Lists can be one of the best ways to focus and get things done. Lists you did not write can give you strange insights into the minds of others. Occasionally, making a list can give you strange insights into your own thinking – and bring clarity.
The idea behind a new web site called Listnerd.com is that lists created by groups of people will contain insights that each individual would not generate on their own. One of the founders, Eric Andersen, is a beer lover. He wanted a way to find the best beers. Inspired by the success of Pinterest, he invented a crowdsourcing list-making tool so that he could draw on the knowledge of others.
The Wisdom of the Crowd
This could work. In Listnerd’s Business and Finance section they have started lists for the ‘Best Daily Deals’, the Top Ten Business Books and Top 100 Business Franchises.
“We want to crowdsource everything – from the latest trends in fashion, music, movies, the best beers or even companies,” says Andersen.
The problem is, of course, who are the other people in your list-making crowd? Would you, or should you, turn to them for advice? At the moment – from their choices – they appear to be mainly male, 15 years old, and he spends a lot of time online in his bedroom.
Top trends when we looked included “Most Beautiful Women of 2012” (No.1 Emma Stone, the star of a High School comedy); Greatest Presidents of the USA (voters have awarded top spot to Richard Nixon); and Top Ten Deadliest Weapons (some obscure gun you have never heard of).
But wait! The site does have some interesting features. First, you can filter out all those nerdy young men and find out what the women are voting for. There is also a section that shows you what is trending among women only. Disappointingly, if a little predictably, to gain an insight into the minds of women, you click on the button marked “Chicks”.
The great thing is, once you sign up it is easy to create your own lists. And the voters are self-selecting. I doubt the people voting for the Top 10 RPG Games will bother voting on the Best Insurance Companies list.
The voting numbers at the moment are small. In the tens, hundreds, or at most thousands. But it is new. There is something of a Norwegian flavour to the site. Its founders Eric Andersen and Jesper Thogersen are Norwegian. Andersen formerly cofounded the Norwegian social networking site Biip.no, which was acquired for US $12 million in 2008.
Like I said earlier, this could work. And it could work for women. It could become a centre for ideas, inspiration and collaboration. It could become the next Pinterest.
Will it? It is difficult to say. It needs women to start taking and shaping it. They will have to ignore the scent of pizza, beer, testosterone and unchanged T-shirts from the majority of list-makers at the moment. But now that I think about it, Pinterest started out that way too. What was initially massively male dominated is now awash with interiors, fashion and weddings. Is it time to reclaim the list?