Mixing It Up With Storehouse

Storehouse founder Mark Kawano in an interview with Fast Company:

Something we need to get better at, we [as humans] don‘t actually know what we’re interested in all the time,” Kawano tells Co.Design. “A lot of the times, the better stories are things you didn’t know you were interested in at all.”

…“A lot of apps try to get you to curate—’tell me what you’re interested in’—excluding topics,” Kawano explains. “At some point we were experimenting with that model in organizing stories more categorically, but it turned out that some of our engineers that thought they’d never like a fashion story found one that was really interesting . . . even things you don’t plan on cooking, or places you don’t plan on visiting, there’s something interesting about the longer form than looking at something that is shorter form.

Since I don‘t have an iPad, creating content with Storehouse is out of the question. I did however, tried it out a couple of times and I found the experience to be pleasant. The interface is inviting and intuitive, and it‘s self explanatory on how things work. What‘s interesting is browsing the stories in explore feeds. Some are eye-opener, like the documenting of Yakuza. Shifting through the angles of the baddies felt intensely real and charming. It seemed as though they were straight out of the movies. And then it reminded me of a book I’ve read before – Yakuza Moon

Under normal circumstances, I wouldn‘t intentionally look for stories about Yakuza. But give it to me in an aesthetically-lovely format, in the right setting, with the right mindset, I might just finish reading them.

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For a while, categorising user generated content have always been a concern. People don’t want to be presented with a cupcake picture when they’re on diet. If they are looking for ways to trim, the data gathered from all the browsing and clicking will therefore bombard them with 100-ways-to-slim-down kind of topics. Based on user preference, the algorithm is smart enough to present topics on what I like, and show me the kind of content from the people I follow or befriend. But is there something out there, more than just knowing what‘s happening within the circle? Because with variety comes diversity. Opening our eyes to new and seemingly unrelated topics bring new perspective and adds new dimension to our thinking.

I have grappled with this exact issue many times in the past. I have insecurity posting about things unrelated to the theme of the blog. But, is there a real and original theme in the first place? Mintype was born because I want to share my thoughts on technology, typography and design. Overtime, I developed new interests. While the above mentioned topics still holds a keen place, I have always wanted to write about other areas – things like branding, advertising, denims and magazines. I’m glad that the urge to start a new site for each of these topics didn’t materialise. I wouldn’t have the same energy, and probably wouldn’t have the same level of passion to sustain the sites that surely be scattered around across different platforms like Tumblr and Squarespace and others.

Discovering new stuffs awed us. Since we are not precisely sure of what we want, it makes sense to poke around or be presented with a different platter of content than the ones we are used to. That is why people sinks deeper into the rabbit hole called Pinterest. Likewise for Quora, I find myself unknowingly reading through topics I have little interest in at the start. It’s strange, yet not so irrationale when I realised the rest of the world (or most) is behaving like this too.

Maybe that’s the reason why I’m so intrigued by the magazine section. The spread and mix of cultural publications, gossip columns, technology feeds and food recommendations never fail to make me leave with something. The clash of colors and nature of the reads set my mind on a free run – Openhouse sitting next to Fast Company, which rests on top of Monocle. Then they have stacks of Kinfolk and Cereal in stock. Perfect tonic to get the creative juice flowing.

And this kind of diversity and richness of the experience is behind Storehouse‘s thinking. Likewise, IDEO has people from vastly different backgrounds, cultures, expertise and life experiences. In order to move forward in an innovative manner, the bustling mix is essential. It nourishes the mind and opens up new possibilities. It makes us more receptive to new ideas and embrace changes. The electric mix is addictive, and I wouldn‘t have it other way.