Zite’s Tailor-Made iPad Magazine Wants To Get To Know You

The tech wizards in this month’s Fast Talk say they know what you want before you do. Here, Zite CEO Mark Johnson on curating content for an iPad magazine that gets smarter as you use it.

Zite’s Tailor-Made iPad Magazine Wants To Get To Know You
Mark Johnson | Photo by Toby Burditt

Photo by Toby Burditt

Mark Johnson
CEO / Zite
Goal: Curate web content into an iPad “magazine” whose stories are tailored to your taste the more you use it.


“Users can tell Zite a lot about the news articles they know they like to read: topics, authors, publications. In order to help them expand their minds, though, we build serendipity into our algorithm. Even though we base our suggestions on relevant factors–what kinds of articles users are sharing on social-media sites, what others like them are reading–we still often show people stories we’re not 100% sure they’ll like. That can lead to an article popping up about aardvarks migrating to Washington, D.C., which happened in my Zite, or to us getting emails complaining that someone’s politics section is too conservative or too liberal. I always halfheartedly joke that if people only ever ‘thumbs-up’ the articles we show them, then we’ve failed, because we’re not letting them experience anything new.”

More Fast Talk: Predicting Desire
Alexa Andrzejewski

Read the extended interview

About the author

Christina is an associate editor at Fast Company, where she writes about technology, social media, and business.