Inception Founder Interview: Kazuki Nakayashiki, cofounder of Glasp

Image of Kazuki, founder of Glasp

In this insightful interview, we sit down with Kazuki Nakayashiki, the visionary founder of Glasp and a pioneering member of Inception Studio's first cohort, to explore his entrepreneurial journey and the driving forces behind his passion for knowledge sharing. From his early experiments to the development of Glasp, a platform that empowers users to capture and share information, Kazuki shares the unconventional strategies that have fueled his success.

He also discusses the profound impact of a near-death experience on his mission, the importance of mission-driven entrepreneurship, and the role of Inception Studio in shaping his approach to incorporating AI into his platform. Join us as we delve into Kazuki's insights on building a digital legacy, choosing the right co-founder, and the power of perseverance in the face of adversity.

What's the first thing you ever created or sold?

I’m really interested in knowledge management and knowledge sharing. The first thing I built was when I was a college student. It didn’t involve any coding, but I set up a Google sheet so that people could share any information they found interesting. They were able to curate information about various technologies and topics. That’s the first thing I ever created, and it’s related to our current project, Glasp.

What's the most unconventional thing you've done, to get you where you are now?

We do so many things that don't scale, especially in the beginning. For example, we sent thousands of DMs on LinkedIn and Twitter every day to talk to literally all the users. We targeted people in the education, knowledge management, and the note taking spaces. We reached out, telling them about the mission we’re on, why it matters, and asked them to be part of our journey.

What insights did you gain from doing this?

We realized that mission really matters. Folks who read about our history resonated with what we do. I think that the mission and vision are the reason the company exists, and we have that long term thinking in mind.

What’s the one liner on what Glasp does?

At we empower knowledge sharing. We provide a tool that allows you to easily capture information and share it with your friends, co-workers, or anyone so that people can share the information they find interesting with others, and people can learn from each other and learn together.

Glasp Website

Why did you choose to solve this problem?

This idea came from my near death experience. When I was 20, I had a subdural hematoma, the left side of my body was paralyzed, and I was almost dead. After I got the MRI, the doctor came into the room and said I had so much blood in my brain that my lungs or heart could stop anytime.  I had surgery and thankfully I'm okay now, but at the time I was so scared because I might disappear from this world.  Also, at the same time, I hadn't given back anything to the community or society yet. I was just a student, taking people's knowledge but hadn't given back. 

Since then, I've been thinking about how I can contribute to other people and to society. That's how I came up with this idea. At the same time, the problem we see nowadays is isolation of knowledge. There are so many great tools, like note taking apps and documentation tools, but they’re mainly focused on personal use. People build their knowledge in these tools and put in so much insightful information, but once they die, nobody can access the knowledge they built throughout their life. Isn’t it a huge loss for us? So I want to open up the knowledge for all, so we can benefit from each other.

What's been your most significant moment or milestone since starting your venture?

We recently hit 1 million installs and also we have around four million annotations – people leaving recorded digital legacies, for other people.

Where do you see your company in the next 10 years?

Our vision is to become a digital legacy platform where anyone can build their own agent or “Digital Me.” Currently, we allow people to capture information that they resonate with, and that shows who they are and what they care about. Using that data and language models, we can have a Digital Me for each user. So if you ask my Digital Me, “Hey, Kazuki, what's the future of AI?” then my agent answers the question based on the information I resonated with. Anyone can have a Digital Me so that even after they die, they have a digital agent that can contribute to other people. Or 100 years later, my great grandchildren can still interact with my digital legacy. That excites me.

Kazuki's Digital Me
Asking Kazuki's Digital Me about the future of AI

What's a personal failure or low point that has set you up for your current success?

In my first company, I had an ex-cofounder. I was passionate about the project but it didn't go well due to co-founder conflict. There’s a messy story behind it, and I was so devastated. I had a hole in my lung, I couldn't breathe sometimes. It was horrible, but that experience made me think about how to choose a co-founder. I want to go to work with people who I love and see the same vision and resonate with the same mission. I think that really matters. Now, at Glasp I'm so satisfied and our team is strong.

What role has Inception played in your entrepreneurial journey?

When I joined Cohort 1 last November, I had played with Open AI and Chat GPT3 before, but I wasn't sure how to incorporate the technology into our platform. When I joined Inception Studio, a lot of great minds taught me how to use this technology, helping me with fine tuning, or showing me how text embedding works, or how to use it in production. So that opened my eyes and since then, I've been actively adding features and playing with generative AI.

What advice would you give to someone who's looking for ideas and/or co-founder through inception?

I believe people show their true color during difficult times. The main reason why startups fail is due to co-founder conflict. People have their own tastes and way of approaching the goal. It's not about good or bad, it's about if you resonate. So by working on the same idea on the same team, you will see how this person works and approaches the goal.

What does Inception mean to you?

To me, Inception is a moment when your mission and purpose find you. Everything starts with a small step. Einstein said, life is like riding a bicycle and to keep the balance, you must keep moving, right? The more you move, something will call on you.

Any final thoughts you’d like to share with our readers?

I think there is a Lindy effect to yourself. The Lindy effect suggests that the longer something has been around, the more likely it is to continue existing in the future. So for example, books from thousands of years ago will survive for the next decades, at least. But we don’t know if the articles or news published today will still be popular decades later.

I think the Lindy Effect can apply to yourself, to your character. People do what they care about over time, and you might not realize it right away, but I think you’ll realize at some point, “Oh, I was doing this whole time. So this is my mission or purpose.”

In my case, I've been curating, capturing, and sharing information with friends and co-workers for decades, and I think I will keep capturing information and sharing for the next decades to come, because I've been doing it for decades.  I think finding Your Lindy effect is a very important point to do something big, because those are your traits and character - the things you care about and who you are. We all have our own personal Lindy effect, and you just need to find it.

Another quote that really resonated with me is, “Don't be limited by other people's limited imagination,” by Mae Jemison, the first African American woman to travel into space. People can say so many things to you but I think you can be anything. It's a white canvas all the time, and you can draw whatever you want. I often remind myself about this.

Glasp Logo