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Justin Graves has a strong development background, having cut his teeth in the gaming industry. Early in his career, Justin founded a company that developed a 3D gaming platform. Soon after, he joined an advertising agency to aid in the development of a system that would monitor conversations about certain brands within a small group of websites. The highlight of this tool was an intelligent, 3D data analysis application, developed by Justin and his team.
While at the agency, Justin envisioned starting an analytics company that provided deep insight into the growing number of online conversations rising every day. With the agency’s agreement to become his first customer, Justin launched Infegy in 2007, recently named one of the “Companies to Watch” by world-renowned analyst firm IDC, where he continued to evolve his concepts into what has today become Social Radar™.
Infegy is the provider of Social Radar, the industry’s most intelligent social media monitoring and web analytics platform. Delivered through the cloud, Social Radar enables organizations to instantly listen and discern meaning from all of the conversations that occur every moment on the web and through social channels.
Gus: What do you enjoy most about your job? What do you enjoy the least?
Justin: I love working with our team to solve challenging and complex problems in extracting the most insight from our huge dataset. I work with some of the most brilliant people I know, and very much enjoy every day with them. As for what I enjoy the least, that is a tough one! I really love what I do so much, that it’s hard to name something I dislike about it.
Gus: What are some of the advantages of using social analytics? Is this just a tool for mid to larger sized companies or can entrepreneurs and small businesses also benefit from using social media monitoring?
Justin: The value is huge. Imagine being able to gauge feedback from consumers the day you launch a new product. What do they like about it? What do they dislike? Perhaps men and women are giving differing feedback, or we can see this data regionally. This kind of research provides powerful opinion monitoring and in-depth consumer analysis, but at scales unimaginable with traditional market research, and it can be done in seconds.
As far as who can use it, given we are analyzing conversations to get our data, topics which have more conversation tend to work better than those with very little. This tends to correlate well with overall business size, but not always. That said, even smaller companies have found value in researching their market, competitors and concepts for future offerings, rather than just looking at their brand directly.
Gus: I read that you’re able to sort through some 8 billion Internet posts (including Tweets, blog posts, and customer comments.) Can you provide our readers with a basic understanding of how Social Radar works and some of the challenges of developing a program like this?
Justin: We’re now up to almost 22 billion posts! Social Radar is able to sort through massive amounts of Internet posts around a keyword to find out what people are saying about that keyword. So for example, take a brand name. Social Radar can aggregate and organize what people are saying online about that brand name—measuring online sentiment to gauge trends, predict consumer needs, and drive strategy for that brand.
A major challenge we have always had has been keeping Social Radar as fast and responsive as it is, as this dataset has grown exponentially. Our software enables near-instant, in-depth consumer research on any subject imaginable, and keeping that kind of responsive and rich functionality working smoothly as the dataset continues to grow at such a quick rate has been tough, but we’ve made it so far! It’s been phenomenal to experience this kind of scaling and keep up.
Gus: Is it entertaining to be monitoring thousands of online conversations and interactions or does it feel like work?
Justin: Well, we, of course, don’t monitor them manually, but instead write software that performs the analysis. I very much continue to enjoy the work we do building Social Radar into the excellent research platform it is today.
Gus: How does it feel to be called an innovator and a visionary? Have you always had a knack for solving problems or having unique insights?
Justin: I have long enjoyed solving problems and challenges in interesting and unique ways. Computer programming helped me satisfy this passion as early as age 12, and I’ve been hooked ever since.
Gus: You’ve clearly impressed a great deal of people so far. Who impresses or inspires you? Have you had any mentors during the course of your career?
Justin: I am inspired by a variety of people who’ve achieved great things, from John Carmack of id Software, who helped inspire my early passion for programming and mathematics, to Louis Hamilton, who was (albeit briefly) the youngest ever Formula One world champion. I have also had some great mentors, notably James Clarke, who took Infegy under his wing when it was still just a geek’s technical demonstration and helped turn it into a real business.
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