TIPPING POINT - ARCHITECTS OF THE FUTURE
20. Jay Meattle
He makes it all go viral
In the oversized black hole that is the Internet, content publishers, content users and advertisers all seem to be in a perennial dance to find each other. Solutions to individual needs are many, but there seemed no single platform that offers an elegant solution to give each segment of users exactly what they wanted. Until Jay Meattle came along
Photos: Jay Meattle
IT’S EVIDENT THAT Meattle has put his academic credentials to great use — a Bachelor’s in Computer Science from Tufts University was followed by a minor in Entrepreneurial Leadership and Multimedia Arts. Start-ups clearly appeal to him; he started out a founding member of Compete.com, followed by a position as VP of Products at Lookery, a targeted online advertisement network. His innovator’s instinct, skill as a developer and experience in data analytics — arguably the most cutting-edge area for content creation and consumption — have put him firmly ahead of the curve.
AS SOMEONE WHO loved discovering new content online, Meattle was constantly frustrated at the lack of an elegant way to read and share links with friends, co-workers or anyone he thought would be interested in a piece he’d come across. Typically, he would send emails with links, but it was a clumsy solution. So he did what anyone with a computer science degree would do — he started experimenting with creating one. On a lark, he entered the web extension he developed, Shareaholic, in a contest run by Internet biggie Mozilla to find the most innovative add-ons for Firefox, their popular browser. Four weeks later, he got a call saying he’d won the Grand Prize. That’s when Meattle figured it was worth taking further.
AT FIRST, IT was limited to curation and making it easy to find, share and publish content. As Meattle improved its functionality, though, it took on a life beyond the nights and weekends he had initially planned.
For users, it is an effortless way to find, track and share new content online, especially information that matches their interests. “Machine learning is the big thing in this space — we have got algorithms that not only understand your interests, but also make intelligent predictions based on what links you click on and what you read, and help you discover content you might otherwise never encounter,” says Meattle.
For content publishers, the key edge are the analytical tools that help them share, target and promote their content to specific audiences. Content creators can share across social networks, highlight content through ‘recommendations’ and offer an incredibly detailed analytics service to track who viewed the content, what was shared most, where it was shared.
Both these services are offered to users for free. Yet, Shareaholic has a sound business model that relies on an equally innovative offering to advertisers — and that’s where they make their money.
Ninety percent of ad space goes unsold on the Internet. Using powerful algorithms and content consumption data, Shareaholic offers advertisers the opportunity to reach highly-segmented audiences in real time. Their massive user base means they offer one of the most significant chunks of target data in the world.
EARLIER THIS YEAR, Shareaholic’s tools for publishers crossed 1.5 million downloads and hit over 270 million unique users monthly. The buzz has grown to where it is being touted as the “next Facebook”. For users, Shareaholic has become the rare company that makes online engagement quicker, more effective, more targeted — and allows users to spend their time online most productively, whether they are searching for content or publishing their own.
The Way Forward
THEY ARE HOPING eventually to be an alternative to Google, making search almost redundant by offering you data and information intuitively, almost before you know you need it, based on your internet usage patterns. With advanced analytics, intelligent machines, a bank of the world’s top data scientists and an enthusiastic team, it’s only a matter of time.
We are looking for innovators!
We are combing the country to find examples of intelligent, scalable innovation; and we are going to pick 20 of the best to be featured on the pages of TEHELKA. These are some of the most important ideas of our time and they reflect a brand-new India. A country that can meet and master any challenge. To clue into these incredible stories, follow us on Twitter (@MahindraRise). If you have a similar story of innovative change to share, you can follow and join the conversation at #ThinkToRise or log on to tippingpoint.thinkworks.in