if you build it, they may come — but to build it, you must build … so build

Nic Fulton

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“I try to keep out process – process and experimentation just don’t mix. I think if projects are overfunded they can become very conservative, bogged down in over-analysis of a potential market rather than just having a go.” Nic Fulton, chief scientist for Reuters Media

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The start-up culture in Reuters’ Labs department

by: Jemima Kiss 7 Nov. 2007 pda:thedigitalcontentblog

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“Hidden under the bonnet of Reuters’ international news operation is a secret weapon in the battle for innovation, new technology and product development; a four-person technical team called Reuters Labs, which regularly turns over a host of intriguing web and mobile projects.

“Headed up by Nic Fulton, chief scientist for Reuters Media, the four-person team acts like something halfway between an acquisitions team and an in-house development squad. They work on four projects at a time, and these have included article tagging, Facebook applications and the mobile journalism initiative that we covered recently. Right now they are working on an automated transcription service that would help with video search.

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Innovating: ‘Overfunding stifles risk-taking and creativity’:

Fulton joined Reuters 13 years ago to set up a project called the ‘Neural Networks‘, which attempted – and failed – to predict performance of the world’s financial markets. His efforts since then have been noticeably more successful, but Fulton says the strength of the development culture at Reuters is that projects are allowed to fail. That in turn allows for more risk-taking and more experimentation.

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“‘People who are attracted to struggle are creative people who are attracted to struggling because they enjoy the challenge. It’s like the people that climb mountains just because they are there.’

“Reuters Labs punches above its weight partly because, despite a steering group led by some of Reuters’ great and the good, Fulton has enough agency to follow his own instinct on projects.

“In the past few weeks, the team has worked with students at New York University and Stanford on what Fulton describes as the ‘ultra long tail’ of ideas, though Reuters Labs are already on the radar of many new start-ups and developers.” . . . (full article)

Image Credit: pda:thedigitalcontentblog

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Newcomb’s commentary: “It doesn’t matter how many times you fail. It doesn’t matter how many times you almost get it right. No one is going to know or care about your failures, and neither should you. All you have to do is learn from them and those around you because … All that matters in business is that you get it right once.” Mark Cuban

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