Discussion with Twine’s Founder Nova Spivack and his CTO Jim Wissner

November 5th, 2008 by Greg Boutin

Last week I had the pleasure through the Semantic Web Gang to participate in a riveting discussion with Radar Networks’ top men, Nova Spivack and Jim Wissner.

Image representing Radar Networks as depicted ...Image via CrunchBaseEven though I still don’t know how many triples they create per week :) , Nova and Jim were very forthcoming on the wide range of issues we interviewed them on: Radar Network’s platform, its link with semantic technologies and RDF in particular, as well as with other apps such as Freebase and Facebook, the usability and future of their flagship app Twine, as well as their monetization strategy. On that last aspect, I was expecting an ad-based strategy, which they certainly are exploring, but it looks like it might come in the shape of product recommendations, not just display ads.

Directly related to their business model is the question of what problems they are trying to solve for the end user. As every time I exchanged with Twine members about it, I wasn’t truly satisfied with their answer. Although Nova mentions their emphasis on solving information overload, i.e. the signal-to-noise ratio, that came only after I prompted him on that and felt again like an add-on. In the meantime, folks at Twine always seem to put “information overload” and “discovering new information of interest” in the same bag.

Although those two are related, I disagree that you can do a decent job at serving both at the same time. At the end of the day, short of a true IT revolution, these still are divergent benefits to provide. So far, I use Twine to keep on top of the news in my areas of interest, as well as inform others of my blog posts. Not to filter through all my online information. It hasn’t replaced my other channels, such as RSS feeds. It has only added to it. I look forward to more on that front. Nova mentioned Twine will soon accept RSS feeds, and he’s started to offer us filters for the twine digest. Hopefully there will be more of that coming soon…

The podcast can be found at the Semantic Web Gang webpage.

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