Archive for April, 2012

Russell Manley takes the reins at Fluidinfo

Monday, April 30th, 2012

Russell Manley became Fluidinfo CEO last November. Although many people are aware of the change, we’ve not announced it until now as we’ve been busy working on the new UI, have been settling in with how Russell is running the company, and he’s been getting to know our investors better.

Russell pointed me to Delicious back in late 2005, after he’d read the early work I did on Fluidinfo in the late 90s. That led directly to the founding of Fluidinfo in London. The corporate address was Russell’s home, and the two of us formed the board. Because we only needed programmers early on, we planned for Russell to join full time once the Fluidinfo architecture was developed and deployed and we had significant external interest. Last November Russell took the plunge, resigned from his London job, and took over from me as CEO.

Russell is extraordinarily competent. He spent 10 years as a “company doctor” in London. He went into a dozen companies as CFO, COO, or CEO, charged with turning them around. Walk around central London with him and it seems that almost everything you see he’s had a hand in running. The diversity of his operations and management experience is extraordinary. In 2005 he joined SMIF, a Secondary Market Infrastructure Fund, where he helped acquire, manage, and eventually sell hundreds of assets: long-term management contracts and debt on UK schools, motorways, hospitals, prisons etc. Russell was frequently in the middle of deals worth tens or hundreds of millions of dollars. SMIF sold themselves to Land Securities Group for $1.4B, where Russell became an Investment Director. Soon afterwards he and a few others spun themselves out of Land Securities to form Semperian. Russell became Group Communications Director and also CIO. He directed the set-up of their entire IT infrastructure in the clouds, a daring and difficult move to pull off in 2007, especially with the stakes so high (Semperian supports about $3B of public sector infrastructure). Russell devised and ran Semperian’s company systems and processes and sat on the board of over 30 companies. Just before joining Fluidinfo he spent 9 months restructuring one of their companies and then negotiating its very complex sale. In the final act he spent two full days signing the 600+ documents he’d coordinated among 28 parties involved in the sale. He knows how to close a deal.

That’s just a sample of Russell’s background and skills—there’s a lot more where that came from. As you can probably guess, we’re extremely happy to now have him running Fluidinfo :-)

See O’Reilly book, author & Radar content in context as you browse

Monday, April 30th, 2012

This video shows how the Fluidinfo Chrome extension displays relevant content, in context, while you browse:

We’ve added information to Fluidinfo for all the tags O’Reilly Radar have used on their articles since 2005. For example, nine articles were tagged with “patent reform”. Select those words anywhere you run into them on the web and a pop-up will show you links to the Radar posts. Content on almost 4000 topics that have been discussed on Radar is now just a click away. Because pop-ups are triggered when you select text, they are only displayed when and where relevant.

As you’ll see in the video, we’ve also added information about all O’Reilly books and authors.

To make things easier for first-timers, if you simply install the extension you’ll see all the O’Reilly content with no need to configure anything. You can log in and adjust things later if you like it and want to customize what you see. Give it a whirl—it’s fun and interesting.

Interview with Robert Scoble

Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

Fluidinfo CEO Russell Manley and I were interviewed by Robert Scoble at his home in Half Moon Bay a couple of weeks ago. I really enjoy talking to Robert. He’s unique in his ability to do both breadth and depth. He covers a wide array of the very latest internet technology at blistering speed, and yet he really digs in to the stuff that he finds fascinating. Robert interviewed me in Barcelona over three years ago – we spent about six hours together talking about Fluidinfo and technology in general. He was sitting in the front row during our TechCrunch disrupt presentation in 2010 (see the fun coincidence between Robert and John Borthwick at the 4 minute mark), and he was one of the judges when we won the Top Technology prize in 2011 at the LAUNCH conference. It’s great to be on Robert’s radar and to have his support.

The video is below. You’ll find some comments on it in Robert’s Google+ posting.

Neil Levine joins Fluidinfo as VP Product

Monday, April 23rd, 2012

We’re delighted to announce that Neil Levine (LinkedIn, Twitter) has today joined Fluidinfo as VP Product. Neil has been working in the industry for over 17 years and has a great track record of taking both consumer and enterprise products to market, most notably at Canonical, where he was VP of Corporate Services and also Director of Information Infrastructure. He’s based in the Bay Area.

I met Neil a year ago via an introduction from Jamu Kakar (also of Fluidinfo). Neil had been Jamu’s boss at Canonical, and had a stellar reputation. We got on really well immediately, and stayed in contact. I often wondered if one day we’d be lucky enough to find someone like Neil to join us on the product side. We’ve always been careful and patient in hiring, looking for people we think are brilliant and who really “get” Fluidinfo at a fundamental level. People who can’t stop thinking about what a Fluidinfo-enabled future could offer. Neil certainly fits that category, and we’re thrilled to have him on board. So, please join us in welcoming him to the team!