For the first post, I wanted to talk a bit about how I was motivated to start Findory.
The fundamental idea behind Findory is to apply personalization to information. Help people deal with information overload. Help cut through the noise and filter up the good stuff. Help people find what they need.
Personalization can do this using implicit information about your wants and needs, learning from your behavior. Personalization complements search. Search requires people to explicitly provide a query. Personalization surfaces useful information without any explicit query.
Personalization can also be used as a way to improve search. For example, if people are repeatedly refining a query (e.g. [greg linden findory], then [greg linden amazon]), they are not finding what they need. Paying attention to what they have done, especially what they have done recently, and showing different search results to different people can help surface information that otherwise might be buried deep. That is also personalization.
In addition, personalization can be used to improve advertising. Almost all advertising is useless, and annoying. Advertising does not have to be that way. Advertising can be useful information about products and services you might actually want. By paying closer attention to your interests and needs, advertising can be targeted instead of sprayed. It can be relevant and helpful, not irrelevant and wasteful. That is also personalization.
Back when I became really interested in this and wanted to work on it, I was just getting out of Stanford in 2003. Creating a company was not my first plan. I talked to Google, Yahoo, MSN, and Amazon first. The people I talked to expressed interest, but not urgency, and did not want to move as aggressively on personalization as I did.
I believed in the value of applying personalization to information. I wanted to see it happen. While I thought it was inevitable that everyone will be doing personalization of information over the next 5-10 years, I wanted to see it sooner. I started Findory to make it happen.