January 10, 2007
CNBC Squawk Box interview: It just (barely) happened
Note: The video is live on CNBC site for 24 hours only.
Search for the Next Google
This search engine provides data through users asking questions rather than typing in key words, with Barney Pell, Powerset CEO and CNBC’s Becky Quick
I just got home from my CNBC Squawk Box interview. In addition to the challenges I expected from having to get up at 3am, there were some challenges I did not expect.
When I got to the front door of KRON-TV (Channel 4 in SF) and called the newsdesk reception, nobody was expecting me there! I explained that I was here for CNBC and they said they would look into it and send someone down. But a few minutes later nobody had arrived. I called CNBC in New York, who said that people were expecting me and someone would be right down.
Eventually a woman came to the front door. I thought, Finally, this is the person to help me. But she was actually just finished with her shift and leaving to go home.
She let me inside the building lobby so I wouldn’t have to wait longer in the cold. Then as I waited, she came back a few minutes later and said they asked her to fill in and work with me, and she was a video person so she could do it. Her name was Yolee. (The person who was apparently assigned to me never showed up).
Then we went upstairs to the video room. For some reason I was expecting a buzz of activity, like we had at Marketwatch. But Yolee took me to a completely empty room with a video camera and a background poster of the golden gate bridge and started to set things up. I remarked that the contrast between all those people in NYC watching CNBC and preparing for the market opening, on the one hand, and the empty building in SF on the other hand, perhaps indicated the relative importance of SF in the financial community. The next surprise was that there was no video monitor where I could see the person who would be interviewing me. They could see me, and I could speak with them on the headset, but the lack of human connection was disconcerting.
We waited for what turned out to be 30 minutes before it was time for our 3 minutes of fame. Then I was on and it was over before I knew it.
The good news was that my mom had accidentally missed her alarm but woke up at 4:20 unprompted. She called me thinking she had missed it, but since we weren’t on until late she got to see it.
She said it went very well and that the video of the webpage answering questions (the one we shot yesterday in the office) was clear and made the system look really easy and helpful.
She might have been the only person on the west coast to watch the show, but in the end she’s the one that counts .
Powerset employee Will Fitzgerald took real-time blog notes. Here they are:
Barney’s Squawkbox appearance
7:36 — “POWER SET” (sic) appears on ‘coming up’ crawler
7:38 — Weather …
7:39 — Weather … and static
7:40 — Report on Sears
7:40 — Power and Money / GE ‘Is private equity the victim of its own
7:44 — Do lawyers make good CEOs? (Can a risk-averse white guy be a better
CEO than a risk-seeking white guy?)
7:46 — Coming up … shows Powerset webpage, Powerset ‘Search for the next
7:50 — Becky Quick (BQ): Next in “Our search for the next Google…’ series
BQ: Powerset allows people to ask real questions you type in, not just
Barnely Pell, CEO join from SF
BQ: RL and Qs — Ask? why can we do it better?
BP: The idea, but not the technology; Ask did it manually.
BQ: How does our system work?
BP: our system reads the document, semantic rep, similarly with queries
(showing results on right hand side of screen)
BQ: Impressive Angel investors — Esther, Early Google, Founder of Paypal,
but there’s no beta yet. How do you convince people to invest?
BP: We have a fantastic team, great tech, good vision, we show people, they
like what they see.
BQ: When will see it in action?
BP: Public beta by end of the year.
BQ: $12.5MM in the last tranche, when will you need more money?
BP: We have enough to get us to launch, there is interest in follow on
BQ: Thank you.
BP: Thank you.
Posted by barney at January 10, 2007 5:30 am
This entry was posted in Powerset
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Barney – I just watched the vid, you did well. Looked like you nearly corpsed for a second there, but got past it
posted by Matthew Hurst at January 11th, 2007 6:47 am
Barney, I may actually make it to San Francisco this time. I’ll be up there President’s Day weekend. New email, which maybe is included in this thing. Couldn’t comment on the post above with the cooking video, for some reason. email@example.com
posted by JMullen at February 8th, 2007 10:44 pm