Is Content Curation the New "Must"? Plus: Interview with Arik Marmorstein on RefreshBox and Entrepreneurship


Hello, everyone,

Today we are going to talk about Content Curation. Is it the new must? Can we live without it or it would mean spending hours in a lifetime reading non-relevant materials from non-trusted sources?

We also have Arik Marmorstein as out interviewee talking about his startup RefreshBox. As he will explain better below, it's a content curation startup that helps people to be up to date with different types of interesting content with the help of "expert" curators that select the content according to their expertise area.

With the constant expansion of internet users and the incredible amount of people posting in a non-stop flow on multiple social networks, in the last years the "relevance" of the content is getting everyday more important. We are being flooded with links, images, articles, videos and we sometimes don't have any idea of the credibility of the source, the reliability of the content and the relevance of what is being absorbed.

In the last years many different tools and startups related to content curation have popped up. Startups offering the services of different experts to curate content for other companies, startups that help yourself curate content and share it on social media, startups that help you filter all the content that reaches you so that you only consume a highly selected material.

Side by side with content curation (although with a very different logic) there is content marketing: today with ad-blockers everywhere, people being more critical with too promotional ads (requiring a more contextual and engaging approach) and the most expensive ad units being held by the big players, content marketing is also getting more power in getting the consumer's attention. What is there in common between content curation and content marketing: it's all about authority, showing that you have knowledge of what you are talking about and that you can add value to the person that is consuming your content.

With the relative democratization brought by the internet, search engines and social media, it became easier to find, consume and produce content. However, as with every offer and demand rule, the relevant content is in percentage more scarce and it's harder to find the experts; the natural consequence is that the value of "expert information" is slowly rising. And that's when content curation tools find their space to grow.

What do you think about the subject? Is content curation the future of online content? Will this be the solution to deal with the massive flow of information with which we are faced everyday? Share your thoughts!

Read below the interview. First, an introduction:

Arik Marmorstein is the co founder of RefreshBox. In his first venture he founded Mimoona, which operates the "Israeli Indiegogo" as well as Mimoona.com which were backed by Dreamit Ventures NYC. Arik went to the law faculty in the Hebrew U and currently lives in Tel Aviv.

1- How would you describe RefreshBox? Where did the idea for RefreshBox come from?


Arik: RefreshBox is a side project that got a bit out of hand (: People can either subscribe to or create a 5-link-collection newsletter consisting their weekly professional best read (content curation). Among our curators there is a Nobel prize winner, people from Google, Google Ventures, Techstars, Harvard, MIT and more interesting people from all over the world (including Brazil).

A few years ago I was looking for a job and found a very cool newsletter in which an Israeli entrepreneur curated 5 cool jobs each week. Then I also found out about 8tracks.com, which enables people to create playlists and others to listen to them. By mixing these two I came out with RefreshBox.

We believe that people live on the "Matrix" when it comes to the content they don't consume online, we don't even know what we are missing out there. RefreshBox enables other people to become "Neo" in their domain expertise and send people awesome content they read during the week anyway, in the future they will be able to make money out of it. I can tell you I have never read so much good content in my life since I launched RB. The curation itself is super easy, 4 minutes per week.  

2- How do you get feedback from your clients? How do you know if the product is solving their needs?

Arik: Simply talk with them. I have a few users which were early adopters and I keep on talking to them as much as they have time. I also use Intercom to see retention and see how many active users do I have. I also track Open and click rate to see if the subscribers are active (and they are, we have great open and click rates, more than double the average). 

3- What was the biggest challenge you have faced until today in your startup?

Arik: It was and it's still is, prioritize. It's still a side project (although we wee on TechCrunch already) and the time is limited, You get a lot of feedback from users and there is always so much to do.

4- For you what does it mean to be an entrepreneur?

Arik: To be happy, then sad, than happy (: Seriously, I can't think of myself doing something else, it's an addiction. 

5- What are the advantages of being an entrepreneur in Israel? And the disadvantages?

Arik: Israel doesn't have any natural resources, we don't have any other choice than to innovate. It enables you the live in an awesome innovation hub, in which there are many entrepreneurs, and a lot of competition. That sharpens you. However, there is a lot of help from the community. The main disadvantage is that we are far from our natural market, which is usually the US. If you'll check, you'll see that Israeli companies are less consumers focused, it's harder to reach consumers from here (although you can fins examples like Waze). 

6- What do you most like in your daily routine?

Arik: I also own the "Israeli Kickstarter" so I meet a lot of cool people. With regards to RefreshBox, getting new users and reading what existing users are curating makes my day.

7- How do you imagine yourself in 10 years?

Arik: In a startup, whether I sold a company already or not (:

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See you soon!

Luiza S. Rezende
Corporate lawyer specialized in startups

Arik Marmorstein in picture taken by Yoni Malca