On building a business in social – my perspective and thanks.

Rob Bailey
21st June 2012 0 Comments

Dear Datasift Customers & Community,

It’s hard to believe it’s only been six months since I joined DataSift as CEO and we launched the company in the U.S. Since then we’ve grown from just a handful of customers in the U.K. to more than 250 corporate customers in over 20 countries. The list includes some of the top social media monitoring companies, business intelligence and news organizations and a growing list of Fortune 500 companies. Given my six-month mark at the helm of the company, I thought I’d share not only a few of our milestones, but highlight the trends and demand we’re seeing in the market.

Company milestones

  • We successfully launched our first US office in the heart of San Francisco’s SOMA district, with new offices on the way in the coming months
  • We’ve welcomed 15 people to the team to help us ramp up in US and accelerate engineering in the UK
  • Since January, our revenue has tripled
  • We’ve closed major customer deals with three of the top five news organizations in the world
  • One of the top credit card companies has built their own, highly specialized social media platform using DataSift

As well as our achievements, it’s also a good milestone to reflect on the industry:

In the last 24 hours, two of our favorite innovators in the social media space (both DataSift customers) had major news announcements: Netbase announced they raised $18M in funding, and LocalResponse announced they are growing their customer base so fast they are almost at break even.  Both companies are doing incredible things and we’d like to think our platform played a part in freeing up their time to focus on what they are awesome at–building applications that businesses love to use.

In the last 30 days we’ve seen the incumbents in the software industry wake up to the opportunity and imperative to become social tech providers, with the acquisition of Buddy Media by Salesforce, and Collective Intellect by Oracle. We think this is great for the industry, and shows the opportunity that lies ahead in the enterprise market.

Over the last few years, we’ve seen Twitter, Facebook and dozens of other social networks are helping enterprises political and even religious organizations interact much better with their customers, voters and followers. This month, we’ve been touring the globe to meet with  top CIOs from companies around the world.  We’ve been blown away by their interest in understanding how social networks can help them better understand and service their customers.  We were amazed to hear that Taco Bell had the most successful product launch in their history, selling 100 million Doritos Tacos in ten weeks, and used only social media until launch.  (Granted, it was a pretty damn good product idea.)

We’re also seeing governments embrace social. We’re excited to be working with a consortium of US cities to figure out ways that city governments can better serve their voters using social media.  These days someone under 30 is highly more likely to Tweet when they see a crime or a pothole than call 911!

Social networks are also enabling news organizations to evolve quickly. We’ve been impressed with how traditional news organizations are using social media to identify new stories, understand consumer feedback on those stories, and even adjust coverage of stories depending on activity they see on social networks.  (We hope that means more stories about the carnage in Syria, less about the Kardashians, but that’s just our personal opinion.) We’re now working with some of the largest news companies in the world to reinvent news.

In terms of our own journey in the market – our founder, Nick Halstead, spent 24 months building out the DataSift platform. We’re now seeing the fruits of this focused, diligent work in architecting the most powerful social data platform on the planet.  We are uniquely enabled to provide powerful tools that derive valuable insights from the data, extract meaning from that data and integrate it easily into applications and enterprise BI platforms.

All of this has been made possible by our customers, our partners and our community. We feel humbled and blessed and wanted to say thanks.  We strive every day to launch new content sources and better products to better serve you.

We look forward to the months and years ahead.

Rob Bailey

Written by Rob Bailey

Rob Bailey is the CEO of DataSift.