The first session at TechCrunch50 today highlighted two companies applying AI-like technologies to collaboration.
Imindi is a -- wait for it -- "thought engine." It's supposed to collect thoughts from people around the Web. At its core it's a mind mapping tool. We've seen dozens of those. Imindi's trick is that its maps can be made public, and if you're working on a map of your own you can find maps related to the topics on yours, and blend the ideas together.
Imindi has conceptual similarities to a wiki, and has a wiki's strengths and its serious problems: There can be a lot of great content from a ton people; but navigating the corpus of knowledge in a dataset where different people categorize subjects differently can be extremely hard to navigate. As everyone knows, no two people think alike. Imindi's team is trying to solve that issue. I am highly skeptical. More than skeptical, actually. I'm dubious.
The TechCrunch50 judges agreed with me. "Dancing with the Stars" alumni Mark Cuban described Imindi as a "personal decision tree of lives online with a virtual Vulcan mind meld and an advertising mind meld." He asked what is the reward for anyone to invest time to use Imindi to build mind maps. A winning answer from CEO Adam Lindemann was not forthcoming. "It's rocket science applied to the wrong problem," said judge Don Dodge of Microsoft. Cuban suggested that Imindi focus its technology on making corporate applications, finding the "one messed up, kindred soul" in a company who could evangelize the product within an organization.
Popego scrapes public content from the sites you follow, and generates an "interest profile" on you from all that information to create "a ticket to a more meaningful Web." It recommends content for you based on your profile. You can filter the recommendation feed when you want, to see only content from people in your social network, for example, or just videos.
This actually looks pretty cool. In reminds me very much of Angstro, from yesterday, since it filters the Web based on what matters to you: In Angstro's case, that's your business associates; for Popego, it's interests. Popego is solving a harder problem and is probably not as good a business as Angstro, but I am really looking forward to trying this one. Popego founders said that they have a plan for making money, but were not ready to disclose it.