tl;dr (too long; didn’t read)
We’re super excited to announce that we have finally launched our new product: tl;dr!
The three of us quit our dayjobs at the end of 2011 and for the past 5 months we’ve been hard at work on it, and we’re very
proud of what we’re releasing.
In a nutshell, our product solves the problem of wanting to know what’s in a webpage
without losing precious time. It allows you to display a summary of the webpage you’re
currently browsing. The summaries are written by people who found the
webpage interesting before you. If the summary you’re asking for doesn’t exist yet,
you’ll be offered to create it. We decided to rely on people because summarizing
information is a skill people are vastly better at than computers.
So why did we build this product?
We read a lot of blogs, be it news or
more educational/topical content. It’s been said and resaid that we’re
in an age of information overload. There is simply too much content that
is published everyday and it’s getting harder and harder to not only keep up with
the firehose but also filter what needs to be read and remembered. Often times we feel like it would
be nice to have access the few key ideas that are worth remembering of an
article we just read.
We also thought ‘Wouldn’t it be cool if upon arriving on a web page we
could display its summary to rapidly see what it’s about? Indeed
everyone now knows to choose catchy titles to attract readers. Other signals such as
likes, shares, or upvotes aren’t really related to the actual content
and need of the reader. We wanted something that focused on the content,
so that people would be able to make their own opinion about it.
This is why we decided to allow people to attach one
summary to any URL on the web in order to describe what’s in it. Sort of
an entry point to each webpage. Turns out there’s already an name for
such a summary on the internet: it’s tl;dr. Once it is written, the tl;dr benefits
everybody in the world. Anyone will be able to get a clean, standardized
preview of what the webpage they’re about to browse contains. This can be
very useful on unknown busy webpages that are hard to sift through.
At this point we must point out that we do not want to prevent people
from reading original content. We simply want to pique the interest of the
right people and drive them to content they’re looking for by lowering
its barrier to entry for them. Since we believe that summarized
information is one of the most powerful force that drives interest (as
evidenced by academic paper abstracts, google results extracts, etc.) we
think people-contributed summaries will work wonders.
A word of caution
This is our first release and shouldn’t be considered perfect. There is
still a lot of work ahead of us, we have a big and clear vision for our
company but we’re taking baby steps. You should expect new features
regularly, as well as bugs! Besides, since we are building a company,
and a company needs to make money, expect some pricing plans for our
service to come out very soon. For those interested, we’ve been
bootstrapping for now and haven’t taken any investor money.