Why I Joined the OdinText Board

February 12, 2019

Last month, I was honored to be invited to become a Board Director for OdinText, and gladly accepted. But the reasons I am excited to be a part of OdinText go all the back to 2002. That was the year I entered the insights field, in the qualitative part of the industry. I started out as marketing and support staff for my wife’s ethnography consulting agency, then developed as a researcher pioneering online qualitative research, and then founding the Revelation in-depth qual platform in 2007 acquired by Focusvision in 2014, and then as a C-level executive for one of the larger insights tech companies in the world offering both quant and qual solutions.

All through that journey, I felt there was opportunity being left on the table. Incredible amounts of amazing rich textual data would be collected, filled with insights and game changing answers just waiting to be discovered. But the effort required to extract that insight was immense. Coding tools and early text analytics tools often proved to be more effort than was worth it, especially when working on rapid commercial market research timelines. It was frustrating to know that while researcher and decision makers were being served well, there was more to be had.

The most frustrating thing is that I could see where things needed to go. We needed to put machines and humans in position to do their best work. Machines are able to find and surface patterns in immense data sets, something humans aren’t well suited to do. Humans are key in assigning meaning to those patterns. But we just didn’t have the tools.

As a new generation of text analytics tools emerged over the past 5 years, with OdinText being on the forefront, and processing power has reached a critical point, I saw that the puzzle is finally being solved.

The key breakthrough is to drive the understanding soft data - thoughts and feelings expressed in textual responses - through the lens the hard data and business metrics. The power of statistically-driven text analytics enables decision makers have not just “the what”, but also “the why” at decision scale. This is OdinText’s sweet spot.

Over the past 18 months I’ve seen the beginning of an amazing evolution at OdinText. Anchored by the pioneering expertise of Tom Anderson and the superlative analytics engine he developed, OdinText added experienced serial founder and CEO Andy Greenawalt who sports a tremendous track record of tech startup success.

As I looked OdinText entering into 2019, I saw transformative tech, developed by one of the industry’s leading thought-leaders, now being focused and elevated by experienced executive leadership - all at the service of a vision to create a new kind of understanding offering. It’s a strong combination that made it easy to want to be a part of OdinText.

There are a lot of exciting developments on the way for OdinText in 2019, so please watch this space!

Steve August

Industry-leading companies using OdinAnswers to better understand their customers

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