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

Now I'm curious... who else on this list is starting, or working for a
startup. And by startup I mean a small team (aprox 10 or less) who is
bootstrapping or just got series A of funding.

Juan Sequeda

On Mon, Nov 22, 2010 at 5:05 AM, Leo Sauermann <>wrote:

>  Hi Stephen, SWIG
> (took out Timbl and Juan from cc, they follow the list anyway)
> thank you  for the "keep up the good work" messages, I need to catch some
> of them . It is kind of weird to pitch the same idea for so many years, and
> the need to continue until it is realized. Good to hear you had the same
> experience - pitching the invented future into a reality is like creating
> the future - the more you pitch, the more reality changes.
> (this is also what Melvin Carvalho wrote before as "Whatever [man] does to
> the web, he does to himself." - it seems pitching changes both the reality
> around you and yourself)
> I also had this "make it up, make it happen" slogan on my office wall.
> Gnowsis is also in "bootstrapping" mode now. If you read Nova Spivack's
> article on Twine and his opinion on investors, you hear that they can
> interfere a lot:
> Well, thats why I am looking for Business Angels who did not cement their
> brain into a "in 3 years we sell it to a media company because the model is
> advertising" scheme. Actually, there are many ways to an exit (IPO, selling
> to a partner, merging, etc) and people here in Vienna are discussing those,
> too.
> We are a multi-person bootstrapping project though - thats the advantage of
> living in Europe. We pay high taxes, but we also got public funding for
> startups, tax reductions, research funds, and publicly supported incubator
> programs. The incubator where I am currently sitting -  - is like
> ycombinator but without the stressfull "deliver in 2 months" attitude (which
> has its positive and negative sides).
> I am only able to realize this project - and do it in a strategically sound
> way  - because I am working in a team.
> so, I will go on bootstrapping now (shitloads of todos on my table) and
> wait for an answer from the Elders of the Web whereas semantic personal
> information management is a logic step ... I guess while I wait for an
> answer the motto is
> "make it useful or bust!"
> best
> Leo
> p.s. at least our business plan is more sensible than that of the underpant
> gnomes (thanks to gromgull for that one)
> It was Stephen Williams who said at the right time 19.11.2010 00:08 the
> following words:
> Keep at it!  But concentrate on development and creating an actual solution
> more than investment if you can.
> I've been part of several startups (CTO several times), founded my own
> (classic "Internet startup" last cycle, and various other little companies),
> worked in small and large companies, been part of W3C and IETF
> standardization efforts, and worked with government customers.  I've given
> pitches to investors, helped others shop ideas or companies, and demoed
> and/or pitched projects to various customers, winning plenty of large
> projects.
> And, I am very interested in solving a large set of problems are answered
> by solutions such as a "semantic desktop".  I have experienced and observed
> many pain points and inefficiencies around knowledge management,
> organization, and visualization that I have been building solutions to.  I
> have put in a lot of R&D over the last several years, have a lot of strong
> ideas, and have gone deep on some of the dev tech required.  If I build just
> what I currently know how to do, I'll have a killer app & service.
> I'm perpetually about to dig into actual product implementation...  Knowing
> how various levels of investors are, plus having experienced the problem of
> lack of vision that is rampant, I've decided the only reasonable play here
> is to bootstrap a useful product.  Although it takes longer, perhaps too
> long, to get to market, it cuts the wasted time and headache of dealing with
> that angle.  Additionally, it takes a lot of the pressure off business model
> decisions.  I can release a free app if I want without deadlines a certain
> income level.  I wouldn't necessarily refuse a particularly enthusiastic and
> trustworthy investment source that came to believe in me, but I'm not
> wasting time chasing it.  And, I suspect, that path may run counter to some
> of my goals.
> Luckily, practically no one seems to be exploring the directions I want to
> go in the way that I'm going there.  There are real customers with real
> problems.  I am directly attacking those to get something to market as soon
> as I can, selling shovels along the way to fund my development / sharpen my
> knowledge / skills along the way.  Some of what I'm putting together is
> radical enough that it will be a "try it, you'll like it" far more than
> "just imagine it works this way".  Expect a chronic lack of vision.  I have
> been running my interfaces in my head for a year.  I've stopped expecting I
> can do the same with others to any useful degree.  I have good stories to
> illustrate this problem...
> I do plan to integrate with many other things, have open data/metadata, and
> partner when interesting, however I have everything I need to crank out
> something very useful.  Except perhaps available time and concentration.
> Stephen
> On 11/18/10 8:41 AM, Juan Sequeda wrote:
> Leo,
> 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
> +1-575-SEQ-UEDA
> <><>
> On Thu, Nov 18, 2010 at 1:27 AM, Leo Sauermann <
> <> <>> wrote:
>     Dear Tim,
>     SWIG
>     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
>     ____________________________________________________
> --
> Leo Sauermann, Dr.
> CEO and Founder
> mail:
> mobile: +43 6991 gnowsis 
> helping people remember,
> so join our newsletter
> ____________________________________________________

Received on Monday, 22 November 2010 12:04:02 UTC