Believe me when I say you've never used a web application quite like pearltrees. With this application, you can literally map your personal web. Take all of the bookmarks scattered across your web browser, assign them a category and you've got a pearltree. It's a new way of seeing the web. Think of it as Web 2.5.
Pearltrees was the darling of the 2009 LeWeb conference, which included a keynote and product demonstration by pearltrees CEO Patrice Lamothe (no relation). During the presentation, he showed this video explaining how pearltrees works.
I met Patrice while in Paris at the LeWeb conference. A few months have passed and pearltrees has continued to grow. I decided to find out what has changed and how the application has grown since its unveiling at LeWeb...
Web entrepreneurs create products or applications that they feel fills a hole in the web experience. What niche do you believe pearltrees is filling?
Pearltrees let you manipulate Web content to create something different: a personal organization of those contents. It's like turning a bunch of paintings into an exhibition or a bunch of articles into a newspaper: not only does it highlight what's interesting or not, it gives them a new meaning, your meaning.
Why would you do this? First you want to keep the stuff you like at hand and to find them easily, not something tags or search engines allow you to do when you deal with a lot of contents. Then you want to drive people through your interests, to really guide them through your Web.
Eventually, you want to use other's human organization of the Web to discover new contents you are interested in or just to let yourself be guided through a human curated Web.
While building your pearltrees, you gradually aggregate all the great content you find interesting, so you can keep them at hand, drive people through them and extend with other user's great finds. By letting you do all of this within the same interface Pearltrees' aim is really to create a new type of activity, something one can call user generated organization,or curation, of the Web.
At the LeWeb conference last year you said Pealtrees has angel investment and expects to begin generating revenue soon. Could you elaborate on that?
We want to create a new type of activity on the Web and to make it mainstream. We believe that the pleasure to organize the stuff you like is as deep and wide as, say, the pleasure to write the stuff you like, which supports the blogging activity. Our investor supported this vision upfront and gave us the means to do so: a three year time-horizon and the ability to focus on growth. Since we are growing at a very high rate, much more than 40% a month, we want to focus on product and community development rather than revenue generation.
Are people using Pearltrees how you expected them to, or is it different from what you envisaged when you developed it? What have been the most interesting uses of it that you have seen?
Well, since we developed a new kind of creation format, we really expected users to surprise us every day... and we are surprise just every day! People used pearltrees to do things as diverse as creating encyclopaedias about Twitter, building their guide of the best shopping spots... or their worst restaurants, to take the lead in a "blogwar", to drive people through their art gallery, their favourite shoes, or their own personal TV.
The topics covered are just as diverse as people's interests and the way they use pearltrees just reflect their very own personality.
Pearltrees offers an interesting tool to newsrooms. Is Pearltrees partnering with any news outlets to do specialised/unique content? And if not, are there plans to?
No partnering plan yet, but there is already a lot of stuff everyone interested can do without asking... and there will be even more when we will be launching pearltrees' API.
What is the value of using Pearltrees for someone who a heavy internet user? What about someone who isn't a heavy user?
Amazingly enough, the value is not so different for light and heavy internet users. The one thing that counts is whether or not you have some specific personal interests. It can be outdoor sports, Asian art, ecology, Italian cuisine, online gaming... whatever you really like.
Provided you do like something, Pearltrees enable you to organize it online, to enrich it with the contributions of people who share your interests and to let others discover them. Pearltrees is the place where you create, enrich and share the world of your interests.