This article was published on July 7, 2011

Percolate is brewing: Your filtered news with a shot of microblogging

Percolate is brewing: Your filtered news with a shot of microblogging
Courtney Boyd Myers
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Courtney Boyd Myers

Courtney Boyd Myers is the founder of, a transatlantic company designed to help New York and London based technology startups gr Courtney Boyd Myers is the founder of, a transatlantic company designed to help New York and London based technology startups grow internationally. Previously, she was the Features Editor and East Coast Editor of TNW covering New York City startups and digital innovation. She loves magnets + reading on a Kindle. You can follow her on Facebook, Twitter @CBM and .

There are few things that jump start one’s day as swiftly as a strong cup of coffee and a serving of news. But how do you find and enjoy the perfect cup of hand picked news?

“The Internet has created a lot of content, which is why everyone today is talking about curation and filtering. We think filtering is great but it’s a feature not a product. The real opportunity is for people to contextualize, and to be able to create content around that content,” says Noah Brier, the co-founder of Percolate, New York City’s newest media company, currently in “double secret alpha” mode, which he describes as “a blog platform that tells you what to blog about”.

How it works: Percolate scrapes your RSS and Twitter feeds based on who you follow and who you subscribe to. It then looks at the sites people are linking to and runs it through an algorithmic filter which applies 10 factors such as your personal preferences, how popular it is within your network, how old it is, and then a few ‘secret sauce’ algorithms, which Brier would not divulge. He did mention that one of his 6 employees is a Ph.D mathematician, so there’s science behind that secret sauce.

Your Brew (on the left below) is comprised of links that came through other people’s brews and algorithms, what they commented on, as well as comments from people you follow and who follow you on Percolate. Percolate decided not to let you import Facebook friends, so thankfully your “Brew” feed will never look like your “Newsfeed”. Your Filter on the right is what’s bubbling up from the folks you follow on Twitter, and the algorithm’s results based on your personal preferences. Then, every morning, Percolate delivers an email to you called “The Daily Brew.”

The site encourages users to comment, or rather blog, on stories percolating on their dashboard. Users can also visit other users’ pages to see the news percolating on their dashboards. If you are a leisurely news geek who enjoys a beautiful interface, you are going to be in to Percolate. But for some, it’s tiresome to go to yet another place to hold a conversation or find information.

So, what is Percolate? Well, like any social system we are looking for you to help define it, but I can humbly tell you what we are trying to do. Percolate is a different take on publishing. Rather than starting with a blank box, like blogging, it starts with a piece of relevant content for you to comment on, which we bubble up by way of a filtering engine we built which pulls from your Twitter and sites you subscribe too(more platform support to come soon). We want to take the pressure away from publishing, making it easy for you to curate content on the web.

-James Gross, co-founder of Percolate

TechCrunch’s MG Siegler announced he’s quitting email today. But I didn’t know that from seeing the original article, a tweet, a Facebook message or a comment on Google+.  I saw Jean Aw’s comment (below), the author behind my 2nd favorite blog, notcot. I could then comment after her and add a tag, either Interesting, Win, Awesome, Fail or an additional tag. Then I can either post or tweet that comment.

“A lot of publishing never happens because its intimidating to look at that blank box. When you prompt people with content that you’re pretty sure they’re going to be interested in, they’ll comment and react. James and I really believe that everyone is interesting and everybody has things to say,” says Brier.

The 6-person team at Percolate came together in 2011 and has not taken any outside investment in the company. Instead, the company has been licensing its API to brands and publishers for the last 3 months to fund the entire operation. In the next couple weeks, it will be launching with brands and publishers. “It’s a nice complement to the consumer side and it’s a nice revenue stream,” comments Brier.

The site is drop dead gorgeous and its founders are impressive. Brier is a veteran of The Barbarian Group and the founder of Brand Tags, a collective experiment in brand perception. James Gross, Brier’s co-founder, came from Federated Media where he helped publishers like BoingBoing, Dooce, GigaOM, ArsTechnica, Reddit, Digg, Twitter and hundreds of others build their businesses.

While Percolate is currently in “double (not-so) secret alpha” mode, we’ve got invites for you to enjoy here. Let us know your thoughts on the new media site in the comments.

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