Lotus Superstar Chooses Tiny Paracel

Richard Diephuis tired of an organization that had gotten too big

P> PASADENA, Calif. -- Suddenly Richard J. Diephuis breaks through the interview format: "I'm no good at this." By "this" he means the interview, the press thing, talking about leading-edge technology at a long conference table.


If there were a computer developer's hall of fame, Richard J. Diephuis would have been inaugurated long ago. He's the MIT Ph.D. who developed and shipped Lotus Notes 1.0. Computer development is his game, talking about it, well, that's a pain. But there are some things you have to do when you've made waves in the industry. He left his established post at Lotus Development Corp., Cambridge, Mass., where he was director of Notes Product Development, and landed at the nascent, 35-employee Paracel, 3,000 miles away. Diephuis left Lotus late last year as the shadow of IBM's acquisition of Lotus approached.

His software-to-hardware, Boston-to-Pasadena move surprised some industry watchers who had thought the computer developer hall of famer would end up at one of the big software firms in Silicon Valley or elsewhere. Like his new boss Dr. Kwang-I Yu, Diephuis wears no neck tie.

"Notes was a lot of fun," Diephuis says reservedly. "But it got too big. I like small companies." Then he looks at his hands and waits, in slight pain, for another question.

Why Paracel? "This is interesting technology solving problems on the information explosion," said Diephuis, 55. Even when frowning he looks 15 years younger than his age.

He's asked about the weather here in Pasadena. He looks up, animated. "My wife called me from Boston this morning -- snow, 20 degrees out, car slipping on the roads -- look out there." He points out the window to a sunny southern California day. Diephuis smiles. "The family's moving out here next month." Then he slowly turns back to the conference table. He looks at his hands again.

How is Paracel's Fast Data Finder different from a software search engine?

"It's a filtering engine. It's distinct from a search engine in that the filtering engine is not so much after an archival search -- which it can do -- but filtering is or should be basically in real-time. "

"We can do much more complex searches [than Notes], we can even deal with misspellings by using fuzzy logic. That helps with things like the different spellings of, for example, 'Ghadaffi.'"

Diephuis looks up as an aide enters the conference room. "Any more questions?"

No, not really.


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