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Social Startups: Tellagence
Posted on May 13th 2013
“The technology is moving a lot faster than our understanding of what happens on top of that technology,” said Matt Hixson, co-founder and CEO of Tellagence. “The technology behind Twitter is pretty straightforward, but the social phenomenon, the way people behave and interact is complex and the science and understanding hasn’t caught up to that.”
Founded in Oregon in 2011, Tellagence aims to catch up to the way people act. Hixson had moved to Portland from St. Louis and lead social initiatives at Tripwire where he “did old school social media. We actually engaged with people, built relationships, and crazy things like that. Doing social by the seat of our pants, which meant a lot of hustling.”
After meeting his co-founder Nitin Mayande and learning about his research on online communities, they began talking and ultimately created Tellagence. Though Hixson describes Tellagence akin to climate prediction, it’s actually even a bit more than that. It’s more like being able to subtly influence the weather by knowing where to strategically set up clouds.
The big problem Tellagence tries to solve, Hixson said, is this: “In social we get to choose who we get our content from, which is great for a user. The challenge for a brand is how do I actually get my message in there where you would care about it, because no longer now can I just force my way in, I’ve got to be invited to the party to some degree.”
“I have content, how do I get it to you in the most effective and efficient way”, he added.
Hixson mentions Facebook ads as very efficient, but not very effective. “The conversion rate is like 0.1%. The most effective thing is building individual relationships, but the challenge is I need to know who to build them with. How do I do something that’s very effective but efficient with my resources?”
Tellagence differentiates itself is that it doesn’t analyze who the most popular person in a crowd, or who’s the loudest, but by how information moves from person to person. “By identifying the perfect group of people, you can find 10 people to spread word of mouth to 4,000. Not based on history, either. And not by looking and saying, ‘Well, you shared with them yesterday so you’ll share with them today.’”
Right now only their first product, Tellagence for Twitter, is available, but they expect to release a new product this summer.