Adam Cahan is the Yahoo! executive behind the company’s recent acquisition of Summly, the mobile product that sums up news in phone-friendly format. (Summly turned heads for many reasons, one being Nick D’Aloisio, the Englishman, er Englishkid who founded it when he was 15.) The Summly app will close but according to Cahan we’ll see a new and improved version on Yahoo! soon. Cahan landed his job at Yahoo! last year with the acquisition of his app IntoNow (a social media TV companion; it shows you who else is watching what you’re watching – and should be watching – on TV). Cahan’s resume reads like a recruiter’s dream: CEO of Auditude (acquired by Adobe, $100m), exec at MTV networks, Google, McKinsey, NBC Universal. And oh yeah, he used to live with the Mbuti tribe in Zaire where he made wildlife films for National Geographic Television.
Cahan says he “likes to build things that make users happy.” He also holds a patent on “Restoring Program Information from Clips of Broadcast Programs Shared Online” (US 8,295,363, issued October 23, 2012). The technology will help restore the original information (broadcast attribution) typically lost when a video clip gets shared online. Community sharing websites usually strip such info. Cahan’s technology will remedy this glitch (and might help many avoid costly IP legal woes). It will restore the info by matching the clip against a massive broadcast database, sort of like what they do with your face at the airport. Cahan doesn’t want to take unattributed clips down; he just wants credit where credit is due. Plus, the information will be helpful for the placement of targeted advertisements. He might have been a filmmaker living in a tent in Africa years ago, but with an MBA from Columbia, he’s now sitting comfortably in Silicon Valley.