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How To Build a $30M Startup Without Spending Any of Your Money

Soulskill posted about a year ago | from the take-two-they're-small dept.

Yahoo! 120

SpicyBrownMustard writes "Forbes has an article that follows up on the news/hype/buzz/hysteria surrounding the acquisitions of Summly and Wavii by Yahoo and Google, respectively. It's a rather comical write up with a rather sad ring of truth to it, especially that we now know that Summly was little more than a collection of existing technologies built by others. The article says, 'Stress that you have celebrity relationships, and that your app was built by a team that has several hundred successful apps in Google Play and IOS App Store. It doesn’t matter that those aren’t your team members, it is still true.' Summarization technologies are the 'big new thing' apparently. Don't miss out — make your summarization app today and hop onboard that gravy train!"

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120 comments

A Black Eye for Female CEOs (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43535243)

So far, the hype around Yahoo's new CEO has been just that. So far, she's made a teenager a millionaire, turned the website and mail monochrome, and now this.

Re:A Black Eye for Female CEOs (3, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year ago | (#43535329)

So far, the hype around Yahoo's new CEO has been just that. So far, she's made a teenager a millionaire, turned the website and mail monochrome, and now this.

As much as I'm unimpressed by her tenure so far is "CEO brought in by floundering corporation with dysfunctional management manages dysfunctionally, flounders, N=1" really useful data on "Female CEOs"?

Re:A Black Eye for Female CEOs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43535543)

N=3

Carly Fiorina
Meg Whitman

Re:A Black Eye for Female CEOs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43536733)

When you market yourself as "Awesome Female CEO!!!" mediocrity can only be 3 steps away.

plenty of decent CEOs that just happen to be women, but don't proclaim to heavens that they are anything special.

Re:A Black Eye for Female CEOs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43537043)

...but Meg Whitman isn't failing [google.co.uk] . She has a long way to go, but given where she had to start from things have improved,

Re:A Black Eye for Female CEOs (2, Insightful)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about a year ago | (#43537113)

N=3

Carly Fiorina
Meg Whitman

When Carly Fiorina left HP, it was worth half of what it was worth with she arrived.

While Meg Whitman was CEO of eBay, revenues went up by 200000%.

There is good reason to consider Carly as incompetent. I see no reason to see Meg as incompetent. They are not interchangeable just because they are both women.

Re:A Black Eye for Female CEOs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43537377)

They're interchangeable because both are Republican women.

Re:A Black Eye for Female CEOs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43537611)

Yes, perhaps their gender has nothing to do with their performance.

Re:A Black Eye for Female CEOs (2)

tyrione (134248) | about a year ago | (#43538709)

N=3

Carly Fiorina Meg Whitman

When Carly Fiorina left HP, it was worth half of what it was worth with she arrived.

While Meg Whitman was CEO of eBay, revenues went up by 200000%.

There is good reason to consider Carly as incompetent. I see no reason to see Meg as incompetent. They are not interchangeable just because they are both women.

Since joining HP, Meg Whitman has seen intricately been involved in every major transaction for HP. Meanwhile, the stock has halved its valuation and the blame game on purchasing has been rampant. She has no credibility in actual technology corporations any more than Fiorino. EBay is a glorified Flea Market.

Re:A Black Eye for Female CEOs (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43538867)

'EBay is a glorified Flea Market'

Seriously what the fuck? A flea market is a physical location with tables and people handing over solid cash. eBay is a massively scaled, hugely busy, purely online auction and trading platform.

It may not be a good website, it may be an aggravating platform, but your criticism should be at least realistic. eBay is of course an 'actual technology corporation' and she ran it better than the average CEO.

HP is now a fuckup, and no mistake, but it was a slow-burning fuckup, and you can't possibly extrapolate back to the beginnings of eBay without seeing the massive success of that company in defining an entire way of doing business online.

Re:A Black Eye for Female CEOs (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | about a year ago | (#43536675)

Uhhh...didn't we have an article the other day talking about Yahoo's numbers are up? Considering how long the numbers have been nosediving it sounds like she is doing SOMETHING right, although one could argue whether it was Yahoo doing something right or MSFT running off all their older customers by fucking Messenger and Hotmail, but for whatever the reason numbers are up so props to her for that.

Re:A Black Eye for Female CEOs (2)

phantomfive (622387) | about a year ago | (#43537145)

Profit is up, revenue is down. It's too early to say anything for sure, but you can't keep improving profit by cutting costs forever.

Re:A Black Eye for Female CEOs (1)

superdave80 (1226592) | about a year ago | (#43538797)

...but revenue could be down because she had cut unprofitable areas of the company. Not all revenue is good.

Re:A Black Eye for Female CEOs (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43535331)

Yahoo seems to have done something with this purchase that they haven't been able to do in a long time: get some positive press. They couldn't have bought this kind of press coverage for the millions they've spent on this kid.

Gender has nothing to do with it. In this case it was age.

Re:A Black Eye for Female CEOs (2, Insightful)

hjf (703092) | about a year ago | (#43535939)

the woman decided that ALL of her teleworkers should come in and work in the office EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY, after she had to work from home after pregnancy. what a crazy bitch!

Re:A Black Eye for Female CEOs (3, Informative)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about a year ago | (#43537155)

the woman decided that ALL of her teleworkers should come in and work in the office EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY,

No she didn't. The telecommuting is being phased out slowly, and employees have until June to transition to full time office work.

after she had to work from home after pregnancy.

Telecommuting and maternity leave are two different issues.

Re:A Black Eye for Female CEOs (3, Informative)

Cigarra (652458) | about a year ago | (#43536241)

Yahoo seems to have done something with this purchase that they haven't been able to do in a long time: get some positive press. They couldn't have bought this kind of press coverage for the millions they've spent on this kid.

Gender has nothing to do with it. In this case it was age.

Exactly. And that's the whole point so many people seem to be missing here: we nerds KNOW this "acquihire" was bogus and stupid, but the mainstream media and the 99% of non-geek population saw all the headlines about Yahoo! buying some hip startup (from a 17 year old genius no less!), said to themselves "that's cool" and MOVED ON to other issues.

IOW, Yahoo! bought "coolness" for 30 millions. I say it was a good deal.

Re:A Black Eye for Female CEOs (5, Interesting)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about a year ago | (#43536463)

Exactly. And that's the whole point so many people seem to be missing here: we nerds KNOW this "acquihire" was bogus and stupid, but the mainstream media and the 99% of non-geek population saw all the headlines about Yahoo! buying some hip startup (from a 17 year old genius no less!), said to themselves "that's cool" and MOVED ON to other issues.

IOW, Yahoo! bought "coolness" for 30 millions. I say it was a good deal.

Yahoo rented mild "coolness" for all of 3days or so at most in the main demographics before they, as you put it, "MOVED ON to other issues". Anyone with half a brain realized it was a dumb move. I say it was a crappy deal; Bottomless coffers be damned. Even my non-tech savvy mom said, "They paid how many millions for live-bookmarks like in Firefox? It's making the news because it's stupid, right? If I had stock there I'd sell it before they mess up big." -- While she was somewhat wrong, it does some crappy summarizing thing too (but folks who publish RSS feeds do usually provide a quick headline / summary in the titles), she was mostly right, IMO. She said it reminded her of when she got rid of AOL and then they became AOL-Warner Cable (she meant time-warner), since she doesn't use yahoo mail anymore.

All the anecdotal evidence I've come by points to their "coolness" was equivalent to tripping over nothing like a klutz then saying, "I meant to do that", except it cost $30 million to do so.

Re:A Black Eye for Female CEOs (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43535407)

But, but... she's a hottie!

I mean, dayum, have you *ever* seen a CEO that cute?

Re:A Black Eye for Female CEOs (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43535465)

But, but... she's a hottie!

I mean, dayum, have you *ever* seen a CEO that cute?

Sure I have. I have an 8x10 glossy of Steve Balmer on my desk.

Re:A Black Eye for Female CEOs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43535977)

is that with or without the pitstains? developers!, developers!, developers!

*throws a chair across the stage"

man, that dude s sexay!

Re:A Black Eye for Female CEOs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43537617)

You should sell a dieting book; that's the most effective appetite suppressant I've ever encountered.

Re:A Black Eye for Female CEOs (4, Funny)

Frankie70 (803801) | about a year ago | (#43538511)

I have an 8x10 glossy of Steve Balmer on my desk.

Call me superficial, but lack of a matte option would be a deal breaker for me.

Re:A Black Eye for Female CEOs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43536099)

If you'd have linked to some recent pics to make your case, you'd have got a +1 informative from me.

Re:A Black Eye for Female CEOs (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43535423)

What do you expect when you put a woman in charge? Anyone remember what Carly Fiorina did to HP (and what Meg Whitman is doing to it now)?

Posting AC because you're all a bunch of PC pussies who won't dare acknowledge what a blind man could have foreseen.

Re:A Black Eye for Female CEOs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43535659)

Just to be clear, aren't you just posting AC because you're a misogynist coward?

Re:A Black Eye for Female CEOs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43535747)

No, I'm posting AC because I don't want my karma driven into the dirt by a bunch of politically-correct pussies like you.

Re:A Black Eye for Female CEOs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43536427)

That's not "a black eye for Female CEOs".

Much worse: This is equity to Male CEO's.

What Forbes didn't mention... (5, Interesting)

Fluffeh (1273756) | about a year ago | (#43535253)

For every summarisation site that is sold for even a relatively decent amount, there are probably thousands that never made it past the initial bandwidth hit that the server fell over with.

Also, the article itself is really full of things that aren't likely to happen. Read it for a giggle or a smirk, but beyond that, it's not a formally laid out plan to make buckets of cash - and forbes smashes loads of advertising on the site (once you even get to the article that is) that is annoying.

If you ask me, Forbes is the only real one making the real kerduckets here with a wishy-washy story that displays more ads than I have fingers and toes...

Re:What Forbes didn't mention... (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | about a year ago | (#43535275)

Forbes isn't REALLY handing out a plan for getting rich quick? I...am...shocked!

Re:What Forbes didn't mention... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43535557)

Forbes isn't REALLY handing out a plan for getting rich quick? I...am...shocked!

Years ago - back when Malcom was alive - Forbes Magazine (he inherited from his father) was actually an excellent business and investing magazine. It was on par with Fortune and even Wired Magazine.

Things changed when Malcolm died in '90.

Malcolm was a character. A business and government conservative that, as far as I know, never opened his mouth about social issues.

He had a fondness for riding motorcycles and I guess his attitude would a "Libertarian" one by today's standards.

He was an interesting guy and even though he inherited his success, I, anyway, couldn't help respect him because he used it responsibly and understood that his wealth was a responsibility and sometimes burden.

Yeah, I had kind of a man crush on him - or at least his public personae.

Re:What Forbes didn't mention... (2)

tehcyder (746570) | about a year ago | (#43536523)

I guess his attitude would a "Libertarian" one by today's standards.

Rich people are almost all fucking libertarians: they want absolute freedom to enjoy their money, and not pay taxes. Gosh.

Re:What Forbes didn't mention... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43536677)

Yes, this explains the numerous affluent donors to Democrat causes & candidates.

George Soros - Libertarian.
Michael Moore - Libertarian.
Bill Gates - Libertarian.
Warren Buffett - Libertarian.
Larry Ellison - Libertarian.
Pretty much all of the entertainment industry - Libertarian.

FUCK. No wonder the democrats can't get elected - all the rich people support the Republican candidates!

Oh wait, none of those are true, they're all Democrats. Fuck off, cuntrag.

Re:What Forbes didn't mention... (5, Interesting)

Xest (935314) | about a year ago | (#43535345)

Summly seems to have been the biggest "boy genius" swindle of the 21st century so far.

Basically, his Dad is a director at the investment arm of one of the biggest banks in the world. He got a number of well known names (Steven Fry, Ashton Kutcher, the Murdochs) to invest in the app and use their popularity (or in Murdoch's case, media wing) to publicise it.

The company itself wasn't run by the kid, it was run by a silicon valley veteran who again, his dad got on board. The complicated development (the article processing etc.) was done by a 3rd party, and the Android version was being developed by a 3rd party also. Internally, there was not much left to do apart from the iOS front end for the outsourced back end, and given that he had another veteran silicon valley dev working as a developer there (and I believe more developers on top) I'm not entirely sure whether the kid himself actually even wrote a single line of code.

His mother is a lawyer, who I understand works for, or has done some work for Yahoo too prior to the acquisition. That probably helped things along too.

So you're right, I'd say these things aren't likely to happen for most people. Unless your dad just happens to be a director at a major investment bank and just happens to know some of the most wealthy people around who also just happen to have strong media platforms to hype your product from that is.

Re:What Forbes didn't mention... (5, Insightful)

tgd (2822) | about a year ago | (#43535435)

So you're right, I'd say these things aren't likely to happen for most people. Unless your dad just happens to be a director at a major investment bank and just happens to know some of the most wealthy people around who also just happen to have strong media platforms to hype your product from that is.

Business has always worked that way. Why do you think CEOs get paid so much? Connections, leverage, wealth, politics -- once you're bigger than a small local company, those are the real differentiators, and behind virtually every "successful" startup is a similar story. Names and details may change, but the plot is the same.

And that's not new -- it was just as true 50, 100, 200, and 2000 years ago. Wealthy Babylonian merchants got so for the same reasons, as did ancient Greek, Roman, Chinese, etc ... you name it, that's how it has always worked.

Re:What Forbes didn't mention... (4, Interesting)

Xest (935314) | about a year ago | (#43535535)

Sure, this is why ability to network is more important in succeeding in the business world than any ability to produce anything useful. But hopefully we can at least stop pretending the Summly story is something it wasn't and recognise it for what it was - a kid born with a silver spoon, and no particular stand out talent, having his career set up for him very publicly by his already wealthy father.

Re:What Forbes didn't mention... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43537311)

But hopefully we can at least stop pretending the Summly story is something it wasn't and recognise it for what it was - a kid born with a silver spoon, and no particular stand out talent, having his career set up for him very publicly by his already wealthy father.

To be fair, this says nothing about whether the kid has lots of talent. Put in a very young Stephen Hawking or Ben Kingsley or Mozart and the outcome would have been more or less the same.

Re:What Forbes didn't mention... (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year ago | (#43535471)

Your post sounds exactly like what some faceless prole to incompetent to even manage to be born correctly would write...

After all, totally scientific statistics, complete with numbers and intimidating diagrams, will easily demonstrate how rare and exceptional the talent for entering the world through the correct uterus is. Where most people are already making irresponsible choices even before they've grown a brain stem, this kid was already achieving at or above the 99th percentile as a blastocyst!

Re:What Forbes didn't mention... (2, Insightful)

FuzzNugget (2840687) | about a year ago | (#43535617)

So, as usual, your skills are worth precisely dick. It's about whoever's vagina you were lucky enough to pop out of.

Re:What Forbes didn't mention... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43536107)

Maybe that's why we spend so much time trying to get back in one.

Re:What Forbes didn't mention... (2)

tehcyder (746570) | about a year ago | (#43536721)

Maybe that's why we spend so much time trying to get back in one.

I think Sigmund Freud would like a word with you.

Re:What Forbes didn't mention... (2)

kye4u (2686257) | about a year ago | (#43536539)

So, as usual, your skills are worth precisely dick. It's about whoever's vagina you were lucky enough to pop out of.

Warren Buffet refers to it as the "Ovarian Lottery"

Re:What Forbes didn't mention... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43535687)

The quickest way to financial wealth - be born to rich parents

Re:What Forbes didn't mention... (1)

Rogerborg (306625) | about a year ago | (#43535787)

tl;dr version - money attracts money. Who knew?

Re:What Forbes didn't mention... (1)

asylumx (881307) | about a year ago | (#43535903)

That's what I was going to say. If you have money, it's really easy to make more money. You can invest and get your tax rates halved compared to normal income. You can afford accountants who can do fun things with your money to keep the gov't from getting their hands on it. You can take risks with your money since you don't risk your livelihood, just your money. Most people need their money in order to survive, but once you have that covered you can start doing all these different things to make your money grow like wildfire. The rich get richer, that's just how it is.

Re:What Forbes didn't mention... (1)

tehcyder (746570) | about a year ago | (#43536785)

The rich get richer, that's just how it is.

Only if you don't believe in the redistribution of wealth. Progressive taxes are there for a reason, and that reason is to force rich people to contribute back into the society that made them rich. Astonishingly, relying on their charity doesn't work, whatever libertarian cheerleaders like to think.

I know socialism's unfashionable, but it's not impossible to achieve. And no, it doesn't have to involve a violent revolution. After WW2, Britain became pretty socialist (for a while) because we wanted to make a land fit for heroes. Just as the country had united to defeat the Nazis, so it could unite to eradicate extreme poverty, malnutrition, illiteracy, preventable ill health and so on.

Re:What Forbes didn't mention... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43536611)

You should try to sell yourself for $30M, you're pretty good at summarizing.

glorified money laundering (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43536045)

nothing new actually.

Re:glorified money laundering (1, Insightful)

six025 (714064) | about a year ago | (#43536307)

Glorified money laundering is exactly what Yahoo's investment in this app amounts to. It's the tech world equivalent of investing millions of dollars in concept art for the purposes of avoiding tax. Like concept art (Damien Hirst et al), everyone knows it's a crock but the art world keeps the pretence up because the gravy train is too good.

Peace,
Andy.

Re:What Forbes didn't mention... (1)

rasmusbr (2186518) | about a year ago | (#43536235)

Well in any case it's too late to start building a solution now. Inventions (and I'm using that term in a very broad sense) tend to be invented by multiple people and companies within months of one another. If you start now and have something working six months from now it will be too late.

The same thing goes for other obvious ideas such as for example a Bitcoin market that actually performs well or an in-store e-payment system that works well. Some other startup is already 10+ months ahead of you on those.

You could try making a summarisation service or a Bitcoin market or an in-store payment service that's so awesome it'll take the market by storm even against large established competitors. But then it has to be super awesome and perfect.

d'uh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43535261)

There, I summarized the internet. Where's my 30 million?

They call it America (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43535269)

And our politicians are a lot better at it than the corporate offices are.

Summarization technology? (1)

MerceanCoconut (1145401) | about a year ago | (#43535299)

I read the article and all of the steps. I'm pretty sure I can make a go of it. I just have one question. What's summarization technology?

Re:Summarization technology? (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year ago | (#43535363)

I read the article and all of the steps. I'm pretty sure I can make a go of it. I just have one question. What's summarization technology?

It's an algorithm for taking a readable piece of text that challenges your attention span, excising chunks of it with the same care and attention to meaning that spambots bring to the task of composing text, and then spitting it onto your smartphone; because 'Mobile' is where the sweet, sweet, VC sugar is.

Not that I'm a skeptic of this fine and worthy invention or anything.

/. on mobile==Summarization technology? + MS also? (2)

girlinatrainingbra (2738457) | about a year ago | (#43535463)

So wait, from your description alone, it sounds like reading /. on mobile is the same as a summarization technology. The summarization is just done by "editors" (god I'm trying not to laugh) "editing" (must... keep... straight... face...) articles already submitted as summaries of pre-existing articles posted elsewhere on other sites. So if I repackaged an RSS feed of m.(/.).org and "mobilized" it so it works even "better" on twitter, I could be bought out for a gaba-za-billion dollahs? Must find fake software front now!
.
On the other hand, as for the need for connections, didn't someone named Bill do something like this?
-- Get a contact at IBM through his rich mother...
-- tell them he has the software which they'll need
-- go out and buy someone else's premade software that does what he claims he'd be able to do
-- make buckets of money
[refs, please see any history you care to find on ms and how they landed their bonanza contract for IBM]

Re:/. on mobile==Summarization technology? + MS al (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43535585)

IBM went with Microsoft for DOS because Microsoft hada a z80 CPM card for the Apple II. IBM thought the PC was a fad and didn't put any effort into it.

Re:/. on mobile==Summarization technology? + MS al (1)

tehcyder (746570) | about a year ago | (#43536921)

Bill Gates was the classic example of "right time, right place". IBM had absolutely no clue (along with everyone else) that there was going to be a vast market for PCs, or else they wouldn't have let some college drop-out get near their products, regardless of who his parents had dinner with.

Re: Summarization technology? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43536037)

I'm the kid who wrote Summly and what is this?

Re:Summarization technology? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43535501)

1) read a Forbes article
2) get inspired by the article (not the puke of ads)
3) ? summarization technology ?
4) profit!

Re: Summarization technology? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43536883)

Www.stremor.com

Fraud? (1)

Big Hairy Ian (1155547) | about a year ago | (#43535303)

It doesn’t matter that those aren’t your team members Yes it does misrepresentation is usually considered to be fraud!

Re:Fraud? (1)

Fluffeh (1273756) | about a year ago | (#43535417)

There are ways around it. Fire them an email once asking a really simple question that can be answered in three words. If you get the to reply, BAM they helped you with your app - even if you already had that bit done. There are many ways around such fraud mate - just be choosey with your words. "You collaborated with them..." for example, rather than "He wrote the entire app..." Court-case avoided - and the same outcome.

Re:Fraud? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43535503)

Ask them what is the best way to decline a request.

Re:Fraud? (1)

frank_adrian314159 (469671) | about a year ago | (#43537917)

If you say it in the right business-speak it isn't fraud... I.e., "Our organization leverages the talents of a world-wide network of contributors whose software is installed on millions of devices daily!" == "We use open source software." I'm sure you can come up with more.

step 1: (1)

nimbius (983462) | about a year ago | (#43535305)

convince slashdot that as a waning influence on technology and the internet thats rationed off its core competencies to other players like microsoft, you'll need your own slashdot icon for stories from now on.

Re:step 1: (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year ago | (#43535373)

convince slashdot that as a waning influence on technology and the internet thats rationed off its core competencies to other players like microsoft, you'll need your own slashdot icon for stories from now on.

Audiences love a good trainwreck, usually more than they love a well-maintained and tediously reliable train.

Get on the gravy boat (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43535353)

We're going deep.

It's true, but wasnt that the point of apps? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43535385)

All of the above is obviously true. But wasn't it supposed to be THE point in providing huge framework libraries?

I mean, Google, Apple and Micrsoft can make those apps for themselves easily. Hell they were the ones who wrote the actual framework... Right?

So, the only point of purchasing these companies is to purchase the idea and not the actual execution. It's the idea that you have to actually give a lot of thought to, not it's implementation.

Summarization apps are everything that apps have been existing for decades. Infact those are what the oopreatign system creates.
When you write an Application Software, most of what you are doing is using other people's technologies.

Misses the point (2)

hsmith (818216) | about a year ago | (#43535429)

Even if it is a hodgepodge of tech - the simple fact is Yahoo! Itself would have never been able to figure it out, how to build it. That's the problem, large companies can't innovate (let's just assume that Summry is an innovation to keep the discussion simple). So, even though we find it simple to build in theory, Yahoo couldn't pull it off internally. That, that is what to take from this.

Re:Misses the point (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year ago | (#43535529)

Arguably it misses the point in a slightly different way: it is alleged [businessinsider.com] that the 'summly' acquisition was more or less a sideshow to the purchase, from SRI International(who built the actual summarization technology, and also a little toy called 'Siri' among a variety of other projects, some quite interesting and high powered), of some of the related technology and patents.

Still not something that Yahoo could develop internally(hence the buying of it); but SRI isn't exactly a lean and hungry startup, just an organization with actual serious R&D focus.

Re:Misses the point (2)

owlnation (858981) | about a year ago | (#43536781)

That's the problem, large companies can't innovate

This is true. But there is a VERY simple solution to this problem: fire your HR staff. All of them.

Nobody in the 21st century needs HR staff. All of the "work" they do can be covered by managers actually doing their jobs, in the same way managers in small firms do, and by utilizing one of many tech solutions for any admin (or just scrap a lot of the admin, it's mostly work for work's sake. HR staff had to be appearing to do something, after all).

Within a year of doing this, your firm will begin to innovate again. Within 5 years, once you have weeded out the bad employees, the HR mistakes, and the weak managers, your corporation/large firm/government body will be an innovation powerhouse.

And by doing this you'll be saving money and increasing employee happiness and productivity too. There is NO downside to firing ALL of your HR staff. Remember, nobody on this planet, currently nor throughout our entire history, has ever dreamt of working in HR.

Everyone who does work in HR has failed. So, put them out of their -- and your -- misery. Reap the rewards.

sick and dying (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43535459)

Welfare fraud and abuse, Medicare fraud and abuse, Medicaid fraud and abuse, food stamp fraud and abuse, Social Security fraud and abuse, illegal immigaration fraud and abuse, myriad welfare programs fraud and abuse, rampant inner city crime, massive deficits and crushing debt, homosexual marriage, on demand infanticide, corrupt politicians----this Country is sick and dying.

Re:sick and dying (3, Insightful)

TWiTfan (2887093) | about a year ago | (#43535781)

But corporations are wonderful and Jesus will use capitalism and tax cuts to save us, right?

Re:sick and dying (1)

Sentrion (964745) | about a year ago | (#43536719)

Don't forget out of control military spending, creating more enemy terrorists every time we take out innocent bystanders with drone strikes around the globe, propping up dictators with our financial support and military protection, corporate bail-out fraud and abuse, offshore tax haven fraud and abuse, physicians and hospitals that bill patients into bankruptcy - regardless of insurance renumeration - but refuse to continue treatment and let patients die after the money is gone, government meddling in the relationships between private citizens, unbalanced influence of wealthy lobbying groups - yes, this country is sick and dying.

Re:sick and dying (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43536877)

creating more enemy terrorists every time we take out innocent bystanders

That's okay, it all balances out: We create more of them with drone strikes, they create more of us with bombs set off in civilian population centers.

Pro tip: When two people, or groups of people, are locked in a decades long deathmatch, beating the hell out of each other, it's generally retarded to attribute all responsibility for the continued violence on only one side. In your view, Western governments have some sort of moral obligation to embrace peaceful dialogue with terrorist groups, yet we never hear much about Al Qaeda's moral obligation to embrace peaceful dialogue with the people they've declared jihad against. Why is that, do you think?

I'm perfectly happy to agree that Western governments take many "anti-terrorist" steps that are counterproductive to the aim of "ending terrorism." It just seems curious to me that all the blame seems one sided in this equation. I wonder at what point terrorist groups earn proportional blame for their role in continuing to attack civilian targets for political reasons?

Re:sick and dying (1)

tehcyder (746570) | about a year ago | (#43536957)

Welfare fraud and abuse, Medicare fraud and abuse, Medicaid fraud and abuse, food stamp fraud and abuse, Social Security fraud and abuse, illegal immigaration fraud and abuse, myriad welfare programs fraud and abuse, rampant inner city crime, massive deficits and crushing debt, homosexual marriage, on demand infanticide, corrupt politicians----this Country is sick and dying.

Dear Baby Jesus, please let the free market come and save us.

PS can you smite Iran and the Czech Republic too.

Re:sick and dying (1)

frank_adrian314159 (469671) | about a year ago | (#43538045)

PS can you smite Iran and the Czech Republic too.

I think you mean Chechnya rather than the Czech Republic, but I figure that we can take 'em both out without much trouble.

Love,
Your military

Repeat after me: (1)

FuzzNugget (2840687) | about a year ago | (#43535505)

"My skills are worthless. I will be much more financially successful by abandoning my ethics, falsifying relationships for the purposes of shmoozing, siphoning the hard work of others and deceptively whoring my ill-gotten 'products' for the ultimate payout to live in luxury for the rest of my life without having to lift a finger. I got mine, fuck the rest of you suckers!"

Oh, and it *way* helps if you've won the genetic lottery and are born into connections as well.

Re:Repeat after me: (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#43535791)

That is exactly how it has always been.
Why does that surprise you?
This is why some people don't believe the hard work will make you wealthy lie.

Re:Repeat after me: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43536243)

Because hard work doesn't make you wealthy. Working hard and earning money allows you to continue to function as a member of society. The more you make the more they take. Until you can afford to offshore your money. But even now those loopholes are closing (to be sure they are opening new ones.) Some of the hardest work I ever did was as a lather ( http://careers.stateuniversity.com/pages/255/Lather.html [stateuniversity.com] ) and i'll be damned if I made a lot of money... I make more in IT and still, have less because they take more.

I should go on welfare and flip everyone the bird...

Re:Repeat after me: (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#43536471)

On welfare you would have a lot less.

I don't work that hard, I worked harder in lower paying jobs. I am happy with what I make, I don't mind paying taxes for society, I do mind the implication that I am not rich just because I am lazy.

If they took more as you made more that would be fine, but it appears that once you make enough they take less. Look at capital gains vs income rates for the clearest evidence of that.

Re:Repeat after me: (1)

tehcyder (746570) | about a year ago | (#43536993)

I make more in IT and still, have less because they take more.

Look, I'm a socialist, but even I don't suggest we have tax rates of more than 100%.

Re:Repeat after me: (1)

JMandingo (325160) | about a year ago | (#43538557)

Hard work can still make you "wealthy", depending upon how you personally define the term. I am living proof, and so are several of my friends, all of us in our 30s and 40s. Use your evenings and weekends wisely, take your network and your work skills (and/or you favorite hobby) and turn them into a small side business. Continue to grow that, or build additional business as bandwidth permits. If you are lucky you will flip one (I never did), but eventually the long tails of income will add up to the point where you can quit your day job (as it did for all of us). The only thing I sacrificed along the way was all the sports and sci-fi I used to watch on the tube when I was in my 20s. Good riddance to the media consumption, even if everything I did had crashed and burned I would still be glad I made the effort.

em dashes (-1, Offtopic)

Sir Holo (531007) | about a year ago | (#43535933)

Subby: ...Don't miss out — make your summarization...

Not to be a pedant, but em-dashes are not offset from the clauses that they connect with spaces––there is no need. See Strunk & White, Chicago Manual of Style, or even just your handy dictionary.

An em-dash (––) is made up of two conjoined en-dashes (–).

Money goes where money wants to go (1)

lucmove (757341) | about a year ago | (#43536119)

Wow, 20 million. And I can't raise even 0.18% of that for my project. :-(

http://slashdot.org/journal/373333 [slashdot.org]

Mod me down, I deserve it.

Money does not want to go anywhere (1)

Errol backfiring (1280012) | about a year ago | (#43536777)

In fact, a lot of money is simply dreamt into existence nowadays. This is how it works:

  • Be a bank or collaborate with one
  • Loan an astronomical sum. The bank will just type the astronomical number into their computer and *POOF*, the money exists.
  • It is really so simple? Yes, but a central bank has to do the same, 'cause they have the right to do so. So the bank loans from the central bank, but that is just an annoying detail.
  • Use this made-up nothing to buy a company, or, preferably, an entire sector (like child care in the Netherlands)
  • It helps to pay the existing company leaders huge bonuses. Otherwise, they might not want to sell.
  • Put an enormous burden on those companies. They have to pay the "money" back!
  • [...] (optional dots. Seem to go with these kind of lists)
  • "Profit!" Or should I say: "Fraud!" ?

And nothing of value was gained. Only lost. For society, that is.

Re:Money goes where money wants to go (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43538657)

I just took a look at your idea. On the whole - it's good! I'll try to be quick but the problem is outside the idea. It's execution.

1) As a senior dev with some 20 years of experience, I can say for certain that if you intend to complete this after only 1 year, then some of the key requirements are out of reach. Period. The discussion of which and why is a long conversation, but let's just say you're not yet aware of certain stumbling blocks for this type of project. Regardless of how motivated and smart you are, it's going to take longer than what you are proposing.

2) This means that some of what you're doing will have to be cut. It's going to take for you time to discover what those parts are. You may abandon the project because of these set backs.

3) A picture is worth a thousand words. If you only do a mock-up, it will still show that you actually do something. A prototype would be better. Regardless, without it, you're just talking and there is no indication you have what it takes to do even the parts which will be relatively easy.

You are in good company, however. I taught a university course in software design a few years ago. The final project for the course was to put all the principles taught in class into action. So, they had to come up with an idea and produce prototypes that could be iteratively improved on. Sadly, most projects contained plans for impossible leaps in development, and the students had no idea the leaps were there. Chalk it up to a completely reasonable lack of experience and a lack of time.

Back to you. Obviously you can't know what you don't know. But this isn't a class project, this is life. In proposing a project, if you want it to fly then you have to manage the unknown leaps. They don't have to be worked out right away, but they have to be realistically charted so they won't block you, kill your project, and make a mess of *everything*.

Word to the wise. As it stands, your project won't fly and you're better off not trying to make it work. Don't give up. Build prototypes - mockups - whatever. You will discover the unknowns. You will change the project. Build something, show it, and if it's good, sure, I'll drop kickstarter type money for you to go after those unknowns, because at that point there's something I already like and there's an assurance that you can deliver.

Like I said at the top, you have a good idea. Go for it.

Don't we all build off of others. (1)

BetaDays (2355424) | about a year ago | (#43536179)

It really takes the cake when I see things like this. "was little more than a collection of existing technologies built by others." don't we all build off of others?

Article is a bit unfair on Wavii (1)

afgam28 (48611) | about a year ago | (#43536429)

Say what you will about Summly, but Wavii is not just a hodgepodge of existing tech. They spent three years building their own natural language processing technology, and their team probably has a better understanding of machine learning than most of Google's engineers. It's not hard to see why Google would be interested.

Standard operating procedure for both companies (1)

Gavagai80 (1275204) | about a year ago | (#43537337)

Google buys something innovative. Yahoo buys something that superficially resembles what google bought, with the innovation removed.

summly, help me! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43536435)

TLDR

Re:summly, help me! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43536727)

TLDR

1. Licence some stuff
2. Make it pretty
3. Get a little VC help and celebrity glitter.
3. ????
4. Profit

it's about business value, not tech innovation (1)

schlachter (862210) | about a year ago | (#43536753)

in the business world, there is value in pulling together existing technologies and providing a useful service. no one is claiming the kid is an Einstein. just that he created something useful. something that yahoo may have been trying to do themselves for awhile.

anyways, even if you just chalk the sale up to $30M of advertising/branding publicity, there's value in that too. Message: "we are expanding, adding new tech, getting cutting edge, we are a hip cool place to work or to pitch your start up tech"

Pet supplies from the cloud! Synergy! (1)

lasermike026 (528051) | about a year ago | (#43537267)

Hey, I have an idea! Let sell pet supplies online via the cloud! Big Data! Analytics! Profit!

Anyone have a sock puppet?

See Isaac Newton for your answer here (1)

Pop69 (700500) | about a year ago | (#43538063)

"If I have seen further it is by standing on ye sholders of Giants."
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