Cognitive Science, Förderpreis für Innovative Existenzgründung, Lijit, Osnabrück, Stan James Web 2.0"How do we decide who and how to trust in the real world, and how are things different online?" » Cognitive Science, Förderpreis für Innovative Existenzgründung, Lijit, Osnabrück, Stan James Web 2.0 » Interview Blog

“How do we decide who and how to trust in the real world, and how are things different online?” - An Interview with Stan James (CTO of Lijit Neworks Inc.)

interview-blog.de: Stan, you are the founder and CTO of Lijit Neworks Inc. Could you tell us a little bit about you and your company?

Stan James: During the internet bubble of the 90’s I created some of the first online games that were played in a web browser. Those were fun times, but the web was still in it’s infancy. When the bubble burst I travelled in Asia for a while and then decided to follow my dream of studying Cognitive Science. Friends I met while travelling opened my eyes to the possibility studying in Europe, and soon I found myself at the University of Osnabrück. There I became very interested in problems around ‘trust’. How do we decide who and how to trust in the real world, and how are things different online? I wrote a web application to implement some of my ideas, this application caught the eye of investors, and became the foundation for Lijit.
Lijit (pronounced “li-JIT”, like the slang for “Legitimate”) was founded in the summer of 2006. We create custom search engines centered on people. So if you have a blog, you can install our software to allow your readers to search your entire online presence: your posts, your bookmarks, your resume, and all the other online people that you link too. Basically, if you are an expert about some topic X, people who know and trust you will get better search results searching through you than they will through a normal search engine like Google. (Here is a full explanation.)

interview-blog.de: The Lijit Service was developed to leverage networks of friends and trusted information sources to help people find high quality websites. The solution of this problem does not seem to be easy?

Stan James: The solution is certainly not easy! But the important thing is that the solution is now possible. This is something new and very exciting. Even five years ago it would be impossible to use your friends’ recommendations and social network connections because none of this information was online. Now, millions of people are writing blog posts, sharing bookmarks, submitting ratings, uploading photos, and connecting to others with social networks. The web is exploding with user-generated content. And all of this information is available online where it can be fed into services like Lijit.
Lijit is the first company to connect all of these disparate data sources and build a platform uses peoples’ network and content to improve search and discovery. There is actually not a lot of magic to these algorithms; it just makes sense that content from people closer to you is more important. The hardest problem for us is that every service stores and publishes data in different ways.

interview-blog.de: As we can read on your companies website, you recently closed your initial round of funding. Was it difficult to convice the investors?

Stan James: The success of companies like MySpace, Flickr, del.icio.us, Digg, and YouTube have generated a lot of interest by investors in web technologies. Once my thesis project went online, I started receiving emails from investors literally overnight. On the other hand, I had no previous experience starting a company. So it was a perfect fit when I met Todd Vernon. His previous company had just been acquired and he was looking for something new. The combination of his business expertise and my technology was quite attractive, and in the end we had more offers for investment than we needed.

interview-blog.de: 99% of our readers living in Germany or at least in a German speaking country. You studied in Germany (Osnabrück!!!). How useful was this for your work now?

Stan James: My time studying in Osnabrück was invaluable for many reasons. The Cognitive Science program there is excellent, and I am convinced that the most important problems of the internet all lead back to cognitive issues: trust, attention, identity, search, advertising, and so on.
I also feel that Lijit would not have happened if I attended a US masters program. Rather than locking me into a rigid program, the German university gave me a lot of freedom to explore. “Web 2.0″ didn’t even exist as a word back then, and it certainly wasn’t in any of our textbooks. My professors hadn’t heard of it either, but they allowed me to pursue my research into ‘online trust’ which ultimately led to the creation of Lijit.

interview-blog.de: We heard from your professor that you won a Prize here in Germany? Can you tell us a little bit about it?

Stan James: Yes, I was honored to receive the Förderpreis für Innovative Existenzgründung. It was given by Die Etagen, an Osnabrück internet company.

interview-blog.de: Finally our standard question: Were will you and your company stand in five years time?

Stan James: For a small business, it’s hard to predict where we’ll stand in 6 months let alone 5 years! The new Sarbanes-Oxley law makes it more difficult for companies to go public, so the realistic assumption would be that Lijit is aquired by a more established company. But regardless of the business, I think in 5 years people will find it common to use their trusted friends to get better search results with Lijit.
As for myself, I hope to find more applications of Cognitive Science in the web space, and hope to contribute more to the ongoing conversations about how the internet is redefining trust, attention, identity, and relationships.

Stichworte:

4 Kommentare zu ““How do we decide who and how to trust in the real world, and how are things different online?” - An Interview with Stan James (CTO of Lijit Neworks Inc.)”

  1. Web 2.0 – Grundlagen und Anwendungsbeispiele (Veranstaltung an der Uni Osnabrück am 08. Februar 2007) » Interview Blog sagt:

    […] - Gespräch mit Stan James über Lijit […]

  2. Klaus Eck sagt:

    Mir gefällt Liijit sehr gut, deshalb habe ich es heute in meinen PR Blogger integriert und kann es jedem nur empfehlen.

  3. "Wir werden die Yahoo-Tochter del.icio.us als weltweiten Marktführer abgelöst haben :)" - Im Gespräch mit Kai Tietjen (Mister Wong) » Kai Tietjen, Mister Wong Social Bookmarking » Interview Blog sagt:

    […] Kai Tietjen: Wir haben konsequent auf innovative Features gesetzt, die Community beteiligt, uns ins Gespräch gebracht und massiv Aufklärung für das Prinzip Social Bookmarking betrieben, ob in Blogs, den Medien oder auf Veranstaltungen. Immer aus der Motivation heraus eine Ergänzung zu klassischen Suchmaschinen zu schaffen. Die Vorliebe der Nutzer für Websites in der eigenen Sprache spielt ebenfalls eine große Rolle, das ist das Grundprinzip auf dem wir das Portal derzeit international ausrollen. Eine chinesische, russische, französische und spanische Version sind online, eine dotcom wird folgen.   interview-blog.de: Vor kurzem hatten wir Stan James von Lijit.com im Interview. Auch bei Lijit geht es darum, dass die Suchergebnisse verbessert werden, indem die Meinungen des eigenen Netzwerkes in die Ergebnisse mit einbezogen werden. Wie kann Social Bookmarking helfen, die Suche im Internet zu optimieren? […]

  4. Ringfahndung Journal » Lijit: Ficken HSV und anderer relativer Unsinn sagt:

    […] Für mich ein schönes Beispiel, welchen Unsinn programmierte Sinnstifter und Relationsversteher da ins Verhältnis zu setzen versuchen. Nicht nur entlarvend, dass auch bei Nico die meisten Leser über frivole Anfragen zu ihm finden, und wohl nicht in Gänze befriedigt werden können. Das haben Blogs mit ihren persönlichen Themen und ihre Wirkung auf Googles Algorhytmus eben so an sich. So findet man auch auf die Frage nach einer HSV Fahne keine konkrete Handlungsanweisung, á la hier gibts die beste, die coolste, die seltenste oder was auch immer. Nein, nur ein relativ indirekter Link zu Fahnenfleck zur Karnevalszeit. Darauf wäre ich auch von allein gekommen. Ansonsten in den Ergebnissen Menschen, die sich das Gleiche fragen: “Was soll das?” […]

Kommentar / Antwort verfassen



<

Google


Add to Technorati Favorites

» “How do we decide who and how to trust in the real world, and how are things different online?” - An Interview with Stan James (CTO of Lijit Neworks Inc.) Cognitive Science, Förderpreis für Innovative Existenzgründung, Lijit, Osnabrück, Stan James Web 2.0