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I’m always curious about that phrase. What I really want to understand is why something is recommended for me.

There are many motivations why someone/something would recommend something to me:

  • They are trying to get me to consume or buy something for their benefit

For the latter, it could be to eventually slip in something to sell or because I am paying for their recommendation in some other way (subscription or ad revenue somewhere else).

If it’s the latter, it’s a “purer” recommendation, which could be based on:

  • What I’ve chosen in the past — by matching the same categories

There’s a lot of hype about AI-based recommendations. Doing what Amazon does is much easier today if you have a large amount of data. However, it’s still possible to build recommendations that are effective without AI. One can provide credence to these recommendations with one simple act: explaining why the recommendation is being made.

“Because you liked comedies, here are a few more movies that match comedies”.

“Because you rated books by this author with 5 stars, here are other books by the same author”

Adding some humanity (and humility) to recommendations builds more credibility.

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