When I was a kid I used to read the encyclopedia before I went to sleep. If my friends had known it would have led to a lot of trouble, so I also trained in Judo for 10 years. I guess it worked because they never made fun of me for being a geek.
There were two reasons I loved reading the encyclopedia so much: 1) I fantasized about one day winning a trivia competition and 2) I loved reading about things I had no idea I was interested in until I started reading. The topics I read about had absolutely nothing in common besides their alphabetical order in the encyclopedia.
Each night, I came across all types of interesting content, from people to historic events, from geography to physics. That was my first encounter with the notion of “content discovery,” although when I was nine years old I’m not sure I would have understood the meaning of the term (and surely not in English).
I looked at my nightly reading as a version of window shopping. I loved having the ability to discover, research and look for answers to questions I never previously knew existed.
Content discovery also occurred outside of my encyclopedia. When I was studying for my SATs a girl in my class knew the meaning of a word that nobody else in the class knew. When we asked her where she’d learned the word, she told us she’d heard it in the lyrics of a Metallica song. Learning new words by listening to heavy metal music: now that’s a cool form of content discovery!
Luckily, nowadays it’s simpler than ever to discover content. The Internet allows each and every one of us to come across more content than was possible 20 years ago. My grandfather had a cabinet in his house in which he kept more than 25 years’ worth of National Geographic issues; today, I can read them all on my computer or my mobile phone.
Outbrain, besides being a cool place to work, is great because our platform takes a vast array of fields and knowledge and serves it to you in an interesting way. The platform helps you discover content you weren’t even aware that you were interested in reading, which is helpful because there are some things we know we don’t know, and there are things we don’t know we don’t know. You know? Outbrain takes care of this problem, and the awesome thing is that it does it in a way that makes you enjoy the unplanned ride.
Ido Yerushalmi is Outbrain’s Director of Israeli Business Development. He is based in Netanya.