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The Knowledge Mosaic Vision for 2012

January 23, 2012

Sneak preview of our new home page. Click the image to enlarge.

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

It is 2012. This post is focused on our goals as a company for the coming year – goals focused on serving you, our customers.

I will say upfront that these goals are audacious. We view 2012 as the year that Knowledge Mosaic Inc. stands forth from the shadows and releases the fullness of our vision for the world to witness.

Stepping forth from adolescence.

It is an exciting vision. To date, Knowledge Mosaic has stepped with adolescent awkwardness to escape from the shadow of its former identity as Securities Mosaic. In 2012, we want to shed altogether the Securities Mosaic identity.

What does this concept of a shedding mean? Think of it as a molting, as a natural process of growth. More practically, the shedding means that no one can continue to view Knowledge Mosaic as a niche transactional product for legal professionals.

Let me be clear. This shedding in no way communicates any diminishing commitment to transactional research. Indeed, our engineering agenda for the next year reflects our excitement about opportunities to apply our most advanced technologies to transactional and securities modules of Knowledge Mosaic. We will continue to serve and deepen our core markets, and more fully integrate services that met their needs with those of our broader audience

A most maturing and enduring vision.

What is new is the carapace that surrounds, structures, reinforces, and extends our original nacreous essence. Please allow me latitude to communicate some personal thoughts on this development. When I started Knowledge Mosaic in 2001, I never meant for it to be simply SEC document-retrieval service. To be honest — if that was the limit of my vision, why bother?

What I wanted to create, even back in 2001, was a new kind of framework to directly connect documents and data to learning and knowing. I had almost no capital, no employees, no programming skills, minimal market knowledge, and three hungry little mouths to feed. Two things sustained me. The first was a grim determination to succeed. The second was a fearless indifference to the market.

My background was in academics. I am an intellectual at heart. My dissertation was on the meaning of the execution of King Charles I for the emergence of modern liberal political thought and institutions. So what I brought to Knowledge Mosaic was a passion for ideas and for understanding political institutions and regulations in relation to political and policy outcomes. My ultimate goal was to map the entire federal regulatory landscape and to articulate its impact on business law.

Securities Mosaic – the first step in a long journey toward abundance.

Securities Mosaic was only the first step in this journey, and those of you who have traced our progress will note that we have broadened our research and current awareness footprint year by year. The development of our law firm memos database, with more than 100,000 memos from 200 law firms covering 46 practice areas, probably represented the most significant initial break with our more narrow focus on securities and corporate finance. However, the most important new development occurred with the release of our framework for harvesting and organizing an unlimited number of federal agency documents, and to making them accessible through the concept of “abundant search”. As you will see in subsequent emails, we are only now just getting started. With 30 of the sharpest employees you’d ever hope to work with, some of the leading engineering and legal talent in the Northwest, and progress that sharpens our eye on the prize, 2012 will bring you an entirely new kind of research and current awareness, unlike any you’ve ever seen before.

Where form meets function – the model of the iPhone.

What will this new kind of “awareness” look like? At heart, we view our work artistically, not functionally. While form and function overlap to a great extent, going forward we will emphasize the aesthetics and grace of the user experience. We want to create a package of tools and data that fit together seamlessly and open directly to the customer, so that their interactions become part of a relational experience, with Knowledge Mosaic employees and with other customers (and non-customers).

We know we pack – and will continue to pack – a vast amount of data and tools into a single product. Consider Knowledge Mosaic in this sense to be a little bit like a Swiss Army Knife, or (even better), an iPhone. Out of the gate, we’ll concede that some of the Knowledge Mosaic functionality and data will not be quite as polished or complete as would be true with a stand-alone product. This is also true with the features of the Swiss Army Knife and iPhone. One does not buy them to get a fully functional saw or screwdriver, or a top-of-the-line GPS or phone (even!). Instead, one purchases a package of functionality that is far greater than the sum of its parts, which works gracefully and artfully in a manner that elicits delight and smiles.

Not mincing words. Our goal is to provide universal access to your firm.

What does this concept of a broadly integrative, syncretistic Knowledge Mosaic mean for you? Well, let’s not mince words. We don’t do case law (not much, at least). But where “the market” used to stack us up against Westlaw Business (which is still a legitimate basis for comparison), it also now makes hard-nosed sense to imagine Knowledge Mosaic as an alternative to, or at least as a significant supplement to, big Westlaw, Lexis, and Bloomberg Law. In other words, Knowledge Mosaic can now serve pretty much every attorney in your firm, in your company, in your agency. With prices that are still lower – in some cases by orders of magnitude – than any other comparable (or non-comparable) research and news service.

Inversion.

Before turning aside for the moment, let me mention another vitally important conceptual innovation integral to the development of Knowledge Mosaic in 2012. This is the idea of inversion. In 2012, Knowledge Mosaic will literally turn itself inside out. What does this mean? Probably one of our weaknesses historically has been that we have been somewhat insular. We embraced our customers from a support standpoint, but did little else to actively engage our customers. Even our home page has had the quality of a brick wall — not very inviting! This will change in 2012.

Keep in Touch.

If you have questions or comments about the vision I’ve laid out for you here, we’d love to hear from you.  You can write me directly at pschwartz@knowledgemosaic.com; or, for a faster reply, to us all at info@knowledgemosaic.com

– Peter

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