Thanks, Jason. Not obnoxious, just really important for us to solve. I've grown some other communities and they can be agonizingly slow in the beginning until they get critical mass and usually we have to generate a lot of the content in the beginning.
My hypothesis is that during the onboarding process when new people have a chance to choose topics to follow, they are drawn to the narrowcast ones because they want good signal to noise. It feels cool to follow something very specific, but then after you do in the early days of Cake, you don't see much in your feed. If you choose broader topics like Technology, you see more.
I suspect that the people who are finding interesting conversations are selecting the All option on their feeds, like @apm is doing. Then serendipity sets in.
I used to work in the book industry and when customers would enter a store like Borders they would want to know where a specific section was. But booksellers would make you walk past tables of interesting books as you entered that might catch your eye. The publishers clamored to be on those tables because it turned out to be a great way to discover books like Into Thin Air that you didn't know you were looking for. That's kindof like our Featured and All feeds.
Tell me if I'm wrong, but I think what we're seeing is a real desire for Cake when we solve the critical mass problem, no?