Author Archive

What is Interest Networking?

Friday, January 20th, 2012

A growing list of companies are making “interests” the focus of their value proposition: Twitter allows you to “follow your interests”; Gravity (AOL) “unlocks the interest graph”; Pinterest “organize(s) and share(s) the things you love”; Quora “connects you to everything you want to know about” — just to name a few.

Many believe the company that dominates interest networking will be The Next Big Thing (1) (2) (3).

But interest networking remains a bit of a mystery. What is it?

Innovation turns brain drain into brain gain

Monday, November 7th, 2011

Excerpt from The Waterloo Region Record, Technology Spotlight 2011

By Chuck Howitt, The Record
Tony Sarris and Nikhil Sriraman

Two years ago Tony Sarris was living the American dream. He was an engineering director for Unisys, a large U.S. information technology company with 37,000 employees worldwide. He lived in the west coast paradise of Laguna Beach, California. He made a comfortable salary.

Today, he works for a small Waterloo internet search company with 35 employees that few people have heard of. Goodbye surf, sand and sun. Hello grey skies, snow and cold winters. Has he lost his mind?


Content curation needs to be simpler

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

In the early days of the Web, librarians would often compile directories of “trusted sites” on a range of important topics. In fact, Yahoo! has its roots in what was essentially a human-edited directory of online content — then called David and Jerry’s Guide to the World Wide Web. These are early examples of online content curation.

A content curator is someone who finds, groups, organizes and shares the best and most relevant content on a specific issue. In the past, content curation was largely the domain of small groups of professionals.

Today, services like Tumblr have begun to attract part-time, amateur content curators by making it easier than ever to “publish” the interesting things you find online. While these services have undoubtedly brought content curation to new audiences, the time and effort involved remain significant barriers.

Further technological innovation is needed to lighten the burden of the entire process of finding, organizing, and grouping, and sharing content.

Taking the work out of content curation

One problem with existing tools is that they force people to work at the level of individual pieces of content. Given the flood of content on the Web, this approach requires a lot of manual labor on the part of a content curator. If the manual approach is the only one available, content curation is doomed to be a niche activity.

A new system is needed — one that puts raw computing horsepower in the hands of content curators to help them get the job done orders of magnitude faster than they can today.

Content curators want to spend their time focusing on their editorial vision, pulling together the ideas that matter most to them and their audience. They likely don’t want to wade through hundreds of pages of search results and feeds, painstakingly organizing what they find.

The key, then, is to enable content curators to quickly express their ideas, indicate a few sources to get content for those ideas, and let computers do the hard work of finding and organizing content around those ideas. The final step is for the content curator to vet the work of the computer, modifying the results as they see fit to give the results that “human” touch.

With a product like this, content curation could become easy enough — and fast enough — that anyone could do it.

Getting Started

Primal’s technology for understanding individual interests and Web scale content filtering takes much of the grunt work out of content curation.

To learn more, check out our developers site.

Happy curating.

Why the Web Needs Automating

Sunday, September 12th, 2010


Technology was supposed to revolutionize our lives. There were promises of 20-hour work weeks, robotic servants to do our bidding, and leisurely weekday afternoons in the sun. That was a fantastic dream. So what happened along the way?

Today, we face the grim reality that most of the technology we build simply enables people to do more work.

Your PC is perhaps the best example of this. Sure, it’s a powerful tool. But it’s one that can do almost nothing without a human driving it. You respond to your emails. You browse the Web. You write that report. And you fix it when it breaks.

Could a computer do some of that work for you? (more…)