April 3, 2024Product

Introducing Lighthouse - The RSS reader, newsletter reader, and read-it-later app to fight content overload

Over the last few years, AI has made it a lot easier to create content. Now, there are many more tools to help with creation, and the amount of content has exploded. For users, it has become much more difficult to find great content in the midst of all the mediocre ones.

Lighthouse is a new product that I've developed over the past few months to address this specific challenge. It combines the functionality of an RSS feed reader, a newsletter reader, and a read-it-later app. This means you can subscribe to RSS feeds and newsletters within the app, and also add links manually.

The problem

The key problem I want to address is that when you subscribe to many feeds and newsletters, the amount of content quickly gets unwieldy. This is especially true for high-frequency feeds like HackerNews or news outlets, where you may only be interested in a small subset of the posted content.

Put another way, it addresses the issue of content overload.

In a broader sense, it's about investing your valuable time in relevant and high-quality content. The one that actually moves you forward. Whatever that means for you. It could be expanding your knowledge in the area you work in, reading about new developments in a field you're interested in, watching intriguing YouTube videos, or anything else.

What constitutes useful content is subjective and varies from one individual to another. There is not one definition of great content. Everyone decides for themselves.

Getting to great content is done in two steps.

First is finding content that might be great. This can be friends recommending articles and books, the HackerNews community upvoting links, an algorithm recommending something, and much more. In the context of Lighthouse, it's about blogs (RSS feeds) and newsletters (emails).

Second is filtering content to weed out everything that's not useful for you. Just because a friend recommended it, people on HackerNews upvoted it, or an algorithm said it's good for you, doesn't mean it actually will be. You are the ultimate judge of that.

There is a theoretical third step: actually consuming content. Reading the articles, listening to podcasts, and watching videos. In many cases this means retaining knowledge. There's a huge ecosystem of software in that area, so I won't go into that part.

The solution

The workflow that I found works best is separating content filtering from content consumption.

Going through new content at regular intervals (e.g. every day in the morning) and selecting the posts you're interested in. With that you build a library of interesting content that you can read when you have time for it.

Selecting posts is fast. I get around 200 new items each day, and it takes me roughly 5 minutes to identify the 5-10 that interest me. It's a different activity than reading and consuming knowledge, which takes much longer, depending on the length of the articles.

That workflow is what Lighthouse is built to support.

New content arrives in the inbox. There you can move it to your library. The posts that didn't catch your eye you mark as seen, and they move straight to the archive.\

To illustrate, here's how content flows:

Inbox -> Library -> Archive
  -> Archive


Lighthouse does what any reader application should do. It has a reading view, parses the full content, tagging, filtered views, shows YouTube videos embedded, and so on.

Additionally, it offers unique features that set it apart. A couple of my favorite ones are

  • AI summaries
  • Ask AI (ask a question that is answered based on the post)
  • About sentence (one sentence that describes what content is about)
    • I find this feature to be the most challenging to explain in terms of its value. In my experience titles often don’t properly convey what the content is about. Sometimes it’s clickbait, but sometimes it's just missing information. This one sentence usually covers what the article is about quite well, and often helps me to decide if I should spend time on it or not.

In the near future I plan to introduce rules, which will further help managing large volumes of content.

Visit Lighthouse to discover more.