Monday, February 11, 2008

Enjoying at Zemanta

Okay, it's time to buzz about my exciting life in Ljubljana. I've procrastinated so long.

I'm currently waiting for the start date of my job at Google Zurich. Before going to dive into the cruel professional world - even though it will be more like a pool of colorful balls with stacks of chocolates - I wanted to make an unforgettable memory for my last university vacation. What else could a geek come up with for it? I chose to have a vacation at a startup. :D I've flown to Slovenia and helped my friends at Zemanta ltd for these three weeks, and two following weeks more. Again, thanks to Jure for giving this chance :)

"Zemanta is a new startup that is working on creating a mashable, open-API that suggest to you images, articles, links and tags for your text", cited from its website. I'd like to depict how attractive is being a programmer at Zemanta, in a guest programmer's point of view.

They have a cool technology
I was quite impressed when I got a brief of the whole idea and architecture of Zemanta from Andraz. First of all, in a developer's point of view, it was well-organized and running effectively enough to prove the idea to be promising. I could hardly believe that it was built in such a short time with such a small number of developers. Secondly, the idea has many possible applications. For right now, what you can see in the surface is "merely" a plugin for blogs, yet the same technology can also be applied to enrich your email, for example. Content analysis services will undoubtedly be a hot trend for a long time, and there will be more and more needs for it. Zemanta's road map is up to imagination, and their imagination is still growing.

They know how to do business
Luckily, I could accompany with Zemanta guys at several occasions such as PASCAL Pump Priming or Barcamp. Whenever they are asked to say some impression, they shrug their shoulder. "Well, didn't find anything interesting." I know it's not a brag or pride. Pump Priming was a serious and knowledgeable conference, but just not a place to connect the researches with entrepreneurship. Barcamp was very fun to me, but it was basically hackers' offline party.
At the Barcamp, Zemanta guys were addressing how to do a startup. Yes, they seem to know how to beat a business. They began from an idea, applied it to a website of Slovenian TV, and won Seedcamp which backs very early stage business ideas. Funded by the Seedcamp, they've busily visited many Web conferences over Europe. Now they are in the end of the first VC investment stage, and stepping towards to the next investor.

Every moment is challenging
Zemanta office is now busy at preparing for the open in March. A lot is happening. Bad news first. One of new servers shipped from London didn't work, so we had to send it back. The cloud computing service we're using is revealing lots of problems, but unfortunately other services are no different for this moment. There was a blog indexing service which seemed to be suitable for our purpose, but we gave it up cause it didn't provide all functionalities we need. If the story is going in this way, it's no surprise at all even if you have to implement some workaround due to the limitation of Django or bugs of MySQL...
Now good news. A company which has the most popular blog platforms proposed to integrate Zemanta with their services. We'll see how it's going. Bostjan and Ales came back from conference in California. They met many people and got many feedbacks. And they met a person who knows a person who made flickr, hoping to find a way to pour the great deal of pictures of flickr into the Zemanta engine.

Hilarious people, delicious jedi
I love the lunch time with these fun guys :D The talk is usually about current IT issues, and news of other services, and of course daily lives. Traditional Slovenian foods are really worth to try. Maybe I'll blog about this with pictures later. Of course, neither Anakin nor Obiwan I eat. The word "jedi" in Slovenian means "food" :)

1 comment:

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