Mike Isaac

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To Bulk Up on Content, Learnist Aims at RSS Feeds

Learnist-app-logo-digitalTo say that Learnist’s goals are lofty would be something of an understatement.

The startup, a site and mobile app that offers Pinterest-esque ways of learning and teaching, aims to “organize all the world’s knowledge” within the next 10 years, with a particular emphasis on the procedural (or task-oriented) data. It’s a part of the ed-tech outfit Grockit, and launched a little over one year ago.

Obviously, it’s making a bold claim. But the company hopes to kickstart that goal by luring more creators into submitting content directly to Learnist in a fairly simple manner — via RSS.

In the wake of Google Reader’s demise, angling in on the open territory is currently in vogue. Digg, AOL and Feedly are just a few of the outfits trying to replace Google Reader as go-to destinations for keeping up to speed on the never-ending flow of online articles.

Learnist isn’t trying to become the next Reader, founder Farbood Nivi told me. “People are still going to go to these other readers and places to consume content like they always have,” he said.

Rather, it’s a simpler, streamlined way for an outside content creator — say, a tech news website or some well-followed blog — to send every article to Learnist rather than manually uploading each piece. The outside site wins, ostensibly, because it’s another means of article distribution. And, of course, Learnist wins, because it’s yet another content source to bolster the startup’s growth and engagement.

To date, Learnist has attracted more than 250,000 pieces of content — YouTube videos, links, “learning boards” and the like — a decent amount for a fledgling startup. But it certainly has a way to go if it wants to catalog the world’s knowledge.

Those interested in applying can check out how at Learnist’s site, here. It’s a curated process, selected by Learnist employees, so the site won’t be auto-populated with a bunch of crummy new RSS content. The company plans to add the top 1,000 to 5,000 best feeds, depending on the contributions it receives.


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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik