Text Analytics News Interview and Contest

September 28, 2011
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Text Analytics Q&A and Quiz

Text Analytics Q&A and Quiz

Text Analytics News just posted an interesting Q&A with Dan Graham of Terradata and Catherine Van Zuylen of Attensity, and myself. We were asked how we got involved with text analytics, how our companies leverage the technology and what we think is next.

[Partial repost with permission from Text Analytics News]

Text Analytics News caught up with three professionals at companies that are pioneering text analytics and big data to ask them some questions about their personal experiences in the analytics industry and the future outlook of the text analytics market. The three professionals include:

  • Catherine Van Zuylen – Vice President of Products, Attensity
  • Tom H. C. Anderson – President, Anderson Analytics (OdinText)
  • Daniel Graham – General Manager Enterprise Systems, Teradata

Text Analytics News: When and how did you first get into text analytics, and what was it that attracted you to this technology in the first place?

Anderson: From 2001 through 2005 I worked on Starwood Hotels Customer Satisfaction Program, and during that time we had over a million VOC Surveys coming in per year. It was very different from other types of research I had conducted in the past, and while we were using very advanced analysis on quantitative data points I realized that the text comments could add so much more explanatory power to the analysis.

In graduate school my main area of interest was in gaining consumer insights through data mining, and though text mining (NLP) was still relatively new at least in terms of adoption, I started exploring the various software already on the market and found we could more easily answer and solve various business questions by leveraging the unstructured data available to us. So in 2005 I started Anderson Analytics and during the past six years we’ve leveraged these new techniques in a number of ways I hadn’t even thought of at the time.

The rise of social media during this time certainly helped propel this field and offer even greater opportunities. Expanding beyond survey research to working with data from Bulletin boards, LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter has certainly kept it exciting.

Graham: Around 2000, I was at IBM working with Watson Labs on text analysis projects. At the time, we were working with a stock brokerage in Manhattan with their call center. Consumers would call in and tell the contact center person dozens of personal things, some of which could be used to improve service and also sell more to the consumer. I learned a great deal about ontologies, text processing, and text analytics. At about the same time, a few Professional Services people were able to help Ford Motor use a data warehouse to solve the Firestone Tire blow out problem affecting their SUVs and trucks. There was lot of text processing and data warehouse analytics needed for that.

Being in analytics for most of my career, the use of text analysis was fascinating. There was huge potential in many applications. I think the complexity of the text problems were also attractive – these were tough computer science problems which just makes it all the more fun when you solve them. I have always been fascinated with why the computer can’t read. This is a start.

Zuylen: I’ve been involved in the text analytics space for nearly a decade. I was attracted to the text analytics space because it provides the ability to truly organize the world’s textual information – transforming research papers, tweets, emails, and billions of other documents into actionable insights that have the power to transform human knowledge and drive real global understanding and innovation…

You can get access the whole interview over on the Text Analytics Summit site here. The Q&A got me in the mood to come up with a few questions of my own though, and since our last free conference pass giveaway here on the blog was so popular I thought I’d repeat it with a complimentary pass for the Text Analytics Summit West as well.

Same rules as last time. Whomever answer the questions below most accurately first wins a free Text Analytics Summit pass compliments of Anderson Analytics/OdinText.

  1. Why are you interested in text analytics?
  2. What is a trigram?
  3. What is another term for “web scraping”?
  4. Which ‘Guru’ pictured on the right hand side of the blog do you think has gotten the most clicks on their picture?

I’ll close the contest next week. If we get a lot of interest in this contest as well, Anderson Analytics may offer another quiz ticket giveaway for the Sentiment Symposium as well.

Good Luck!

@TomHCAnderson

PS. If you’re a researcher in Fairfield County CT/Westchester County NY don’t forget about the NGMR MeetUp this evening (Still time to RSVP Here). Hope to see you there! :)

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