Stew Langille is the chief executive officer and co-founder of Visual.ly. Previously Stew was director of marketing at Mint.com, where he built that company’s data business. He is a pioneer in the use of data as a marketing vehicle for both publishers and brands. In this interview Stew talks about how Visual.ly applies big data to visualize content in a cost-effective and practical way and gives insight into how to become a player in the big data visualization space.
Sramana Mitra: Stew, let’s start with a bit of context about Visual.ly. Could you introduce the company to our readers and explain what you do and how you do it?
Stew Langille: We are the largest platform and community for data visualization on the web. We are composed of a group of 50,000 community members, who are information designers (that is, designers who are interested in information and data visualization), journalists, developers, and data scientists. We are a community where people can come in, share their work, post a portfolio, and collaborate and comment on each other’s work. We also have a blog in the space.
Our main mission is to educate people on the growth of data visualization – all the eyes on big data, the changing behaviors people are seeing, the devices they are viewing on and their appetite to consume media and content from advertisers. We try to guide people on how they can participate in this industry, which is growing rapidly, and how they can use it as a consumer. If you are a publisher, a brand, or a blogger, we show you how to use [data visualization].
Data visualization really is the end of the big data spectrum. Once your data has been wrangled, analyzed, identified, and put in the form you want to communicate it in, that is when we come in. We also provide a system to distribute that information – helping people to communicate that to the world. That is our mission. We also have free tools to visualize different aspects of peoples’ personal data or company data. Finally, we have a marketplace which allows us to monetize. People come in and want to get graphics commissioned, and then they can connect with others from the community. We have a custom project center that helps to get those projects completed on a platform. So, we are not only help people to view [data] and get inspiration, we also help them perform and increase their visualization. Our overall mission is bringing data to life. We help to communicate and changed the ways people are used to [interacting with data].