In his epic blog post ‘Engineering Serendipity’, Paddy Cosgrave revealed just how far Web Summit are prepared to go to ensure attendees get the most out of so many extraordinary people congregating in Dublin. It’s one of the reasons why he asked us to build Wholi.com for Web Summit.
Although it is a problem many of us entrepreneurs hope to face, popularity has its drawbacks – with 20,000 people attending Web Summit in the next few days, one of the challenges is knowing who to meet and which of your connections are coming.
Wholi is simply a ‘people search engine’ for attendees at Web Summit.
Rather than ask you to upload a detailed resume and/or manually upload a collection of different pieces of profile information, our technology has, where possible, automatically collated some of your profiles across the web.
It’s a bit like doing a Google search of a person, except you don’t have to work out which links are relevant to whom, or guess whether they might have a profile on a particular social network. Instead, we’ve pulled web information into a single profile, automatically.
This means that it’s far easier to get a better understanding of who’s who. Knowing which social sites people are on, or where their personal website/blog are, helps you research people more quickly. Our hope is that improves context and ensures you find the right piece of information to empower more meaningful connections.
Performing identity resolution and extracting the relevant information in a readable format for you on the open web is a very, very hard technical challenge. The data within Wholi is just the tip of the iceberg – we’ve indexed over 1.25 billion web profiles.
Working at such scale means that occasionally the information gets a little funky. If you spot an error on a profile, do let us know and it will help us train our algorithms. If you are dissatisfied with what is on your own profile, you can remove it at the bottom of you profile page, or request that we edit it.
In terms of privacy, we only index what’s public – so it’s nothing that can’t be found using Google. Please note that your Wholi profile is also separate from your Web Summit profile and the information on the Web Summit mobile app. Hopefully you will benefit from the features of each – the mobile app is a great way of getting in touch with folks, instantly for example.
Next year, we hope to be able to merge the two, to make the experience even more synchronised, but we think you’ll agree, it’s a pretty cool tool – perhaps this is even the first conference that has ever made 20,000 aggregated profiles instantly searchable.
For now, we hope Wholi will enable you to engineer a bit of serendipity yourselves and a special shout out to the Web Summit team for being brave enough to try new things and for putting on such a good show.
It’s no wonder the attendees keep Dublin and Dublin…
Tom Savage is Founder of PeopleGraph, a people search engine bringing Wholi to Web Summit