and I'm furiously highlighting and marking up my printout copy, and it
occurs to me that if I were a manager, I would love distribute one of
these books to my direct reports, and then read all the highlights and
notes that my team made. That way, I could know what everybody else
took away from the subject, and what they thought was important.
Unfortunately, this would require me reading the same book several
This, in turn, made me think of a cool Web app (yeah, I'm a freak).
Imagine a Web-hosted document that you could free-form highlight by
word, sentence, or paragraph. Now imagine that you have two colors of
highlighter: Yellow for good quotes, blue for bad. Now imagine that you
could read the voted-on copy in color code, so that the
most-highlighted sections would be brighter, and the
yellow-to-green-to-blue color code would let you know whether the
audience agrees or disagrees. Suddenly, you've got a community-built
Cliffs Notes of any document, with the most important stuff intuitively
screaming for your attention.
It's like digg, but more granular. I know MS Word does some of this
stuff through Sharepoint, but it's kludgy and has high overhead. As
long as I was stealing from digg, I'd do this Web-based and simple, and
maybe add in a few bells and whistles later (collapse document down to
display only highlighted sections; list documents by their
most-highlighted quote; the usual user-recognition stuff).
Just thinking out loud. If anybody builds this, I expect a share of the
IPO, unless its Google, in which case I'll just take a few hundred
company shares and call it even.
Jay Garmon has a vast and terrifying knowledge of all things obscure, obtuse, and irrelevant. One day, he hopes to write science fiction, but for now he'll settle for something stranger — amusing and abusing IT pros. Read his full profile. You can also follow him on his personal blog.