We caught up with Adam Bonnifield, co-founder at US-based Big Data Analytics startup Spinnakr to discuss his view on Web Analytics and his plans for Spinnakr .
Adam, please tell us more about yourself and your company.
I am Adam Bonnifield, the Co-Founder of Spinnakr. We are a new way of thinking about analytics.
When most people think about analytics, especially anything about data, they think about tools that allow you to interpret and analyze data. You have to either be a data scientist or someone with expertise, you get these tools and essentially configure them to analyze and understand what’s going on. This tends to silo the value of that data, where only certain departments that have expertise have access but you can’t really get it out. For example, management or marketing tends to take a long time to process data and generate insights, and it takes even more effort to get people to do anything about it.
We are essentially rebuilding the system to do all this automatically in real time. It generates interesting events, opportunities and insights that you should be aware of. It feeds them to you in a Facebook-style newsfeed, so you get a feel of important events going on in your site. Often we will include the important context behind these events and also recommendations to take action. For example, we tell you when there is a traffic spike and give evidence why it is important. If this is a fresh article, we pull out the important pieces from that article, say a screenshot or an interesting summary. We then give you the ability to take action on it by allowing you to post a message back to your website in response to the article that you just read. In summary, we really think of analytics more of a tool for taking action on data rather than a tool that helps you to analyze data.
If you compare your analytics product against your competitors, how you would you say your product is different?
Every other analytics product tends to compete on adding more features, increasing power or configurability of the product. This makes the sense for a certain type of customer, such as the data scientist customer. We move in the opposite direction. We try to destroy features and eliminate complexity. We essentially simplify it. This is what characterizes us as the apple of analytics. In other words, we are very opinionated about the right way of interpreting data. This is quite controversial in analytics because many people think the beauty of analytics is that it is not simple, that it is powerful.
I think one thing that makes us quite different is that we have a different thesis on the future of analytics. The key to making analytics a useful product is to make it accessible and powerful. To put that another way, building a tool that gets its power from being accessible. If people say that analytics is complex, that is basically what’s holding you back. What’s holding you back is an opinion, because none of it is.
It’s not that controversial to say that “Analytics should be accessible”, but I think we are the most radical version of that. A lot of people use their products and say “I want to be able to set the threshold to find certain kinds of things I don’t care about”. We will say “No, you don’t want to do that”. We will tell you the importance of analytics. You can set preferences about how often you want to be notified but then we would intelligently interpret that and say, “If that’s true, then we send out these notifications like this”.
Which is less complex to build, and why?
It’s actually more complex to build something accessible. Our key challenge, unlike other analytics products, is generating the output through algorithms that decide what’s important. For that to be intelligent, as in be generally applicable for any website, is actually a very difficult to program. Other analytics companies don’t have to worry about this because they assume that there is an expert sitting behind the controls figuring everything out. Since we don’t have an expert sitting behind the controls, we essentially have to be the experts. That’s the core of our company, so it easier in some aspects and harder in some other ways.
What is your revenue model?
It’s a subscription model. We are free for smaller sites, and then charge in an escalating scale depending on how much traffic you get. We are free up to 20,000 visitors. We found our main focus is e-commerce because there is a lot of value to every visitor. We do have several large content sites as clients and they generate really interesting insights.
Moving forward, what would you say you need the most? Is it funding, talent, or customers?
All of the above really. We have a tremendous amount of demand and we’re one of the fastest growing tools in the world. As of last year, we were in the top 10 of the fastest development tools in the world. I would say our biggest problem is keeping up with the pace of demand and supporting a network of growing visitors. Now we process over 100 million visitors and this is a massive data management challenge. Since the type of architecture that we use is very new and it doesn’t look like a traditional analytics product, we are often solving problems from scratch. That is just what keeps us up.
Where do you see the company in one year’s time?
That’s a good question. At this point our biggest goal is adoption. What we really want is to be a tool that powers a large percentage of the Internet. Part of the reason why we started this project is because we want regular people to be able to connect, and you only get that through vast adoption.
Thank you for the interview.
Image credit Spinnakr
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