In a world where we're bombarded with information, handpicked and personalised recommendations are becoming increasingly important

1. Social discovery
2. Curation
3. Social commerce
4. Gamification
5. Crowdsourcing and categorisation
6. Freemium and subscription models
7. Niche social networks
8. Location-based apps
9. APIs
10. Customisation

On an increasingly noisy web, where it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the amount of information we’re confronted with on a daily basis, hand-picked recommendations by experts are playing an increasingly crucial role in helping us to find what we want or need.

As Steve Case, co-founder of AOL, puts it: “We have over-indexed on machines and algorithms doing all of our recommendations. People that we trust will help us find our way in an over-communicated world – a web with too many choices, too much noise and not enough signal. Humans will rule again!” Founded in 2010, Stylistpick is a good example. The start-up gets users to complete a short questionnaire to identify their ‘style profile’ (from one of six). A team of stylists, including Arabella Greenhill, fashion editor for Marie Claire, then curates a range of shoes and accessories each month based on this profile, which are then showcased in personalised showroom. Each item costs £39.95, which users can either pay as a monthly subscription, entitling them to one item per month plus extra perks, or pay as they go.

The start-up is going from strength to strength, raising $11m in venture capital investment in February 2012, and enjoying a big PR boost after convincing former X Factor star Cheryl Cole to design an exclusive collection.


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