Arik Hesseldahl

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Start-Up Domo Goes 100 Percent More Social Starting Today

When I last looked in on Domo Technologies, the Utah-based business intelligence start-up run by Omniture founder Josh James, it had just raised a $20 million round of funding led by Institutional Venture Partners.

It has been relatively quiet there in the Utah desert ever since, which is odd, because it had been such a chatty company, throwing parties to kill old outdated identities, holding complicated math contests to guess its new name, things like that.

Now it’s about to get noisy again. Effective today, you’re going to start hearing a lot more from Domo and from its employees, and not because its new product is ready. Not quite. (James tells me the company will be talking about it this summer.)

No, starting today, all employees — everyone in the company — will be required as a condition of employment to get seriously engaged on social media in all its various forms in order to make Domo part of the wider conversations taking place on Twitter and Facebook and Foursquare and Pinterest and the rest. It’s called the #Domosocial experiment, and will last eight weeks. James puts it thusly in a post on the company blog:

“The program is designed to get everyone here engaged with and learning from consumer and social technologies. The goal is to help us develop a better product, understand the viral nature of web offerings more effectively, assist in getting the Domo brand out there, enable better customer conversations and see what impact it all has on our business.”

Part of the intent, James told me, is a matter of geography and culture. Being based in Utah, Domo employees are probably better than their equal numbers at other Utah start-ups when it comes to being facile with the ebb and flow of the daily global conversation that takes place on all the social spaces. But they’re probably not as familiar with it all as their rivals in Silicon Valley.

James has seen this sort of thing before. He started Omniture in Utah in 1996 and by 2009 sold it to Adobe for $1.8 billion. “With Domo, I wanted to ensure that we are every bit as adept at understanding and leveraging social as any other bleeding-edge startup,” he wrote.

But on top of that, he’s turning the effort into a live case study to see just how much of a difference it makes in Domo’s business prospects, if any. The company will track important metrics and share them with the world. “We’ll track how things change week after week. The good, the bad and the ugly, it’s all going to be public,” he told me.

Though not about everything. There’s a list of “don’ts.” Don’t tweet about deals in the pipeline, don’t debate with or quarrel with the boss on Facebook. Don’t post about meetings or leak financial information.

What do employees stand to benefit? The best among them will be getting cash rewards for their performance, extra days off, that sort of thing.

What does he expect? He’s been exploring social media pretty seriously for the last six months, and occasionally now gets stopped in the local mall by people who recognize him. “You start having influence in ways you didn’t before,” James told me. He learned with a 10-page article he shared on Twitter, where he has about 12,000 followers, that he experienced a 15 percent click-through rate. “The influence will increase dramatically,” he told me. Also, Domo’s development team will have their eyes opened to the finer points of what works and what doesn’t with social features that are under development at Domo. “We don’t want to re-invent what Facebook and Twitter did, but if you’re not intimately familiar with how those things work, then how can you learn from their mistakes?”

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