Guest author Semil Shah is an entrepreneur interested in digital media, consumer Internet, and social networks. This will be the first in a series of essays on Quora that he will post on TechCrunch. Shah is based in Palo Alto and you can follow him on twitter @semilshah
The incredible growth of Quora has also led to an equally incredible growth in chatter, punditry, and analysis about the future of social networking. The opinions range from thought-provoking (“the knowledge network comes online”) to routine (“the new form of blogging”) to flatly illogical (“this is the next Twitter, Foursquare, or Wikipedia”). In reality, the elements of discovery, serendipity, and search that dovetail seamlessly from the Quora product have captured the imagination of its users (myself included) and have placed the company in a rare, enviable position. During these types of growth periods and transitions, though, some like to sound off, using their blogs, Twitter accounts, and Quora itself to beg for new features, complain about the quality of their experience, and to make predictions that do not take stock of history nor the current context. There is significant hype around Quora, but I believe it’s warranted. As a I result, I’ve attempted to produce a synthesis of the questions swirling around the rise of Quora and to offer answers to them, too. These answers are my own, but of course, you could peruse the Quora topic or specific related questions below on Quora to answer them yourself.