Macro Pessimism, Micro Optimism (Part II)

Back in June we did a blog on some of the most interesting new companies being run by brilliant entrepreneurs (also older, lifestyle post here).  Below is an update with a few interesting websites from Time Magazines 50 Best Websites 2012:


Everybody knows enough about some topic — be it English, science, yoga or bourbon — to teach other people about it. Every topic is covered by content scattered around the web. And the idea behind a new site called Learnist is to give everybody a spot to teach through curation. The site, which is also available as an app for iPhone and iPad, features user-created lessons that bring together web pages, videos, Google e-books and other items on a specific topic. At the moment, only a relatively small group of people approved by the site — including some real teachers — can create these “learnings,” but anyone can check them out.


No mere mortal could ever watch all the videos on YouTube. Even the ones actually worth watching. And that’s where Devour comes in. Its simple, clean design puts the 15 top-trending and most fascinating clips right in your face. 


When you’re listening to online music, you can painstakingly create your own playlists.  Or you can drop into Songza, where the hard work of constructing playlists is done by the site’s music experts, and the only technology they use is their own good taste. The Music Concierge feature lets you choose a scenario (such as “Cooking Breakfast” or  ”Unwinding After a Long Day”) and helps you narrow in on a genre (like “Smooth Rockabilly” or “Frat-Rap House Party”). 

If This, Then That:

If This Then That helps wrangle together all the apps and websites you use on a daily basis, conjoining them like the cutest two-faced cat imaginable. The site thrives on those tiny yet tedious tasks you probably do without even realizing. Do you favorite a tweeted article and then send it to your Instapaper account? Take a photo using Instagram and then send it to Gmail to print later? One popular recipe can check the weather at a certain time and text it to you. 


Once upon a time, the only way to take a course taught by a professor employed by a great university was to attend a great university. With Coursera, you don’t have to leave your seat. Instructors from Princeton, Duke, Caltech and 13 other schools conduct online classes on everything from math to music, complete with video lectures, quizzes and homework.  And the site is free — no scholarship required.


 Every day, Uncrate publishes sexy pictures and brief write-ups of stuff that guys might want to buy. What kind of stuff? Everything from a Sam Adams beer milkshake to an Adirondack chair made out of whiskey barrels to the most powerful car Peugeot’s ever produced. You can read the site in blog format or Pinterest-style grid view. It’s good manly fun to peruse, whether you’re actually shopping or just daydreaming.

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