What’s In A Name? Why Polanyio?


Many people have asked me how we found such an intriguing name. Coming from the domain name industry I am always mindful that one needs to find a unique name that not only rolls off the tongue, but also has some domain name real estate available. But here’s the real story behind the name.

Michael Polanyi was a Hungarian born professor who made important contributions to research in chemistry, economics and philosophy in the early part of the 20th Century. He was a true polymath, originally training in Budapest as a medical doctor. But he later took up a scholarship to study chemistry in Germany and was a friend and contemporary of Albert Einstein.

He was appointed to a professorship in England just as war was becoming imminent in Europe. After an eye-opening visit to Russia he became concerned with the importance of scientific freedom and the ability of scientists to openly collaborate. This also led him to think more about the way we socially contextualise ideas and knowledge generally. He was opposed to the prevailing positivist view of science and coined the phrase “tacit knowledge” to reflect an intangible and subtle framework upon which knowledge truly resides within a person.

Polanyi consequently argued against his good friend Alan Turing’s view that human thinking could be reduced to a set of algorithms. Ironically however, the design form of social networks and nodes that facilitate the transference of knowledge, does have deep parallels to the mathematical structures that now form the foundations of modern machine learning technology.

Polanyi was a remarkably talented man. As entrepreneur scientists we salute his genius.