What do 24,000 ideas look like? Quid Co-founder Sean Gourley, together with Eric Berlow, used Quid software to analyze the entire archive of TEDx Talks. The pair presented the findings as a TED Talk in 2013 which, when posted online, quickly reached more than 500,000 views. All visualizations in this talk were created using
Quid software and serve as an example of the language and narrative analyses that are made possible by Quid.
Quid was represented at Strata 2013 by Amy Heineike:
"At Strata Santa Clara, I’ll be showing you how maps can be more valuable than lists for non-spatial data too. At Quid, we’ve discovered the power of networks as maps of unstructured text. In an era of richer and bigger data, we enable strategic thinking through powerful
visualizations and interactivity, giving our clients a complete look at the bigger picture."
For all our talk about big data saving the world and changing lives, it so far has had more impact and gotten more press for lessor achievements, according to Sean Gourley of Quid. Gourley spoke in New York City Wednesday at theStructure:Data 2013 conference on the difference between data science and data intelligence.
Gourley illustrated this difference with children’s cereal. He pointed out that data science is used today for improving advertising, such as making better packaging and pricing strategies. Meanwhile, data intelligence could try to address the issue of child obesity.
Gourley and Berlow created a data visualization using 25% of the 25,000 TEDx Talks to explore the TEDx ecosystem. The visualization divides the talks into categories and subcategories to demonstrate how subjects overlap and also who intereacts with which types of talks. For instance, their data analysis shows that women between 24-35 tend to watch entrepreneurial talks more while men prefer health, gaming and social internet talks.
According to Berlow and Gourley, the most popular TEDx Talk in their study was a TEDxSF Talk on gratitude, while the outlier (the one with the least connection) at TEDxWoodsHole, by environmental artist, Colleen Flanagan on her living sea sculpture.
The whole point of TEDx is to spread ideas globally. Gourley and Berlow’s visualization gives us a useful idea of just which ideas are spreading and where.
Quid has been recognized as one of the world's most innovative companies, and was awarded 2nd place in the category of Big Data. Fast Company's annual guide features the businesses whose innovations are having the greatest impact across their industries and our culture as a whole.
It generally takes about 10,000 hours of work in a single subject to become an expert. Quid wants to reduce the expertise time by augmenting the human intelligence with computer-generated visualizations of complex topics. While some may scoff at the idea, it is worth noting that a soccer player and a programmer combined with low-
performance computers beat out grandmasters in one of the first online Advanced Chess tournaments.
Although it has been compared to the gold rush, Quid co-founder Goodson compares Big Data to oil mining. “It’s like finding a new oil field and everyone has to find out the best way to tap into it. It’s about the insights,” he says. Michael Chui, Principal of McKinsey Global Institute, adds that “it is an emerging technology lots of venture capitalists are investing in.”
Companies that make decisions based on data analysis will win in the marketplace in the future, Chui says.
Quid was honored to win a 2012 WTA in the I.T. Software category. Previous WTA winners in this category include Apple (2002), Google (2003), Amazon (2005) and Facebook (2009).
The World Technology Awards are presented annually by the World Technology Network (The WTN) at its World Technology Summit to
individuals and corporations achieving significant, lasting progress in categories pertaining to science, technology, the arts, and design.
How Quid Built a Beautiful Start-up Headquarters on a Dime. Tour this extremely well-designed space in San Francisco that houses a team of data scientists. Bonus:
It was created on the cheap.
When Bob Goodson first walked into the San Francisco space that would become the offices of Quid, the text- and data-analytics start-up he
co-founded in 2010, he was met with a blank canvas. The walls and floors were concrete. There were no conference rooms and no offices. In fact, the space had never been used as an office. As a design aficionado, he saw potential. “I was thinking about what it would be like to interact in here, to build things, to solve problems.”
At Quid, we build software that helps the world’s most advanced organizations answer the billion dollar question, “What should we do?” We use natural language and machine learning models, under a visual presentation layer, in order to allow them to make sense of the complex world surrounding the organization.
A typical client would be the strategy arm of a large corporation or a governmental agency that
wants to understand what's happening in an area of innovation. They’d use the software to discover emerging technologies, new companies that might become potential partners or targets, or explore their what’s happening outside of their organization.
In his lecture, Sean Gourley talked about the creation of technology made by Quid thanks to which large volumes of data can be processed. The quantity of data that rains down upon a contemporary person greatly exceeds his ability to apprehend it. To understand what is going on in the surrounding world today, he needs new and powerful tools.
One such tool is offered by Quid, the engineers of which have created a unique interactive map of the global sector of new technologies.
We now live in a world where our every purchase, every non-purchase, every curiosity, every tweet and “like”, every movement, is being tracked. Like it or not, We are Data. We are the customer, but our data are the product. Right now, we’re at a critical juncture where we can use our data to empower people to topple dictators, or empower dictators to suppress citizens.
We can broaden economic opportunity by empowering micro-entrepreneurs, or further consolidate resources in the hands of a few. Once we are able to identify the data we generate, how we store it, who has access to it, and how we use it, we will more likely benefit from the explosion of data we generate, while avoid being harmed by it.
Go to Vibrant Data Project
As an experiment for NPR, [Gourley] maps the development of the Occupy Wall Street movement. He uses algorithms to sort through about 40,000 blogs and articles written since the movement began and group similar ideas together. “You can't read all this as a human or even necessarily get what's going on, so you start to apply algorithms to help cluster, sort, put topics around them and ultimately visualize [it],” he says.
What Gourley's algorithm helps visualize is how ideas from the initial Occupy Wall Street rallies in New York spread to other groups and other parts of the country.
Gourley points to a computer screen. It's filled with dots that are grouped into color clusters and connected by thin lines. One cluster represents politicians talking about taxing the wealthy. It's far from the cluster that represents protesters.
We've created tools like the microscope to see the very small, and we've created the telescope to see very distant, but what we've yet to really do is create tools to see the very complex. And when we live in a world of billions of people interacting on a global scale, the complex becomes very important.
The macroscope allows us to see the very complex. It is three things: big data, algorithms and visualization, because ultimately a human
has to consume this. For the most difficult problems, a human has to be in the loop.
When this is applied back to something like war, you can take unstructured data streaming through media sources and extract entities and events that come out of that. You can find algorithms that start to describe the dynamics of an insurgency and you can create visualizations that start to give humans access to the complexity of a landscape like Afghanistan.
The core questions our clients ask us are around how technology is changing and how this impacts their business. That's a really fascinating and huge question that requires not just discovering a document with the answer in it, but organizing lots and lots of pieces of data to paint a picture of the emergent change. What we can offer is not only being able to find a snapshot of that, but
also being able to track how it changes over time. We organize the data firstly through the insight that much disruptive technology emerges in organizations, and that the events that occur between and to organizations are a fantastic way to signal both the traction of technologies and to observe strategic decision making by key actors.
Quid Senior Intelligence Associate, Anastacia Anishchenko, presented insights on Big Data and the future of banking at The Russia Forum 2012 (sometimes referred to as the "Russian Davos").
“There's this wealth of unstructured data that some banks are starting to accumulate, but very few are making really good use of it. There is huge potential there: the integration of
unstructured data with the wealth of structured data that banks already have. If you look at what a lot of technology companies do with just unstructured data alone, you'll be
Anastacia's opening statement can be found between 5:50 min and 10:30 min.
NPR, All Things Considered, January 30, 2012
“If there's an attack that's just been carried out in north Afghanistan that they weren't aware of, there might be reports of that on the social media channels that they're watching,” Gourley says. “[People] might be tweeting, ‘I heard a loud bang,’ or someone says, ‘Maybe there's a bomb around the corner’ or there are these kinds of reports. Now, each of these pieces kind of starts
to form a little bit of a mosaic and they start to combine this mosaic back together to say, ‘We can be pretty sure that something happened here and here's what we think it is.’ ”
Quid uses natural language processing and semantic clustering techniques to define a set of “entities” such as companies or research groups in an emerging technology sector, and to map their relationships. Each company entity has a signature which is based on explicit events like who is it partnered with, who has it acquired, how much money has it raised. There are also the technologies with which an entity is associated, where it’s located, employee count,
traffic, sentiment and many other parameters....The typical Quid customer is a VP of strategy at a large technology company, government department or financial firm. Once the customer has a basic map of the sector, and where his own company and competitors fit in, he can look at adjacent entities and ask questions like, “Where is this space going to move?” or “Which technologies could be recombined?”
An analysis of public records shows that more than 400 technology start-ups in New York City have raised money from investors in the last two years [source: Quid]. The vast majority of these companies have landed in Midtown South, within blocks of venture capital investors and veteran start-ups. The area’s affordable rent
and popular restaurants and bars are a big draw. Many of the companies are working to use technology to reshape the city’s established industries, like retail, finance, health care and entertainment.
Are cleantech companies really at risk in the wake of the Solyndra bankruptcy? Maybe not. A map by Quid shows the clean tech space is growing into what looks like a thriving ecosystem. Quid is a San
Francisco-based startup that took publicly available information and visualized the relationships of all the green companies that have been founded, funded, filed
for an IPO, withdrew from an IPO, or went dormant for the last ten years. Watch the video to see how some clean tech companies were born, matured, and in some cases, folded.
To customers interested in a short time horizon, up to 18 months or so, the clusters of nodes provide the important information. Those nodes are where the action is now, areas where companies should strike while the iron's still hot. To customers looking out further, five to ten years out, it's the white space between the nodes,
empty spots that represent untapped opportunities for growth or new areas for interdisciplinary research, that communicate the most useful information.
At the recent Strata Summit: The Business of Data conference held in New York in September, 2011, Quid CTO Sean Gourley spoke on “The New Corporate Intelligence.” Sean discussed the Quid mission, "augmenting our ability to perceive this complex world," and how this is not about big data, but about using big data to make big decisions.
Sean touches on string theory and how it relates to dimensionality reduction. He explains how we combine mathematics and visualization to make extraordinarily complex systems intelligible, identifying explicit connections, implicit connections, and traction. Finally, Sean provides illustrations of insights that emerge for clients through Quid software.
What it does: Software that captures data, structures it, and enables clients such as banks, funds and corporations to visualize and interact with the information.
Why it's hot: It counts some of the world’s largest technology companies as clients, and its investors include PayPal's Peter Thiel and
Atomico, the venture fund founded by Niklas Zennstrom, a co-founder of Skype.
You guys might remember Quid from our “Does Quid have the most pretentious website of any startup ever?” post, where we discussed its choice of primary versus secondary typeface and implored the company to get a primary business model before it made a fuss about fonts.
Quid CEO Bob Goodson tells me that that pretty snarky post was actually a boon for Quid, and
attracted ultra high quality engineers including a “computational linguist” named Orion Buckminster Montoya who felt that he would fit in perfectly with the startup’s highfaluting culture. They also have a guy named Bong on their team! (Quid got the same artist who does all the Wall Street Journal drawings to make portraits of its engineers, of course, below).
Quid is very interested in companies and organizations positioned at the junction of technologies. Interesting things often happen there, with the potential to turn into breakthroughs. Here again is an analogy with nature: the most interesting organisms are hybrids that inherit genes from markedly different parents. What will come as a result, a viable individual, or a dead-end branch of evolution? It is hard to tell in advance, but such
innovative mixtures, according to Quid, are something that investors and industrial partners should be paying attention to.
...For its project, Quid combined techniques and methods from mathematics, economics, engineering and linguistics. It is safe to say that Quid itself was born in one of the white spots on the world map of progress. This means we can hope for success of this unusual enterprise.
Ajay Royan of Clarium Capital, an investment firm in San Francisco, is trying out Quid as a way to highlight technological areas of interest. Royan says that Quid’s ability to draw connections between seemingly unrelated areas of research could make it a powerful tool. Advances in energy, for example, might rely on
a development in materials science. Quid could help identify a startup or research lab that has already made that link. “They’ve made the nodes in the technology network visible,” says Royan. “That helps us understand the relationships between them.”Read more
Where and how do strategists find growth opportunities? Sometimes by literally drawing a map, using a technique called semantic-clustering analysis… Such maps expose surprising relationships between and across sectors and, even more tantalizing, the white spaces among them - which can offer firms
strategic opportunities to connect companies operating in different markets, to take existing products into new sectors, or to innovate with products and services no one has even dreamed up yet.Read more
The Telegraph, February 6, 2011 by Richard Tyler, Enterprise Editor
Feature article and graphic in the Sunday Telegraph (London) describes Quid’s analysis of strong technology innovation clusters in the UK (alternative energy, gaming, music, fashion e-commerce, and payment technology), as well as global technology clusters where the UK is underrepresented (education, healthcare IT, lighting, batteries).Read more
…We also heard recently about Quid, a Peter Thiel (surprised?) backed startup that is building out new technologies to quantify startup growth and put numbers to what previously had been an opaque market.
Quid is looking to track things like job listings,
customer wins and funding valuations at first, second, and third funding rounds to give venture investors a better yardstick - and better quantitative tools - in valuing startups.Read more
…Quid software can help to pinpoint where innovation is happening, emerging trends, and who is funding them. Finding high-quality information about a public company such as IBM (IBM) or General Electric (GE) is simple. Sorting out which startups are working on synthetic biology is far trickier… Quid stealthily
researched thousands of private companies, building a database that includes legal filings, financing information, hiring decisions, and consumer sentiment…Read more