Friday
February 27
2009

Rob Katz

Welcome to the New NextBillion.net

“I love the content on NextBillion!” he said. I had just finished giving a talk about the base of the pyramid at NYU, when a graduate student approached me along with his friend, who works for a social investment fund. “Me too; it’s fantastic” said the friend, “but can you do something about the design?”

If you run a web site, and someone tells you that they love the content, it’s the professional equivalent of someone telling you that you have a nice personality. True meaning: you’re just not that hot. Rejection stories aside, we get it. We’ve listened, brainstormed, tested, re-tested, built, re-built… and today we’re pleased to introduce the new version of NextBillion.net.

The first thing you’ll notice about NextBillion is the design – we’ve re-branded the entire site, bringing new colors and visuals into the mix. The new design is fantastic – a credit to our friends at Modo Design Group – but we hope you’ll stay longer than a glance and discover some of the powerful new features we’ve built.

First and foremost, we’ve brought tags into the mix; these tags (and our powerful new search index) drive a “related stories” module that you will see alongside all blog posts and news stories. Not only that, but we’ve given up control of what’s “popular” and put it in readers’ hands. A new zero-to-five star rating system – at the bottom of every post – determines the most popular posts. You’ll have to post a comment in order to rate a story; we wanted to discourage click fraud here and encourage y’all to tell us what you REALLY think.

There are some new sections, too… and some old ones are missing. We heard over and over that there was a real need for research materials – a curated database of sorts, geared towards the students, academics and policy wonks that visit NextBillion. So we re-vamped the old “Resources” section and turned it into “Research.” If we’re missing something in there – a book, paper, PowerPoint, link, whatever – please suggest it and we’ll take a look.

We also heard you tell us about jobs – and internships, and volunteer opportunities and fellowships – and we’ve gone ahead and created a dedicated jobs board at NextBillion, called “Career Center.” There are only a few posts in there today, but we’ll be adding to it in the coming weeks. We’ll also feature content about getting a job in the development-through-enterprise sector, and interview people who are already working in the field. Know of a job or other opportunity but don’t see it on NextBillion? Let us know.

Finally, and you’ve known about this for a couple of months now, we are working on NextBillion en Español, a new project to bring a local perspective from Latin America with a team of local Writers. Articles have been written already from Argentina, Colombia, Brazil and Costa Rica and more contributions are expected soon from Mexico, Peru, Ecuador and Venezuela. Francisco will keep you posted on that end.

As for archived sections, we’ve taken down the Activity Database and Events calendar, because they got little if any traffic and we donn’t have the resources to keep them up to date. You can now find events listed under “Take Action“, a new section that’s geared towards moving our discussion from the theory into practice…or as WRI’s motto notes, “putting ideas into action”. Check out Take Action, which includes links to some of the best social networks in the BoP landscape as well as some volunteer resources.

We’re excited to introduce the new NextBillion. We hope you will find it easy on the eyes, straightforward to use and helpful in your work. Contact us, through e-mail or via the comments section below, and give us your feedback. We’re all ears. Of course, we’re excited to get back to writing – which is our true passion. No offense to web site development, of course!

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