Content curation is disrupting content creation. Are content marketers moving fast enough?


First published on LinkedIn.

A few weeks ago, I made the trip down to Content Marketing World, “the largest content marketing event on the planet” with over 2600 delegates representing 50 countries.

I wanted to explore how the activity of content curation—the process of collecting, organizing and displaying information relevant to a particular area of interest—was impacting this massive content marketing industry.

Content curation may be one of the most disruptive forces in marketing, with an impact crater particularly devastating to activities directly and indirectly linked to content creation.

Based on a review of the activities at Content Marketing World and a supporting data analysis of thousands of articles in the media, content marketers appear slow to respond to this change.

The activity of curation is perceived as subordinate to content creation, complementary but not disruptive. Content curation is a new engine of content marketing, but the industry is tightly coupling it to the old activity of content creation.

The response from marketers? “It’s not creation or curation, it’s both!” Yes, it’s both. I would have had a tremendously difficult time making the arguments in this post without creating the content for it.

However, to say it’s both misses the point of a disruptive change and raises your risks of ending up under that crater. Read more …

How To Cram for Content Marketing World (#CMWorld)


I’m heading to Cleveland for Content Marketing World. Apparently it’s the “the largest content marketing event on the planet”, a gathering of “the best and the brightest” people in the industry.

Frankly, it’s all pretty overwhelming and intimidating for a person that isn’t a professional content marketer.

As prep for the conference, I worked with my team here at Primal and our friends at Pressly to build a comprehensive resource for content marketing covering all the topics and sessions at the conference.



Read on for a tour of all the background knowledge you need to navigate the content marketing world. Read more …

Open Source Health and Primal Develop Personalized Health Discovery System


Women will benefit from the proactive delivery of personalized health information, using Primal’s proprietary artificial intelligence technology

Toronto, Canada / TNW-ACCESSWIRE / July 9, 2014 / Open Source Health Inc. (CSE:OSH), a cloud based patient engagement system that puts control in the hands of women to Educate, Advocate and Collaborate on their own healthcare, is pleased to announce a strategic partnership with Primal to power discovery of personalized health data, as part of the OSH integrative health platform.

“Conventional search technology is inadequate at providing the personalized information women need to take a pro-active role in their own health,” stated Sonya Satveit, Founder and CEO of Open Source Health Inc.  “By using Primal’s patented artificial intelligence technology, a detailed understanding of each woman’s needs is used to proactively deliver the right information at the right time. This accelerates the discovery of new information and the learning experience for every woman.” Read more …

What Automated Content Curation Teaches Us About The Essential Role of Human Curators



Image Credit: Sally Wilson

A case study in automated content curation

Content curation, the activity of collecting, organizing, and presenting information of interest to a target audience, is an essential component of content marketing.

As in many areas of marketing, aspects of content curation are being automated. Marketers are exploring how smart machines can help improve their productivity and performance. Automated content curation, however, is a young field and it’s difficult to separate the promise from the hype.

At Primal, we’re well aware of the importance of curation, but constraints of time, money, staffing left us unable to pursue sustained campaigns in content curation. As such, we wanted to explore how automated systems could be used to improve our efforts.

In this post, we’ll outline how we incorporated automated content curation into our activities and what we learned about its impact on marketing professionals. Read more …

Putting the Really Simple back in RSS


Introducing Primal’s intelligent content feeds


If you’re like us, RSS feeds are an essential part of your content pipeline. You use these feeds to keep track of the sources you care about, and share the best items with your customers and colleagues.

RSS is often referred to as Really Simple Syndication. The truth is, it’s really not that simple. And the more you use it, the more complicated it gets!

In this post, we unpack the problem with RSS and introduce you to Primal’s powerful yet simple solution. Read more …

The simple way to add targeted Web content to your favorite app or website


Introducing Primal’s content service

Personalized Web content for your app or website

You need content that’s tailored to your unique perspective, supporting the topics and sources that make you stand out from the crowd. You need a superstore, not a corner store, and you don’t want to do a lot of work to get it.

Primal’s open interest graph is already the most comprehensive source of Web content targeted to your specific interests.

Today, we’re excited to announce that we’ve made the world’s largest open interest graph much simpler to use!

Read more …

A Visual History of The Next Big Thing (and how to see The Next One coming)


First published on

In business, vision isn’t some mythical ability to see the future. It’s about being able to recognize a pattern and apply it to something new, before others see it coming.

In this post, we’ll introduce you to one such pattern, the gestation of new media within old media. We’ll then review some examples of how the pattern has repeated itself over the past 30-years, from one Big Thing to the Next.

We’ll then apply the pattern in the here-and-now, to see how it points to The Next Big Things. Read more …

There’s a Graph for That!


According to Murthy Nukala, “any marketer who doesn’t have a graph within the next twelve months will be at a permanent competitive disadvantage.” That’s a pretty ominous warning, particularly when most marketers have no idea what a graph is, let alone how to use it.

Graphs are a useful way to represent relationships between things. And the World Wide Web is called a Web for a reason: it is a huge network composed of pieces of content and links among them. So it isn’t surprising that graphs are being used everywhere in IT these days to represent particular kinds of relationships among types of content living on the Web.

Since every kind of relationship among things on the Web seems to have its own graph, it can get a little confusing keeping them all straight. That also makes it hard to determine which of those many graphs could be important to you and your business.

You might find it all befuddling enough to develop graphophobia and just ignore them all. That would be a shame, because leveraging these mysterious graphs could truly revolutionize your business.
Here I’ll connect some of the dots and help you understand what graphs are and why they are important. Read more …

Big data’s creative and empathetic sibling (and why they struggle to get along)


Joyce Hostyn argues that Better Human Understanding, Not Big Data, Is the Future of Business. Some excerpts (with my emphasis):

Despite the best of intentions, we’re not data driven, we’re hypothesis driven. Our stories (our mental models) are merely hypotheses of how the world works. But we see them as reality and they influence what data we collect, how we collect it and the meaning we glean from it…

In a quest to become data driven, are marketers trapping themselves with outdated mental models of data and analytics? “Big data is being wasted on marketing. The true power of analytics is in revealing cultural dynamics.”

Many echo these concerns about data-driven marketing, and the need to be skeptical and hypothesis-driven. (1) (2) (3)

Hostyn concludes her thoughtful article with a number of questions, including:

  • Can we leverage big data to zoom out and understand patterns and trends, then zoom back in for a dive deep into the hearts and minds of individuals?
  • Are we willing to develop hypotheses with the potential to disrupt our old mental models? Create experiments to test those hypotheses. Prototype to think. Collect feedback. Iterate.

At Primal, we’ve invested years exploring this mode of hypothesis-setting as a lens into big data. It involves a collaboration between humans and machines across the full spectrum of analytical and synthetical thinking.

What follows is a summary of that exploration and what we’ve learned to this point.

Read more …

Human-Guided Sentiment Analysis: Beyond the Cold Hard Stats


Call me sentimental, but perhaps some of you, too, are starting to miss the human side of sentiment analysis.

Machine-based statistical analysis is not the entirety of sentiment analysis – or at least it shouldn’t be. There is still an important role for humans to play in that process. In addition there are opportunities for other tools to assist humans in the process, working in complementary ways with statistical-based sentiment analysis tools. Read more …

Meet the Most Important Component in Your Solution Stack


Developers have long created software that customers use directly. But now, we’re creating solutions that incorporate internal representations of end-users and adapt to individual needs.

In this post, we’re going to introduce you to the most important component in your solution stack, the user model, explain why it’s so important, and show you how to incorporate user modeling into your solution.

Read more …

Primal’s summer releases


Last week marked Primal’s first release for the month of August. Over the past month, we’ve been busy updating our Data API, as well as taking steps to simplify our developer sign up process on the Web and through our new WordPress Plugin.

Data API

An update to Primal’s Data API exposes more of our underlying technology to our customers by way of the “Concept Confidence” score in the JSON response. This score is intended to give you more insight into the expected quality of Primal’s data.

Additionally, we completed improvements to the content quality available through our News source.
Read more …

What the History of the Semantic Web Tells Us About Its Future


The Semantic Web provides an enticing vision of our online future. This next-generation Web will enable intelligent computer assistants to work autonomously on our behalf: scheduling our appointments, doing our shopping, finding the information we need, and connecting us with like-minded individuals.

semantic_web_wordleUnfortunately, the Semantic Web is also a vision that, to some, seems very distant. It has been over a decade since it was popularized in a May 2001 article in Scientific American. Semantic Web researchers and engineers have been toiling even longer on the monumental technical and sociological challenges inherent in creating a global Semantic Web.
Read more …

An Interview with a Primal Developer on our Data API


Justin Kominar, Senior Software Developer at Primal
Justin Kominar is a Senior Software Developer at Primal

Recently, Justin Kominar, one of Primal’s developers was interviewed by 3scale. Primal’s uses 3scale’s product to manage access to our cloud-based Data API. There was so much interesting developer stuff in the interview, we thought we re-publish it in it’s entirety! Give it a read as Justin walks through some background details on how Primal’s user modelling technology is built, tells how we find interesting content for your customers, and shares some insight into new software agent technology we are working on.

Read more …

Confessions of a Twitter Bot


Bots have a bad reputation. Whether they’re sinister botnets, carrying out coordinated attacks, or annoying spambots, polluting our digital universe with crappy auto-generated content, bots are a much maligned bunch.

You might ask, if bots are bad and a huge portion of Twitter activity is already generated by bots, Why is Primal creating another one?

We believe that intelligent, well-intentioned bots can add a lot of value.

If we build a bot that truly understands you as an individual and can do useful work on your behalf, it might be a welcome addition to the social scene.
Read more …

Adding Metrics to Spray


We’re using Spray for some products here at Primal. Spray is a really neat library, but it’s missing the ability to gather runtime metrics, and while you can instrument your app any way you’d like, we want to do things the Spray way.

Along with our upcoming Agent framework, which implements a pretty cool inter-actor protocol, we have other services that will be hosted in Spray. The guys that figure out whether or not people like our features, and the other guys that figure out how well they’re working, want to know what’s happening, and the guys that code it don’t want that stuff interfering too much with the way that they write their code.

In this post we’ll have a look at how we’re integrating the Coda Hale Metrics library with Spray. Eventually we’ll be making a pull request to the Spray project to integrate this thing for real.

Read more …

How to Tell If Your Recommender Will Suck (Before You Spend All That Money On It)


Awhile back, we started exploring how individual interest graphs, powered by Primal’s data service, can be used to improve the performance of recommendation engines.


Our surprising conclusion: Marketers and technology buyers are sold on the promise of personalized recommendations. Unfortunately, they don’t know how to tell recommenders apart, even when they’re built on radically different technical approaches. And the results are mixed, at best. End users are left frustrated, wondering when this promise of personalized recommendations will actually be delivered.

In this post, we’re going to show you how to ask the right questions of your technology provider, to make an informed choice based on business considerations, not technical jargon. We’ll highlight some of the common risks and pitfalls, and conclude with a statement of what to expect from your technology provider.  Read more …

Primal’s final June release is now online


Yesterday marked the release of our last major product update for the month of June.

Data API

For our data API, improvements were made to our scoring, the quality of the abstracts that we return, and a big upgrade in both the quantity and quality of the content sources that we monitor in our default News content source.
Read more …

An Interest Graph for Promoting Tweets: A Small Data Solution to a Big Data Problem


Source: iamsocial

Small conversational data such as tweets or text messages are a goldmine of individual interests. Millions of people everyday tweet about their favourite food, send a Kik or BBM message about a recent TV episode, or take a photo on Instagram while attending a sporting event or concert.

However if you’re trying to recommend content or promote offers within a conversation, the ability to determine a user’s interests or “commercial intent” from these small data inputs is a huge challenge.

John Koestier in Venture Beat writes:

…tweets are difficult to register commercial intent…

If I tweet about my wife’s illness, are you going to target me with a random medicine? Or if you tweet about a great dinner you’re just about to eat, will you really be receptive to ads about a Greek restaurant just down the road?

In this post, we’ll show you an elegant, “small data” solution, applied in one of big data’s harshest environments.
Read more …

3 Steps to a Smart Personalized Web for Your Application


Recently, the idea of a portal is getting a reboot. But as much as the Web has advanced for human consumption, it remains a very inhospitable place for a large contingent of users, namely machines.

Back in the early days of the Web, the Yahoo! Directory filled a huge gap in the ecosystem.

This portal helped us make sense of the Web. It organized content based on topics, connected those topics into a hierarchy to make sense of it all, and standardized the presentation of the content so that it was convenient and accessible.

But where can you find a portal that makes content from the Web accessible in your application?

Read more …

Automated Content Curation Your Readers Will Love: A WordPress Plugin That Uses Your Interest Graph


Screen Shot 2013-05-29 at 11.56.48 AM

Do you want to provide highly relevant content from around the Web and engage your readership on a whole new level?

In honour of the tenth anniversary of WordPress, we’re celebrating here at Primal with an open source WordPress plugin.

Primal for WordPress will allow you to unlock the power of your WordPress site’s interest graph to supply your readers with relevant, dynamic and daily updated content that is tailored to each individual page.

This first revision of our plugin has all of the functionality necessary to speak to Primal’s data service directly, however we’d love to hear from WordPress publishers and developers on exactly how else you would like to leverage the power of the interest graph within WordPress environment as we consider where to take the plugin next.

Read more …

The Myth Behind Big Data and Privacy


We know what personalization means and the compromises it imposes on our individual privacy.

Or do we?

This is perhaps the most insidious myth among the technorati: In order for people to benefit from advanced and personalized technologies, they need to compromise their individual privacy.

This idea is remarkably pervasive and damaging, driving both consumers and businesses away from the opportunities of personalization and next-generation information services.

In this post, I’m going to introduce you to the myth and the underlying villain, Big Data. I’m also going to argue that innovation is a much better path forward than evil, or doing nothing at all.
Read more …

New and Improved Primal API Developer Site


Our newly redesigned developer site makes it easier than ever to explore the Primal data service and harness the power of Primal in your own applications.

Screen Shot 2013-06-10 at 10.53.52 AM

In minutes, you can be up and running, trying out the standard HTTP calls that you use to talk to the Primal data service. Soon you’ll be building your users’ interest graphs, retrieving information from them, and filtering content that matters to you and them through their interest graphs.
Read more …

Primal Updates: May 2013


Primal and the world of interest networking, for the month of May. Product updates, highlights from our blog, and industry news.

Read more …

Using Scala Implicits to Implement a Messaging Protocol


We’re building some cool new stuff at Primal. Awesome ideas and talented people are a must have in order to build successful and exciting products, but we also need our tools to step up to the challenge. This is why we’ve started adopting Scala and Akka. In this post, I’m going to describe how we’re using Scala’s implicits in order to implement a very important part of our internal messaging fabric, without having to over-burden the business logic. Read more …

How to Make Content Curation Awesome by Adding a Smart Machine as an Editor


“Innovation will disrupt many areas of skilled work that have so far had it easy. But if we manage them well, smart machines will free us, not enslave us.”
- The Economist (May 25 2013)

The moral of the story: Either you use smart machines to your competitive advantage, or you concede that advantage to your competitors.

Primal is one such smart machine. It’s intended to empower small- and medium-sized businesses by being simple to use and affordable.

In this post, we’ll show you how to add Primal’s data service to your content curation solutions, as a fully automated, machine-editor.

We’ll also highlight the practical applications, concrete benefits and costs of using a smart machine as a complement to your manual and crowdsourcing strategies. Specifically:

1. How to filter out irrelevant content from your content supply.
2. How to provide personalized collections of content.

For our demo, we’ll use a content aggregator called Alltop, and show you how to recreate these examples and build a similar solution yourself!

Read more …

Trixie’s Story: Virtual Assistants and Interest Graphs


I was meeting with two guys, one a technologist, one a business advisor.

The discussion was focused on Primal’s technology: semantic user models, knowledge representation, yada, yada…

The business advisor, having listened patiently for some time, finally interjects, “Tell me what this means to Trixie!”


“Yes, the everyday person. Tell me a story of why Trixie would care about any of this?”
Read more …

Introducing Primal Assistants: A framework for software agents


Primal does a lot of heavy lifting in knowledge representation and content filtering. If you ask it to grab you some relevant content around your interests, it will do precisely that.

But what if you don’t want to have to ask? Search engines are fantastic, but they still require that you go to them and then try to figure out how to formulate your query in a way that gets you decent results.

Primal already has the ability to understand what you want, and we’re now working on some technology that will let Primal deliver you the content that you truly care about before you know you want it.

Read on to learn more about Primal’s new software agent and content streaming framework.
Read more …

Why The “Star Trek Computer” Needs Open Data…And Scotty, Too



I love this post from Fogbeam Labs. Here’s a bit:

So given that, what can we say about the eventual development of something we can call “The Star Trek Computer”? Right now, I’d say that we can say at least two things: It will be Open Source , and licensed under the Apache Software License v2. There’s a good chance it will also be a project hosted by the Apache Software Foundation.

Their rationale? ASF provides an awesome array of advanced technologies, in everything ranging from NLP, information extraction and retrieval, machine learning, Semantic Web, and on and on. It’s like a free, all-you-can-eat buffet! (er, Star Trek food synthesizer?)

I share their enthusiasm. We use many of these technologies at Primal.

But this is where their science fiction story starts to lose me:

Of course, you don’t necessarily need a full-fledged “Star Trek Computer” to derive value from these technologies. You can begin utilizing Semantic Web tech, Natural Language Processing, scalable machine Learning, and other advanced computing techniques to derive business value today.

We often meet product developers and entrepreneurs looking to build next-generation intelligent solutions.

If these advanced technologies are available for free, why not just jump in and start building?
Read more …

What Tumblr Would Look Like Within Yahoo’s Content (and Why It’s So Tough to Do It Right)


Everyone’s talking about the Yahoo-Tumblr acquisition, specifically, whether Yahoo will “mess up” Tumblr.


Here’s what Mayer said about it, as reported by TechCrunch:

“Our strategy is to let Tumblr be Tumblr,” said Mayer. “There are some who will always prefer Tumblr and will never come to Yahoo. [But] as we pull Tumblr content into our news feed and media experiences it will cause them to become that much more interesting and richer and will cause more to come to Yahoo.”
I think the much more interesting question is, How will Yahoo integrate Tumblr content? It’s a massive technical undertaking.

At Primal, we love working on interesting problems, so here’s a peek into what a Yahoo-Tumblr experience might look like, and why it’s such a daunting technical challenge.

Read more …

How to create personalized content feeds using your interest graph


Content and media companies are getting excited about personalization (again). Companies like Gravity are touting the benefits: content that’s targeted to individual users generates more revenue for publishers and a more tailored experience for consumers.

Perhaps you want to join the personalization party, but you’re skeptical. What’s the catch?

If you’re like us, you find the notion of tracking and analyzing consumer behaviour offensive. You want to treat your consumers like individuals, but you don’t want to creep them out or betray their trust.

Most importantly, you want to bring your own expertise and knowledge to bear. You don’t want to categorize your consumers based on someone else’s knowledge. You want to use your perspective and interests as their guide.

Here’s how you can do-it-yourself with Primal.
Read more …

“You’re recommending what? For who??”
(Or how to fix your recommendation engine)


Imagine this: I found a book in the bookstore that was almost what I was looking for. So I walked up to the store clerk for some help…

“Do you have any other books like this one?”

“I don’t know. Would you like to see other books that other people who looked at this book looked at?”

“No, that sounds silly (and a bit creepy). I’d like to see more books like this one.”

“OK. Would you like to see one of the hundreds of books that are in the same category as this book?”

“No, that sounds like a lot of work. I’d like to see more books like this one.”

“OK. Would you like to review any of the recommendations based on our surveillance of your browsing habits over your many visits to our store?”

“No, that’s completely creepy!! I’m outta here…”

We don’t have this sort of experience when we interact with real people, but this is what content and product recommendation engines subject us to every day.

How do you recommend products or content for a very specific interest at a moment in time?
In the sections that follow, we’ll show you how to build a working recommendation engine using Primal’s data serviceAlchemyAPI, and some code samples to tie the pieces together.
Read more …

How to Train Your Personalization Dragons
(Or how to train Primal’s AI to understand your interests)


I love this post by Joshua Fruhlinger, Please don’t personalize me. I know who I am. It captures a sentiment that many of us share (1) (2) (3). Joshua provides a wonderfully non-technical and simple summary:

I know who I am. I don’t need Facebook or Google or Microsoft or Apple or anyone else to collect data and tell me what I’m interested in. I’m pretty sure I know what I like and don’t like.

It’s a great point: Not only are big data approaches to personalization privacy-invading and offensive, they don’t work very well!

dragons-1There are much more direct and transparent ways to approach the opportunity of personalization. A system that allows you to be the master of your interests is self-empowering. In this post, I want to tackle one of the most common questions we receive: How do I train Primal to represent the interests I care about? 1

Read more …

Primal: “Welcome to your interest network”


Some things are too important to leave to anyone else. For me, the health of my family is one example. There isn’t an aspect of that interest that I can live without. And when new information surfaces, it needs to find me.

Whether its your health, your business, or your life’s purpose, you need comprehensive information and a service that’s dedicated to your individual interests, 24/7.

Where can you find an information service dedicated to the topics and content you truly care about? Your interest network would be as unique and one-of-a-kind as you are. But you don’t have the time to build it yourself and you don’t have the money to get others to do it for you.

Welcome to Primal, your interest network, made-to-order. It’s free for individuals and affordable for companies of all sizes. And now anyone can start an interest network. Read more …

Where are all the Flipboard killers?
(Or how to build a personalized news app with only 10-lines of code.)


Calling all innovators: we’re looking for people who can imagine a legitimately new experience for personalized news and information services.

Personalized news and information services have become common. What’s uncommon is a service that actually delivers a truly individualized experience; something that really moves the category forward.

In the sections that follow, we’ll show you how Primal can support your product development efforts by providing the data that describes the interests of individuals.

And we’ll show you how to do it using only a few lines of code.

Read more …

Primal CEO Yvan Couture featured in Communitech’s 15th anniversary video series


As part of their 15th anniversary celebrations, Communitech decided to check in with a few key entrepreneurs from Waterloo Region’s world-class technology community, including our own CEO Yvan Couture.

In this video series, Yvan reflects on the genesis of Communitech and his role in growing Waterloo Region’s technology community.

Watch the video here.

Explore interest networking with Primal’s new Web app


Primal connects your personal interests to related topics and content from across the real-time Web. Primal makes it easy to put your interests to work by following and sharing the information you truly care about!

Launched today, Primal’s Web app is your new entry point to interest networking.

We are constantly exploring interesting topics from across the real-time Web. You can explore Primal’s interest network simply by clicking on a topic that interests you. From there, you’ll find dozens of connected topics of interest and content items to explore, such as news, videos, social media, and images.

Read more …

How Primal’s artificial intelligence creates meaningful interests data


The most frequently asked question about Primal is, Where do you get the interests data? It’s a fair question. If Primal is the most comprehensive source of open interests data in the world, it begs the question of where we get this valuable data. (1)

Unlike our competitors, we don’t ingest and analyze vast amounts of historical consumer data to derive interests data. Instead, Primal’s computational engine creates this data on a just-in-time basis, with each and every request.

The reason Primal seems to have data about every conceivable topic of interest is that Primal is literally creating the data on-the-fly. Read more …

Why a small Waterloo company needs a world-class Board of Directors


You can’t do it alone! Starting and growing a company requires dedicated founders, strong internal leadership, and exceptional employees. But it doesn’t stop there. Having outside advisors and external board members brings vital experience, fresh perspectives, and guidance that’s critical to success.

At our Annual General Meeting in June, our shareholders re-elected our lead investor and external board member, Jim Estill, and welcomed three new external board members to our team: Dr. Savvas Chamberlain, Dr. Larry Cornett, and Dr. Paul Hofmann. They join our founder, Peter Sweeney, and myself on our Board of Directors. Read more …

Primal-Powered Learning Sherpa Voted Education App with Most Potential


Learning Sherpa, a Primal-powered application that tailors educational content based on the intersection of interests between educators and students, was awarded The Learners’ Choice Prize in the Desire2Learn Edge Challenge. Learning Sherpa was selected as the submission with the most potential to have a lasting impact on teaching and learning.

Read more …

Five Surprising Ways to Use Interest Graphs


We’re less than 2-months into alpha testing with developers, but already we’re discovering some surprising ways to use Primal:

Interest networks simulating human activity

Interest graphs simulating human activity

Imagine filling out your social network with digital companions or forming focus groups of imaginary people for your market research.

Interest graphs are supposed to represent the interests of real people, right? But what if real people aren’t available? Primal can create interest graphs using any set of interests for each persona. Let these digital personas loose on the Web to explore content and even interact with real people!

Read more …

A Reality Check on Big Data


The fervor around big data continues to grow. The World Economic Forum and The New York Times are jumping on the bandwagon. While we share their enthusiasm for the potential, big data needs a reality check.

Here are just a few of the how-do-you-get-there-from-here questions for anyone considering big data projects. Read more …

What is Interest Networking?


A growing list of companies are making “interests” the focus of their value proposition: Twitter allows you to “follow your interests”; Gravity “unlocks the interest graph”; Pinterest “organize(s) and share(s) the things you love”; Quora “connects you to everything you want to know about”; “connect(s) around your interests” — just to name a few. Read more …

How Primal is building the Research Assistant


At Primal, we believe software agents have a big role to play in the Web’s evolution. More like virtual assistants than applications, software agents work continuously on your behalf, delivering value even while you’re away from your computer or smartphone.

But a virtual assistant is only as smart as its data. Imagine you commissioned an assignment like, “keep an eye on the latest news, and email me when you find a story I will like.” How could you communicate your specific interests to your virtual assistant? Read more …

A Movember to Remember


Primal's Movember team

Primal’s Mo Bros for 2011.

During November each year, Movember is responsible for the sprouting of moustaches on thousands of men’s faces around the world. With their “Mo’s”, these men raise vital funds and awareness for men’s health, specifically prostate cancer.

If you’d like to help out, please donate.

Innovation turns brain drain into brain gain


Excerpt from The Waterloo Region Record, Technology Spotlight 2011

By Chuck Howitt, The Record
Tony Sarris and Nikhil Sriraman

Two years ago Tony Sarris was living the American dream. He was an engineering director for Unisys, a large U.S. information technology company with 37,000 employees worldwide. He lived in the west coast paradise of Laguna Beach, California. He made a comfortable salary.

Today, he works for a small Waterloo internet search company with 35 employees that few people have heard of. Goodbye surf, sand and sun. Hello grey skies, snow and cold winters. Has he lost his mind?

Read more …

Mobile Expert Podcast Series: Primal’s Peter Sweeney


Have you ever pondered how semantic engines, vertical search, and interest networking relate to enterprise mobility? In this podcast, Kevin Benedict interviews Primal’s founder and co-president Peter Sweeney on these subjects.

Where Big Data Fails…and Why



Big data technologies are plagued with small data problems. Their performance suffers in markets that aggregate a large number of unique interests. Some of the largest markets share these small data characteristics, including local ecommerce, personalized media, and interest networking. New approaches are needed that are far less sensitive to the cost and complexity of the data.

There’s a frothy enthusiasm for technologies that analyze big data for knowledge and insight. As search, social, and content networks are mined,  a global Web of knowledge will emerge. Read more …

How to simplify content curation


In the early days of the Web, librarians would often compile directories of “trusted sites” on a range of important topics. In fact, Yahoo! has its roots in what was essentially a human-edited directory of online content — then called David and Jerry’s Guide to the World Wide Web. These are early examples of online content curation.

A content curator is someone who finds, groups, organizes and shares the best and most relevant content on a specific issue. In the past, content curation was largely the domain of small groups of professionals.

Today, services like Tumblr have begun to attract part-time, amateur content curators by making it easier than ever to “publish” the interesting things you find online. While these services have undoubtedly brought content curation to new audiences, the time and effort involved remain significant barriers.

Further technological innovation is needed to lighten the burden of the entire process of finding, organizing, and grouping, and sharing content.

Taking the work out of content curation
One problem with existing tools is that they force people to work at the level of individual pieces of content. Given the flood of content on the Web, this approach requires a lot of manual labor on the part of a content curator. If the manual approach is the only one available, content curation is doomed to be a niche activity.

A new system is needed — one that puts raw computing horsepower in the hands of content curators to help them get the job done orders of magnitude faster than they can today.

Content curators want to spend their time focusing on their editorial vision, pulling together the ideas that matter most to them and their audience. They likely don’t want to wade through hundreds of pages of search results and feeds, painstakingly organizing what they find.

The key, then, is to enable content curators to quickly express their ideas, indicate a few sources to get content for those ideas, and let computers do the hard work of finding and organizing content around those ideas. The final step is for the content curator to vet the work of the computer, modifying the results as they see fit to give the results that “human” touch.

With a product like this, content curation could become easy enough — and fast enough — that anyone could do it.

Using Primal to do content curation
Primal’s technology for understanding individual interests and Web scale content filtering takes much of the grunt work out of content curation.

To learn more, check out our Developer section or contact us to learn how our team of solution specialists can help automate your content curation systems.

Happy curating.

Larry Cornett Joins Primal as Advisor


Larry CornettPrimal, a pioneer of Internet automation technology, today announced that Larry Cornett has joined the company’s board of advisors.  Cornett is the founder and CEO of Brilliant FORGE, a product and design strategy and management consulting firm focused on Fortune 500 companies and startups. Recently, Larry was the Vice President of Consumer Products for Yahoo! Search. For the past 16 years, Cornett’s career has focused on designing, defining, and building consumer products at several of the biggest and best technology companies, including Apple, eBay, and IBM. Read more …