What follows is a draft email message to people in my network. If we know each other, move me to your spam whitelist and expect to receive one of these
Subject: Borrowing your brain, your skill, your network
I’m on cloud nine at the moment because of the recognition I received from the Helsingin Sanomat Foundation’s ‘Uutisraivaaja‘ innovation competition for my idea of a personal news recommendation engine based on on-line social gestures.
257 entries where submitted to the competition. 10 ideas have been selected to the Finals. I will be given 10,000 euros to prepare a presentation of my innovation at the Finals on September 15.
In a nutshell (from my application):
Gestures are ways in which web users respond to the information which they encounter, thereby indicating relevance. Gestures may include: subscribe, read, store, share, tag, rate, copy-share, send, comment, blog, micro-blog, pipe-through, link, approve/reject.
Every gesture contributes to a collective human news filter. The aggregate data can be used to inform a personal news offering to individual users.
For every pair of users in the system, the engine will calculate the proximity of their past gestures.
If user A and user B have a high proximity of past gestures, the next gesture user A will express will be highly relevant to the engine’s recommendation of news and information to user B; and vice versa.
While I’m not yet entirely sure how to go about it, here are some initial thoughts:
- Create an open source software project which may outlive the duration of the competition;
- Establish a foundation to manage and support the project and safeguard its open source nature;
- Engage a Chief Engineer;
- Engage a Chief Designer;
- Engage a Chief Evangelist;
- Engage logistical and other support people;
- Engage (international) news organizations to sponsor the project;
- Engage non-commercial organizations in the realm of news and journalism;
- Engage educational institutions;
- Explore governmental, non-governmental and philantropical funding;
- Explore venture capital funding;
- Build the core technology;
- Design a compelling web/mobile user interface;
- Design a convincing demonstration of a common use case scenario;
- Build a browser plug-in;
- Launch a web service featuring personal news recommendations;
- Initiate pilot projects with one or more news organizations;
- Nurture users and developers;
- Give sponsors, developers, and anyone else who adds value to the project due credit on the website and elsewhere.
Okay, so why am I writing this to you? Because I’m taking the liberty of borrowing your brain, your skill, your network and/or your money. Specifically:
- What is the first thing that comes to your mind when reading all this?
- What do you like/dislike about the idea?
- What is the best advice you can offer?
- How would you go about securing success in the Finals?
- How would you budget the 10,000 euros?
- (How) would you like to contribute to this project?
- To whom would you turn for sponsoring, partnering, funding?
- Whom else should we get involved?
- Any funding models / business models that I have overlooked?
Any response is highly appreciated, either in the comments or by email to <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
In case you feel like reading up:
‘Gestures’, my idea for a social news recommendation engine, got further in the Helsingin Sanomat Foundation’s competition!
My submission to Uutisraivaaja #fortherecord
A hierarchy of gestures for the Holy Grail
Booting up a personal recommendation system for news
Transcript of 9 minutes ‘Rebooting the News’, episode 82