Here’s the problem with introducing a free Web service that demonstrates just a tiny fraction of what we hope to sell to enterprise customers, media companies and others: Now, we have to distinguish between what Persuadio, the company, does and the features of MyDensity.com.
John Robb speculates Persuadio’s business is “a system for helping small companies connect their product/company blog to influencers (bloggers, discussion boards, etc.) in the community that matters to them — or at least measure their success or failure at doing that (which is half the battle).” We’re building for a lot more than small business, and we’re going to help customers win the whole battle, including building feedback into their marketing, editorial and conversational decisions.
The way I would summarize it, now that I’ve had to explain it for two days straight, is that we are building Kai’s Power Tools (KPT) for data. Just as the Adobe plug-ins in KPT had to know an awful lot about the data in a Photoshop image in order to manipulate it, Persuadio’s tools are built to be aware of the nuances of social network information or whatever data they visualize. Add one of Kai’s filters to Photoshop and you suddenly get a whole slew of new Photoshop image manipulation capabilities; our stuff will support a wide range of data, analytics and visualization features.
Our software, which will be offered as a hosted service, is what folks might call “extensible.” But in this case the term isn’t just marketing bullshit (and, believe me, I’ve heard that word more than you can imagine as a reporter). We’ve created something that has a lot of ability to grow; it took only a few weeks to build MyDensity when we realized there was an opportunity to put it in the market.
MyDensity is a demonstration of the most basic aspects of an architecture we’ve been working on for most of the past year. The system visualizes data from a variety of sources and that can be customized to very specific analytic needs, such as identifying key influencers and tracking sentiment. Each layer of our system is abstracted from the others so that we can add new data sources, new analytics or new visualization capabilities without disrupting other functionality. At the top of the stack, we’re working on how to integrate our system with CRM and other systems that allow customers to act on the data and measure the results.
What you’re seeing in MyDensity is all the inbound and outbound links in the first and second degrees of the network around the URL you searched. We’re not displaying the direction of links or their frequency, which can be used to assess strength of social ties. When you add in these other dimensions, it becomes possible to see who makes ideas flow as well as how quickly and in what direction (positive or negative sentiment) they are moving through networks. The Fengshuinator actually does something constructive, though we mostly like the name. It uses a simulated repulsive force to reorganize the network based on which nodes are most densely connected. In a really dense map this can disclose nodes and interconnections that can be instrumental in understanding the relationships.
So, all in all MyDensity is just a free demo of a little bit of what we can do. Our enterprise services will, we think, be very powerful tools for companies that want to understand where they stand in conversational markets.
Back to John Robb’s comments about the value of coverage by the mainstream press…. We’re seeing a lot of leads to customers come out of the first couple articles that have appeared about us. Yes, we’d love to raise some money and are engaged in an angel round now, but I’ll take the ink and the bits from the mainstream press any day.