Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

Meet DataMinr, One of Twitter’s Favorite Start-Ups

When asked about Twitter ecosystem opportunities at a recent press event, CEO Dick Costolo brought up DataMinr, a New York-based data analysis provider for hedge funds.

I made a note to myself: “Look up ‘data miner,'” not realizing how hard it might be to find until I dropped the “e.”

After another Twitter executive mentioned DataMinr in a recent conversation, I decided I had to get in contact with this company. I eventually found my way to Ted Bailey, the company’s founder and CEO.

Bailey was a bit coy, but he did tell me a little more about what he’s doing. DataMinr is a “global sensor network for emerging events and consumer signals,” Bailey said.

The service detects emerging events on Twitter by watching for activity that’s abnormal from the usual tweet flow. What DataMinr does is more powerful than a Twitter dashboard tool, Bailey contended, because it is based on studying patterns rather than tracking keywords.

Twitter Director of Platform Ryan Sarver was more than happy to give a quote about how much Twitter loves DataMinr:

“DataMinr is a great example of a company that’s creating a sizable business by unlocking value from realtime Twitter data and uncovering market insights in a way that was never possible before. We’d love to see more companies in Twitter’s ecosystem doing innovative analytics work like this. The opportunity is enormous to help brands, publishers and other large organizations get the best out of Twitter.”

As for why Twitter has taken such a liking to this particular little company? Bailey theorized, “We’re one of the most serious things that’s pulled out of Twitter — ‘serious’ in quotes.” Plus, DataMinr’s customers — governments and hedge funds — are dramatically different from Twitter’s own.

DataMinr has 12 employees, Bailey said, and has raised $5 million so far.

Here’s a video of Bailey from a Twitter developer showcase (yup, another place they gave him a plug) explaining how DataMinr sent out an alert about Osama bin Laden’s death — 23 minutes before it was reported in the news — that was based on only 19 tweets.

Chart of bin Laden tweets per second via Twitter on Flickr.

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work