本文摘要:UPON HEARING, IN MARCH of this year, reports that a 17-year-old schoolboy had sold a piece of software to Yahoo!


UPON HEARING, IN MARCH of this year, reports that a 17-year-old schoolboy had sold a piece of software to Yahoo! for $30 million, you might well have entertained a few preconceived notions about what sort of child this must be. A geeky specimen, no doubt. A savant with zero interests outside writing lines of code. A twitchy creature, prone to mumbling, averse to eye contact.当你听闻今年3月份,一个17岁的学生把自己设计的一款软件以3,000万美元卖给雅虎公司(Yahoo! Inc., YHOO)的时候。对于这孩子的形貌,你脑海里也许已勾画出一个无厘头的形象了吧:不用说,认同是个极客。一个除了一行一行写出代码之外对什么也不感兴趣的学霸。一个不肯正眼男子汉人还杨家小声儿嘀咕着什么的神经质。

Thus its rather a shock when you first encounter Nick DAloisio striding into Londons Bar Boulud restaurant, firmly shaking hands and proceeding to outline his entrepreneurial vision. To imagine him in person, picture a Silicon Valley CEO blessed with an easy manner and 97th percentile media skills. Picture a guy who can confidently expound (while maintaining steady eye contact) on topics ranging from Noam Chomskys theories to the science of neural networks to the immigrant mind-set to the Buddhist concept of jnana. And now picture this fellow trapped inside the gangly body of a British teen who might easily be mistaken for a member of the pop boy band One Direction-clad in a hipster T-shirt beneath a fitted blazer, hair swooping over his forehead, taking bites of a cheeseburger between bold pronouncements.那么,当你看见17岁的尼克?约洛伊西奥(Nick D’Aloisio)意气风发地走出伦敦巴尔?布鲁(Bar Boulud)餐厅,与人忠诚地握住著手,刻画他未来事业蓝图的时候,你应当不会吃惊得合不拢嘴了吧。他就看起来个来自硅谷的首席执行长(CEO),应付媒体时从容不迫,技巧上可以打97的高分。聊天时,他眼神忠诚地身旁着你,从诺姆?乔姆斯基(Noam Chomsky)的理论、神经网络科学,到移民心态乃至佛教瑜伽,他一切话题都能热情地畅所欲言。

但他又看起来个One Direction男孩人组的成员,粗壮的身材配上着嬉皮士T恤和明理小西装,头发杂乱地搭乘在脑门前,一旁咬着吉士汉堡,一旁公开发表着让人瞠目结舌的看法。The app DAloisio designed, Summly, compresses long pieces of text into a few representative sentences. When he released an early iteration, tech observers realized that an app that could deliver brief, accurate summaries would be hugely valuable in a world where we read everything-from news stories to corporate reports-on our phones, on the go. The app attracted the interest of investors around the world, ranging from Hollywood celebrities to Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing, the wealthiest man in Asia.约洛伊西奥设计了一款名为Summly的应用软件,该软件需要将繁冗的文章精简成几行关键句子。早于一代Summly软件公布后,技术观察家意识到在这个无论资讯还是财报,一切新闻都较慢阅于携带型的时代,这样一款简练、精准的概要软件蕴含着极大的价值。

该应用于更有了还包括好莱坞明星和亚洲首富李嘉诚在内的全世界投资者的兴趣。In 2011, at age 15, DAloisio closed a seed round of funding from Li Ka-shing. A year later, Summly launched, and within a month it had attracted 500,000 users and became the number-one news app in 28 countries. The Yahoo! sale capped off a remarkable run for someone not yet out of high school. But its not mere technological savvy that sets DAloisio apart. Since long before he could shave, he has been driven by an intense curiosity and a desire to make some sort of mark on the tech world. Not just to create but to build and, yes, to monetize.2011年在约洛伊西奥15岁时,他就曾取得来自李嘉诚的种子投资。



不仅要创意,还要有所成就,当然,还要大把赚。Hes lately begun taking meetings with the likes of Marissa Mayer and Rupert Murdoch. (Murdoch is chairman of News Corp, which owns The Wall Street Journal.) Though DAloisios net worth at this point is merely eye-popping, not obscene, in his own youthful way he seems every bit as formidable as relative gray-hairs like 27-year-old Tumblr founder David Karp or 29-year-old Facebook wunderkind Mark Zuckerberg. He captivates a room, says Joshua Kushner, founder of Thrive Capital, an early backer of Summly. He is incredibly self-aware for his age.他最近已开始和玛丽莎?梅耶尔(Marissa Mayer)、鲁伯特?默多克(Rupert Murdoch)这样的产业大亨展开会面(默多克正是《华尔街日报》(The Wall Street Journal)所属新闻集团(News Corp.)的董事长)。

目前约洛伊西奥的资产净值早已很高,但还没有多到令人眼红的地步。但正如轻博客(Tumblr)创始人大卫?卡普(David Karp)和29岁的Facebook神童马克?扎克伯格(Mark Zuckerberg)一样,约洛伊西奥已十分有一点敬佩。Summly早期投资方之一、兴盛资本(Thrive Capital)创始人乔舒亚?库什纳(Joshua Kushner)评价道,他的气场能震住整个房间的人,他这个年龄自我意识能如此之强劲,实属绝佳。

DALOISIO BEGAN designing iPhone apps nearly the moment the app store opened in 2008. He was 12 years old, working on a Mac in his bedroom in the London district of Wimbledon. Because he was too young, he signed up for the Apple developers license using his fathers name. Hed taken no formal computer science classes at school, and neither of his parents (Diana and Lou, a lawyer and a business executive, respectively) knew much about tech. Instead, he learned how to program almost entirely by himself, scouring websites and watching instructional videos.自从2008年智能手机应用于商店开始运营以来,约洛伊西奥就著手设计iPhone手机应用软件。那时12岁的他住在伦敦的温布尔顿,用卧室里的Mac电脑来工作。因为年纪太小,他在填上苹果(Apple)研发许可申请人时用的都是他爸爸的名字。这之前他没有在学校接受月的电脑培训,他的父母(一个是律师,一个是商界管理人士)也都不专门从事技术行业工作。

他完全是几乎靠刷网页、看教程来自学编程的。His first coding effort resulted in an app that played audio snippets from speeches by his idol, Steve Jobs, whose unauthorized biography hed recently devoured. It was rejected by Apple for every reason, DAloisio says now, laughing. Copyrighted audio, poor functionality, too simple. Another early design allowed users to touch a picture of wood, producing a knocking sound. A third transformed a smartphone screen into a treadmill for your fingers. That one earned about $120 in sales on its first day.他续写的第一款软件是个音频播放器,可以播出他偶像史蒂夫?乔布斯(Steve Jobs)演说的音频片段,而音频来自一个乔布斯的传记,内容没经过许可。如今约洛伊西奥笑着回想道,软件因为音频不受版权保护、性能不简洁、过分非常简单之类的各种原因,被苹果拒绝接受了。


When he wasnt programming or doing schoolwork, DAloisio began to fill his spare time reading about natural language processing. Hed studied languages as diverse as Latin and Mandarin, and became fascinated by concepts like grammatical frameworks, morpheme parsing and the 1960s work of the linguist Richard Montague. Hes my favorite, DAloisio enthuses. He theorized that natural language could be described like a syntactical programming language.除了编程和写出作业,约洛伊西奥开始抽时间来读者自然语言处置(natural language processing)方面的文章。他还自学了拉丁文和中文,并且对语言学理念产生了浓烈的兴趣,例如语法框架、语素解析,以及上世纪60年代语言学家理查德?蒙塔古(Richard Montague) 的理论。约洛伊西奥热情地说,他是我最喜欢的语言学家,根据他的理论,自然语言可以被视为遵照一定句法写的编程语言。

As he scanned the Internet for knowledge, DAloisio decided that what he really needed was a better way to determine, at a glance, what was worth reading. He envisioned a summarization tool that used language theory to give a meaningful synopsis in fewer than 400 characters.随着他大大运用网络来收集科学知识,约洛伊西奥意识到,他急需一个能让他较慢确认文章读者价值的方法。于是他设想了一个概要工具,能运用语言学理论来撰写高于400字的内容提要。There are two ways of doing natural language processing: statistical or semantic, DAloisio explains. A semantic system attempts to figure out the actual meaning of a text and translate it succinctly. A statistical system-the type DAloisio used for Summly-doesnt bother with that; it keeps phrases and sentences intact and figures out how to pick a few that best encapsulate the entire work. It ranks and classifies each sentence, or phrase, as a candidate for inclusion in the summary. Its very mathematical. It looks at frequencies and distributions, but not at what the words mean.约洛伊西奥说明道,自然语言处置有统计学和语义学两种方法,语义学系统企图解析文章的现实含义并对其展开简练的译介。



An early iteration of Summly, called Trimit, was featured in Apples app store in July 2011 on a list of new and noteworthy offerings. There it was noticed by the influential Silicon Valley blog TechCrunch and quickly came to the attention of an investment group led by Li Ka-shing. When DAloisio was approached over email by Lis people at Horizons Ventures, he was only 15-and so far mostly managed to conceal that fact. Hed never met with anyone in the tech world face to face, and the information hed listed when he registered Trimit spoke only vaguely of a London technology company. It failed to mention that the companys management and technology teams-in fact, its entire workforce-consisted of a single kid in a suburban bedroom who wasnt yet old enough to drive.Summly的一个早期版本──Trimit,于2011年7月经常出现在了苹果app store“新品引荐”栏目中。正是在这里,它被极具影响力的硅谷《科技博客》(TechCrunch)所注目,并很快引发了李嘉诚的投资集团的留意。当约洛伊西奥接到李嘉诚的维港投资(Horizons Ventures)发去的电子邮件时,他只有15岁,并且基本没有让什么人告诉他所做到的事情。在那之前,他未曾与科技领域内的任何人物见过面,而他在Trimit的注册信息中也只是粗略形容自己是“伦敦的一家科技公司”。

只能靠这一信息,谁也会想起这家公司的管理和技术团队──事实上,它的全部职员──居然是住在郊区卧室里的一个连车都无法进的小孩。I thought I was going to sell the app in the Apple store for a pound or two each, and then Id use the money to buy a new computer, says DAloisio. Id never had any contact from an investor before. And now heres an email supposedly from a Hong Kong billionaire. It sounded dodgy. I didnt respond the first time. They had to email me again. DAloisio was accompanied by his mother and father (they were a bit bewildered, it was kind of insane) as he took a meeting with Horizons Venturess representatives in London in August 2011. The meeting ended with DAloisio receiving a seed investment of $300,000.约洛伊西奥说道,我本来只是想在苹果app store用一两英镑的价格出售这个软件,然后用赚来的钱给自己换台新的电脑。我之前从未联系过任何投资商。而如今一个香港的亿万富翁居然给我发电邮了,这过于怪异了。


会晤完结后,约洛伊西奥取得了30万美元的种子投资。As fall arrived and school began, DAloisio felt immense pressure to deliver for his backers. He needed to whip his algorithm into better shape, so he contracted a team of Israeli coders who specialize in natural language processing. Searching on Google, he found and hired a retired professor living in Thailand whod written seminal books on the topic. He became our main scientist, says DAloisio. He now works at Yahoo! in the Sunnyvale office.当年秋天开学后,约洛伊西奥开始感觉到肩上身负起了来自投资方的极大压力。他必须提高软件的运算法则,于是他寻找了以色列一个专门从事自然语言处置的编程团队,并签定了合约。他还用谷歌(Google)搜寻寻找了一位居住于在泰国、在该领域有过重要著作的卸任教授。

约洛伊西奥说道,他出了我们的科研主管,他现在在雅虎的森尼维尔办公室工作。Meanwhile, he was being ferried around the globe to tech conferences, getting introduced to other potential investors. DAloisio made a remarkable impression on everyone he crossed paths with. He has an eerie maturity, says Andrew Halls, headmaster of the Kings College School in Wimbledon, which DAloisio has attended since he was 11. He has an extraordinary articulateness in the face of situations that, for me, even as a 54-year-old, might be terrifying.与此同时,约洛伊西奥开始环游世界,四处参与会议,并结识其他潜在的投资人。

他给每一位结识的人都留给极深的印象。温布尔顿国王学院中学(King’s College School)的校长安德鲁?霍尔斯(Andrew Halls)评价道,他成熟期得可怕,他在各种状况下仍维持着明晰的思维,这令其我这个54岁的人都实在吃惊。I was blown away by him, Kushner recalls. The first time I interacted with him was at News Corp, when he was meeting with Murdoch, and I was looped in to provide perspective. Nick described the vision of what he was trying to accomplish. And he was providing insight to Rupert. DAloisios stage presence, coupled with the deep-pocketed credibility brought by Li, attracted a large group of benefactors to Summly, including Ashton Kutcher, Yoko Ono and Stephen Fry.库什纳回想道,我当时被他深深赞叹了。


他协助默多克加剧了对一些事物的看法。约洛伊西奥在台上的出色展现出,再加背后李嘉诚的实力雄厚财力,为Summly招致了还包括艾什顿?库奇(Ashton Kutcher)、小野洋子(Yoko Ono)、史蒂芬?弗莱(Stephen Fry)等许多人的捐献。DALOISIO HAS BEEN quoted opining that time is the new currency. Its the driving notion behind Summly. Its also a strangely wise observation from a 17-year-old. At that age, many of us had more time on our hands than we knew how to fill without plummeting into severe boredom. Its easy to forget-conversing over lunch in a London caf钼 or strolling through the Tate Modern-that DAloisio was born in 1995 and has not yet graduated from high school. Or that he still lives in his childhood bedroom, in a cozy upper-middle-class home. As I chat with his parents, he excuses himself to work on his computer. Slouching down the hall in his stocking feet, hems of his skinny jeans brushing the hallway carpet, it is the most kidlike you will ever see him.约洛伊西奥经常讨厌说道“时间是新的货币”。


不见他穿著袜子丢下,牛仔裤腿落下大厅的地毯──此时此刻是他最像个孩子的时候。DAloisios parents came to England from Australia. His father, Lou, has worked in commodities for BP and Morgan Stanley, while his mother, Diana, is a corporate lawyer who also serves as her sons contractual representative. They always knew DAloisio was an extremely inquisitive child. But he was our first, so we didnt think it was anything out of the ordinary, says Diana. (DAloisios brother, Matthew, is 14.) They stress that despite his impressive accomplishments, he remains a normal kid. Or at least as normal as a kid can be when hes making offhand references to Markov models and stochastic processes. He still goes out on weekends, still goes to parties, says Diana. Hes got a girlfriend. All the things you do at 17.约洛伊西奥的父母从澳大利亚搬到到英国,他的父亲卢(Lou)曾在英国石油(BP)和摩根士丹利(Morgan Stanley)工作,而母亲戴安娜(Diana)是一位企业律师,同时也是儿子的合约代表。


他们一向都告诉约洛伊西奥是一个十分好学的孩子。但戴安娜说道因为他是长子,他们本以为他会作出什么远超过奇怪的事情来(约洛伊西奥有一个14岁的弟弟)。他们特别强调,尽管约洛伊西奥成就非凡,尽管他聊天时会聊起马尔科夫模型(Markov models)和随机过程(stochastic processes),他仍只是一个再行普通不过的孩子。

戴安娜说道,他周末仍要出去玩,才会去参与舞会。他还有个女朋友。17岁孩子不会做到的事情,他都会做到。DAloisio himself strives to maintain a bubble of normalcy. He dates the same girl he did before the whirlwind hit. And though hes stopped attending school-hes too busy to sit in class while overseeing Summlys development-he still gets his work from his teachers and meets with them regularly. He cherishes the fact that his circle of friends knows little of his life as a budding industrialist. When I met him, he was about to head to Greece for a weeklong vacation with a pack of high school pals.约洛伊西奥也竭力保持着生活原本的样子。


For now, DAloisio isnt touching the money. Im too young to appreciate the value of it, he insists. I dont have a mortgage, Im 17. To me, a hundred pounds is a lot. Take that as a benchmark. Though hes not allowed to comment on Summlys sale price, when pressed he allows that he might one day like to deploy his newfound riches as an angel investor. No one around him seems to think theres a danger that the money will ruin him or that hell be tempted to spend the rest of his life dissipating on a beach. Hes pretty well grounded. You wouldnt believe how frugal he is, says Diane. Hes got a great engine, says Lou. He wont stop at this.现在约洛伊西奥还不负责管理他的收益。他否认说道,我过于年长了,还不懂如何充分发挥其价值。我没房贷,我才17。对我来说100英镑就是个大数目了,这就是我对钱的大体概念。


戴安娜说道,孩子很做事,很有冲劲儿,他会暂停努力奋斗的。Perhaps the more interesting question is what drove Yahoo! to shell out that reported $30 million for a single app. To be sure, Summlys text-compression abilities dovetail nicely with Yahoo!s new focus on mobile utilities. Along with Yahoo!s $1.1 billion purchase of the blogging service Tumblr and the launch of an acclaimed new weather app, the Summly move marks a commitment to owning the tiny real estate of the smartphone screen-and serving advertising to the youthful eyeballs that tend to gravitate to mobile devices.而也许更加引人关注的问题是,雅虎到底为何要求拿走3,000万美元来并购一款手机应用于呢?诚然,Summly的文本提炼能力与新战略下的雅虎对移动设备的注重不谋而合。预示着以11亿美元对轻博客的并购,以及甚广不受赞誉的新款天气应用于的发售,Summly软件的重新加入亲眼了雅虎攻占智能手机领域的忠诚决意,以及为爱人使手机的年长消费者获取优质服务的不懈努力。

But theres little doubt this was also an acqui-hire, in which the person being bought is just as important as the product. DAloisio is now working full time in Yahoo!s London office, and his youth, his energy and his undeniable it-factor have brought the formerly musty tech giant a much-needed injection of cool. Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer -who lends the company some of her own it-factor-praises his commitment to excellence in design and simplicity and says she is inspired by the creativity and tenacity Nick brings to his work.不过需要无稽之谈,软件的并购同时意味著“人才的并购”,雅虎卖给的不只是产品,还有产品背后的人。约洛伊西奥如今已是雅虎伦敦分部的全职员工,而他的青春活力以及无可厚非的独有潜质给这个曾多次腐化老旧的科技巨头流经了迫切需要的新鲜活力。雅虎CEO玛丽莎?梅耶尔赞许他“力求设计的极致和产品的简洁”,相提并论自己“被他的建构活力和结实精神所病毒感染”。

While DAloisio spends 80 percent of his work time retooling and improving Summly (which has already been integrated into Yahoo!s iPhone app), the other 20 percent is devoted to imagining the expansive challenges hell take on next. He predicts there will be summarization programs that do for video what Summly does for the written word. He has grand thoughts about using technology to aid learning and would like to help fellow autodidacts while disrupting the old educational models.目前,约洛伊西奥80%的工作环绕着Summly的重构和改进进行,而另外20%的工作精力则用来思维今后的挑战方向。他预测,未来将不会有一款如同Summly提炼文字一样可以提炼视频的软件。他设想了许多运用科技来协助人们自学科学知识的方法,并期望在旧有教育模式崩溃的同时协助人们更佳地构建自律自学。As for his own education: Hes weighing whether to enroll in university in England or maybe the U.S. to be closer to Silicon Valley. Or perhaps hell skip college entirely and just focus on his work. I absolutely want to start another company, he says. Serial entrepreneurs get addicted to creation. I want to be passionate. I feel really bad when Im not doing something new.而至于他自己的教育问题:他在考虑到是回到英国,还是为了离硅谷更加将近而去读书美国的大学。