It’s not easy to take business decisions and choosing the right framework that at the same time keeps your team up-to-speed, makes clients happy and leverages the challenges of today’s web architectures.
The overall point is to blend various models of concurrent digital computation for the Java language.
This is Andrew Y. Ng, a Stanford computer scientist working on the Google secretive X laboratory where a small group of researchers began working several years ago on a simulation of the human brain. The image on the back is the result of 16.000 parallel processors and the analysis of over 10 million YouTube videos - The neural network taught itself to… recognize cats and, believe me it’s not a trivial thing to do.
When I left home I woke up early in the morning and brought with me the warmest clothes I have. Rome is a terrific place before sunrise, like most of the big european cities, it sleeps quietly. The political scene is under a severe turmoil after the recent political elections that clearly expressed a radical need for change. The international press as well as the financial community is carefully vigilating on the famous boot-shaped country (“what will they do next?”). I stopped reading too much about news and politics a while ago, I better stay focused on changes I want to make rather then following up the agenda.
This time of the year back in 2010 I made up my mind and I left the company I had co-founded in the nineties to begin this journey that brought me here.
One of the reasons I decided to leave my previous company was that I believed we had a product in our hands (it’s the Web CMS developed on Ruby on Rails that is currently behind the Parliament’s websites: www.camera.it and www.senato.it) and we should have primarily invested on that product rather then following on the track of being a web agency. Not an easy to make decision when you have a great staff and a wealth of experience in creating unique digital experiences. Never the less I knew three things:
The Web was changing - evolving from pages and links towards entities and graphs. This had to do with the underlying layer of the Social Web on one side (relationships became valuable) and the massive adoption of mobile devices on the other (human-computer interaction went natural).
European companies needed to be more competitive - 2009 economical crisis wasn’t going to fade away; it wasn’t a crisis after all but a radical change of the society towards a new and different order. We had to fight back the financial crisis that mined our economies with concrete actions. We had to take our risk and facilitate the transition from the traditional way of doing business (and building the web) to the graph economy (a matrix where knoledge becomes the key for trasparency, accountability and engagement) - speaking different languages didn’t help EU create a unified platform. Most of the ideas we implemented in the early 2000 did became sucessfull business cases and paved the ground for our companies but…in the US they became the DropBox, YouTube and Facebook we all know today: multi-billion dollar companies started from very simple ideas and a huge potential market.
We started using Apache Stanbol after choosing WordPress as our CMS of choice in our new working life (you have to have a CMS after all!). WordPress had a tremendous adoption in the last 5 years, it grew as movement rather then as piece of software for content management. Apache Stanbol provides a set of reusable components for semantic content management; bringing together the two (Apache Stanbol and WordPress) meant a lot for our new company…in 2011 we launched WordLift 1.0: a plugin for semantic enhancement of WordPress-based websites.
Investing on semantic technologies was the right thing to do; it brough an enourmous value to our new client base and a strong vision on how these technologies are impacting everydays usage patterns (from search engines, to content discovery to ecommerce).
In these last two days in Salzburg (following over 8 months of preparation) we joined forces with the cleverest minds behind Apache Stanbol and Apache Marmotta and gave birth to a new company: an austrian startup ready to bring semantic technologies in the hands of large enterprises, SMEs as well as the developer community.
With great enthusiasm and honor I’m glad to thank on behalf of our Group our partners in this venture: John Pereira, Sebastian Schaffert, Aingaran Pillai (from Zaizi), Rupert Westenthaler, Jakob Frank, Sergio Fernàndez Lòpez and Thomas Kurz.
They all have committed to a vision and they all are doing their very best to build Europe’s largest platform for semantic enrichment and search.
More information will follow in the coming days with the official press release.
There are plenty of reasons and quite a lot of flames around the most unethical service provider on Planet (killing elephants goes way beyond our imagination) - here is Out.as/You story and why - if you’re using GoDaddy - you should take action immediately.
Happy Holidays Startuppers and welcome to the End of the World!
In a World that doesn’t stop talking about edgy and innovatives young companies we decided it was time to look back at these last 12 months and talk about our story and then - hopefully (if Maya are proven to be wrong) - quickly forget about it and start pivoting back our overall business model for the beginning of the new year.
It’s not secret that in Europe’s staggering economy hopefuls entrepreneurs like us are an important key for bootstrapping the economy. Yes we know that and we know well the difficulties we have to face while building our dream companies (stop talking about startups - build one).
Looking back we couldn’t be more happy. After 1 year and a 1/2 since we kick-started INSIDEOUT10 and acquired INTERACT EGYPT we’ve been increasing the business, expanding our market reach and most importantly…having great fun.
Projects moved globally from Accra to Cairo, from Rome to Salzburg, from Berlin to Tel Aviv and from Tunis and Wien finally back to the rolling hills of Tuscany. This is the globalisation we were taught in schools but it’s also the inherently chaotic nature of Startups (blended with our foolish love for discovery). Now this is a model I personally like (a product you envision in one place adds value somewhere else on the planet) but it’s not sustainable (not always at least). Solid growth comes from leveraging on different markets; at the same time it shall be based on deep local cultural roots. We need to stay global and act locally as much as possible. Acting in Egypt to contribuite in sustaining the industry of tourism using everything we learned on social media marketing was a great success story but most importantly…only open-minded egyptians could make that happen!
Technology entrepreneurship is about managing technological transitions and our success is based on several of these transitions let’s group them as follows:
from the web of pages to the web of data
from big data to open data
from search to discovery
from web to mobile
from single screen online video experience to multi-screens
this undermines the advantage of established brands and creates room for startups like ours but it can also become extremely volatile. The real value requires speed, proper funding and a wealth of experience but it’s also about sharing as much as possible inside and outside the organisation - expanding partnerships and quickly getting more people on board without leaving the rest behind is where we see our future in the coming months. Keeping the focus on the products we’re building while being able to create a successful business value for the people around us (clients, partners, friends and families) is what we’re dreaming of while waiting for the World to come to an END!
Thanks to all of you for reading our short story and for keeping us inspired along this journey.