In the history of transplanting Silicon Valley's innovative products, the question-and-answer social networking site (Quora) is a special subject--it's a very long way from the business and is squeezed by search engines and social networks--so that venture capitalists have expectations, Most of China's pragmatic entrepreneurial team has little interest in Quora and lacks the power to copy.
So until now, Quora only two eggs in China, the left egg took the shape of the Quora, that is, know that the right eggs have quora meaning, also called as a shell.
This real internet experiment is worth looking back and summarizing.
Demonstration and stimulation of Quora
In 2009, when Facebook's engineers Charlie Cheever and chief technology officer Adam D ' Angelo left the Quora, their design philosophy was "subjective knowledge extraction":
"By combining the answer voting mechanism and reward reward system with strict identity requirements and a one-to-many model of followers, Quora the answer to the problem from the high quality experience of human collective intelligence, and even uses a large number of users to sort the answers." ”
From the product, Quora that Google and Wikipedia too structured, machine algorithm more perfect, in order to provide answers to the more emphasis on the simple and popular, to meet the cost of most users, is to have to abandon the personality, depth of the needs of a few users. But the ordinary community, then has the extremely limited support to the question and answer interaction, not only cannot highlight the high quality content, moreover the retrieval is not convenient.
Due to the niche market, there is plenty of room for imagination. Google, Wikipedia, Facebook, LinkedIn and even WordPress can be summed up more or less in the "shock"--quora growth is very smooth, this April, The company, which employs only 70 employees, has completed a 80 million-dollar c-round financing, valued at $900 million trillion, knowing it was done in the absence of a reasonable business model and an intention to curb the size of the community's expansion.
The movement of the US capital market has once again stimulated the two "illegitimate children" of Quora in China. Just this month, the news is known to get 22 million dollars in the second round of financing, while, has been very little in the technology media exposure of the shell net, its founder Ji also for the first time external voice, tells the nutshell model, a "shell net what to do" cause industry concern.
Knowledge and Nutshell
March 2010, Quora won the first round of financing, the initial valuation is 86 million U.S. dollars of scale, the same year November, Shell Line, December, know that online, almost in the same period, these two dedicated to operating high-quality content and high-quality users of the website to open the motor neck And the Internet niche market in China has no successor to join.
In the initial stage, know that with the shell of the user overlap is very high, especially the leader-level active users, often both in the knowledge of the contribution to answer, and appear in the Nutshell writing article. Nutshell in 2012 to launch a nutshell question and answer, cut into the knowledge of the strict inheritance of the quora of the question and answer platform field, once let knowledge of the team formidable, and know that in 2013, the introduction of the Daily News, Rob Shell adhere to the intellectual media field, but also make the shell team feel nervous. At the same time, the latest published traffic data show that the average daily PV is about 6 million, the daily average of the shell of PV is about 4 million-the former in volume on the above, but given the knowledge of the broader, and the shell is still deep in the pan-science industry, so the overall gap between the two is very little, did not distinguish.
But know that the shell is actually apart. The knowledge of the engineer culture (two of the three co-founders are technically born), help it in the development of products such as mustard, when the app released a second edition, it in the iOS social classification list of the heat has surpassed the micro-letter and the stranger climbed to the top, and know that the daily app is launched two months after the launch of millions of downloads, This kind of product-oriented operation thinking keeps the speed of capturing users in high efficiency. The shell of the scientist culture, so that it attaches great importance to the role of media borrowing, in the heyday of Sina Weibo, the shell built from the founder to the product of the micro-Bo propagation matrix, mobile end also configured the client and the public number, so in the news sensitivity, the shell can always catch hot- As early as in the spring of 2011, Japan because of the 8.9 earthquake nuclear leakage incident, panic mood frequently breeding rumors, and the shell quickly mustered to rob Salt storm and other topics such as popular science, received a large number of media reprint, just to enlarge the shell of the brand and credibility- The transmission effect of the four-and-two-dial Jack determines the operation thinking of the matrix of the pre-layout media.
If take 2013 years as the new ruler starting point, knows with the nutshell each hesitant hesitant the road which moves forward, already is very different.
Know: Mixed experience mutual aid platform, a better "watercress" story?
Today, it looks like it's talking about a better watercress story.
Zhou Yuan, the founder and current CEO, told the media that he had created a beginner: "The knowledge will continue to produce high-quality, information that can be precipitated, and to connect valuable information with people." And knowing the path of implementation around this beginner, in fact, with watercress in idealism and realism between the balance and choice is very close: Jinian grinding products, believe that the ability to solve problems, the pursuit of user size but not active contact with specific users (except for a few Kol), not in a hurry to establish a business model, Think this is the right thing to do. The so-called will be "valuable information and people associated", watercress depends on the book audio-visual media, and know depends on the question and answer the bonds of mutual assistance.
In fact, according to my investment organization, I know that the team will refer to three objects in the financing, in addition to watercress, there are Quora and LinkedIn. Quora don't have to say much, without it, there is no current knowledge of LinkedIn, which is largely a dazzling achievement in the value of its current network--as early as 2010, when LinkedIn made its full-year profit--a model where both the B-end (enterprise) and the C-end (the user) were able to do the monetization, If it is possible to convince investors that it has something in common with LinkedIn's future, it will also help raise valuations at this stage.
In other words, knowing the story of watercress, advising investors to "catch", gives the idea of providing a space that can be "slow" and then, through LinkedIn's story, castles investors to prove the high rate of return in the future.
On the contrary, it is Quora, the originator of the product of the true meaning of knowledge, now it seems not so important.
To be sure, on the operational steps, it is still true to Quora:
√2012 the end of the year, Quora launched a blog service, so that interested users do not have to rigidly adhere to the question and answer form, you can directly write articles, and into the feed of the followers; almost at the same time, knowing is also beginning to test knowing the columns and trying to woo the media resources.
At the beginning of √2013 year, Quora screened 100 best questions and answers for 18 categories of science and technology, food, law, literature, and aggregated content to produce a 400-page PDF ebook; a year later, it is understood to work with Citic Publishing house to "start a business" for three years. The essence of the class question and answer published a paper book, "Entrepreneurship, we know what to talk about."
√ March 2013, Quora online The official blog Spotlight, Quora quality questions and answers, reproduced in the form of media transmission, the main focus on the more time-sensitive topics; in May, it was known that the new product, known as the daily newspaper, was published and admitted to the media as an "internet newspaper", Every day, we know the dozens of questions and answers in the website, combined with current affairs hotspots, please those who are very resident.
√ Even the founder's public statements are known to be in sync with the Quora--2012 years, Quora's founder Adam D ' Angelo in describing the value of their entrepreneurial projects: "The vast majority of human knowledge has not been online, stored in the form of experience in the human brain, or in books and papers that only an expert can read. "In the same year, one of the founders of the Zhou Yuan, in answer to a question about the origins of the site, said," The knowledge, experience, insights, and judgments that a person has never shared in the brain are always something that another group of people want to know. " ”
However, the knowledge of the product-oriented, so that its platform properties have involuntary passivity: is the user, rather than the station side, determines the content of this platform preferences.
In the knowledge, there is a "know the gap between the Quora and the" question, attracted 23 answers, most of the user response to know that in the professional is far less than Quora, the majority of the show, the real contribution of knowledge less. I also said on Weibo that I know the club form that is becoming more and more experience-sharing, such as "How the million-yearly salary people are living", "how to properly answer the" girlfriend's three classic questions, "and other questions and answers to fully enjoy the onlookers, users seem more willing to linger over one hand-style God reply.
In Quora, frequent encounters with Ivy League professors to exchange academic questions are not difficult. If we move valuable information incrementally into "experience", "views" and "knowledge"-"experience" is the summary of personal history, stronger than reading, less than replicable, "View" is the upgrade of "experience", although still subjective, but has a preliminary guiding significance, "knowledge" is the "view" that is still correct after a variety of model tests, the world's strongest-the quora of the high end of the crowd in the balance of the more stable grasp, more sophisticated to avoid the expansion of the number of users caused by the "Community hydration" effect, but know that in the wings of the process of the gradual abundance of some of the loss of Coke, Unavoidable distraction.
However, this kind of hindsight is not very fair to know, knowing that what is being done is the "least bad" option--from the fall of the micro-trust circle, it is easy to see that the user structure of China's internet is still pyramid rather than hexagon, which is the risk that must be borne after enlarging the user scale, It is also a challenge that must be carefully met at the level of wind control.
In other words, if you are aware of following Quora without considering the geopolitical factors-such as controlling user growth, refusing to actively convert low-end users, and so on-then this politically correct outcome is likely to be disastrous. In the past, Bo and Liu Yan had done 5GSNS, Wang has done the domestic network, they all and know the same, the early period from the technology circle to import a large number of seed users, but also quickly laid the content and relationship of the quality of height, but in the end, indulged in the closed 5GSNS and the net, are annihilated in the history of soot, it is therefore It is the "least bad" choice that has to be made, knowing that the soul is betraying Quora.
Moreover, China's capital market has always been based on the number of users to convert product value, know that the current 6 million users, in fact, can not afford to be precarious. Although in the knowledge of the three founders, COO Huang the highest rate of the mirror ("Do Not Disturb" to help a lot), but CEO Zhou Yuan is a known leader, this is a cross-border complex talent-the early years of writing code, but also a successful transformation of science and technology reporter, know the founder has also had a pioneering experience-he agreed to " As long as there are users in the future "concept, as long as we know that has not been through the rising period of saving users, then the future, including business model, there are endless variables, and know not only" around a positioning thinking. "
Nutshell: To do the Enlightenment, but also to do business
The founder of the Nutshell Ji, the sentiment of idealism is quite lengnuanzizhi.
Ji is a doctor of neurobiology at Fudan University, and then follows the role of "Science Evangelist" and takes the "writings" Development path. In the creation of the shell before, he is the NGO Public Interest brand science Squirrel will founder-science Squirrel will initially with a number of collaborative blog Project launched operation, interestingly, Huang is also a core member of the multiplayer collaborative blog Apple4us before you know it, and this is another coincidence with the Nutshell Ji has been paying tuition for his idealism after leaving science squirrels into entrepreneurial identities and creating commercial media husks.
In terms of Ji own words, the shell because too obsessed with idealized blueprint, "Walked 2 years Detour", and their own because there is no entrepreneurial experience, in the team building also committed mistakes.
The background of the birth of a nutshell, is a pseudoscience using the Internet to do its way. The so-called pseudoscience, always built in the asymmetric information environment, can not be verified or difficult to falsify is the necessary soil for its survival, but also more and more industrialized, for example, people used to forge UFO photos just to cheat clues from the newspaper, today's "green Beans Health" and other propaganda is behind the scenes to promote the interests of some industries to transport. And although the shell has also studied the Quora, but because the threshold of higher science, the question and answer mechanism may cause content dispersion, so the shell or decided to use the advantage into the commercial market, that is, to create media brands.
Know and Shell in fact have paid to get the content of the tradition (invite users paid contributions), in the Nutshell side, to the obscure professional knowledge into the dissemination of articles, in fact, is also a cost overhead. The reason why the shell put a lot of popular science action, is to bring out the shell as a new media visibility and reputation, with the brand endorsement of business.
The detour is that the new media itself is lack of large profit space, and the shell to the new media as the goal, itself into the limits of expansion.
But for the nutshell, this is also to the other side of the road, because if there is no media brand matting, it is not eligible for two transitions. In the 2012, the author of the Nutshell revealed the false propaganda advertised by a medical institution called A4M (American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine). And the nutshell community as a platform for public opinion frequently attack, causing a large number of traditional and network media attention, and finally achieved idealism and pragmatic win-gain: a4m in China's layout frustrated, Disappear from this, and the reputation of the shell with the relevant topic heat geometry fission. In the history of the nutshell, such cases abound, each time has raised the shell of the social impact, but the drawbacks are also very significant: the user is puzzled, can not distinguish between the commercial brand shell and the NGO Science Squirrel will be the difference, investors are also very confused, after all, influence can not be directly, the Internet media brand iterative speed quickly, No everlasting, only immortal, can't eat the feeling of reassurance, very heart plug.
Starting from the second half of 2012, the Shell brewing and launched a transformation plan, under the grand ideal, the need for more pragmatic business to do support, Ji will focus on the strategic business model, and introduced the COO, set up a high-level team, in business words business.
With the current concept, the shell style is sharp, with a large number of active fans of the brand characteristics, like a large from the media. And the shell from the 2012 on the commercialization of the exploration as well as from the media business exploration, with a number of commercial technology brands, to tell them the brand story. According to the Shell Net COO Liade in the three anniversary of the shell net speech, this business play in 2012, 2013 to the shell net brought 5 million, 10 million yuan income, in 2014, the target is 20 million.
But it would obviously make the shell face new problems, if the shell a large number of content with the enterprise cooperation, will lose the credibility of livelihood, and rely on community advertising to realize, but also to rely on quantitative change to achieve qualitative change, which requires the introduction of a large number of users, but also with the positioning of high-quality communities run counter. More importantly, the reference to the commercialization process of Tianya, only based on the online community of a three-acre, the speed of income does not go, but also see the ceiling, capital is less interested.
Finally, we see that the shell is determined to force, is to spread the knowledge of the sinking into the online education market.
This direction is not a shell of whim, in the summer of 2012, the shell under the line held under the name "Knowledge and learning of the future", the effect is beyond expectations, and after Quora, Coursera, Udacity and so on the systematization of knowledge, the user into a student's network classroom, Also let the shell believe that their brand audiences and online education target users highly overlapping.
Here's a little bit about Coursera, a free online open class project, one of the founders of the Stanford University Computer college professor Wunda, who left Google to join Baidu this May. Coursera currently has a total of 70 million U.S. dollars (b round 63 million dollars, a round of 6 million U.S. dollars) of the rounds of financing, known as subversion of the U.S. traditional education industry's future products. In the 2012, the concept of "MOOC" (A large open network course) became hot, and many of the top universities in the United States, including Columbia University and Princeton University, and Coursera, offered higher education content specifically targeted to Internet users-not the class video of the ordinary online public class- And try to issue a certificate of education.
Obviously, China's universities are limited by the system, and the quality of the local education is mixed, it is not realistic to copy the Coursera model. What the shell wants to change is the traditional mode of studying abroad, and studying abroad is a high cost education model, and it is only the physical wall that hinders the idea of equal education. Shell set up the MOOC College, first with Coursera, edx and other overseas education platform, translation and the introduction of overseas education resources, and then import the strong desire of their own users, and then use media brands to seek more curriculum authorization, trying to build global online education in China's distribution portal. Finally, in order to improve the knowledge level of students, Shell can be a big deal in business, step-by-step sales value-added services.
Each has its own challenges
The platform began with the knowledge of more and more media, from the media origin of the shell started to build a platform.
Knowing the standard Internet company, good at the "light" way to solve the problem, its commercial tentacles with the user growth can be stretched far enough to disperse, and trial and error cost is very low: publishing, paid Reading, paid counseling, social recruitment, from the media, mobile media ... Each direction has an immeasurable return, know that can continue to leisurely progress, the Internet has long proved that there are users have everything.
But how can we ensure the uniqueness and order of the community if we know that the volume is 10 times times larger?
Community bigger, will usher in two knots, one is a clique, and its possible "bad currency drive good currency" phenomenon, from the forum era, people should not be unfamiliar; another knot is the erosion of the anti-intellectual culture, this is the ordinary community may not be a big problem, but know more special, especially its voting system, It is easy to induce democracy into populism, 2009, Tianya made a "Tianya car friends will logo collection contest", hoping to vote for the most user-supported independent design works, and the last to win the crown (more than 50% votes) of God is more like a thousands of users together to plot a prank, Let Tianya of the operators are quite in distress, but also to those who submitted a well-designed works of the author felt a helpless resentment:
The nutshell is a college-school firm, good at doing some "heavy" things, before doing MOOC College, the shell of a year can be held in the University of hundreds activities, the use of student volunteers and campus channels to do a pan-scientific speech, and finally sank to the online education industry, is the depth of the use of the mass base. But think of Kai-Fu Lee and his "I study nets" as well as Lo Zhenyu and his thinking community, the shell in the cultural industry, fans also have the opportunity to economic, including the public, as long as the courage of the Ji enough, the value of the shell of the potential of large ore needs to be excavated.
However, the short plate of the Nutshell, lies in China's science and education category and its market is quite elementary, in the social custom of laughing at poverty, not to laugh at prostitution, whether it is popular science or education, are subject to utilitarian, Ji that the shell is to "bring the advanced lifestyle to some people", but your honey, or for the arsenic, in the impetuous earthly marketing self-cultivation, I'm afraid it's too extravagant. Truly studious users, may not have that time in the network and shell a play, how to resolve this contradiction, will be decided to change the shell of a key.