I have a very patterned daily information consumption routine. The left-most tab in my browser is called "Daily" and contains a set of web sites that I open up each morning and look at as part of my routine. Recently, Filtrbox – one of the TechStars companies – graduated to be part of this tab.
I try virtually every news alerting system that I come across. I have a set of about 100 keywords that I track daily – all of the companies we’ve invested in, a number of people that I follow, and a handful of random things I care about. My current staples are Google Alerts, Yahoo Alerts, and Technorati. I can only seem to get Google and Yahoo via email, so they show up in my inbox and get moved to my "Daily" email folder (which I read – er – daily.) Technorati comes via RSS so I read it each morning in FeedDemon.
The vision for Filtrbox when they started at TechStars last summer was to create an integrated single dashboard of all this keyword alert information. The tagline "more knowledge, less noise" says it all. My partner Seth Levine and I totally resonated with this – Seth has a great post about Filtrbox up titled Know what you don’t know which addresses how he thinks about the problem and how Filtrbox solves it for him.
For a while I found the Filtrbox data interesting, but not really that additive. In addition, the UI was "ok" but there where lots of little things that slowed me down. About three months ago I noticed I was finding new information from it that wasn’t appearing in my other keyword searches and that it was streamlining this information in ways that I hadn’t expected, such as eliminating duplicates (e.g. the same alert coming from Google, Yahoo, and Technorati – which happens many times each day – only appeared one in Filtrbox) and allowing me to filter based on thresholds for each keyword. In addition, as the UI evolved, I found I was spending less time scanning the alerts and more time clicking through onto the interesting ones.
I hit a tipping point about a month ago where Filtrbox became more useful to me than Google+Yahoo+Technorati. I haven’t turned off the other alerts yet, but I find that I’m not getting much additional info from them anymore now that I use Filtrbox as my top level sort.
Filtrbox is still in private beta, but if you are interested in playing around with it you can get a golden ticket by clicking on the special magic Brad Feld Filtrbox link. I’m really proud of Ari Newman, Tom Chikoore, and team. They have reached the point where their service is very valuable to me and gets noticeably better every single week.