About/The Review

I’m Joey, former neuroscientist, pop-up chef, currently leading product management at ResearchGate. I’m interested and write about how we build knowledge online, from academic journals to Twitter and everything in between.

Any good scientist will tell you how important a good review article is in research. As fields and opinions change, review articles collect all of the most important work into one place and into a logical narrative. So rather than a static “About” page and an endless list of publications, the review here can serve as an evolving view of what I think is worth reading both on this site and elsewhere.

I’ll update this every month or so, and send an email when I do. Old versions can found on Substack. I don’t want to join the race to the bottom of the inbox; I intend emails from this site to be infrequent and full of value.

Review – updated January 14th, 2021

Some of the most common advice you get as a writer is that “persistence is main ingredient for success.” That confidence is motivating until you try putting your first big piece or two out there, at which point you start wishing something outside of persistence was the secret ingredient instead.

A few months into my writing experiment, I’m pleased to report that it seems a critical caveat was missing – write about your curiosities and it will get easier to be persistent over time. There’s this virtuous loop that comes from the struggle of those early posts. Distilling thoughts onto paper makes you realize they weren’t as clear as you thought, but when you do that distillation becomes a building block to use for subsequent pieces.

In the past two months I published A teardown of Spotify’s podcast integration to talk about how the seamless integration is also a bet towards creator-fueled discovery of audio. I wanted to dig even more into how great products solve emotional pains, so I wrote Toucan: effortless language learning and a lesson in building truly empathetic products. In Crypto art, from Foundation.app to buying stock in Beyonce I set out to write about another compelling product but couldn’t help but follow the thread towards the evolving relationship between online creators and their audiences more generally. That’s when Substack (where we write The Product Kitchen) launched their Reader app, and I wrote Substack’s first big miss? because I felt the V1 showed a path towards a potential future where Substack misses out on the opportunities to really take the creator<>audience newsletter relationship forward.

Through all of that, my view of the changing role of the online audience was taking form. So I wrote The audience grows the creator, part 1 to lay out a simple framework that I could start building on. The first build was Updates to the Substack Reader, and Twitter’s curation as a service an example of the opportunity and challenge of building audience-enabled discovery, and the huge opportunity for Twitter as as result. I also wrote it because I needed the “curation is a scare resource in online knowledge” argument for a bigger piece on science I’m writing sometime soon.

It’s not linear by any means, but I’m starting to experience this thing which I guess you could call the “post after next effect.” The current piece sort of “in the way” of where I am and what’s in my head. Getting it out of the way is somehow easier than writing as if there’s nothing after it. That’s a pretty fundamental change to where I was when I started, and I’m deeply grateful to everyone who has supported me along the way so far.