Quora CEO Adam D’Angelo has announced a new mission for the company, which sounds like it could have been taken from a page of a certain Mountain View company. Quora’s mission is “to share and grow the world’s knowledge.”
In a blog post, D’Angelo says, “The vast majority of human knowledge is still not on the internet. Most of it is trapped in the form of experience in people’s heads, or buried in books and papers that only experts can access. As a consequence most people don’t have the knowledge they should, and don’t have the time, connections, or skills to get to the knowledge they would have in an ideal world.”
“The internet was supposed to allow anyone to set up a web page and share their knowledge with the world,” he says. “But in practice it’s too difficult and takes too long and almost no one does it. Blogs are easy to start, but unless the author is famous, it takes years to build a following. More than a billion people use the internet yet only a tiny fraction contribute their knowledge to it.”
“Quora aims to allow anyone to easily share their knowledge and in the process to dramatically increase the total amount of knowledge available to the world,” he continues. “As we grow, we will be able to provide larger and larger audiences to writers, cover more and more topics, and have greater and greater impact on the world.”
D’Angelo goes on to say that Quora hopes to become an “internet-scale Library of Alexandria,” where hundreds of millions of people go to learn about anything and share everything they know.
“Today Quora is largely questions and answers, but that is not the ideal format for all knowledge,” he says. “Other formats will gradually be added as we scale up.”
Sounds like big changes are on the horizon for Quora.
From the beginning, Quora has captured a unique user base of thoughtful entrepreneurs, engineers and tech industry “experts”. It doesn’t get an enormous amount of media coverage, but it is a place where a lot of smart and interesting people answer a lot of questions.
It says a lot that even Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales frequents the site. When you’re looking to share and grow the world’s knowledge, that’s a pretty strong endorsement.