News on a brick two-flat that was once the residence of gang boss Al Capone tops our list of the most-viewed real estate-related stories on Crain’s website last

Quora helps writers and ideas get discovered

In the last month, two of Quora’s most prolific writers, Rakesh Agrawal aka “Rocky” and Mark Hughes, have been discovered by other content sites and been able to spread and amplify their messages largely because they earned the respect and trust of the others on Quora who have monitored their activity for months, if not years.

Rocky started dissecting the Groupon IPO and S-1 Filing (June 2011), created a series of blogs about the economics and morals around the Daily Deals space on TechCrunch, and today was featured on Bloomberg (company) TV. To date, I have yet to see one piece of analysis from any mainstream financial journalist that has looked into both sides of the daily deals debates and economics. Mark’s incredible insights into movies and philosophy caught the eyes of editors at Forbes (Forbes.com and magazine), among others, who are eager to give Mark his own platform. The world of movie reviews is largely owned by experts who were given valuable real estate to share their views tied to big papers or brands, but for a few movies we love, the audience yearns to know more than asking a friend. Quora helps fill these voids.

None of this is surprising, when you step back, but I’d like to share why I think these types of stories are important: Simply put, without Quora, it would have been very hard for someone like Rocky or Mark to make it to these platforms to get a wider audience to share their thoughts. With Quora, the controls on quality and precision forced Rocky and Mark to share ideas, and other people who are known found those ideas to be compelling. In the old days, folks may have looked at their backgrounds and then been skeptical – on Quora, the ideas are merit, and on the merits, these two writers earned enough respect in this forum that translated into valuable, liquid currency into more mainstream platforms.

This should be cast as a huge opportunity for those who can write and are knowledgeable about topics to really invest their time and energy to interact on Quora. It may take three weeks for some, and three years for others, but Quora is a different company. It’s not like a blog service that may shut down or be acquired, putting one’s content at risk. There’s a really good chance that Quora will remain independent and stand alone for a very long time, partly because of the potential wealth of the co-founders and partly because the team isn’t building this site to sell — they are trying to fundamentally change how content and ideas are created, shared, and proliferated on the Internet.