Since October of 2012, I've been doing occasional business development activities for Nexcerpt. (Prior reports here and here.) I describe our service as "deep daily news search with global reach," and I think just this week I've figured out what our product is.
Our product is the changes you can produce in your own brain by searching deeply and then looking at a different (specifically curated for your own interests) mix of news from what those around you are seeing. The more carefully you refine your queries and use the other special features of Nexcerpt, the more change you can produce in your own thinking.
Winifred Gallagher's Rapt: Attention and the Focused Life (Penguin 2010) explains: "Attention's selective ... nature enables you to create a coherent but also custom-tailored reality." Her review of current psychology research crystallized what I have been experiencing recently.
For the past year, six days a week, I've been looking at the top 50 global news items containing the words, "extreme weather" or "climate change". (I've been running this query against a deliberately chosen 50% of Nexcerpt's 7000-odd sources, eliminating press releases and de-emphasizing op ed material, focusing on local and national news items from around the globe.) On most days I spend 5-10 minutes skimming the headlines. When I have time, or when the headlines and excerpts are particularly riveting, I spend an hour delving deeply.
No matter what, when I've looked at what my query retrieved, I collect the items that I found most useful and (sometimes from my laptop, sometimes from my phone) publish them to a link that I can share.
This turned out to have been an amazing year to be watching the patterns of extreme weather events. The effects of the news items on my brain have been cumulative ...
Of course, this process occurs whenever a person chooses one news source over another. People who watch only FOX and people who read only the New York Times will produce commensurate changes in their brains. But each Nexcerpt subscriber's news is profoundly unique; we remain in control, able to tune and change the searches to make them even more precise.
By focusing on this topic, I have produced changes in my brain that will be strategically useful for a wide variety of challenges from selecting where I'm going to live to developing a new business venture. In other words I feel like an illuminata I've been using Nexcerpt to produce a state in which my brain is more likely to come up with some original or unusual insights, because the inputs it's been receiving have been so effectively focused and tailored.
So here's my pitch: if you are wondering about a current problem or question, and would like to delve more deeply into it, with the goal of coming up with a better answer than those around you, you can use Nexcerpt to produce the changes that will allow your brain to do that. We offer help tailoring your queries to make the process as quick as possible. You can start your own free trial on the Nexcerpt site, or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
When I worked as a product evangelist, I was well aware of how difficult it was to change humans' minds. I am pleased to be representing a service that helps people change their own.