Sramana Mitra: Who are your customers?
Khris Loux: Major media properties like Disney, ESPN, NBC Universal, or Universal Music. Those types of sites that have rich and deep content, and they have access to resource material. For instance, Universal Music has Lady Gaga and Eminem as musicians that are part of their agreements. They thus have the ability to get Lady Gaga and connect her directly to her fans in a live Q&A experience.
SM: Is that something they are doing? Are they connecting their artists with the community through your platform?
KL: Yes, absolutely. A good example is USA Networks. You might be familiar with “Law & Order” or “Burn Notice” – those types of shows. They have literally done dozens of live Q&As right after the show. You can watch “Burn Notice” and across the bottom of the screen it would say: “This particular actor or actress will be available for chat at usanetworks.com.” The fans transition from the show they have experienced, want to continue with that experience, and now they can talk directly to one of the stars. People love it. It is deeper engagement, and it moves this model from a page view, where I might have read a story about the actor – which might take me five or ten minutes – to an engagement with the actor for an hour.
SM: And in the culture we live in, celebrities are of particular interest to people who want to engage with; hence, there is an obvious draw. I am going to follow up on what you said. I was wondering if you have a segment bias. Is it mainly show business or maybe politics where you get maximum traction in terms of customers?
KL: It turns out that every piece of content can be enriched with some form of experience. Another example, which is completely different, would be NASDAQ. Their content type or unit of currency is a stock symbol. You can go to that stock symbol and get the price of the stock and historical graphs – all of the things you would expect in a paper-based web – and you can now get a stream of articles that are being pulled from around the world. You can get a stream of Tweets and Facebook posts that are talking about that stock. It is no longer just the content that is created by the publisher, in this case NASDAQ, but also the global content that is being created around that object. Not only is it real-time, but it is also richer, more meaningful and provides greater context than merely the stock symbol NASDAQ could provide. It is now NASDAQ plus the rest of the world.
SM: What do you do in that context? In the show business example, there is a group of people who are related with the show. How does that translate in the case of a stock? Do you get a bunch of analysts to interact with the community?
KL: As it turns out, there are already people speaking proxy for that stock symbol. There are plenty of writers who write about Facebook, Apple, or Microsoft every day. This is to give some insight into the meaning of our company – the stock symbol is the original energy pulse, and everyone writing or talking about that stock, or buying and selling that stock, are the echoes. The echo’s job is to be able to collect those echoes and bring them back to the stock symbol: “Who is talking about me? Who is writing about me? Who thinks my price is going to go up? Who thinks my price is going to go down? Who has special insights into my products?”