Here’s a selection of national press where I’ve been interviewed. Some of the articles focus on the companies I’ve been a part of, others are profiles or offer perspectives on technology.

Directly compensates experts both for submitting information as well as to pay out royalties when their knowledge has been put to use, “just as you would in traditional copyright licensing in music,” its co-founder Antony Brydon explained to me earlier this year.

Brydon and de la Cruz have known each other since college, which speaks to a long friendship and trust in each other, too — a good sign, in my opinion.

Antony Brydon, Jean Tessier, and Jeff Patterson argue that a degree of automation is required to keep up with demand. The three are cofounders of Directly, a San Francisco, California-based startup helping enterprise companies launch and train virtual agents.

What’s more, this emerging AI economy could facilitate the creation of new income streams for workers that reward them for their expertise and unique knowledge, in addition to their data (far from a new idea).

Businesses and policymakers must take an active role in ensuring that there is a place for the workers of today in the AI economy of tomorrow.

The company was born after CEO and co-founder Antony Brydon spent years working as a strategy consultant in large customer support centers, which taught him that traditional contact models were “broken and letting customers down.”

Antony Brydon, Directly’s CEO, shared the following comment: “Customer expectations are through the roof, and the fixed and traditional customer service model can’t meet these rising expectations anymore. Customers expect answers in seconds or minutes, and companies are struggling to respond fast enough.”

Successful answerers carry Uber-esque reputation scores, and those with higher scores get more questions sent their way and may be asked to contribute to collections of stock answers to common questions, says Directly Chief Executive Officer Antony Brydon. “There are real financial hits to letting a customer down,” he says.

“Part of the problem with call centers is that agents tap out on empathy because they have to help 70 or 80 people a day,” said Antony Brydon, Directly CEO and co-founder. “Instead, we have passionate, knowledgeable users who might help 12 people a day, and only engage when they’re in the right frame of mind.”

Last week, my company Directly closed a $1.75 million seed round using an “inbound” approach to fundraising. In past ventures, we’d used the “outbound” approach that virtually all startups use – identifying investors, networking to coordinate calls and meetings, and working 1:1 to create demand. Our new inbound approach applied new marketing technology to crowdfunding sites to generate broad investor demand, track investor engagement, and transform the traditional and inefficient outbound fundraising process to an efficient inbound raise.

Directly One of Entrpreneur Magazine’s Brilliant 100 Companies for 2013

May, 2013

The Insider Brain Gain

by Esther Dyson
December 23, 2011

“We originally thought that it would be mostly about information,” says Brydon, “and that the free answers would erode the revenue opportunities. But it has turned out to be more about relationships and connecting a person who needs help with a person who can and wants to help. This basic desire to help seems as important as the rewards.”

“Brydon, and co-founders Jeff Patterson and Jean Tessier formerly launched ShopWell out of IDEO in 2010. Insidr is backed by $500,000 in seed funding from True Ventures, Gil Penchina, Karl Jacob, Brian Witlin and Samer Hamadeh.

Enterprises become the Battleground for Social Networking

July 14, 2008

“It’s not clear at this point which category of vendors ultimately is going to deliver more value to the enterprise,” argued Antony Brydon, former CEO and founder of Visible Path, a corporate social networking startup acquired by information services company Hoover’s early this year. “I think we’re in a market that could end up looking a lot like the IM market,” where a consumer product like AOL IM gained dominance in the enterprise, said Brydon. He added he did not take it for granted that companies such as Microsoft would dominate the business social networking space.

“It’s an open question who’s going to win this battle,” Mr. Brydon said. “As a whole, the question the Fortune 500 is asking is where is the Facebook for the Fortune 500 that can do for us what Facebook and MySpace have done for consumers?”

Will Email Really Be the Next Social Network?

November 20, 2007

“I really wonder what kind of social network could be crafted out of my Outlook. Maybe Visible Path, which is melding social networking into work tools, has figured this out, but that’s only on the corporate side.”

Social Networking: A Time Waster Or The Next Big Thing In Collaboration?

September 22, 2007

InformationWeek has learned that Oracle is working with Visible Path to integrate Oracle’s CRM On Demand application with Visible Path’s social networking software. The companies plan to demo the capability at Oracle OpenWorld in November, then make it generally available in the first quarter… The obvious next step is to integrate business social networks with business processes. Forrester analyst Rob Koplowitz sees social networking and CRM integration, like that under way between Visible Path and Oracle, as a great fit.

Let’s Get Together

August 01, 2007

Online social networks are finding ever more ways to be useful for tasks like finding employees and sales prospects, tracking down expertise, spreading marketing messages, and gathering customer feedback.

What’s Next: Beyond Facebook

April 27, 2007

Visible Path, which has made its software available to the public, hopes to create a mass cross-organization network…And Visible Path, which has teamed up with business information provider Hoover’s (NYSE:DNB), is eager to sign up entire companies as well as individuals.

Silicon Valley-based Visible Path is a lot like LinkedIn, but it automatically determines who your real network is, and how strong each individual relationship is, based on your emails and calendar items that involve them. Visible Path will officially launch next week at the Web 2.0 Expo.

Joined-up thinking

April 04, 2007

Social networking has proved to be of greatest value to companies in recruitment. Unlike a simple jobs board, social networks enable members to pass suitable vacancies on to people they know, and to refer potential candidates back to the recruiter. So employers reach not only active jobseekers but also a much larger pool of passive candidates through referrals.

When Outside the Loop, a Quicker Way to Get in

October 30, 2006

“That’s the key way business networks differ from other social networks,” said Antony Brydon, Visible Path’s chief executive. “These relationships are very high value, and they need to be controlled.”

Business Embraces Web 2.0

October 09, 2006

“In the same way consumer social networks have become an embedded part of the consumer Web, business social networks are starting to become an embedded part of the enterprise,” said Antony Brydon, chief executive of Visible Path.”

Eating Out 2.0

August 20, 2006

“The current generation of startups is focused on fundamentals,” says Visible Path Chief Executive Antony Brydon. “They don’t have huge sales and marketing budgets, and they don’t throw huge launch parties. We favor casual over cush.”

Antony Brydon, CEO and founder of Visible Path, a 4-year-old company that’s trying to bring social networking to businesses, says the $25 million in funding it has from the likes of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers is enough to maintain its independence.

Web 2.0 meets the enterprise

April 28, 2006

Start-up Visible Path, for example, offers an entry-level version of its social-networking software to businesspeople for free. If enough people within the company use it, Visible Path has a much easier time selling the high-end version, which has advanced security and reporting, said Antony Brydon, CEO of Visible Path.

Cracking into the business of social networks

May 02, 2004

In the merger of Oracle and Peoplesoft, hundreds of thousands, if not billions, of dollars walked out the door, claims Antony Brydon, CEO and co-founder of social networking company Visible Path. Each of the 5,000 people laid off left with a valuable network of contacts, which was not adequately considered before the ax fell.

Interview With Antony Brydon of Visible Path

November 01, 2004

It pays to know who your friends’ friends are. Visible Path creates software that helps salespeople connect discretely with acquaintances of acquaintances in order to find new business prospects. The company’s specialized, closed system uses search engines to pull contacts from colleagues’ email and other desktop sources.

What Are Friends For?

September 06, 2004

If Antony Brydon had used a social-networking application in 2000 to sell EMusic, he might have made an extra $30 million on the deal… In the end, Brydon learned a valuable lesson- it pays to know who your friends’ friends are- and got the inspiration for his newest venture: Visible Path, a company that develops social-networking applications for businesses.

Social Networking: My People Know Your People

March 29, 2004

Antony Brydon, CEO and president of Visible Path Corp. in New York, claims that people using his software have reduced the sales cycle by 27% and increased the close rate by 22%, while the average deal size has gone up 10%. Efficiency is improved, he says, because cold calls are replaced with personal introductions, and salespeople get access to decision-makers.

The Social Enterprise

March 26, 2004

“There is an instant, intuitive understanding on the part of the VP of sales that the sales process relies on these relationship networks,” says Antony Brydon, CEO of Visible Path. His company’s software, in limited use but not yet generally available, doesn’t read your e-mail or documents. Its relationship-mining engine does, however, absorb your contacts from all available sources: CRM/SFA systems, e-mail systems, and desktop contact managers.

Social Networking Put to Work

March 22, 2004

Antony Brydon’s brainchild is now a venture-backed company called Visible Path, based in Manhattan. The 18-month-old company has already sold its product to about a dozen large and mid-size companies that are using the social-networking software to increase the productivity of their sales departments.

Six Degrees: Can who your employees know make a difference in your sales?

January 01, 2004

Antony Brydon, president and co-founder of Visible Path, says, “We’re helping people capitalize on their relationships on an individual level and on a corporate level.” The intent is to arm your salespeople with quality personal introductions to potential customers, generate sales leads and accelerate the sales process. 

“Social networks are more complicated than anyone could have ever predicted,” Mr. Brydon said. “It becomes very important to figure out which relationships are strong and which ones are very weak. It’s important to find the 10 percent of relationships that can actually open deals and close transactions.”

Internet Icebreakers

December 01, 2003

It’s no accident that successful entrepreneurs often are those who know the right people in the right places at the right time. But now wallflowers can take heart. 

The Technology of the Year

November 01, 2003

Social networking applies the power of the network to one of the most fundamental problems in business: finding the person who has the critical information you need, right when you need it. New York-based Visible Path…shortens sales cycles by 27 percent and fattens deals by 10 percent.

New Breed of Software Maps and Hones our Interconnections

August 04, 2003

New Breed of Software Maps and Hones our Interconnections Brydon heads Visible Path Corp., a startup that mines computer networks to determine who in a company knows whom in the world, and how well.

New Programs Helps Companies Mine Workers Relationships For Key Business Prospects

August 04, 2003

Visible Path…can help companies utilize “relationship capital” to wrest value from their employees personal contacts. Visible Path has provided numerous safeguards to assure employees retain control of their contact relationships.