Latest News: Technology |  Celebrity |  Movies |  Apple |  Cars |  Business |  Sports |  TV Shows |  Geek


Filed under: News


Declara CEO Ramona Pierson Goes Where Others Don't Dare

Dec 27 2013, 10:36am CST | by

10 Updates
Declara CEO Ramona Pierson Goes Where Others Don't Dare
Photo Credit: Forbes


Recommend Your Tweet as Top Tweet:

Full Story

Declara CEO Ramona Pierson Goes Where Others Don't Dare

Most articles about Declara CEO Ramona Pierson focus on her astonishing life story, particularly her recovery from a 1984 car accident that left her blind and in a coma. But Pierson is just as capable of turning heads with her tradition-defying approach to building a company in Silicon Valley.

If you haven’t yet read about Pierson’s personal rebound, take a moment to read this excellent profile by Bloomberg Businessweek’s Ashlee Vance, or this fine human-interest story by Bruce Newman of the San Jose Mercury News. You’ll be swept away by the story of a 16-year-old prodigy at the University of California, Berkeley, whose life was upended at age 22, when a car smashed into her while she was jogging. It took years for surgeons to repair her legs, her sight and her overall health. Yet she went on to become a tech-sector standout who has founded two companies, while attracting backers such as former PayPal president and Facebook director Peter Thiel .

If you already kn0w about her personal odyssey, though, you’re probably wondering what exactly her newest company does. You’ll also want to know how Pierson is going about building something significant at Declara. So when I stopped by her offices recently, in a converted garage on the shabby side of Palo Alto, Calif., near the 101 freeway, I wanted to steer our interview into these less-explored realms.

Here’s what I learned about Pierson’s work today and her tech vision for tomorrow.

Declara is tackling the hard stuff in how we find and organize information on the Internet. It bills itself as a “social learning platform” that helps people search through vast amounts of content when they aren’t exactly sure what they’re looking for — but want to expand their knowledge in ways that they can loosely describe. If you’re hearing echoes of other ambitious attempts to tackle this problem, under the banner of “semantic search” or “knowledge management,” you’re in the right quadrant.

What intrigued me about Pierson’s approach is that she and her colleagues aren’t always trying to match supposedly similar users who should gravitate toward the same content. Just the opposite. Declara provides ways to see content favored by users with highly different tastes. In short, Declara brings serendipity back into search.

A case in point: Declara’s biggest market at present is Australia, where the company’s technology is being used to help teachers master and refine curriculum. Sometimes, teachers want to see how material is being taught by people very much like themselves. Other times, they want fresh bursts of new approaches from teachers with different backgrounds. Declara’s dashboard provides ways that users can dial up or dial down the amount of information coming from “disparate perspectives,” Pierson says.

Much of Declara’s navigation is done with wheels, rather than the standard, ranked lists that a search engine might produce. Google and its imitators have shown that when people know exactly what they are looking for, lists work well. But more exploratory searches, in which users may want to redefine their hunt several times, are a different story. In such cases, users may prefer to see various types of information radiating from a hub — making it easier to consider multiple choices at once.

Right now, some of Declara’s largest customers are government-associated entities in Australia, Chile and Panama, chiefly in education. The company’s expansion plan stretches more broadly, including large corporations in knowledge-intensive fields such as pharmaceuticals. But Pierson says that in the education sector, she’s most excited about the non-U.S. opportunities.

The U.S. education sector is highly fragmented and politicized; it’s hard to win major contracts for  radically new approaches without a lot of tussles. By contrast, in countries such as Chile and Australia, she says, national authorities can embrace new tools quite quickly and decisively.


Source: Forbes


You Might Also Like


Sponsored Update

Update: 10

MRCB, Nusa Gapurna and PKNS settle suit over RM3 billion PJ Sentral project

Source: Malaysia Today

(The Malaysian Insider) – Malaysian Resources Corp Bhd (MRCB), Nusa Gapurna Development Sdn Bhd (NGD) and PKNS Holdings Sdn Bhd have reached an out-of-court settlement over the ownership of th ...
Source: Malaysia Today   Full article at: Malaysia Today Jun 21 2014, 2:53am CDT


Update: 9

Story behind Syed Mokhtar’s ‘RM2.25 billion tax-exempt’ Bernas deal revealed, says PKR MP

Source: Malaysia Today

(The Malaysian Insider) – An innocuous written reply in Parliament has provided a peek into the cosy relationship between the Najib administration and Malaysia’s best-known businessm ...
Source: Malaysia Today   Full article at: Malaysia Today Jun 15 2014, 12:56pm CDT

More From the Web

Update: 8

Constitutional monarchy still murky concept

Source: Malaysia Today

After the RM4.5 billion land sale, the Sultan of Johor secured a 15% stake in MOL Access Portal (MOL) for RM396 million and took a 20% stake in ...
Source: Malaysia Today   Full article at: Malaysia Today Jun 14 2014, 12:37am CDT

Update: 7

Sultan of Johor’s RM4.5 bil backlash?

Source: Malaysia Today

49th Karlovy Vary International Film Festival
Has Sultan Ibrahim of Johor’s succession of big money deals over the last six months caused the tide of public opinion to turn against Johor’s royal palace? KiniBiz exami ...
Source: Malaysia Today   Full article at: Malaysia Today Jun 11 2014, 8:49am CDT

Update: 6

Putrajaya denies carpet dealer given interest-free loan

Source: Malaysia Today

Eileen Ng, The Malaysian Insider Putrajaya today refuted allegations that Bank Rakyat had allowed carpet dealer Deepak Jaikishan to repay a RM32 million loan without interest following intervention from a... READ ...
Source: Malaysia Today   Full article at: Malaysia Today Jun 11 2014, 5:44am CDT

Update: 5

Malaysia Spends Over $9 million on MH370 Hunt: Report

Source: NDTV

49th Karlovy Vary International Film Festival
Malaysia has so far spent about RM27.6 million (over $9 million) on search operations for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an official said on Mond ...
Source: NDTV   Full article at: NDTV Jun 9 2014, 3:12am CDT

Update: 4

Bill for Kidex likely to soar to RM3.4b

Source: Malaysia Today

The original RM2.4 billion tag on the proposed highway did not take into account the cost of acquiring the land mostly in the urban areas, claims an assemblywoma ...
Source: Malaysia Today   Full article at: Malaysia Today Jun 9 2014, 2:51am CDT

Update: 3

MACC: No elements of graft in Bank Rakyat’s loan to businessman

Source: Malaysia Today

BET AWARDS '14 - Red Carpet
(Bernama) – The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) found no elements of corruption in Bank Rakyat’s RM32 million interest free loan to a businessman. MACC in a statement today said initial... READ MORE ...
Source: Malaysia Today   Full article at: Malaysia Today May 31 2014, 9:33am CDT

Update: 2

IHH Healthcare posts 25% rise in 1Q earnings to $62 mil

Source: The Edge Singapore

IHH Healthcare Berhad announced that revenue grew by 8% y-o-y to RM1.8 billion ($703 million) for 1Q2014 ended March, as earnings grew 25% YoY to ...
Source: The Edge Singapore   Full article at: The Edge Singapore May 29 2014, 11:29am CDT

Update: 1

Hasan Malek evades media over RM32 million Bank Rakyat loan scandal

Source: Malaysia Today

Elizabeth Zachariah, The Malaysian Insider The minister embroiled in the RM32 million Bank Rakyat loan scandal refused to take questions from the press today at an event in ...
Source: Malaysia Today   Full article at: Malaysia Today May 28 2014, 11:42pm CDT

Shopping Deals


<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/31" rel="author">Forbes</a>
Forbes is among the most trusted resources for the world's business and investment leaders, providing them the uncompromising commentary, concise analysis, relevant tools and real-time reporting they need to succeed at work, profit from investing and have fun with the rewards of winning.




blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest stories

Hicon Social Bangle is a wearable fashion bungle
Hicon Social Bangle is a wearable fashion bungle
The Hicon is a awkwardly large bracelet that's lined with enough square charms to remind you of fourth grade
Wiping Android Phones doesn’t Delete Personal Data - This is How to Do It
Wiping Android Phones doesn’t Delete Personal Data - This is How to Do It
Have you sold your used Android phones in the past when upgrading to a new smartphone? Were you safe, making sure to reset the phones and wipe them of all your personal data first? Bad news, Android users: A new study...
Germany Brazil World Cup Match Sets new Twitter Record
Germany Brazil World Cup Match Sets new Twitter Record
On top of Brazil’s World Cup hammering against a rampant German side last night, they’ll take little solace in the fact that their nightmare 90 minutes was the most tweeted sporting event on Twitter, ever. Twitter...
ZTE unveils Nubia Z7, Z7 Max and Z7 mini
ZTE unveils Nubia Z7, Z7 Max and Z7 mini
The 27 Max and 27 mini are just scaled down versions of the original Nubia 27