Re: Enquire - WWW - Semantic Desktop/PersonalDataWiki? do you agree?


I go through the excitement/trouble of explaining and pitching semantic web
in general to VCs, angels, entrepreneurs almost on a weekly basis. Few
things I have learned from 4 years of actively doing this (from an american
perspective... I don't know how it is in europe):

- Never ever use "semantic web" in your introduction. It is a red flag and
people will not take you seriously. (sad but true... I've had people laugh
in my face)
- explain what is the problem that "semantic web" is solving. Saying
"linking data" doesn't mean anything. What does "adding semantics" mean? I
usually say" try to FIND for football players who went to UT Austin and have
played for the Dallas Cowboys as cornerbacks". People will realize that they
can't use google to do this. Then if I have a laptop, I'll show them faceted
browsing on top of DBpedia and how I can get that answer. Now people are
paying attention. It wasn't possible to do this in 2006 :)
- I've got the semantic web pitch down in two areas
   1) Using "semantic tags" you can become more visible on google, yahoo..
SEO and stuff ---> use RDFa
   2) If you have several databases and would like to make queries on them
at the same time  ---> using RDB2RDF for data integration

Remember that investors hear pitches all the time. You need to stand out. Be
unique. and do that in less than 2 min! So be short and concrete. Go
straight to the point. Tell them something they didn't know. Some
interesting statistic... and if it involves them, even better. You want them
to leave the room remembering you and in case somebody asked them the next
day about their pitch, they are able to summarize it in one sentence. What
is that sentence? If you don't know what that sentence is.. then you don't
have a pitch yet.

As timeline during the pitch, if you don't grab the attention of your
audience in the first 30sec - 1min, you lost. So be able to explain what the
problem is, and what is your solution. Depending on the investors (west cost
USA), all they care is if you can get a lot of people to use your solution
and don't really care if you can make money initially. The idea is always
that if you have millions of people using your solution, someday you will
figure out how to make money (twitter). Other investors will care about how
you are going to make money (enterprise investors). So be explicit with you
competitive advantage. What makes you different and unique. Why can't other
do what you are doing. It could be because you have the best team, you
patented the technology, or discovered a new market.

sorry if I went too much off topic.

Good luck! keep us posted with your venture.

Juan Sequeda

On Thu, Nov 18, 2010 at 1:27 AM, Leo Sauermann <>wrote:

> Dear Tim,
> My Current Task is somehow tricky:
> I am pitching our company Gnowsis to investors. It makes an Enquire-Like
> Semantic Desktop, a personal semantic web. It seems investors
> only understand anything on the level of "we do twitter for dogs" or "it
> sells crowdsourced clothes via mobile phones".
> So Tim, as Elder of the Web, I turn to you for an expert opinion to
> reassure we do a useful thing.
> Here are the Statements I patch together from "weaving the web" etc.:
> Enquire - linking everything bidirectionally is an
> entire new way of writing.
> I guess you also realized that the system changes the way you look at
> things and your
> thinking.
> WWW - give everyone a tool (read/write) web that everyone
> can publish information. The links are first unidirectional and untyped
> and will be typed
> "later", once the RDF riddle was solved in 1999.
> SemanticDesktop/PersonalDataWikis/PersonalSemanticWeb - we finally give
> the peoples the
> Enquire that Tim already used in the distant and mysterious past.
> The first distributable results are NEPOMUK-KDE, PesonalDataWikis,
> Personal Data Lockers, and services around this idea of personal
> semantic web services for personal information management.
> The question:
> Tim,
> Is this THE idea?
> Do you agree this is a sensible thing to do?
> If yes, then my argumentation to investors and to myself is:
> "TimBl basically inventend blogging, wikipedia, and twitter with the
> idea of a read/write WWW, which it originally always included. You can
> trust that guy to be clever. You can also be assured this was around
> before, some ideas for millenia, some since Memex.
> Now Gnowsis works to realize the proto-idea - Enquire. There must be
> something going on here. Dear Investors, look at it, spend some time
> understanding what happens here with technology and then invest."
> Sometimes I feel like Frodo and together with Bernhard "Sam" Schandl we
> go alone to Mount Doom ("Microsoft Outlook") to finally throw the Ring
> of RDF into its center, to crack it open to the web. Then I see you guys
> over at the Minas Tirith of LinkedOpenData and and the battles
> Martin Hepp fights with GoodRelations and ... there is hope :-)
> ok, looking for interesting answers
> best
> Leo Sauermann, Dr.
> CEO and Founder
> mail:
> mobile: +43 6991 gnowsis
> helping people remember,
> so join our newsletter
> ____________________________________________________

Received on Thursday, 18 November 2010 16:42:54 UTC