The New Outside.in

Our portfolio company Outside.in launched a new version of their service this week. There are a bunch of new ways to navigate aound your neighborhood to see what’s going on. John Geraci, co-founder and head of product, outlines them in this blog post:

- A tabbed home page
that allows you to view Stories or Places in your area.

- “Hot Topics” story clusters.

- Sparklines. Along with each of these Hot Topics,
we present a really cool, small graph to show you how popular that
topic has been in your area for the past 30 days.

- Map view.  The “Expand Map” link above the home page map reveals  a map view.

- Improved navigation. The site is starting to feel like a
*real* web site, with real navigation.

I am a big fan of the map view. Here’s a picture of the manhattan map view:

Outsidein

Outside.in is trying to crack a really hard problem. How to deliver local news to you that is relevant and timely. Steven Johnson, ceo and co-founder of outside.in, calls it the pothole paradox:

Say you’ve got a particularly nasty pothole on your street that
you’ve been scraping the undercarriage of your car against for a year.
When the town or city finally decides to fix the pothole, that event is
genuinely news in your world. And it is news that you’ll never get from
your local paper, or TV affiliate, or radio station. [But] news about a pothole repair just five blocks from your street is the least interesting thing you could possibly imagine.

If you are interested in learning how Steven and team plan to address the pothole paradox, read his entire post. Outside.in is a work in progress. The site keeps getting better. They have more and more content every day. They are starting to cover most of the major US cities pretty well. But rural geographies and international aren’t covered well yet.

I suspect it’s going to take time to crack the pothole paradox. And I sure hope outside.in is the one to do it.