So this evening I went to the New York Public Library to pick up one book that’s waiting for me.
I wound up leaving with six books.
I didn’t go there seeking anything other than a single book. Nor did I expect to leave with more than that solitary volume.
Then I thought I should give the shelves a quick browse. And, in different places, in areas unrelated to specific subjects, making Dewey himself spin in his resting place, I came up with just one more book I wanted to borrow.
In all, it’s about five pounds of weight. But I don’t want the weight, I want the weightless information.
Which brings us to a problem all ebook vendors must face: How can this experience be replicated online?
Microsoft, which loves to torment, uh, challenge interviewees, can use this as a test to discover the best code-jockeys for stochastic programming.
Devise an algorithm for a library of ebooks that will result in a patron leaving with the following titles:
Little New York Bastard: A Memoir by M. Dylan Raskin
Center Square: The Paul Lynde Story by Steve Wilson and Joe Florenski
West of Jesus: Surfing, Science and the Origins of Belief by Steven Kotler (who I heard on The Joey Reynolds Show)
False Profits: Seeking Financial and Spiritual Deliverance in Multi-Level Marketing and Pyramid Schemes by Robert L. Fitzpatrick and Joyce K. Reynolds
Indecision (A Novel) by Benjamin Kunkel
The Ultimate Question: Driving Good Profits and True Growth by Fred Reichheld
Now the tragic ending of this wee tale is this: Microsoft would indeed use something like this. Someone somewhere there will grok the concept. Sadly, the place that needs it right now won’t.