LeWeb London: Nick’D’Aloisio and Summly

Nick D’Aloisio, Founder, Summly & Bobbie Johnson, European Correspondent, GigaOm UK


ND is pretty young, had no idea of the dotcom boom the first time round (he’s 16). Now he has a company that has attention. ND looks to customise content for the mobile screen, long form content has limitations, with data and screen. Adding a new summary of content layer, working with publishers to do this, to allow you to scan. They are trying to make discovery a lot easier. ND has been working on the product hard for last 6 months. The summaries are algorithmically driven. BJ asks about the hard tech that he has to deal with, eg NLP etc. ND says there are constraints, that meaning is hard to get to. The summary is preview layer, not a substitution. ND is working with a good team of people who have been working with this tech for years

ND received funding in Nov; got some good advisors, met some great people The team is meshing. They have been able to cheery pick, people need to think the same way to get what ND is talking about. They are trying to bring everything together (he’s trying to decide on school arrangements)

BJ asks what his day looks like. ND has an academic scholarship, had covered a lot already, got time off from school. Needs to decide what his lifestyle will be, now, how can he do school and work at the company. He wants to continue to learn…not just to go to university.

ND says they launched a demo in Dec, after the funding. Been getting feedback, building and working on it. Trying to get people to play with beta and then move forwards it. They are focusing on coherent summaries…they will only get the best summary etc

BJ asks about the relationship with publishers. ND thinks he offers another outlet, another way of discovering the content. This is about medium level of content. Publishers have been interested. Talking to a user, he finds engagement is higher if clicks through, summary has increased engagement. ND is not looking to offer a substitution, but a way of finding people.

ND has been overwhelmed by what was being offered, the opportunities and PR, but has move to focus more on the product, focusing on delivery, not publicity. He is focusing on building relationship…learn how to work with people, Build loyalty and trust. He’s been fortunate with a lot of great advice. THe weirdest moment has been meeting Yoko Ono, was very surreal.

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