In episode 109, I speak with Alex Fink, the creator of a groundbreaking app that helps users filter out the junk on the internet. Alex shares his journey and explains why he left his previous work building perception systems and cameras to tackle the problem of information overload. He tells us how his wife inspired him to build a content filter.
He used crowdfunding to raise the necessary funds for this project. Our conversation takes an interesting detour as Alex discusses the different types of crowdfunding and the benefits and drawbacks of each, and shares tips on how to build a successful campaign.
We explore the evolution of crowdfunding over the past few years and how it's changed the way startups raise funds. Alex talks about the challenges of finding the right investors and why he chose to avoid institutional money. He shares insights on how to build a strong team and how to manage outsourcing. Alex also provides advice on how to test potential team members and what to look for when hiring.
We then delve into the mechanics of the app and how it uses a built-in search engine and AI to filter out clickbait and rewrite headlines. Alex explains how the app generates bullet-point summaries, creates nutrition labels for content, and penalizes articles without external references. He also discusses the importance of customization and transparency in the app and how it scrubs content from both sides of the political spectrum without any bias.
Overall, this episode is an enlightening exploration of how technology can help us navigate the web and make sense of the deluge of information available to us. Alex's app is a game-changer, and his insights on crowdfunding and team-building are invaluable for anyone looking to launch a startup or build a better world.
Alex Fink is the Founder and CEO of the Otherweb, a new platform that allows its readers to read news and commentary, listen to podcasts and search the web – without paywalls, clickbait, ads, auto-playing videos, affiliate links, or any other junk.
THE MEAT OF IT!
- 15 years building perception systems – cameras, computer vision.
- Last year.. “world doesn’t need more cameras”
- Most people are consuming junk.. drowning in the info we are creating.
- How do we make more sense of the world around us.. getting worse at it.
- No pay for quality or pay for truth.
- Info junkie since kid..
- Good memory
- Remembering all the rubbage.
- What he does for a living doesn’t connect with what would make the world better.
- Wife, what can you work on that’s actually good.. “We’re missing a content filter”.
- We need peer review applied to content.
- Things are not designed to inform you.. just to engage.
- Doing things that can positively impact the world..
- Why they are ‘open’ with what they are doing..
- Crowd Funding
- Avoiding institutional money..
- How do you do Crowd Funding –
- What changed in 2016 – non-accredited investors.
- Websites that act as middlemen. Community of investors.
- WeFunder & Start Engine
- Credited vs Non-Accredited. The positive and the negative aspect.
- How is Crowdfunding used?
- How to create profile and pitch for Crowdfunding.
- Reversed engineered others..
- The solution to clean up the junk..
- What is better?
- Created filters ..
- Training and AI model
- Relying on the team.
- What he brings to the table?
- His programming background..
- Tries not to program anymore or check in code..
- Outsourcing tips and advice
- Most systems can’t be outsourced properly ..
- Have to architect a system to be outsourced.
- Need to know how to hire and manage.
- No interview – just tests.
- About the app
- Who uses his app?
- No destroy’s headlines .. rewrites headlines. Rewrites clickbait
- Generates bullet point summary – reworded
- Stopped using 3rd party APIs and created their own engine
- Convincing people to use his App
- Messaging and set up..
- Gives people the source code so people can see the data. Being as transparent as possible.
- Staying away from “Left and Right”
- No mention of right or left politics .. scrapes from both, but doesn’t mention it