Our inboxes contain deeply private messages, so I'm used to hearing an initial reaction like this from Pascal Van Hecke
Watching http://web.mailana.com/demo/ don't understand anyone can believe employees will ever let their employers analyse all of their email
I need to create a full video to address why that first impression is wrong, but here's the short version:
Employees have complete control. The system suggests a profile for every person, but they're free to alter it, or even not publish it at all. There's a white-list of expertise keywords so all the suggestions will be safe, and nothing is revealed but your profile.
Employees benefit. I'm passionate about building this thanks to my experiences at the Apple coal face. Ask anyone working in a large company, they desperately need better ways of finding expertise. My goal is to save some unneeded late nights and hair loss and help people get things done faster.
Big Brother doesn't pay. There is a small market out there for business intelligence and 'compliance' monitoring of email, but very few companies want to alienate their employees by making them feel spied on. The big opportunity is in building a tool that is eagerly adopted by users, and that means building something they can trust to protect their privacy.
Similar projects were popular. I've spoken directly to a number of users of both Microsoft Knowledge Network and Tacit, earlier attempts based on similar ideas. Everyone who'd used them was very happy with the results.
I know I'll have to fight hard to win people over, but this really is an innovation that can make the world better, not another step towards an Orwellian nightmare. As @ev said at TED "when you give people better ways to share information, great things happen".