Howdy, I’m Matt.
I live in New York, and I’ve worked a collection of jobs with titles that didn’t exist a few years ago.
When I was growing up, my Dad traveled for business, and I would send him telexes from my bedroom, using a 2400 baud modem connected to one of these. Somehow I got addicted to technology.
After brief flirtations with physics, political science, and computer science; I graduated with a BA in Math from a small liberal arts college in Southern California (it is not Cal Poly Pomona). In between fixing people’s computers and ballroom dancing, I wrote a thesis on the algorithm that powers NASA satellite images and cellphone frequency hopping.
Somehow, I turned that work, and my passion for pop culture trivia (Jeopardy! contestant pool class of 2007) into a job for a mobile video game company called Gameloft. I helped the company’s (French-born) executives understand American pop culture trends; since they didn’t have a large market research budget, I ended up using whatever free tools I could MacGyver my way into producing useful content licensing recommendations. The end result was totally worth the effort: please think fondly of me the next time you die of dysentery.
I figured the best way to get better access to data was to work for a supplier of market research. Enter Nielsen, the world’s largest market research firm. I helped marketing and market research folks at all sorts of huge companies you’ve heard of to understand what people were saying about them and their competitors in social media, and what they could do about it. Eventually, the portion of Nielsen I worked in was spun off into a joint venture called NM Incite. The N in NM is for Nielsen, and the M is for McKinsey & Company. Yeah, those guys.
Until recently I led a team of analysts using social and digital media data for the clients of the Porter Novelli PR agency. PN is the Omnicom PR agency that isn’t Ketchum. Or Fleishman-Hillard. I trained PR pros from around the world on how to use social and digital media to plan campaigns, optimize them in flight, assess them at completion, and handle any crises that pop up along the way. And I talked to clients about how they can share our insights with their peers and bosses to look really smart and get a raise/promotion/access to the executive washroom.
I’ve just recently joined a Silicon Valley startup named NetBase. They combine Nielsen BuzzMetrics-style text analysis with a really cool Natural Language Processing engine. If I had access to these toys at previous jobs, it would have made my life much easier.