Shardul Pandey Talks To Internet Entrepreneur Leo Fasbender Who Co-founded Newsgrape.Com

Shardul Pandey interviews only those who own their domain in webspace for doing business on Internet so if you too want to get interviewed please examine your domain at sangkrit.net before to e-mail all results to freedom@sangkrit.net.

[quote style=”1″]When with some of your unique idea about enhancing utility of Internet you create a website on your domain and stay focused on it, I become more than willing for interviewing you as a freedom fighter whether you think so or not but you certainly become one for establishing Internet world order.
That’s why I appeal you to bring most of things at your domain under GPL as it is the very nature of Internet that must be left open, free, fluid and live for the rest of humanity

Shardul Pandey[/quote]

Leo FasbenderI welcome you in the Kingdom of Freedom Leo, please tell our netizens about yourself?

My name is Leo Fasbender, I’m 24 years old and originally from Germany. Due to my father’s job at a big multinational, we moved to Moscow when I was very young and attended a Russian elementary school. We moved around for a bit more before settling down in Vienna, Austria, where I spent most of my teenager years and which I still – more than any other place – consider home. Later, about four years ago, I moved to the UK and graduated at Newcastle College before going to London to study for my BA in Mass Communication.

Coincidently, this was also the same time that I first got involved into the startup scene. It was during my time at Uni that I became the editor of a small online magazine of students and, as a direct consequence, partnered up with Felix and started a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds to launch our first version of Newsgrape – our attempt, to make blogging easier and facilitate the exchange of information.

Now that the project has grown, it has allowed me to travel and spend time in other exciting startup hotspots like Prague, Berlin, London or, since April, famous Palo Alto in the Silicon Valley.

How exactly your idea sparked?

We came up with the first concept of Newsgrape during our time as bloggers and writers at an online magazine. During this time we engaged very actively with how blogging works today, in the 21st centuries internet environment and, after doing SEO or Social Media workshops, decided that it was actually hugely inefficient and could be much more fun, both for readers and writers.

Our initial idea was to build something that you could imagine as a “YouTube for articles”, in that sense that it was the first entirely open article community, where everyone could come and publish content, which would then be analyzed and connected according to topic and relevance. Our assumption was that if we could get together multiple writers on one platform, they’d all benefit in a mutually beneficial way from more exposure, better SEO, more readers, interaction and such.

After successfully raising funds via Kickstarter and launching a first prototype, we soon understood that we had to find a way to make it easier to share content with Newsgrape. We came up with a new kind of WordPress Plugin that allows you to synchronize an otherwise individual blog with Newsgrape. This goes way beyond conventional aggregation, as it creates an actual connection and if you change something on your blog, the same change will appear on Newsgrape.

You can choose to run the Newsgrape commenting system which mirrors the comments to increase the overall interaction – if someone comments your article on Newsgrape, the same comment will appear on your blog. The plugin also allows bloggers to send the search traffic via Newsgrape, which instantly provides a much higher pagerank and maximum SEO for the best possible exposure.

Another important thing that we attempt to realize with Newsgape is to combine user generated content with professional content. This way, we create an environment where bloggers for the first time ever have the chance that their articles – if they are relevant enough – appear on the same line as an article from the NYT or the BBC. With Newsgrape, we’re creating a unique stream of information that combines news, facts and opinions. The way we handle all the content is also quite interesting, because we combine two fairly different approaches. Traditionally, there are content aggregators like Google News, which filter according to personal interests, yet offer no way to interact with other readers. Furthermore, there are cool sites like Reddit, where anyone can be part of a community, yet always has to compromise on what appears on the news stream. The thing is, we really love both, and would not want to settle for either-or.

With Newsgrape, we combined the best of both worlds: Crowd intelligence meets smart filtering.

As a first layer to determine relevance we monitor Twitter and other social media to gather crowd intelligence. Then we look at how the articles perform inside Newsgrape, how they are voted, shared and commented. Finally we use a smart filtering system and display the articles according to personal interests and preferred sources of each individual reader.

How many people got associated for working together?

Leo Fasbender Team At Work

We’re a core team of five – the two founders, Felix and me, then there is Bernhard, our CTO, and two more extremely skilled developers. However, there is a team of up to twelve that we can rely on if we need additional support. We’re also really happy to have some incredible smart and experienced advisors like Roman Scharf, CEO of Talenthouse, or Matthias Strasser on board.

What philosophy drives you people for doing this?

This is what it says on a poster in our office:

Love your team.

Get things done.

Done is better than perfect.

Drink Tigerblood.

What makes your endeavors unique on Internet?

Foremost the fact that we’re bloggers ourselves. This allows us to have a unique and vastly different approach to the blogosphere than some big data analysts who have no idea how the blogging community actually works and functions.

We’re also a very internationally minded team with a base in Vienna, in the heart of Europe. Being from Europe instead of, for example, the US, is one of the reasons that we built Newsgrape multilingual from the start. I believe there are articles published in more than ten different languages from all around the world.

Finally, the fact that we’re not trying to build a product to make money: We’ve actually experience the problem ourselves and want to address the needs of Millions of people. We want to create something that helps people save time and energy and have more fun doing something that they are good at. We love what we do and we have no intention of making some quick bucks. Rather, we want to be able to continue what we’re already doing and help others realize their own dreams along the way.

How can you make Internet a little bit more interconnected?

We’ve got some amazing stuff in our pipeline and we’re super excited to roll out some great new tools to help bloggers and writers make their life easier during the coming months. We’re also talking to many big publishing houses about content partnerships and we’re trying to figure out what the best topic is that we should focus on. For this, we’ve partnered up with a couple of PhD students from the university on Vienna and are conducting a major survey about the state of the blogosphere. I’d be very happy for everyone who takes five minutes of their time and participates at http://www.teaserbox.com/newsgrape-survey-2012/Btw, to make it worthwhile there is a chance to win a delicious meal of your choosing!

What is your ultimate message for netizens?

If I may say something personal here: The internet is one of the biggest achievements of our time. But it is our responsibility to insure its freedom – the freedom of information, the freedom of speech and the freedom to have your own opinion.

What I’m trying to say is that during the next five decades we, our generation, are going to face some of the toughest challenges humanity has ever encountered. And it will be our actions that will determine whether our striving for ever better technology will be our end, or whether we can use these great new possibilities to unite, as humans, on this one small planet that we all share.

Leo Fasbender 2

Thank you very much Leo for opting Internet as your place of doing business. I wish you success in upgrading humanity!

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