Posts Tagged ‘Mark Johnson’

“Top Semantic Start-Up” Competition – Open for Submissions!

photo of 2012 trophyThe preliminary program for the upcoming Semantic Technology & Business Conference (June, 2-5, 2013 in San Francisco) was announced yesterday. Today, we are pleased to add that the second annual “Top Semantic Start-Up Competition” is open for submissions! The contest will take place at the conference venue, the Hilton Union Square in San Francisco, on Monday, June 3, 2013. Start-ups who wish to compete should visit for further details.

“It is a very exciting time for start-ups in the Semantic Technology sector. With organizations like Gartner taking note of the importance of these technologies, and companies of all sizes wanting to glean insight from increasingly available data sources, investors and customers are paying attention. Last year, the judges had a difficult time deciding which company would win the prize. This year, we expect that decision will be even harder,” said contest moderator, our own Eric Franzon.

There will be two phases to the contest. In phase one, companies enter a profile of their start-up in an online form (keep reading for details), and ten finalist companies will be selected to present their pitches in person at the Semantic Technology & Business Conference. In phase 2, those ten companies will each deliver a pitch in front of a panel of judges with experience in entrepreneurship and investment. A single company will be selected as the winner. Prizes will be awarded at the completion of each phase.

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How CNN Integrated Zite

Dan Rowinski of ReadWrite reports, “The integration of old media and new media can often be like trying to mix oil and water. Even when smart media entities have been proactive in approaching the new digital paradigm – the world of smartphones and tablets, social and serendipity – they have failed either through poor decision making or not putting in a full effort. But CNN is different. Where many newspapers and cable companies have faltered, CNN has thrived. A lot of the credit goes to  the cable news company’s acquisition of Zite, the makers of a popular iPad news app.” Read more

“Top Semantic Start-Up” Contenders Announced!

We are pleased to announce the start-ups that have been selected to participate in the 2012 SemTechBiz “Top Semantic Start-Up” competition. These companies will give demonstrations/pitches before a panel of expert judges at the Semantic Technology and Business Conference June 3-7.


Photo of Phil Aucutt Photo of Michael Dunn, CTO, Hearst Interactive Photo of Jim Hendler, Professor, RPI Photo of Mark Johnson, CEO Zite Photo of Chris Shipley, CEO Guidewire Group

Our panel of judges includes (Left to Right): Phil Aucutt, CEO, TeamPatent; Mike Dunn, CTO, Hearst Interactive; James Hendler, Professor, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute; Mark Johnson, CEO, Zite; Chris Shipley, CEO, Guidewire Group (former Executive Director, DEMO Conference)

The Envelope Please!

The companies, presentations, and speakers for the start-up competition are…

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#SemTechBiz Start-Up Contest – Deadline Extension and Judges Announced

Semantic Tech & Business Conference - San Francisco - Start-up Competition. Click Here to Apply! and parent company WebMediaBrands recently announced a contest to earn the title of  “Top Semantic Technology Start-Up.” Today, we have two exciting announcements to make about the contest.

Deadline Extension

We have had several requests to extend the deadline, and are announcing today that we will now accept applications for the contest until April 30, 2012. We also learned of some applicants who encountered technical problems when trying to submit in the early days of the contest. We have fixed the code that caused these problems, and encourage all who experienced difficulties to try again.


We are also pleased to announce the panel of judges that will be at SemTechBiz evaluating the companies. It’s a great group, and we’re looking forward to a lively afternoon!

Photo of Michael Dunn, CTO, Hearst Interactive Photo of Jim Hendler, Professor, RPI Photo of Mark Johnson, CEO Zite Photo of Chris Shipley, CEO Guidewire Group

Left to Right, they are: Read more

Semantic Tech in 2011: The Year In Highlights

To accompany our recent podcast looking back on 2011, we’ve accumulated some additional perspectives from thought leaders in the next-wave Web space on the year that’s quickly passing us by.

Some highlights follow. You’ll see respondents hit on some common themes throughout, such as Big Data, sentiment analytics, specific vertical industry adoption, and the standards space:


  • SKOS has become an increasingly popular entry point for organizations that want to use semantic technology in practical applications without worrying about the more complicated aspects of semantic web technology. – Bob  DuCharme, solutions architect, TopQuadrant


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Zite Brings Personalized News Mag App to the iPhone

Zite, the personalized news magazine app for the iPad, adds an iPhone version of its application to the lineup today. The company, which we wrote about here and which was acquired this summer by CNN, has focused on making the semantically-intelligent app fit the smaller-size format of the smartphone, with one-thumb navigation, vertical story and left-to-right category view flow, and a focus on the facts of story name, title and source , rather than snippets, as starter views.

CEO Mark Johnson says a prerequisite for the iPhone app was its release of Sybil technology in late October, which allowed Zite to have multiple profiles that adapt to the reader’s preference. This made it possible to share the Zite app on a family’s sole iPad without messing up individuals’ preferences. It comes in handy for the new smartphone app because, “if you did all this work on your iPad training this very intelligent AI, you don’t want to lose that when you go to the iPhone,” Johnson says.

Johnson expects the iPhone app to appeal to existing iPad users. “Personalization is really addictive. Once you have it one place, you want it everywhere,” he says

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Zite Sells to CNN for Just Over $20M

[UPDATED: 4:10pm ET]
Last week, our own Jennifer Zaino spoke to Zite CEO, Mark Johnson about the startup, Zite.  One of the topics was the speculation around a rumoured acquisition by CNN. Zite is an iPad app that leverages deeper technology to provide an individually personalized experience. Zite surfaces content to users that they will find most interesting from a variety of sources across the Web by learning users’ preferences and getting smarter as it’s used. Today, news broke that, indeed, Zite has sold to CNN.
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Amid CNN Acquisition Speculation, Zite’s Focus Remains on Relevant — And Disinterested — Content Discovery

Zite CEO Mark Johnson says he’s flattered by the rumors this week of a multi-million dollar CNN acquisition. He won’t comment on them, of course, but he is flattered.

What he will say is that there’s a reason such talk gets started around intelligent, personalized news apps. “Whether a company chooses to partner with a larger company to distribute their technology or go on their own, we are solving a basic consumer need,” Johnson says. The iPad-oriented Zite, which has its semantic groundings in the Worio (the catchier handle for Web of Research Iteration One) contextual discovery engine plug-in that works alongside a user’s search engine, benefits from the six years of work behind that system in personalizing search results, he says.

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Zite CEO Mark Johnson Calls for Increased Personalization

Mark Johnson recently took over as the CEO of Zite, a personalized news magazine app that delivers news stories tailored to users’ interests. According to Zite, “Mark has been an advisor to Zite for almost two years and was instrumental in our pivot from Worio to Zite. He brings a strong product and technology background with experience at several successful search startups: Powerset (natural language search, acquired by Microsoft), Kosmix (categorized search, acquired by Walmart), and SideStep (travel search, acquired by Kayak). Most recently, he led product at Bing in San Francisco. We’re really excited to have him leading the team to help change the way people discover and browse content.” Read more