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A Brief Interview with Tom Wilde, New CEO PodZinger

By - May 03, 2007


Tom Wilde

I’ve known Tom Wilde for a long time, he’s been in the search game for 15 years, with stints at FAST, Lycos, NameMedia, and more. So I was interested to see that he’s joined PodZinger as CEO. PodZinger was spun out of BBN Technologies about a year ago to focus on audio and video search technologies.

I asked Tom three simple questions which he was kind enough to answer:

Why did you decide to join Podzinger?

In looking at Podzinger, I actually found the rare opportunity to build a company around a world class piece of technology. Podzinger’s speech recognition technology was developed from $50MM in research & development grants from the US Government at BBN Technologies, from which the company spun out. This technology has solved the very difficult problem of “unbounded” speech recognition, meaning speaker independent, language independent, topic independent speech to text capability. In addition to our extensive patent protection and intellectual property, we have spent the last 5 years building the world’s largest training corpus which has created the high quality output the platform provides. This combination of research, investment, and productization is a terrific platform to build from.

Why now?

Podzinger came to life as a proof of concept around Podcast search as a consumer destination. In the last six months the company has increasingly focused on enabling media companies to enhance their online multimedia offerings. My background in consumer search and online advertising is a terrific fit here, as our ability to extract a full text output from audio and video files across the Internet means that content previously “hidden” from the search crawlers are all suddenly “plugged in” to the online search economy. This creates all the attendant benefits search provides i.e. dramatically improved search and discovery, topic and tag creation, auto-classification, and contextual advertising opportunities. The analogy of the current state of the art in audio and video search would be to imagine a web search engine that could only index the title and meta-tags of the web pages. Unlocking the contents of multimedia files is a paradigm shift in how multimedia content will be organized, accessed, and monetized into the future, and Podzinger is uniquely positioned to address this need.

Given the platforms Yahoo and Google have, how will you differentiate? Is your company going to be built for an exit, or for the long term?

In the near term, our platform can substantially enhance the consumption of multimedia content through improved search and navigation as well as enrich the advertising opportunity through improved targeting. Long term we are well positioned to drive the growth of video advertising inventory as that market quadruples in size in the next four years. With our capabilities we believe that Podzinger will be a successful standalone business in its own right. The core differentiation is our ability to extract the contents of multimedia files. While its of course possible that a competitor could create similar technology, our IP protection and five year headstart will provide barriers to entry for competitors.

Thanks Tom!

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2 thoughts on “A Brief Interview with Tom Wilde, New CEO PodZinger

  1. JG says:

    Unlocking the contents of multimedia files is a paradigm shift in how multimedia content will be organized, accessed, and monetized into the future

    Hear! Hear!

  2. JG says:

    Actually, I would be curious to know from Tom whether Podzinger also does “query by vocal timbre”. It would be interesting to be able to search the content of an audio file not only for what is being said, but for who is saying it.