The necessity of curators

As the noise gets louder, curators double down on their efforts to focus on the essentials

Founding Fuel

[Image by Arek Socha from Pixabay]

Dear friend,

On Friday evening, I spent a little while speaking on the phone with an editor at a daily newspaper in Delhi. I hadn’t heard from her in a while or seen her posts on any social media platform either. Polite to a fault, when we finally spoke, it turns out, she is busy. Her days and nights are now spent sifting through public archives to curate a collection that places in perspective the life and times of a leader she thinks is important because his thoughts matter now more than ever.

Now, why must she work as hard? Because what does a curator have to do?

Popular perception has it that curators are people who surface compilations of noteworthy thoughts or lists of what they think are good pieces of work. But this is an absurd assumption. Because in a noisy world where everyone imagines themselves as content producers, algorithms included, curators play some crucial roles.

1. They create:  It is one thing to surface what is important. But to sift through the most important themes of our times, focus on what matters most, summarise why it matters, and offer pointers on how to navigate a theme intelligently, is what makes them creators. This is what my colleague NS Ramnath does through his weekly newsletter on technology. May I urge you to look up his most recent one here and subscribe to it here?

2. They filter: There are books. But they are reviewed, often subjectively, rarely objectively. Add to these reviews on ghastly platforms where even the uninformed can make or break a book with random ratings. Fact is, it takes an experienced curator to sift through what matters to an audience on themes they must pay attention to. That is why at Founding Fuel, we place a premium on the summaries D Shivakumar, president (corporate strategy and business development) at Aditya Birla Group, writes. His most recent one on It’s the Manager is a case in point. For that matter, what he pointed to as must-read business books in December 2018 is another case in point.

3. They lead: What binds all curators is that as the noise gets louder, they double down on their efforts to focus on the essentials. Their voices then are that of outliers. There is much to be learnt from curators. They lead. Away from the noise.

My very best,

Charles Assisi

For Team Founding Fuel

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