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Towards Personalization: Strands Founder Francisco Martin (Part 5)

Posted on Thursday, Jun 19th 2008

SM: Let’s say I am wearing a blue shirt which works really well with my skin color. Are you able to figure out that somebody who looks like me likes to wear that shade of blue shirts?

FM: If we have a picture of you we can find at least 25 relevant attributes, include what you are wearing. All attributes then become a row in a matrix. Many people are now using matrices with multidimensional spaces. We are using a third dimensions which is change over time. Tomorrow you may not be wearing blue, you might be wearing white. One of the problems we were seeing with many recommendation systems is that they viewed the world through static lenses.

An example of this is the rating system in Netflix. The rating really depends on your taste at the time. Our ability to learn of the changes in individual behavior over time is our niche. We use multidimensional analysis in both the behavior of people and the products.

SM: You have the attributes of the customers, the attributes of the products, and the attributes of the time dimension. You also have the social elements.

FM: We then create sequences of behavior over time. We aggregate what you did in a month and we build sequences based on observations. We compare your sequences against the sequences derived from other users. If We use the attributes of the products that we would like to recommend at a very general level and then refine them so we can then find a particular product for you.

SM: Aside from your recent bank deal what is your strategy? Do you have a big sales force coming online?

FM: We are at an interesting point. We can offer a mix of B2B and B2C solutions. What we are seeing is that when you have a consumer application it is harder to make money initially. With a B2B approach you can see the revenue much faster which is good when you are having discussions of taking the company public. On the other hand there are multipliers which consumer companies get that you cannot get if you are a pure B2B company. That leaves us at a point where we are not sure if we are going to commit to a single direction. We are launching a couple of consumer applications and in a couple of months we will launch social media applications. We want to see how these product evolve first, and if they evolve in the right manner then we will reduce our commitment to the licensing of technology. In that scenario we would just focus on our hosted solutions which is low cost for us to provide and a great value for B2B players.

This segment is part 5 in the series : Towards Personalization: Strands Founder Francisco Martin
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