I met the folks at Vivisimo back in the earliest days of the question whether search would become BI and BI search (jury still out; expect an O.J. case-class delay). Founder and CEO Raul Valdes-Perez was and is a thoughtful, professorial technologist with a gentle mien. Vivisimo is now among the many vendors made history by IBM’s ambition, in its case via acquisition. And Valdes-Perez is back.
OnlyBoth is Raul’s current idea. The startup allows for discovery of intersective interest points in large datasets, and its initial application is as a way to find our what sets an institute of higher education apart. (Duke University, from which I graduated despite myself, is researchy.) I researched a few other schools, and found that WPI, around the corner from where I live, is the only school whose top Master’s major is systems engineering. Which, if my degree weren’t in poli sci and English, might mean more to me. What I do get is that it also coverts these insights into narrative speech — logical, slightly stilted and unusually worded statements. (Such as, “Clark Univ[ersity] is the only college whose top Doctoral major is geography.” I added what’s in brackets; I can’t help it.)
The interesting question, to me, is whether Raul will emphasize enterprise or consumer more in his new offering. I talked to a client today who wanted to know more about whether data mining and search magically intersecting, allowing them to know what they need to know before they know they need it. I told them consumers will have to experience that more often before enterprises can expect to buy it or workers to use it. This is one way that could happen.
Last time, Raul had two startups in one. Vivisimo had a search product called Clusty.com, which clustered search results for the consumer user. (Great product; shaky name.) He went enterprise; Vivisimo itself was a clustering engine that became a search engine that became an analytics engine. Now the choice will be his again — invest the most in building analytics for organizations…or for general consumption? Doing both seems…very intersective.