1. The problem starts with the medium – the interface in which we consume content feeds today is like a baggage carousel, where you need to look at a list of items, arriving in random order, until you see what you’re looking for. This interface is somewhat effective with few dozens items, but will never work with thousands. On the other hand, an interface such as a supermarket is effective for selecting a few items out of thousands of items, because it’s an organized space that you can walk into & see all items, & since you go there frequently you know exactly where to find what interests you & discover more along the way.
  2. There are many good technologies today to automatically process large amounts of information, in order to enable people to make value out of it, but to use these technologies you need a team of engineers working for weeks or months building a solution for some specific content feed & use-case. This is similar to the situation before the Web, where if you wanted to connect to some information you needed to build the software, protocols & infrastructure for accessing information remotely. The Web introduced a simple & powerful standard way to access information, that removed these barriers & enabled anyone to publish & access information from anywhere in the world. Similarly, we need a simple & powerful way to enable anyone to process any content feed & make value out of it. This should be as simple as writing a simple HTML file.
  3. Until today, every person needed just an internet connection & a device to access information – something to run a browser on & access information & services. However, by now we stretched to the limit our ability to consume & make value from the sea of information available to us – Slack/Email/Articles/Twitter/Data/Opportunities/Events/&c. The introduction of powerful machine-learning & autonomous software agents can now enable every person to have a team of bots working for him by processing information & creating value out of it. So, a browser & internet connection is not enough anymore – you need another software/service to cope with the never ending streams of information flooding you, that needs to be available & affordable for everyone, just like an internet connection & a browser.

So I set out to design an architecture & solution based on these ideas, which I call the Web Wide Matrix. Inspired by the Matrix movie, it is a

  • Virtual Reality interface for consuming content feeds as an organized space
  • generated by a personal team of hacker bots, working inside software hovercrafts to process your content feeds
  • using training courses that are as simple to write as HTML documents

To make this a reality, I’m building this as an open-source initiative, led by a non-profit organization (called the Wachowski groupoid, in honor of the Matrix creators), currently consisting of just myself. I’ve written an initial POC & put up an initial web site for the project. Check it out to learn more & drop me a note if you’d like to join me in solving this problem once & for all.

Screen Shot 2017-04-03 at 6.30.56 AM

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Ekkli v2

Ekkli v1 was a tool to make decision making in teams more effective by making the discussion visual & structured. We found out that although having a visual discussion does make the communication much more effective, the model we’ve used is too structured & specific, & doesn’t address many other types of communication in distributed teams that are very ineffective & time-consuming.

So we went back to the drawing board, to think how can we make a simple visual tool that can facilitate more effective conversations, of any type. What we found out is that most conversations revolve around some kind of “road”: teams are like a large organism that moves together in some territory toward some goal, and the internal communication is the glue that enables the team to move together.

In particular, almost all conversations try to answer questions like:

  • Where do we want to go & what are the next steps to get there?
  • What possible paths do we have & which of them should we follow?
  • Where are you on your way & how did you arrive here?

The visual metaphor that immediately came to mind is that of Metro maps, that are very common & intuitive for depicting roadmaps. So today I’m glad to announce a new version of Ekkli, based on this simple metaphor.

For few years now, I’ve personally been using it in my daily work: for every new project or task I always draw an Ekkli map, & share it with my team. I also have a map for every day, keeping me focussed on what I need to do.

The compelling benefits for me are that:

  • I always see the path to my goal & the next steps to get there
  • I record everything I learn on my way, & any divergence from the plan
  • I can switch between contexts quickly & easily, because I have the full context on the map: where exactly did I stop, what have I completed & what’s left to do
  • Everything is depicted in 1 visual map that I can read & update in seconds

 

 

The original source code is here, & there’s also a fork that was created in GitHub by some other group of developers.