I’m publishing this series on LinkedIn called Colors to explore a topic that I care deeply about: the Renaissance Mind. I am just as passionate about entrepreneurship, technology, and business, as I am about Art and Culture. In this series, I will typically publish a piece of Art – a painting, a poem, a piece of music, so forth – and I request you to spend a minute or two deeply meditating on it. I urge you to watch your feelings, thoughts, reactions to the piece, and write what comes to you, what thoughts it triggers, in the dialog area. Let us see what stimulation this interaction yields. For today – Le Village sur la Falaise
Le Village sur la Falaise | Sramana Mitra, 2017 | Water color, Brush Pen, Ink and Pastel | 9 x 12, On Paper
Cambridge, England is a great place for high-end technical talent. This story traces the journey of a group of such talented people with core expertise in Natural Language Processing, including Co-founder Roger Hale, and how they turned their expertise into a robust, profitable business.
Sramana Mitra: Let’s start at the very beginning of your personal journey. Where are you from? Where were you born, raised, and in what kind of background?
Roger Hale: I think I had quite a normal upbringing. I grew up in Yorkshire in the northeast of England. My mother came from a family with a local manufacturing business. She also ran a restaurant for a while. My father was an academic. He was a mathematician. He had actually been a code breaker and worked with some of the very first computers as part of that. I didn’t obviously know that until later.
Sramana Mitra: On the language learning front, I have been learning two languages in parallel. I did personal tutors. Then I did online learning. I’ve watched a ton of films. I’m learning French and Spanish. I’ve done apps.
I watch a tremendous number of French films. I’m married to a French-speaking man. It’s all very helpful. My housekeeper is Spanish-speaking, so I get to speak Spanish with her. All that is great.>>>
Sramana Mitra: You’re obviously list-building for email marketing on behalf of these aggressive marketeers. Does this mean that this list can also be used to market through MailChimp or Eloqua?
Adam Robinson: This is my vision right now. What we’re doing right now is, we’re updating all of our marketing pages to communicate this message that we’re a mid-market ESP. Our differentiator is this Robly ID technology.>>>
Niall McKinney: The higher level of that is, they get specific group assignments. In Google Squared Online, at the end of three of the modules, they will be assigned a group. We give them a group work.
For example, it might be a brand which is not very digital. They might have to come up with a new integrated marketing plan for that. The output is a white paper on how they would change that brand approach.>>>
Sramana Mitra: You got this $3 million cash cow. You had other people running it. You didn’t have to spend time on it and it gave you cash with which you could do other things.
Adam Robinson: Yes, that’s great to have but it’s not that exciting. I had been building this lead.com product. I went down to Argentina. Tate was the sole developer the entire time. We never had anybody else. We wanted to hire a team.>>>
Niall McKinney: If you think about how we learn at school or college, we don’t expect children to learn on their own at their own pace. We send them to school. We send people to college to learn with other people. There is a social normative effect that you want to keep up. You want to be able to participate in group discussions.
In most of our deployments, we create cohorts of people who go through the learning at the same time. When most online education companies are created, they saw the opportunity for scalable learning, but what they lost was that human motivation for learning together, to be able to share the insights you’re getting, and the motivation of keeping up.>>>
eBay (Nasdaq: EBAY) recently reported its second quarter results that surpassed market expectations. The company is now mulling over splitting up, yet again. A few years ago, eBay had spun off PayPal to a separate company, and now it is considering a similar fate for StubHub and its Classifieds business.>>>