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The original idea of selling information on an electronic marketplace was tried first by an economist named Phil Salin. Salin started working on the software for an electronic marketplace as early as 1984, and launched AMIX, the American Information Exchange, in 1991. The company was well-publicized. ... The system, as Dyson describes it, was fairly sophisticated even by contemporary Net standards. It involved both the posting of documents -- information that has already been created -- by experts as well as the solicitation of consulting services by buyers looking for advice. It included a mechanism for auctioning information and advice; Dyson said Salin also envisioned complex, automatic pricing systems that, for instance, could let information drop in price as it ages.

Though high-profile names like Dyson and Lotus founder Mitch Kapor were involved, the company was unable to realize its ambitions and folded. .."To understand the failure of AMIX, and all other prior attempts to create working expert-exchange marketplaces, it is necessary to understand that effective markets, whether they be physical or electronic, require a complete and highly specialized set of conditions in order to function and thrive," the patent notes, "A single missing ingredient ot feature might ... lead to the collapse of the Exchange."

..Observers, including Doc Searls, who worked on AMIX, say its greatest failure was being ahead of its time. AMIX existed before the Internet and struggled to build an online service that could handle its data and traffic. Now that the Internet exists, however, there are other businesses following in its footsteps.

The Launch

This Information Marketplace has just entered the market-building phase, in which information providers "stock the shelves" in preparation for the opening of the market in early summer.
Charter customers opening their accounts before June 1, 1992 will have their $50 set-up fee applied to later connect costs. For a charter account enabling early market participation, contact AMIX by email at or by phone 415-856-1234, ext. 207.
( see
Understanding AMIX
The American Information Exchange (AMIX) is perhaps the most innovative venture in which Autodesk has become involved to date. Without doubt is has been the hardest to explain. Autodesk invested in AMIX in June of 1988, with the intent of implementing and launching the world's first on-line market for information and expertise. Within a year, while the development of the server and access software was still underway, it seemed like almost everybody had forgotten the opportunity that existed and why we had become involved. I wrote this memo as a reminder and to persuade Autodesk to maintain its commitment to AMIX.

To: Al Green, Malcolm Davies, Ron McElhaney, Greg Lutz From: John Walker Date: September 7th, 1989
Copies: Eric Lyons, Phil Salin, Kern Sibbald

Subject: Understanding AMIX
I've been peripherally involved in several recent discussions about the development status of AMIX and the soundness of Autodesk's ongoing commitment of resources to AMIX as approved at the end of fiscal year board meeting. Some of these discussions have indicated to me a lack of complete understanding of the fundamentals of the AMIX business, and consequently of the nature of the risks and potential rewards of our investment therein. This note is an attempt to dispel, as best I can, any confusion about AMIX by stating, as clearly as I can, the essentials of the business opportunity it represents. First, let me make explicit my biases. At the time we decided to fund AMIX I believed it was a sound investment opportunity, more for the public service than for the in-house product. I continue to believe this. For AMIX to succeed, it must run the gauntlet of any new venture; it can fail technologically, in its marketing and sales plans, or just because the time is not right. The considerations that apply here are identical to any efforts we undertake other than self-evident derivatives of current products which are inherently incapable of generating major increments in revenue. AMIX lacks the technological excitement of being a "neat hack" in the sense of Autodesk Animator or The Eagle Project. Instead, I believe it is a Good Business, in the sense of Jiffy Lube or Federal Express; one that may be properly positioned in time and the development of technology to grow and prosper beyond the estimates of its creators.

Mark Gimein
See the full story, follow the link - Technology - Aug. 27, 1999

and also

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IQPort Online Knowledge Exchange
The Launch

IQPort Online Knowledge Exchange Intro'd 05/26/99. Issue: May 26, 1999 LONDON, ENGLAND, 1999 MAY 26 (NB) -- By Steve Gold, Newsbytes. Iqport has taken the wraps of, which it says is the world's first online knowledge exchange. Backed by Natwest Electronic Markets, the online and e-commerce division of National Westminster Bank, the idea behind the Web- based service is that it is a site where anyone can go to and buy or sell knowledge. The Web site is located at According to Ted Lelekas, a spokesperson for the firm, the Iqport marketplace operates on the simple concept of bringing together groups of individuals and organizations that wish to share and trade the knowledge that is vital to the future success of their professions and businesses. Iqport terms these groups "knowledge communities."

These knowledge communities, the firm says, not only provide users of the service with an immediate point of reference, but also play a vital role in identifying and pursuing market trends. According to Nick Hynes, Iqport's chief executive officer (CEO), the service is at the commercial trial stages, and will provide valuable live testing of the concept behind the technology and the lessons learnt will be constantly evaluated. The commercial trial of Iqport kicks off with two key UK knowledge community managers - Business Solutions and World Trade Center. Rather than require users to pay a subscription, the Iqport service is free to register during the commercial trials stage, and users only need pay for information they want to buy. Sellers, meanwhile, only pay a modest commission on their sales.

Although UK-centric at the moment, the gameplan with Iqport is to make service a global operation, with focuses on US, UK, and European markets. Newsbytes notes that Iqport mirrors some of the ideas outlined in BT and IBM's e-commerce strategy of about a year ago. Unlike the BT small business e-commerce Web site, however, the Iqport service does not charge a subscription, meaning that its facilities can be used on a one-off or occasional basis by buyers of information.

According to Keith Ferguson, director of electronic markets with NatWest, the bank is key to explore various avenues on the e-commerce front. "As the range of services available from new technologies - such as the Internet, interactive TV, smart phones and mobile devices - becomes more accessible, the way people live, work and seek information will alter dramatically," he said. "It then becomes more important for banks to provide secure payment systems for a whole range of initiatives which will bring liquidity to the knowledge marketplace," he added. According to Ferguson, the Iqport operation is part of this strategy and will provide NatWest with commercial opportunities in the wider e-commerce marketplace. Reported by,


The market trial of has now ended.

Should you have any questions or need further information, please e-mail us at
Alternatively you can write to us at: Room 324 3rd Floor 41 Lothbury LONDON EC2P 2BP Great Britain
Ideas market closes down March 2000 National Westminster Bank, which last month was taken over by Royal Bank of Scotland, has closed an innovative online project which it could have used to demonstrate its ability to imaginatively exploit the Internet. Iqport, which was launched in May 1999 (see Net Profit, June 99, "Ideas get in a price in Net exchange"), was a Web-based trading community allowing individuals to trade "knowledge", such as mailing lists or business strategy ideas. The bank says the project was not economically viable, although partners in it say it was "on a roll" and that knowledge trading has a strong future. The site had a number of "guilds" or communities, run by third parties, where consumers could post knowledge, from mailing lists to valuable data, in secure packets for sale through the system. Payment was made through the bank's back-end processing system - which was where it would also make its money.

NatWest says Iqport had lower than expected revenue. "It is not a core part of what we are doing on the Internet with online banking and share dealing and so on. The volumes were never going to make it a commercially viable proposition," says a NatWest spokesperson. "These things either work or they don't. In the e-world, you have to drop things quite quickly if they are not working." But partners in the project say it was ahead of expectations. Michael Langridge, director of World Trade Centers UK, which ran one of the guilds, says: "We were developing a very innovative business. In our guild alone, we had 1,200 trades in 24 hours in mid December. It was on a roll. Sales and membership were rising steeply and we were building loyalty. You don't stop something like this if it is beginning to make a profit." Mr Langridge admits they were not very happy with the decision to stop. "We had spent a huge amount of time and money assisting NatWest over the past two years. We have done so much work on it. We were very optimistic about knowledge trading," he says. Chris Stalvies, founder of the Risk Guild, a risk management consultancy and another Iqport participant, says he was often confused about the project's status. "When Iqport was launched I thought they were doing real transactions. Then we were then told that it was just a market trial, and that no real transactions were taking place. As a manager of a guild, I was totally confused."

Mr Stalvies believes the project failed because of inadequate marketing. "The project failed because it wasn't marketed or promoted sufficiently to make it a success. It ended up competing with traditional publishing models that are offering content for free, rather than promoting the unique functions that Iqport was supposed to have." He admits that sales volume on the Risk Guild part of the service had been lower than expected. But, given the newness of the idea, he feels it should have been given more of a chance to grow. "The technical architecture they put together was very good. By the end, it was looking very encouraging," he says. Mr Langridge says NatWest halted Iqport because of external pressures, rather than the actual viability of the project. "The official line has been that the Iqport was no longer part of NatWest's core strategy. But the imminent hostile takeover may have had a big part in the decision. There were people in the bank who were 110 per cent behind the project and then there were people higher up who just didn't understand it."

Nonetheless he believes that online knowledge trading has a good future, even without the backing of a major name such as NatWest. "We are not bitter about it - we believe there is a tremendous future for knowledge trading. We will archive what we have learned and find ways in which to expand on the idea." As part of Nat West's "e-commerce hothouse", the bank has also set up Magex, a digital content management system, and Cybuy, a service providing e-commerce enabled banner advertising. A spokesperson for Magex, which has recently acquired additional funding from some venture capitalists, says that the company plans to become fully independent next year. It is notable that neither service - which could possibly have been used to position NatWest as more advanced than its assaulters - was used to any extent in its bid defence.
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The Launch

New online intellectual property community site, Ventius, launches with backing of Arthur Andersen, ICM Group and Lend Lease Corp. Latest online IP entry differentiated by positioning service Los Angeles, July 19, 2000 — The marketplace for the most potentially profitable, patentable technologies, the area of "Intellectual Property" (IP), may well be one of the least understood and yet one of the most burgeoning categories of the new economy. The intellectual property sector, which has re-invented itself countless times just since January of this year, is offering a key new entrant — Ventius Corp., which is completing its formal launch today. Initiated as a joint incubation effort of founding partners Arthur Andersen, ICM Group and Lend Lease Corp. under the direction of company chief executive officer, Michael Nicklin, Ventius Corp. has recently emerged from a six-month incubation and a three-month soft launch.

The registered user base has grown an average of 76% weekly since its soft launch. According to a recent Business 2.0 article, it is estimated that the small, but highly influential and profitable IP community, is responsible for generating more than US$110 billion for U.S. corporations alone, with the potential to capture more than $3 trillion in untapped future income. Worldwide, only 3% of the commercial potential for IP was realized in 1999. Unlike other entrants into the category, Ventius, which includes the online web site (, is directed at providing a breadth and depth of services to all professionals involved in the creation, management and value extraction of intellectual property.

Intellectual property refers to legally protected intellectual assets, including patents, copyrights, trademarks, technology, and brand and trade secrets. In the past, companies used these assets defensively. In the new economy, companies have begun to manage their IP offensively to generate income, to increase shareholder value and to leverage strategic alliances. "Intangible assets are increasingly driving value in today's business environment," said Richard Boulton, partner for Arthur Andersen and co-author of the newly released IP book "Cracking the Value Code." "Arthur Andersen helps clients to think strategically about the value of their intellectual capital, working with them to manage and maximize the value they extract from it.

We believe that Ventius will play an important role in helping companies to identify and profit from their intellectual capital." "The number of patents being issued in the U.S. has nearly doubled since a decade ago," said Michael Nicklin, chief executive officer of Ventius Corp. "At the same time, corporations are discovering unused existing patents growing old in their vaults. Through both of these movements, the IP area is exploding and every area of the business community is viewing IP as a hot revenue generator. "We are excited to come to the IP community as a communitywide resource to provide access to the education, research, news and community features vital to navigating actual IP transactions.", which offers free registration and access to site resources, operates as a portal and online community, and provides site features that provides the news, education, resources and interaction that are vital to the growing global IP audience. Site features include daily "Intellectual Property Headline News," customized by the industries the user has preselected. In addition, "Article" and "White Paper" areas offer free access to continuously updated documents pertaining to IP research, commentary and thought leadership. The "Spotlight" section features biweekly interviews with leading innovators and thought leaders representing IP activity in the highest-profile U.S. Fortune 100 corporations.

The "Ventius Bookstore" offers a comprehensive catalog of more than 200 currently available IP book titles, as well as a "Links" section with more than 230 links to IP resource sites and a proprietary "Glossary of IP Terms" with more than 270 terms and definitions. The "Events Calendar" lists IP-related events worldwide. In addition, the "Ventius Learning Center" offers free, interactive education online for IP-related subjects.

The "Ventius Site Search" offers a unique categorized results page that groups each type of content for easy review. It also provides direct access to U.S. Patent and Trademark Office searches in the areas of patents, trademarks and domain names. The "Advanced Search" also allows users to perform detailed searches on the patent databases from the United States, Canada and Japan, as well as the U.S. trademark database. "In the past, the IP community evolved as a number of self-contained areas, centered around profession, organizational position, industry and geography," said Dr. Patrick Sullivan, founding partner, ICM Group and author of the newly released book, "Value-driven Intellectual Capital." "The community was fragmented and did not have an overarching umbrella. What excites me about Ventius is that it has a broad definition of the IP space that focuses on the individual interest of each IP professional. As a result, Ventius enables IP professionals in diverse positions and industries — attorneys, R&D professionals, inventors and CEOs — that might never have connected, to access the same ideas and even to collaborate with one another."

About Arthur Andersen Arthur Andersen's vision is to be the partner for success in the new economy. The organization helps clients find new ways to create, manage and measure value in the rapidly changing global economy. With world-class skills in assurance, tax, consulting and corporate finance, Arthur Andersen has more than 77,000 professionals in more than 84 countries who are united by a single worldwide operating structure that fosters inventiveness, knowledge-sharing and a focus on client success. Since its founding in 1913, Arthur Andersen has realized 86 years of uninterrupted growth, with 1999 revenues of more than $7 billion. Arthur Andersen is a business unit of Andersen Worldwide. About ICM Group LLC ICM Group LLC is a management consulting firm that helps companies to extract more value from their innovations.

The company provides state-of-the-art management tools and services that enable customers to systematically maximize the value of their intellectual capital. Major ICM Group clients include Fortune 500 companies such as Air Liquide, Alcatel, The Boeing Company, Compaq Computer, Dow Chemical, DuPont, Eastman Chemical, Netscape, Rockwell International, SC Johnson, Thomson Multimedia and Xerox. In 1995, the ICM Group co-founded the ICM Gathering, which includes more than 30 global companies dedicated to improving the way they manage their intellectual assets and maximizing their financial return. The ICM Group has headquarters in Palo Alto, Calif., and the company can be found on the World Wide Web at About Lend Lease The Lend Lease Group is a fully integrated global real estate group comprising three primary businesses — real estate investment and funds management, project management and construction, and property development. It operates in more than 40 countries on six continents, with a significant presence in the Asia Pacific region, Europe and the United States. In real estate funds management, Lend Lease provides equity and debt origination and management in public and private markets, with $48 billion on behalf of clients globally.

In addition, the group services some $50 billion of commercial real estate loans. Lend Lease also provides project management and construction services, often on a fee-for-service basis, for a blue-chip client base with a high level of repeat business. In property development, Lend Lease has expertise in commercial, retail and complex urban, mixed-use developments, with a strong retail focus, in Europe, Asia, Australia and the United States.

The group utilizes primarily third-party capital. Lend Lease can be found on the World Wide Web at About Ventius Corp. Ventius Corp. was formally launched in July 2000 by founding partners Arthur Andersen, ICM Group and Lend Lease Corp. (, the cornerstone of Ventius Corp., functions as a free, industrywide portal and online community, dedicated to increasing knowledge and collaboration among professionals involved in the creation, management and value extraction of intellectual property — legally protected intellectual assets that include patents, copyrights, trademarks and technology, as well as brand and trade secrets.

THE CRASH was launched earlier this year with strategic intent to accelerate the development of the on-line intellectual property asset management and value extraction space. Since our launch, a plethora of companies have entered the on-line IP arena, including more than twenty on-line exchanges for intellectual property and technology transfer. The combination of a crowded competitive landscape and slow development of the exchange/transactions space has lead to the decision to suspend operations of on Friday, November 10, 2000. We would like to thank you for your interest, enthusiasm and ongoing support of the site since our launch in April of this year.

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The Launch
LiveKnowledge is the leading infrastructure provider of knowledge exchange services. Our solutions enable individuals with questions to obtain specific answers directly from subject matter experts. As an Application Service Provider, we deliver our knowledge exchange services to public and corporate web sites. We are currently running a live knowledge exchange at This site demonstrates the capabilities of our LiveKnowledge Exchange™ solution.

The Crash

First, we want to thank you for your participation on our website, and although we still firmly believe in the new market place of providing expert advice over the Internet, we will be closing our website at the end of June since we have exhausted our funding
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Last Updated January 8, 2001
©Copyright. April 2000. The Kaieteur Institute For Knowledge Management.