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Inflection: Adaptive Path Founder Calls It Quits

January 09, 2012
VentureBeat
by Jolie O'Dell

Peter Merholz, the man who co-founded strategy and design firm Adaptive Path and coined the term “blog,” has left the agency to work at a Silicon Valley startup.

Merholz will now work for Inflection, a big-data startup with an office a stone’s throw from the Oracle campus in Redwood City, California.

“Peter built Adaptive Path for 10-plus years and has decided to take on an operating role where he can influence UX inside a company, rather than from a consulting angle,” an Inflection spokesperson wrote to VentureBeat in an email.

Merholz, who founded Adaptive Path in 2001, will lead Inflection’s user experience team as the company’s new VP of UX.

“I see my real job as encouraging a company-wide mindset around holistic customer experience, built on a foundation of deep empathy for our users,” Merholz stated in a release.

“That empathy will guide us in the ongoing expansion of Inflection’s portfolio, ensuring the delivery of outstanding products and services that meet very real customer needs.”

Inflection’s porfolio includes around 8 billion public records; the startup’s goal is to make finding public documents simple and affordable for normal users. Right now, the company aggregates data from sources such as the U.S. census, courts, yearbooks, phone books, business filings and other public records. The company owns and operates Archives.com and PeopleSmart.com.

A company rep said Merholz’s experience and acumen will be especially valuable in a few specific projects. According to this spokesperson, Archives.com is “now in a position to innovate the core user experience for someone who wants to build their family tree and discover their family history. Peter’s experience will help us get there.”

New product launches over the next two quarters, as well as recruiting and training a best-in-class UX and design team, will round out Merholz’s duties in his new job.

Inflection was founded in 2006 by brothers Brian and Matthew Monahan, who hacked the company together from the cozy confines of their Harvard dorm room. The company took its first funding in 2010 and currently has around 135 employees in two offices, one in Redwood City and the other in Omaha, Nebraska (ah, we love Omaha — no sarcasm).

So what about Adaptive Path? With two studios (one in San Francisco and another in Austin, Texas) and a client roster that includes Samsung, USAA, and The Harvard Business Review, the shop is likely in good shape and shows no signs of slowing down. Merholz will remain as an advisor, as have many of his co-founders.

Inflection: Adaptive Path Founder Calls It Quits

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