Sunday, January 14, 2007

Findory rides into the sunset

Findory.com launched on January 2, 2004. The website just passed its three year anniversary and, including the early work on the ideas behind Findory, Findory has been in my life for nearly four years.

In the last few months, I have been evaluating new directions for Findory. I asked colleagues I trust for their thoughts and pulled in two senior advisors (thanks, Bill and Dan).

Some good options came out of these discussions, but none lead down a path I am passionate about. I built Findory to follow a passion.

I built Findory around the idea of applying Amazon.com-style personalization and recommendations to information. Search only helps if you can say what you want. Personalization helps you discover things that you could not have found on your own.

My passion is helping people discover information they would otherwise miss. My passion is working on ways to help people with the overwhelming flood of information in their daily lives.

Here, Findory has been successful. Findory has influenced work at Google, Microsoft, AOL, and elsewhere. I am pleased with what Findory has accomplished. At some point, I have to declare victory and move on. I am moving on now, not to a new venture, but to spend more time on health and with family.

Development on Findory now will slow to a crawl. There may be new features, but they will be rare. I no longer will spend time exploring funding, biz dev deals, or recruiting.

Findory appears to have sufficient resources to run on autopilot through most of 2007. Findory will eventually fade away, but I believe it has touched immortality through the impact it had.

It was exciting, challenging, and fun to try to build a startup. I consider myself very lucky to have had that opportunity.

Update: I am overcome by the outpouring of comments on this post. Thank you, everyone, for your kind words.

Update: Thanks also to those who posted about Findory's end, including Mike, John, Gary, Nathan, Don, Om, Brian, Danny, Richard, and many others. But, whatever you do, don't miss Valleywag's very funny post about all this. "The Gaia", I love it!

53 comments:

Charlie said...

Greg,

Congratulations on having the passion and wherewithal to purse your vision for Findory for the last four years. Few people can say they've done the same. Thanks also for sharing your experiences with an anonymous, largely silent audience. And finally, congratulations to your family on getting you back!

Regards,
Charlie

Nick Wilson said...

Good luck Greg. Sorry to see Findory head on out but when you gotta go, you gotta go..

JX said...

Greg, I'm sorry to read that you're abandoning Findory. I've been one of the people e-mailing you with ideas, and I think Findory could have had an even greater future.

What will you do next -- license out the technology or forget all about it?

Nathan Weinberg said...

Wow, I am so sorry to see Findory go. It has easily been one of my favorite online tools since the day I discovered it, and I have no idea how I am going to live without it.

Thank you so much, Greg, for all the hard work you have put into Findory. You may consider yourself lucky to have worked on Findory, but I consider myself lucky to have used it. Findoy has taught me what we need to demand of personalized systems, and any company that enters this space will have no choice but to follow the rules you established, or fail by not learning.

I hope you consider ways for Findory to live on, maybe by giving back part of the codebase to the community, or letting the users fund the website's basic upkeep. If you can't, let me be one of many to say that I consider it a priviledge to have gained from Findory in many ways.

Gabe said...

Good luck, and I hope your blogging doesn't slow down, Greg...

Chasing said...

Wish you well with your future and time with family. I do hope you keep weighing in on personalization and its ascendant future.

danny said...

Congratulations on completing an exciting chapter, and I hope the next one is as gratifying as the last...

ben compton said...

A decision to spend more time with your family can seem like nothing but an excellent decision to me. Good luck with it!

Paul said...

Sorry to see the Findory ride into the sunset. I hope your next endeavor is as interesting as the Findory is. An let me echo some of the others about finding some way to open up the code. Good luck!

Seth Finkelstein said...

Sorry to hear it - it was a good idea.

John Taylor said...

I am truly sorry to see Findory slide into the sunset. I have been using it for 18 months or more and find its technology news to be a very useful source. I will continue to use it as long as it continues to be functional for me. Then, sadly, I will move on to something else.

Thanks for the ride!

Anonymous said...

Greg-

You should have pushed harder in those meetings with Jim Bankoff, he was keen to buy you.

Michael Koziarski said...

Hey Greg,

Thanks so much for findory so far, congratulations on everything you've achieved. I'd love to see some write ups on the technology, or algorithms, or anything you care to write about.

All the best for the future.

Steve said...

Life without Findory is going to suck. I hope somebody takes it over. Findory has been my home page for years.

Murray said...

Greg,

I really like Findory. In fact I have read 2,565 articles through findory so far.

Although I must admit I wondered about your monetization strategy

thanks very much for the service

John Dowdell said...

Thanks for the work, Greg, and I look forward to what you create in the future.

Michael Wexler said...

While I am very sad that Findory will be sunsetted, I have no fear that the next thing Greg touches will make us look fondly upon Findory as "v1", the site that set us up for what comes next out of Greg's head. I very much look forward to seeing Greg's next big thing... Best, Michael

Don Dodge said...

Greg, Awesome job! Findory was a great invention, perhaps ahead of its time. I have been there several times myself. Better to be on the bleeding edge, making it happen, and having the time of your life.

You have a bright future ahead of you. Lots of doors will open for you.

I hope you keep blogging! I have always enjoyed your insights.

Don Dodge

Rich Skrenta said...

Greg you're a sharp researcher and obviously can build great, scalable code and ship solid product. I can't help thinking that if you were in the bay area the startup support network for Findory would have been a little deeper. I hope that after recharging your batteries with family we'll see you back doing another new & interesting project. I also hope that you'll continue to blog your thoughts about the evolving architecture space, your writing there has always been spot-on.

Paul Montgomery said...

Congrats on all the hard work you've done, Greg, and I hope that in your mind it has paid off in some way, even if you may not have had the exit that you wanted. It sounds like "health and family" are big issues for you at the moment so I trust your priorities are in order.

Who knows, put Findory up on eBay and you might get a decent price! :)

brady said...

hey greg,

I am sorry to hear it, but i know you'll fin somewhere else apply your talents quite easily.

brady

Ola said...

good luck as you recuperate and in your future endeavors.

DeWitt Clinton said...

Best of luck, Greg! I somehow doubt you'll stay on holiday long...

Dan said...

Thanks for building findory and good luck on whatever's next.

It would be great if you open sourced the Findory codebase so the rest of us could suggest improvements or at least learn from it. While there exist academic papers, there are almost no real world personalization examples for young computer scientists (like myself) to learn from.

Quick Online Tips said...

I am almost addicted to Findory. Its is a great service and I feel sad to see it fade way. Anyway, all the best Greg for your future and thanks for this great tool.

Amit Agarwal said...

Greg, sorry to see that go but you have seriouslydone a great job with Findory.

Looking forward to what you do next.

Good luck.

Eran Sandler said...

I know it would seem strange, but it would be nice if you'll consider open sourcing a part (or all) of Findory, thus allowing the community which you have built around it to continue.

I do hope you'll have additional passions you are going to pursue in the near future and am looking forward to see what are you up to :-)

Take care! It was a great ride.

dustin said...

Thanks for years of relevant stories!

Mark Fletcher said...

Greg, sorry to hear of your decision. I look forward to your next company.

Mark

Andrej Gregov said...

Who knows, stepping away from Findory may be the best thing you can do. Some distance could help you see future possibilities that may be clouded now because of the daily grind. The insights you've gained (and generously shared) over the past four years will be invaluable in your future endevors. While there's nothing wrong with returning to the mega corp world at some point, I hope this won't be the last Linden startup. AG

anand kishore said...

Awww! This can't be happening. Findory has been one of my favorite services and has been an inspiration for something I'm working on.

Greg, kindly try to keep findory going for as long as it can.

Otis Gospodnetic said...

Oh c'mon man, don't make me have to start reading blogs and news all on my own! ;)
Daily Findory email with personalized info has been working great for me, although it took me a few days to untrain Findory and explain it that I am not *really* interested in Britney Spears and friends.

I'm with Clinton DeWitt... is the phone ringing yet?

liam said...

Greg, sometimes the hardest decision is the one that you make to move on. I'm sure you're going to find lots of other opportunities opening up for you. Don't stop blogging.

srikanth thunga said...

Sad to see it fade away..

Are there any plans of writing a book on personalization in the near future?

Anonymous said...

Why only 2007? Why can't it last indefinitely? I don't know enough about how much it costs you to run... but if a scorpion can live by eating one fly every 18 months, surely a web site can live for ever on very little?

Matthew Weiss said...

Yes, you have been a major lamppost along the way of Personalization, and being one of the developers responsible for p13n at AOL, we will miss your comments and wisdom on the subject.
What we have found is that WE may be interested and facinated by the ability to give User's recomendations, but they are not so interested in the subject.

It will have its place in the future, but it will take more inventor, innovators like yourself to make it happen.

And as for priorities, you positively have made the right choice! Best of Luck

leafar said...

Thanks. Findory will stay in my mind while I'm still digging towards the fourth year ;-)
Tanks again, have a warm and restfull time with your familly.

Susan said...

Best of luck Greg..it was a visionary service. Come visit the Valley!

Vijay Challa said...

Good Luck Greg!

You surely set a direction with Findory. Your blog and findory are in my favorites list! Now that I am not going to see one of them, I really hope I would not lose the other. I love your Blog. Very analytical and logical.

Regards,
Vijay

Saravan said...

Greg,
Sorry to hear about your decision on Findory. Your ideas are ahead of the time. All the best in your future ventures.

Saravanan

Anonymous said...

I built something similar the last 2 years. Many people told me to monetise my software. But the software is currently only useable by me, so i recommended findory to a friend three hours ago. Only to find you are stopping development right now.

Sad, but i respect your decision.

codeninja.de

JN said...

I want to add my contribution to the chorus. I've used Findory almost from its beginning. I've found nothing like it for an intelligent and responsive news service - and I use some of the other services too.

Greg, I understand your need to stay with your passion but, with so much crap around, why does something this good have to go?

Bill said...

I'm sorry to see Findory being left behind, but applaud you for following your passions.

I hope that whatever path you decide to take next will be successful and satisfying.

Steve said...

I just don't get it. How can something so good and with so much potential as Findory not make it?

David said...

best of luck, Greg -- maybe we'll be able to cross paths at Fuel a little more often now... and, by the way, i have a few ideas :-)

- said...

Greg.. Findory was a great piece of work.
It has helped people to sift thru the enormous choices they hod on the internet. The Agent in the Principal-Agent problem.

Looking for another great idea from you.
Kudos

Brokerblogger said...

"Man's Search For Meaning" should be the top priority in everyone's life. Certainly, health and family are basics for "meaning". We all need (and are called) to come back to basics at different points in our lives.

We never met officially, but I saw you at SES once. My wife's successful battle with breast cancer these last 9 months have brought me back to basics. It is a good thing to have peace along with your passions. Peace be with you.

Anonymous said...

Greg,

I am sure it was a well thought out decision. Family and Health come first always.

And sincerely wishing Findory finds a new avatar - "open source it" like others suggested ?

I have always enjoyed your honest technical analysis in your blogs. And sharing your experiences has enriched my own understanding of some basic fundamentals.

And no...I am not yet ready to wake-up to that day when I cannot get my morning cuppa of findory reads and your geeky blog posts.

Regards,
Ex-Amazonian

Dare Obasanjo said...

Good luck on your future endeavors. I really liked the idea behind Findory.

Bob said...

Greg, I'll be sorry to see you folk go. You did good work.

bob wyman

Anonymous said...

Greg,

I'm a student at Stanford and heard your talk last quarter in our Data Mining class. You came across as really passionate about your work and I'm sure you'll carry that over to whatever your next venture might be.

In the mean while, enjoy time w/ your family.

Anonymous said...

How ironic Greg. So synonymus is recommendation with you/Findory that recently to do a college project I searched google with the following phrase:
recommendation site:glinden.blogspot.com

And now, we hear that Findory is closing? Duh!

Frankly I never did use Findory myself, because it wasn't too intutive and didn't have that "zing"; there was hardly that "useful" result to quantitatively see results on the very first visit. May be that is what user's wanted. See results on the very first visit - this I think is impossible with information/news results. Most users don't have the time/patience to wait for our recommendation algorithms to work in their background while they read/search for news/information.

Maybe just maybe if Findory was marketed as "Personal News" rather than a recommendation engine - which many people find awkward it would have clicked.

I sincerely wish you all the very best in whatever you do next. Have a nice time. You are such a nice soul and it comes across even in your blog.

Anonymous said...

findory was gr8
i had just recently found it & really liked it..
any way i wush u best of luck for ur future