Creating a content discovery systems

I like to know what’s going on with people I respect, what they’re thinking about, and stuff they’ve learned. But social media is an unreliable way of finding what they’ve written recently. The algorithms make it impossible to know what you’ve missed. So, I wanted to create a reliable, timely and free way of finding out what these people have published.

Lots of personal website and blogging platforms, along with sites like YouTube have RSS feeds, which is a great way to get links to newly published content. Unfortunately, not all do, so I guess there’s still some people’s writing that I’ll miss. No solution is perfect.

I looked at using automation products like Zapier and IFTTT, but there are two drawbacks. The free plans allow a very small number of feeds, and until I’ve proved the value for myself I don’t want to spend too much on this. And I’d still need somewhere else to display the feeds that could notify me and organise the feeds, and as I’m still validating whether the idea works I want to keep the system as simple as possible. It’s good to know your constraints.

Slack, as it turns out, is a great solution. It has an RSS app that can post into channels, different channels let you organise messages, and message features help you

My workspace

I set up a workspace just for myself, and created channels for ‘product management’, ‘agile’, ‘ai’, design’, strategy’ and ‘weeknotes’. As my interests change, I can add and remove channels without disrupting the whole solution. And if there’s someone who’s writing doesn’t fit a single topic, I add their feed to the ‘general’ channel.

Slack has other features that help with the content discovery experience too. Messages can be bookmarked or have a reminder set for later. I also use different emoji’s to help me. A tick means I’ve read the blog post. Thumbs up means I really liked it and might want to come back to it later.

Slack is one of the few apps that I enable notifications on my phone, but it means I’ve got belt and braces for not missing new content. I get a notification when someone posts a new article or video, and if I’m too busy to read it then, I’ve got unread messages next time I go into the Slack app so I can read them then.


What could be better? The main thing would be a way to tidy/select the contents of RSS message before it’s posted. Substack is one of the cleanest, but there’s still messy duplication. Ideally, I’d see just the name of the publication and the title of the article which links to it. That would mean less unhelpful, unfinished text and less scrolling.

Screenshot of the Slack mobile app showing an RSS feed message

My feeds list

Alan Wrightproductmanagement
All Things Product Managementproductmanagement
Andy Belldesign
Ben’s Bitesai
Charles Lambdinproductmanagement
Continuous Deliveryagile
Dan Olsenproductmanagement
Dave Briggsgov
Edo van Royenproductmanagement
Emily Webberagile
Harsh Brownsproductmanagement
Matt Edgar writes hereweeknotes
One Useful Thingai
Product Coalition – Mediumproductmanagement
Product Growthproductmanagement
Product Management IRLproductmanagement
Scott Colfer’s Blogproductmanagement
Sid’s Product Newsletterproductmanagement
Stories by Alysia-Marie Annett on Mediumdesign
Stories by Andy Tabberer on Mediumagile
Stories by Conrad Meagher on Mediumdesign
Stories by Holly Davis on Mediumweeknotes
Stories by Joe Roberson on Mediumdesign
Stories by Laura Heatherley on Mediumweeknotes
Stories by Lauren Pope on Mediumdesign
Stories by Neil Killick on Mediumagile
Stories by Zach Moss on Mediumweeknotes
Teal Unicornagile
Terence Eden’s Bloggeneral
The Beautiful Messproductmanagement
The Civic AI Observatoryai
The Product Experienceproductmanagement
The Product Science Podcastproductmanagement
Third Sector Labcharity
UX Collective – Mediumdesign
Web of Weeknotes – Mediumweeknotes
Roger Martin on Mediumstrategy

I’ll keep adding to this list as I add more feeds to my Slack.

What’s next

I’d like to find a way to decouple ‘conversation’ from social media. I don’t converse a lot on social media or any other platforms, but I’d like to know that I have a reliable way of doing so if I wanted to.

It would be great if social media platforms introduced RSS feeds so, for example, if someone posts on LinkedIn or Threads I could add replies, but I don’t think that will ever happen. And other platforms like Substack and Medium aren’t well designed for conversation. Another problem for another day.