SGM's Digital Commonplace was a breakthrough in functionality – allowing millions of users around the world to create more lucid projects by providing them with the ability to create system-centric datasets.
What made the system spectacularly successful was its underlying technology, but the way in which it was able to provide users with the ability to create different results with the varying data driven through their various API accounts.
Without getting too deeply into the basis of how the system works, the core functionality of the Digital Commonplace was / is to provide "connectivity" access to 100's of different "API" -driven web services. The likes of Evernote, OneNote, email and even Salesforce could be connected to the system, granting you immediate access to all the data contained on those different platforms.
Whilst this worked well, what really made the underlying system valuable was what you could do with that data whilst it was in the system. This is where it shines, and why many people have been using it for so long.
Apart from gaining access to a constant data-stream and a number of other features, the core "killer feature" that was quickly located as being the "commodity" tracking system which essentially gives users the opportunity to "track" a quantifiable value of different means; be it with the likes of an asset price, commodity or even just someone's online growth.
For example, due to the way in which people are able to add the likes of Twitter, YouTube, Facebook and other "feeds" – the system is able to create a significant overview of exactly what people are actually doing, how they're performing and basically how far they're growing. This can be replicated with the price / trends of different commodities – particular products, ideas, trends and other things.
The point here is that whilst this may sound interesting, the underlying way in which it works is actually extremely interesting. What most people don't realize is that whilst a "commonplace" has often been described as being a "commonplace book" (and this is carried over into the "digital" realm as a "notebook"), it's actually a way to store & manage "systems" – ways to deal with different situations and ideas that may not be apparent without deeper investigation.
To this end, the "commodity tracker" application attached to SGM's Digital Commonplace allows users to "track" a wide array of different prices / growth trends for many different materials / ideas. This is what has made the application so popular.