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Friday, March 9, 2007

I think, therefore I blog

I first became aware of blogs in 2003, when they were explained to me by a venture capitalist who now works at Six Apart. Since then, I have become addicted to over two dozen blogs, which give me news and insight into several topics of interest such as technology trends, web applications, search, and venture capital. But it was not until now, 2007, that I have been tempted to put pen to paper (or keyboard to web page) and write a blog myself.

Why now? Not so much because, as one of my colleagues mischievously suggested, blogging would be a cathartic exercise that keeps me out of trouble (i.e., whatever he is up to). My desire to write a blog stems from having something to say – about technology and how it impacts everyday life for so many of the people I meet.

As a starting point, I look at email and how it has changed the workplace. In the mid-‘90s, when working at BCG, voicemail was my primary messaging platform, I regularly got memos in my (physical) mailbox, and many evenings were spent standing over the fax machine; today, I rarely leave voicemails, never send faxes, and have forgotten what a memo looks like – everything runs through email. Thanks to EMC, HP, Microsoft, Symantec and others, there are lots of ways to store those email messages and attachments. The result is a rich, treasure-trove of information in which every scrap of data is time-stamped and attached to a person’s name.

How interesting it would be to unlock the value of this information. How fascinating to glean lessons from watching how information flows between people. This was the genesis of Clearwell, and email intelligence – essentially, business intelligence for email.

This growth in email and document stores has also complicated life for enterprises. Just ask Morgan Stanley, who was fined over $1B for failing to produce emails relevant to a court case, or Intel, which recently got in trouble for the same thing. Ask Apple who spent 26,500 hours sifting through over 1 million emails and documents in response to a stock option investigation, or Mercury Interactive which had to analyze 2 million emails and documents.

As the CEO of Clearwell, I sit at the intersection of all these trends: the growth of email, which has changed how we communicate; the pain companies feel in analyzing their growing stores of email and documents for legal discovery; and, the fascination that we all have for what can be learned from analyzing the hundreds of messages we send and receive every day. In this blog, I will share my thoughts on these topics – and related subjects that catch my eye.

Since I am just starting out, I should also warn readers about what this blog will NOT be. There will be:

  • No mindless re-posting of PR propaganda or blind recitation of news stories.

For models of what I have in mind, I look to Dave Kellogg’s excellent blog on topics relating to Marklogic (thank you, Dave, for your encouragement) and John Battelle’s blog on search, perhaps the first blog that I read on a daily basis. I hope I can interest my readers as they have interested me.

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