When I talked to John Borthwick a couple of years ago about joining Betaworks, we played with the idea of what a shared data layer across the portfolio companies might look like. Many of the data-related challenges that early stage startups face are quite similar – distributed data aggregation, indexing, stream processing, counting stuff, ranking and classifying content. Just like design is successfully architected as a shared resource across the Betaworks network, can we create a function that would be useful across the board, but for data?
Back in 2011 it didn’t seem to make as much sense. SocialFlow had just signed the firehose deal with Twitter and the company was rapidly taking off. I loved Frank’s vision, and the team he assembled. So I set to work fulltime on helping build out the company’s data underpinning and start running various data-driven research projects across its immense data stream. The past two years have been a truly humbling learning experience. I feel very lucky to have had the opportunity to be a part of the SocialFlow team, seeing it grow from the 6 of us hacking around a table, to the significant player it has become. SocialFlow is changing the way publishers and brands are making sense of their networked audiences, and doing so in an innovative and scientifically-driven manner.
Starting next week, I’m heading back to beta. I’ll be taking on the role of Chief Scientist at Betaworks, working on building out this data layer that we devised a couple of years ago. The time is ripe, with a number of very exciting, data-heavy initiatives at early stages. We have a few ideas on how this might work. Needless to say, I’m wholly excited by the challenge. I love the Betaworks community, its experimental nature and innovative grasp of media. I’ll be staying involved with SocialFlow, and will always be its biggest advocate.
Stay tuned for more!