Features

Advice for Semantic Web Startups: Embrace Evolution

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Photo credit: Flickr/kevindooley

The Semantic Web is so very much about adaptability – adaptability of data to serve new purposes, adaptability to top-down and bottom-up approaches, and delivery of a whole new Web space that users will adapt to, without necessarily even realizing the mechanics behind the change. Semantic Web entrepreneurs are discovering that adaptability matters to their own business models as well, when the field is still so green, many people still aren’t 100 percent sure about why the Semantic Web might matter to them, and potential big customers may be skeptical about the street cred of an emerging company in a space that may still feel a little blurry to them.

Take the case of startup Bueda, co-founded by CEO Vasco Pedro. It originally envisioned that its tagging technology would come in handy for scenarios such as helping content sites rich with video and images better monetize advertising opportunities around their user-generated content, as well as generally help publishers with support for improved recommendations and search accuracy. The idea got people’s interest, says Pedro, but also left them a little confused. At its matching engine API’s launch a few months back, “we had an interesting set of use cases,” Pedro says, but acknowledges it was too general and diffuse for users to easily grasp onto. There was a lot of input about how to enhance the API, but to what clearly understood end? “Unless there’s a very clear motive for using it people are just going to dip their toes in. So we had to eat our own dog food and come up with an application that uses the API.”

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Semantic Web Framework CubicWeb Takes Object-Oriented Design Approach To Help Apps Like French Directory Speak Semantics

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Did you know the French business, professional and individual phone directory had been semantified? The site,11800, is presented by an Internet marketing and technology company called SecondWeb with the help of the CubicWeb semantic web framework from France-based Logilab.

That’s probably the biggest public web site that’s build using the framework. But about 70 percent of Logilab’s business now is around using the framework it originally developed for internal use to build for its customers applications that rely on its object-oriented design model of using reusable data model and view components – or ‘cubes’ – that are their own entire applications providing data models, which then can be piled together in ‘constructions’ that integrate multiple types of sources and publish semantic data. The semantic views already integrated into the framework for publishing data include SIOC, OWL, FOAF, and DOAP ontologies.

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Semantic Web For Healthcare: Part 2, Innovation For Consumers

This is part of our Creative Destruction 7 Act play series. The market we are currently focused on is Healthcare. In Part 1 we looked at the big picture. In this Part 2 we drill into consumer health sites that are leveraging semantic web technology. In Part 3 we will look at innovation in the enterprise space, how semantic web technology is being used by researchers in pharma and biotech firms.

This is part of our Creative Destruction 7 Act play series. The market we are currently focused on is Healthcare. In Part 1 we looked at the big picture. In this Part 2 we drill into consumer health sites that are leveraging semantic web technology. In Part 3 we will look at innovation in the enterprise space, how semantic web technology is being used by researchers in pharma and biotech firms.

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7 Signs That Semantic Web Is Crossing The Chasm To The Mainstream

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This is the half-yearly report card on the Semantic Web. How are we doing in 2010? The breakthrough to the mainstream was predicted by Gartner to be in 2008. Oops, that did not happen. Gartner was not alone in predicting breakthrough only to be disappointed by the powers of inertia. So then we entered the “trough of disillusionment” when semantic web was banned by anybody trying to raise money or get a project approved.

But it feels different this time. Yes, we are evangelists here, not just reporters. We want this to be successful. And we know that wanting does not make it happen. But the signs of breakthrough now seem too real to dismiss.

In this post we look at 7 signs that the semantic web is crossing the chasm to the moanstream.

Image Courtesy Flickr and Paul Watson and (of course Geoffrey Moore)

Chasm.png

This is the half-yearly report card on the Semantic Web. How are we doing in 2010? The breakthrough to the mainstream was predicted by Gartner to be in 2008. Oops, that did not happen. Gartner was not alone in predicting breakthrough only to be disappointed by the powers of inertia. So then we entered the “trough of disillusionment” when semantic web was banned by anybody trying to raise money or get a project approved.

But it feels different this time. Yes, we are evangelists here, not just reporters. We want this to be successful. And we know that wanting does not make it happen. But the signs of breakthrough now seem too real to dismiss.

In this post we look at 7 signs that the semantic web is crossing the chasm to the moanstream.

Image Courtesy Flickr and Paul Watson and (of course Geoffrey Moore)

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Best Tweets Of The Week From The Semantic Web 100

SW100_7.3.pngBack in May we published the Semantic Web 100, our list of the people tweeting interesting stuff about the Semantic Web.

That’s a lot of people to follow and a fair amount of noise obscuring the signal – lots of tweets about the World Cup or where to eat/meet/drink as well as useful but repetitive retweets.

We look through a lot of tweets so you don’t have to. But we keep that job almost manageable by restricting our tweet-cruising to people in the SemanticWeb100.

By interesting we mean a) relevant to the Semantic Web b) something original, not simply a copy of some other content.

We did this via old-fashioned “curation” (ahem, its called “editing” to ye olde publishers). We read the tweets to identify the ones that look interesting to us. Call it Filter # 1. You can do your own Filter # 2 (what we used to call “reading”) after the break.

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What SIRI And Palantir Teach Us About Changing Trends In Innovation

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The old rules of innovations were:

1. basic R&D funded in academia

2. first non-grant revenue from defense

3. first commercialization from either finance or healthcare

4 a looong time later, trickle down innovation to consumer.

That flow changed during the social media era.

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The old rules of innovations were:

1. basic R&D funded in academia

2. first non-grant revenue from defense

3. first commercialization from either finance or healthcare

4 a looong time later, trickle down innovation to consumer.

That flow changed during the social media era.

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Dries Buytaert Explains How Drupal Gardens SaaS Can Contribute to Semantic Web Momentum

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Photo Courtesy Flickr/ Gábor Hojtsy

Now 10,000 sites strong, Acquia’s hosted version of Drupal – Drupal Gardens, which debuted in January – is positioned not only to eliminate barriers to adoption of the open source content management system to a crowd that would rather be hands-off on the hosting, configuration, security and upgrade front. It also is positioned potentially to help push the Semantic Web ahead, bringing technologies such as RDF to the attention of a new swath of users if it successfully surfs the wave behind Drupal.

Think about that passionate community behind Drupal. Some half million sites already have been built in the Drupal do-it-yourself mode, and about 6,000 modules contributed to it. (Whenever this blog has done a story that mentions Drupal, by the way, the response to it is usually significant.) Acquia, the company co-founded by Drupal creator Dries Buytaert to provide software, tools and support for Drupal social publishing sites, has expanded to about 65 employees over the last two years – a growth spurt that was in part responsible for Buytaert’s recent relocation to Boston from his native Belgium. Making Drupal more accessible via a hosted version can stoke those fires – especially as Buytaert moves ahead with plans he disclosed to The Semantic Web blog about building a commercial ecosystem around Drupal Gardens.

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Semantic Market Research: Part 1, Current Cash Cows

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In our Creative Destruction 7 Act Play series, we have looked at the following markets: Financial Services, B2B Media, STM Publishing, Education, Legal Publishing, Advertising, eCommerce.

We now turn our attention to Market Research. In this Part 1, we look at the current cash cows and market incumbents.

Market Research grew up with advertising during the radio age of the 1920s. It grew much bigger during the TV age of the 1950s, but remained essentially the same. It is now being fundamentally reinvented during the Internet age.

Image courtesy of Flickr and Miller Info Commons.

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In our Creative Destruction 7 Act Play series, we have looked at the following markets: Financial Services, B2B Media, STM Publishing, Education, Legal Publishing, Advertising, eCommerce.

We now turn our attention to Market Research. In this Part 1, we look at the current cash cows and market incumbents.

Market Research grew up with advertising during the radio age of the 1920s. It grew much bigger during the TV age of the 1950s, but remained essentially the same. It is now being fundamentally reinvented during the Internet age.

Image courtesy of Flickr and Miller Info Commons.

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The Best Introductions To The Semantic Web

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What do you send people who you want to introduce to the semantic web to persuade them to take it seriously? Lets say you want to persuade a senior business leader to approve a project/budget that includes semantic web technology?

We want to collect the best introductions here. We assume it will be “horses for courses”, you will select the one best suite to your needs. In some cases your audience might be quite tech savvy, in other cases not. Some people like absorbing information in words, others want images and others want to hear it.

Best practice is always to customize a presentation to the specific needs of the person. But we hope that this will at least serve as a starting point. We will update this post with new introductions as we find them.

image courtesy Flickr and Larah McElroy

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Creative Commons: Pointing The Way To A Legal Semantic Web

CreativeCommons.pngLegal Publishing is one of the markets that we covered in our Creative Destruction 7 Act Play series. Here are Part 1 and Part 2.

Earlier this week, we did an update on Law.gov. Today we take a look at something that is already established in the market – Creative Commons. It is simple and getting a lot of momentum and it points the way to a legal semantic web one clause at a time.

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