What We Can Learn About Content From Fidel Castro

“Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement” -Helen Keller 

Next week, I will be Keynoting the SDL Connect conference in Santa Clara. I will be speaking about Language as the third pillar of data required to create and deliver personalized customer experiences. We are expecting a large audience with representation from many Fortune 500 companies. SDL will be making several significant product announcements at the event and I’ll be setting up Adolfo, SDL’s CEO to make some bold claims about the technical advancements made within their platform. The most significant of which will be the inclusion of Artificial Intelligence within their Machine Translation products.  

My speech will focus primarily on the advancements made around understanding content as data and specifically how through the war on terror, the intelligence community developed tools for understanding content and communication that will soon be introduced into the commercial market place. As I was conducting research for the speech, I came across an analysis of speech patterns conducted by research organizations that I want to share with you.  
The government had been recording and collecting all of the communication by Fidel Castro leading up to and after the Cuban missile crisis in October of 1962. As I mentioned last week there are many techniques to better understand content; how it belies intent, a deeper understanding of the meaning, and a glimpse into the efficacy of interaction models. This particular report focused on Castro’s speech pattern after the crisis was resolved. The results indicated that after the Cuban Missile Crisis, Castro’s speeches had a simpler syntactic structure, more embodied words, and less negative expressions. It makes sense that after the removal of Soviet protection, Castro was demurred and his style, tone, and tenor changed.  
The tool used to conduct this analysis is called the Coh-Metrix. It is an automated linguistic analysis tool that analyzes text on measures of cohesion, syntax, readability, and other characteristics of language and discourse.  
Coh-Metrix is sensitive to a wide range of linguistic/discourse features that reflect multiple levels of text complexity and has five orthogonal dimensions:  

  1. Narrativity. Narrative text tells a story, with characters, events, and is closely affiliated with everyday oral conversation.  
  1. Syntactic ease. Sentences with fewer words and simple, less embedded, syntactic structures are easier to process and understand.  
  1. Word concreteness. Concrete words evoke mental images and are more meaningful to the reader than abstract words.  
  1. Referential cohesion. High cohesion text contains explicit words and ideas that overlap across sentences and the entire text  
  1. Deep cohesion. The extent to which the ideas in the text are connected with causal or intentional connectives at the deeper situation model level.  

The graph above is a result of the analysis of Castro’s speeches and an example of how we can use machine learning to ingest large amounts of content, then provide our clients information on how they are communicating with their customers. Furthermore; those same techniques can be applied to social media with responses to a brand, to customer satisfaction surveys and rating/review content. We can create a closed-loop understanding of how a brand and its customer are interacting with one another. 
Over time, combined with customer profile data, analytics, and behavioral data we will leverage this deeper understanding of the content to tailor experiences that exactly meets the customers’ expectations and needs, but most importantly deliver the experience in language, tone, and familiarity you would expect when talking to a good friend.  
Let’s go be great! 


The Tahzoo Difference in Data Services

“Genius might be the ability to say a profound thing in a simple way.” 
-Charles Bukowski 

You can barely go a day in the news cycle and not hear a story about Data. For the past 5 or 6 years, we have been pursuing the integration of data into our service offering. Not just analytics or better A/B testing but understanding how we could build a data infrastructure closely tied to our CMS practice that would enhance and improve personalization. Over the years we’ve made a lot of progress on leading-edge techniques and ideas for how those two domains should come together.  
In some ways, we’ve been ahead of the market and many of our customers, and in some cases, our employees weren’t always understanding the vision that I had around the integration of Data and CMS publishing technologies. This stems largely from the fact that I have always viewed content as another data set to be masters. The reason I wrote a few weeks ago about linguistic AI as it’s a profound step in improving the quality of the content and therefore the consumer experience.  
Now our major customers are asking us for help in defining our Data Hub solution and how it should be integrated into the enterprise marketing platform. We have a fantastic opportunity to lead the market in this space. I asked Mike Fillion to work with the team and put together Tahzoo’s unique value proposition. We are not just another data provider or system integrator, we have a very unique and specialized offering, you should all be excited.    
Let’s go be great! 

The Zeitgeist

“Difficult to see. Always in motion is the future.” 
– Yoda reminds Luke of the problem with trying too hard to predict the future 

Today I was going to write about ‘how to run a meeting’, but I’ve opted to save that for next week. 
During my travels this week, I’ve had a lot of time to think. I’ve written and spoken to all of you about personalization and how it will be the dominant marketing paradigm for the foreseeable future. I want to take a moment and refine that thought for each of you as you consider how we can better support our clients, and more importantly how we develop our solutions for personalization. There has been a lot of great work in the past few weeks producing papers on our business and technical solutions – thank you to everyone for all of the efforts, it is driving our business to a new level! 
There is a concept used in advertising called the “Zeitgeist”. It’s a word that comes from some fairly heady German philosophy, which translated means “the spirit of the age” or the “spirit of the times”. It refers to an invisible agent or force dominating the characteristics of a culture. In advertising, there are iconic ad campaigns that seem to resonate with the masses at a visceral level. These campaigns are effective because they speak to the culture well beyond the normal frequency and reach the strategy of showing a commercial every 10 minutes. They become a metaphor representing the cultural ethos… think internet memes. As a creative director, the goal has always been to combine imagery, writing, and music into a campaign that reaches the masses at their core. Each of us has a favorite TV commercial that we remember and can recite by heart. 
There has been a lot of talk about how politics have become tribal – groups of people banding together around a common theme or perspective. As those groups begin to share with one another, they create an echo chamber and continue a process of finding and selecting content that they agree with. This is known as confirmation bias. The internet and social media have allowed us to define ourselves into ever more discrete groups. There is a community for virtually every topic of human interest in the world. You are a unique combination of interests and ideas; since all the information of the world is available through the internet, you will explore, evolve, and change over the course of your life. Each of us has our own Zeitgeist, a spirit of the times that guides our choice for the experience. 
Now that we are all connected and our choice of experience is self-determined, a customer experience strategy designed for the masses is folly. Do not confuse efficiency with intimacy; we can enhance digital experiences to make them more effective, but that doesn’t build a brand the way an emotional connection does. Many of us have participated in discussions about the long lines at Disneyland and yet it’s still a brand experience like no other in the world. The real opportunity is to understand people, which is now possible through powerful analytical tools – and to deliver the content “Experiences” that speak to their Zeitgeist. Our software partnerships have given us the platform to deliver personalization on a global scale. Now it’s up to us to continue to develop and refine our techniques for helping our clients achieve the goal of reaching each of their customer’s hearts through personalization.  
Let’s go be great, 

Tahzoo is SDL’s Partner of the Year!

Team Tahzoo, 

To our new Tahzooians (aka HintTech) – I send out an email – From the Desk of Brad Heidemann -every Friday as a recap of my week and what has been happening around the company. Not everything that is mentioned will make total sense to you just yet. But I wanted you to have this exposure sooner than later. Enjoy! 

It has been an exhausting but exhilarating week here in Europe! I am pleased to announce that Tahzoo won SDL Partner of the Year! It was announced at the SDL Alliance Summit in London on Tuesday. This is the second year in a row we have been honored with this prestigious award. We have shared the news via social media, but as always we could use your help spreading the word. We have drafted a few messages you can copy and paste to share with your networks:  

  • Thrilled to share that @Tahzoo was named 2015 Partner of the Year by @SDL at #sdlinnovate! Excited for the future of #tahzooworldwide 
  • Honored to be part of the @Tahzoo team. We received 2015 Partner of the Year Award from @SDL at #sdlinnovate #tahzooworldwide  
  • Great day here @Tahzoo! Honored by @SDL as 2015 Partner of the Year at #sdlinnovate. Excited for future of #tahzooworldwide  

I started the week in Amsterdam at the SDL Innovate event. I gave my keynote address with Egbert Hendrik joining me up on stage. It was marked by tremendous applause and excitement for our acquisition news. If you noticed, we could not stop the twitter feed on the announcement, even if we tried! Also in Amsterdam, John Kottcamp delivered a nice round table discussion with select attendees at our VIP lunch as well.  I then went to the Alliance Summit in London where we receive the Partner of the Year Award followed by the SDL Innovate event in London for more networking, meetings, and briefings. There Ian Truscott shared our thoughts on becoming a 20/20 brand by the year 2020 in our VIP lunch. Meanwhile, John Kottcamp joined Dereck Price from HintTech in Ghent, Belgium at the ADAMSync! Event.