Facebook for the Rich and Famous: A Chat with Matt Quinn
Back when the news dropped that the World Economic Forum had commissioned software giant Tibco to produce TopCom, a social network supposedly designed for the 200 most powerful figures in the world, people started to freak out. It was described as the antithesis of the open, social web: A hyper-exclusive Facebook where the world’s elite could communicate instantly and secretly, whether that be coordinating sanctions against Iran or sharing goofy pictures from important galas.
Blame it on the Internet’s raw nerves following the SOPA fiasco and general paranoia, but the news about TopCom ruffled skeptics’ feathers. The Esquire profile of Tibco CEO Vivek Ranadivé, which focused on his vision of dominating the information-aggregation realm, may not have helped allay fears that TopCom wasn’t the tool of some new world order.
According to Tibco CTO Matt Quinn, TopCom is ultimately an über-secure version of tibbr, Tibco’s social platform that builds connections around topics rather than relationships. For world leaders, it’s billed as a quicker way to find expert advice on key issues and disasters. I talked to him about TopCom, security, and the future of the social web.
The exclusivity of TopCom is what people are getting worked up about. How do you feel about working on something that is limited to very few people compared to everything else on the social realm?
There are a couple of different ways that I look at that. The first is that the underlying technology is actually valuable to everyone. So this is not a one-off exclusive platform that is built just exclusively for the World Economic Forum. The type of technology that was actually used was off-the-shelf tibbr, standard Spotfire for visual analytics, and standard FormVine for form capturing. So, yeah, from that point of view we weren’t working on it being super special. They were looking for off the shelf software that would meet their needs.
Read the rest at Motherboard.