Throwaway Product Ideas: Ratio

I am something of an information addict. I read for at least an hour before I get out of bed each morning, working my way through the top posts on Hacker News, aggregated content shared by my networks via / Digg, and sometimes when I get really desperate.. Mashable’s daily email.

I do this for no other reason than to kick my brain into gear (I’m not a morning person). I also often wake up at 5am / 6am unable to sleep and read for an hour there as well.

Then I read for 30 minutes or so while I have coffee - usually more substantial stuff, my current favourite being nsfwcorp, or one of several books I have in progress.

Thankfully by this stage I am clear to get through the day without feeling the need to procrastinate by reading tech blogs etc.

I might be something of an extreme case, but I think in general because mobile devices make it so accessible people are consuming more information (I may be wrong, a lot of people also seem to primarily play Candy Crush).

The idea for Ratio is an app / product that encourages you to write more relative to what you read.

Ratio would work well as a feature within an Instapaper like app where you read articles from a number of sources.

Each time you finish an article it prompts you to write some thoughts in response.

Your writing could be emailed to a friend who shares your interest, posted as a comment on the article, or posted to your blog along with a link back.

Ratio tracks how much you read vs what you write so you can be more conscious of how much information you consume vs how much you produce.

You can set goals, i.e. to write at least one word for every twenty you read, and share your progress as pretty graphs.

If you just consume information without feeding it back through your own opinions, talking about it, and producing ideas of your own, then this information is mostly just noise - neural connections to be culled by the next wave of input.

Part of the joy of writing under the banner of ‘Throwaway Product Ideas’ is that I don’t feel the need to seriously consider how the product would be successfully implemented - it would definitely be tricky to make something like this work well.

But I think there is an interesting problem to be tackled, and the potential for people like me to improve their internet habits.


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