I just listened to Alex Barnett’s podcast focused on Attention with Nick Bradbury (FeedDemon developer and AttentionTrust board member) and Kevin Burton (Tailrank) and Rojo co-founder) and it can be downloaded here. These are two reallly smart guys but we'd like to chime on this disucssion because we eat, sleep, and breathe attention.
A lot of thoughts came to mind listening to the podcast but I will leave the heavy lifting to one of my co-founders, Eric Hayes, a co-author of the attention.xml spec and one of several smart guys that have been working on an attention based infrastructure for years. Ideally we’d like to get online with Alex and explain what we have essentially already implemented that goes far beyond the discussion points in the podcast. While it has only been 6 months or so since we adopted the “attention” moniker to describe our technology, it is the foundation of what we have been doing for years.
The biggest challenge (and we agree attention.xml can’t handle it) is processing a massive amount of information, in near real-time, and gleaning not only useful metadata (from what we call the attention stream) but to do something really valuable with that information. We believe that is an improved experience - not better ad targeting (Google, MSN and Yahoo can focus on that I suppose)
Attensa’s business model is around just that. Your behavior will automatically improve your experience. In a collaborative work environment? Even better!
Alex, Nick, and Kevin got on the subject of standardization. As we have committed at Attensa, we will support attention.xml and have been instrumental in offering our experience in this area in reshaping and improving the spec based on our real world experience. However, we agree it is not likely to work on a massive scale with a seemingly infinite quantity of transient metadata being generated. Attensa’s strategy is predicated upon addressing the challenge of how to effectively manage very large amounts of seeminly unmanageable attention data.
So, where does that put Attensa in the debate of “does the user own their attention?” Well, our company has already publicly committed as a member of the AttentionTrust.org to its four founding principles. Where we diverge from many is that we feel the manner in which we create and utilize attention data and deliver useful benefits to individuals and businesses – that is not something we share. That is Attensa’s intellectual property. More on this as we roll out our attention based services.
Ultimately, we envision any aggregator can potentially benefit from Attensa processing attention streams (replete with strict anonymity and privacy adherence) to improve the user experience and help mitigate information overload.