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

From: ProjectParadigm-ICT-Program <metadataportals@yahoo.com>
Date: Mon, 22 Nov 2010 05:58:13 -0800 (PST)
Message-ID: <512200.440.qm@web113809.mail.gq1.yahoo.com>
To: Melvin Carvalho <melvincarvalho@gmail.com>, Leo Sauermann <leo.sauermann@gnowsis.com>
Cc: SWIG <semantic-web@w3.org>, Juan Sequeda <juanfederico@gmail.com>
Dear all,

As a more generalist ICT person I have been following this thread with quite some interest and its seems to me that there are some fundamental questions that need to be answered!

The Semantic Web is at a crossroads right now with Google and Drupal and quite a few other players considerably increasing its visibility.

Dozens of FOSS, open access and open repository oriented collaboration groups, some non-profits, some coops and some in the grey area of undefined skunk works are trying to incorporate semantic web technologies or at least enable use of linked data.

Most of them haven't got a clue where to start.

Which demands clarity from those who DO know, like the W3C technical committees and most of the members of the assorted lists of the W3C, which are either in the academia, mainstream or niche market software markets or in research or related fields.

I understand the problem Leo faces, but I sincerely ask myself if it is merely a question of sales pitch, semantics (pardon the pun) or finding a convincing outlook for the development of new technologies for some angel or other investor to be willing to invest in.

The really fundamental questions that need to be answered are:

Is the current state of SW technologies and standards able to deliver? I am a mathematician myself, and I must admit that I find it easier to understand the mathematics of quantum physics and string theory than get through the learning curve of the semantic web, all of its layers and tools. Just imagine having to tackle this same problem in any corporate board meeting room.Are there sufficient big players out there supporting the semantic web? Google, FaceBook and Drupal are a good start, but what SAP and Oracle, who control quite a bit of corporate information management products? And e.g. what about niche market companies like Wolfram?What guarantees will an investor have that when he sinks millions into a new project someone out there working on a shoestring budget,a diet of junk food and extra caffeinated drinks and sheer will power to deliver the next killer app does just that and makes it freeware, having figured out the business model to recoup on
 his efforts will materialize sooner or later? The movie The Social Network has got a lot of savvy developers thinking about hitting it big like Zuckerberg did.There is little current market research done on what are the potential applications of SW and linked data technologies in markets that would be the most indicated to embrace these. If we do not know where to go from here and who would be willing to embrace these applications, for which markets are we developing these?Can anyone give us a breakdown of global ICT usage or on a country by country comparative basis in terms of types of applications used per software product segment and per industry segment and per end-users and per corporate financial decision-maker authorizing and corporate IT manager recommending the purchase thereof? Without this it becomes hard to figure out where to fit in SW best
These are nasty questions, but then again I did not create these on the spot, but after some hard soul searching and brainstorming in quite a few other less technical savvy groups like the lists of the W3C, we came up with.

And for a fact both the European Union and the United Nations have pointed out and more recently the ITU that ICT needs to be more focused on getting really needed applications to those most in need of them to tackle real life problems and the problems of industry in this hectic and financially constrained world of ours.

There is nothing more frustrating than knowing as an engineer that you have been working day and night for years on end on a product that is right, can deliver and will innovate, to run into the obstacles the real world of market economics throws at you that can stop you dead in your tracks unless you can somehow convert those obstacles into opportunities to your advantage.

Maybe you need a market segment that is in dire need of untangling its daily overload of information and getting its work done.

Go to www.reliefweb.int and see the people who are MOST in needed of making sense of the data and information jungle, because they need to save lives every single day.

Linked to reliefweb.int are high end (wireless) network communications and IT companies, pharmaceutical and health care industries, civilian and military logistics, supply-and-demand chain services etc. all market segments with high usage and adoption rates of semantic web technologies.

There are hundreds of funds willing to shell out money for this work if it saves lives.

Maybe carving out a niche market first and when it has delivered and you have a success story on your hands, you can diversify into other mainstream market segments is an approach.

The other would be to do an internet or targeted survey yourself and find out what people would want your product to do.

The Gnowsis product has merit but it will be tricky to convince investors and intended users to accept the arguments in favor.

Milton Ponson
GSM: +297 747 8280
PO Box 1154, Oranjestad
Aruba, Dutch Caribbean
Project Paradigm: A structured approach to bringing the tools for sustainable development to all stakeholders worldwide by creating ICT tools for NGOs worldwide and: providing online access to web sites and repositories of data and information for sustainable development

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--- On Mon, 11/22/10, Leo Sauermann <leo.sauermann@gnowsis.com> wrote:

From: Leo Sauermann <leo.sauermann@gnowsis.com>
Subject: Re: Enquire - WWW - Semantic Desktop/PersonalDataWiki? do you agree?
To: "Melvin Carvalho" <melvincarvalho@gmail.com>
Cc: "SWIG" <semantic-web@w3.org>, "Juan Sequeda" <juanfederico@gmail.com>
Date: Monday, November 22, 2010, 10:43 AM


  Hi Melvin, Juan, SWIG 


    (I took timbl now out of cc as he didn't react... will ping him
    somehow on #swig about it)



    my pitch starts with "Hello, my name is Leo Sauermann and I can't
    remember anything... (dramatic pause for people to feel - ahhh.mee
    to)... thats why I write down things on my computer. But then I
    don't find them when I need them.."

    This evolved over 8 years of pitching, it quite works ;-)

    but yes - I only mention "semantic" once in my pitch. We learned
    that too. The salespeople from ontoprise.de (one of the oldest
    companies in our sector) also use "searching" more than "semantics".


    Melvin: ha, frivolity is welcome, you answered in the right tone.
    Life isn't as serious as they think ;-)


    Where did you find that one? 


    On the map - I fear that mountain where Ted Nelson sits at the end
    of Xanadu....read the last words of that article: 


    But again, Enquire misses on the map. 


    Thanks for the Warren Buffet comparison, I can use that. 


    URIs: right, they are the second important part

    I didn't really understand how to identify concepts until Richard
    and I co-edited that one:


    What was missing was URIs for Microsoft Outlook Entries and other
    things in daily life, we added that within Gnowsis/Cluug.



    Probably its easier to talk about this once a million people use it.
    I just wondered if it would work *before* we release it based on
    historic clues leading towards a semantic personal information
    management system. Our task here at Gnowsis is to reach these
    customers... lets see...






    It was Melvin Carvalho who said at the right time 18.11.2010 17:31
    the following words:
      On 18 November 2010 08:27, Leo Sauermann <leo.sauermann@gnowsis.com> 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".

      You are at a disadvantage.  Most investors cannot see further than a
two year horizon.  In fact, in many cases it is forbidden.

The attractive thing about The Web is that it will likely achieve
double digit growth for decades to come.  The great investors
understand this.  Warren Buffett, the richest man in the world, and
probably considered the best investor ever, has achieved 21% growth
for around 40 years.  The (Semantic) Web can easily match that.
Almost no other technology can.  That's the angle.

The concept that good investors understand, is the network effect, or
a better term the Web Effect.  This is the synergies created by
connecting a growing number of people using Web Standards, of which,
facebook is a microcosm.  Looking at Mark Z's latest talk he is
starting to get it.  A graph of People, a Graph of Things:


Your business advantage is of 'first mover'.  This is a double edged
sword, on the one hand you start off further down the learning curve,
but on the other new entrants can use newer technologies.  However,
first mover has worked for google (web scale), and for amazon, ebay
etc.   I think those are the angles to pitch, it helps if you have
some good long term value investors in your network.  There are some
in Vienna.

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

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.

      I think these will all be killer apps that will grow with the
ecosystem, and gaining from the law of 'unintended consequences' that
drove the Web of Documents.

The link is only one half of the Web (of any graph).  The "URI" is the
precious stone set in a silver sea.

I'd recommend reading 1 essay a week in


I still do on an daily basis.  I am always learning.

The UDI (Universal Document Identifier) enables The Web of Documents.
The URI will enable the Web of Resources.

Remember one KEY point.  Universal does not mean Unique.  Universal
brings things together, seeks commonalities (we mathematicians call
them 'invariants', philosophers call them 'archetypes').  This idea
has always been one of the foundational building block of mathematics,
of science, of culture, and now of The Web.  More on this later.

Give things Universal Identifiers and use Web Standards, and watch
their usefulness grow and grow, relative to everything else.  As an
initial adopter you're able to create most value than your competitors
and hopefully receive most reward.

The question:
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."

      Think about long term sustained exponential growth of your ecosystem,
with your company defending a greater and greater share of that value.
 People always tend to think that they are either at the beginning or
the end of a journey.  But the Web Effect is in play and, continues
its march exponentially.  Simply look at 2009 (gov) and 2010 (facebook
ogp, google good relations, and so much more).  I think 2011 is going
to be the year of the apps.  Gnowsis hopefully will make some of the

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 data.gov and the battles
Martin Hepp fights with GoodRelations and ... there is hope :-)

      Regarding email, did you take a look at rapportive?


A nice semantic tool that enhances email using the social graph.  I'm
using it now, it's a cool UX.  Simple tool that makes things just a
little bit better.  Perhaps this is the kind of demo that will inspire
an investor.

I like the Lord of the Rings analogy.  There can be no doubt that Lord
of the Rings was influenced by the 'Universal' Story.  The idea of the
monomyth, articulated so well by Jung and Campbell.  This is a story
that has happened before, and it will happen again and again.  It
happens every day.  My favorite video on the web, recorded 1987
explains this quite well.  Universal does not mean Unique!


"Man does not weave this web of life. He is merely a strand of it.
Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself." was written in1854
and we are talking about weaving the web today!

I like your jest.  The Web may show a resemblance of Middle Earth, but
it is not a copy.


Understand that The Web is about Universality.  The Web i about
tolerance.  We are all Tolkien's characters traveling through The Web
on a great journey.  Some are the hobbits, some are the wizards, and
some are the Orcs created to mock the elves (I'll let you decide which
is which :)).

But the hero is the one who can make this journey decently, can make
it in a way that is respectful and tolerant.  Someone that can first
look to create value or those less fortunate with their work and toil.
 And maybe just manage to make the long hard journey to cast down the
One Ring, and allow us all to bask in the sunlight uplands of The Web

Just my 2 cents (apologies in advance for the frivolity) :)


ok, looking for interesting answers
Leo Sauermann, Dr.
CEO and Founder

mail: leo.sauermann@gnowsis.com
mobile: +43 6991 gnowsis

helping people remember,

so join our newsletter


Leo Sauermann, Dr.
CEO and Founder

mail: leo.sauermann@gnowsis.com
mobile: +43 6991 gnowsis           

helping people remember,

so join our newsletter


Received on Monday, 22 November 2010 13:58:50 UTC

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