Making the chaff invisible, and getting the wheat ($200 prize too)

by diegocaleiro 2 min read29th Nov 201329 comments


The title is the best name I could come up for a problem I have had for years, and have been waiting for someone else to come up with a solution. 

There is a lot of awesome content on the web. Some of it is about events you could be at, right now, that you really want to be at, and could. If only you knew

An example: I think Roger Waters is one of the most brilliant people alive, and I would like to witness every single concert of his, every time he is less than 100km away from me. Yet, I have only been to two of those, because I was only notified of those. 

So I wish I could know if events I love are taking place. But I do not want to know about Meetups not even close to where I live. And I don't want to know at what time Roger went to the toilet, or if his T-shirt collection for groupies is out, or anything else that people responsible for his (hipothetical) rss feed or email list want me to buy. 

Two questions are relevant here:

1) How can you in general have access to the information you want about events, without drowning in an information ocean or getting web addicted

2) Do you know ways to get access to info about events, in particular of the following kinds that I happen to want to be notified?  (in SF bay or in some city independent way)


  • Ecstatic Dance
  • Roger Waters, Deep Purple, Guns, Royksöpp, Evanescence, The Coors.   
  • Legacy and Vintage MTG
  • Intellectual stars lectures
  • CFAR/MIRI/Leverage/CEA/FHI/GWWC/80000k/IERFH/SENS/THINK etc... hosted events
  • Crazy parties (crazy ranging over what would interest Iron Man's character or Jimmy Hendrix)
  • Video Games Live (orchestra)
  • Pop stars of the past - Psy, Britney, Backstreet, Madonna etc...
  • Ultimate Frisbee
  • Coursera courses
  • Hiking expeditions
  • Awesome nature documentaries (Life, Frozen Planet etc...)


Feel free to post your own interests in the comments. 

Here is how I noticed the problem: Looking back into my life I began wondering what were the main determinants of whether I did or not go to some kinds of events. And again and again the result was "because I had a friend who used to tell me about that kind of thing back then". 

Even now, most of what I do is basically determined by other people's tastes. It's simple. I've locked all possible advertisement away - I'm a serious anti-ad freak, it takes me less than half a second to switch radio stations if a person talks instead of music playing, and I block the front chair video away in airplanes in which it can't be turned off, I feel pain when any advertisement reaches my senses - but I did not block people away (yeah, I don't punch people's faces when they tell me about cool future events). So I'm left with the intersection between what interests me, and what interests them enough that they tell me about it. 

This can't be right. The alternative, having to, as they say at MIT, drink from a fire hose, doesn't sound any good either.   

Yep, it's in MIT

One of the things people say to startup minded people is that they should start by noticing a need they have, something they'd be willing to pay for, and create something to satisfy that need. I'm usually not eager to pay for stuff, but here is something I'd pay for:

I'd be happy to pay $200 to someone who solved this problem somehow. Pointing an app, creating a system, summoning a submissive gnome... I don't mind. As long as there was a way for someone to get news of things they care about without having their brains stung by the atrocities of voracious marketeer capitalist addiction systems. And I don't think I'm the only anti-ad freak out there who'd pay some money for this, ADblock is, after all, the most used browser app in the world. 

It is basically the reverse of the Groupon concept. Instead of stealing your attention to make you more interested in things you don't need and causing you to feel an emotional void for not having things while your pocket empties as well - yeah, I really don't like ads - the idea would be to inform you of things you already think you need, giving you a warm feeling inside of being served of all those delicious potential hedons you've been eagerly waiting to purchase. 

I'm no entrepreneur, so who's up?