He's not wrong. Information is flowing so rapidly across platforms like Twitter and Medium that people are struggling to separate fact from fiction. Many are trapped in filter bubbles. And the World Health Organization has coined the term "infodemic" to describe the spread of coronavirus misinformation.
Here's the scary part: ordinary people aren't the only ones struggling to get the facts. Professional journalists are falling short too.
For example, Vox spent months downplaying the coronavirus. They compared it to the flu, argued against the sealing of national borders, and predicted that it wouldn't turn into a deadly pandemic.
Of course, feuding between founders and journalists is nothing new.
And it seems like the new decade is picking up where the last one left off.
As @patio11 alluded to, the last time we had a recession ('08) or a pandemic ('09), Twitter was nascent and Medium didn't exist. News traveled more slowly and through fewer, more official channels. Today, news breaks faster on social media than anywhere else.
And who's better at navigating the world of social media than tech founders?
For indie hackers, problems are opportunities. So the modern information problem, which is being felt everywhere by everyone, represents an incredibly big opportunity.
The indie hackers paying attention to these developments are capitalizing on them by making things that fill the information void. Instead of relying on hearsay or mainstream news, they're going straight to primary sources (like academic research, white papers, or legislation) and taking it upon themselves to parse the data for insights. Then they're packaging up the insights and launching them as info products that build their brands, or even turn them into influencers.
Take Tomas Pueyo, the vice president of growth for an online learning platform. He used Medium to publish two articles this month on why we should take the coronavirus more seriously. The articles went viral, gaining tens of millions of views.
Some news organizations have dismissed the rapid circulation of Pueyo's articles as, essentially, "high Twitter engagement = high article readership." But they've got it exactly backwards. The growth of Tomas Pueyo's Twitter following is the result of the hit articles on Medium, not the other way around. (By the time the first article had already gone viral on March 12, Tomas had fewer than 7,000 followers. But today, not even three weeks later, this number has ballooned to five times that size!)
So it's worth looking under the hood and understanding how Tomas tapped into the public appetite for thinking critically about the pandemic.
First, he took an information problem: Many people who recognized the threat of the coronavirus were having trouble persuading their peers to take it seriously. After all, concepts like exponential growth can be unintuitive and difficult to explain.
Next, he did the hard work of gathering data from primary sources like Worldometers and the American Medical Association, analyzing it, and working to present it in a clear and intuitive way — with a coherent summary, lots of data visualizations, and a trail of citations for anyone interested in checking his sources.
Finally, he hit "publish". And the world stood up and applauded.
In a similar vein, Bram Kranstein (@bramk) used the new Coronavirus group on the Indie Hackers forum last week to launch Modern Day Jobs, a curated list of 100 different ways for people to make money online. At a time when lots of people are stuck at home and many are out of work, it's obvious which information problem Bram is tackling.
Less obvious is the fact that he had to work his ass off to solve this problem. As with any curated resource, I'm sure that if he ended up with 100 items in the final list, he likely had to find and filter through at least twice as many candidates that didn't make the cut.
And it's precisely this difficulty that makes Bram's resource valuable. The problem he's solving isn't that people can't look up resources for making money online, but rather that they're not enthusiastic about putting in the work.
As for what Bram hopes to gain from Modern Day Jobs, I can't say for sure. For now, it's a free project.
But I can find a few clues by taking a look at the navbar and the calls to action on the site itself (whose stylesheet I may or may not have doctored here for emphasis):
If I were a betting man, I'd say Bram's looking to have the project shared widely, and perhaps to direct some of that traffic to his main product, No-Code MVP.
The infodemic is just one more reminder of how the world has fallen on hard times. And I won't be the first to say this, but I don't think it can be said enough: hard times can be the best times to be an entrepreneur.