Back in October I wrote about my spontaneous move to San Francisco. I had two months to find a startup with great founders, an interesting product, and a strong team. Now, after spending the holidays with my family and friends back in Lithuania, I’m happy to announce that things have worked out to my advantage.
In January 2015 I’m going back to San Francisco. I decided to spend some of the best years of my life working for a killer startup.
What startup? Glad you asked..
Marketing trends in 2014
I’m really excited to introduce you to Boomtrain. But first, let me tell you about some of the latest marketing trends – it will show you how and why Boomtrain was born.
To dive right in, last year was the year of content marketing. This type of marketing took various forms, from blogs, to videos and online courses.
Red Bull, for example, helped to break the Guinness World Record for the highest jump from outer space. Awesome, right? That generated over 30 million views on their youtube channel and a long-lasting impression of giving you wings (actually it doesn’t give you wings).
Thought leaders ran free online courses, such as Email1k on email marketing. Even YCombinator, the so-called Harvard for startups, created an awesome open course on how to start a startup at Stanford University.
However, the byproduct of more content was more noise.
To illustrate this, imagine your favorite library. One day you come in and see 10 times more shelves, more books and more articles. It will be even harder to find the books you really want.
Similarly, when businesses started creating more content, it became harder for end-users to find the content they like.
As a result, relevancy online became more crucial than ever.
Content personalization in today’s world
Companies nowadays seek to produce more relevant content, instead of just content.
Guess what’s the best way to improve relevancy? (Hint: Facebook and LinkedIn have been focusing on it for years.)
The answer, my friends, is personalization.
The pioneer of personalization, Amazon, started using personalization algorithms back in 2000s. You and your friends see different versions of Amazon website because you previously purchased or viewed different things.
Based on your behaviour and preferences, Netflix provides movie recommendations and Facebook delivers personalized news feed.
So personalization has been spreading fast. Is it fast enough?
The unrealised potential of personalization
Personalization is the future of marketing. However, it is not easy for companies to personalize their content. Among other things, they need to:
- understand their users,
- build an infrastructure to link different pieces of content together,
- produce enough content to make related suggestions.
In other words, companies need to track a lot of data and make sense of it.
In reality, professional marketers spend hundreds of hours crafting newsletters you will never open. E-commerce stores track page views to send you “Amazing 70% Discounts” on products you have already bought.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying these efforts don’t work at all.
However, 96% of all the newsletters are never read. Billions of irrelevant emails still spam people’s inboxes every day.
You may sometimes feel like a tourist in a third-world country. No one cares about what you need or what you want. All that matters is that you have money.
In online world, you’re almost always that tourist. All that matters is that you can be reached via email.
The good sign is that more and more companies realize this needs to change.
And that, my friends, is exactly what Boomtrain is changing.
How machines can replace humans
Boomtrain’s machine learning engine helps businesses to have 1:1 relationship with you, the end-user.
We track and analyze your behavior over time and understand the articles you read. Then, artificial intelligence predicts what content you are most likely to engage with and when.
For example, John watches sports news every evening on his favourite news website and Sarah reads articles about art every morning.
Over time, Boomtrain’s artificial intelligence algorithms will predict what John and Sarah want to read and when, and automatically deliver that content to them before they know it.
Moreover, companies no longer need to manually segment users or craft individual messages. Machine learning algorithms can do it multiple times faster and better at unlimited scale. And our clients love that.
As a result, you receive an individual email with personalized content when you want it. All automated, all in real-time.
So why did I join Boomtrain?
After my previous experience at two early stage startups, I knew where I wanted to work next.
This may sound obvious but I learned to focus on three things. First and foremost, the founders that run the business. Secondly, the team behind the product and whether I fit into it. Last but not least, the product and its potential in the market.
Boomtrain easily ticked all of these boxes and our values aligned.
My life motto “work hard play hard” is an unwritten rule here. Questions are expected and appreciated. Creative thinking is encouraged (not that I’m super creative… It simply feels great to be in such environment). Even funny gifs that would raise many eyebrows in corporate workplace are overused in our team communication on Slack.
Talking about the product, our website states:
If we were a car company, we’d build spaceships.
Frankly, I had no clue what it meant before I joined back in December.
Over time I found this metaphor to be brilliant. It captures the complexity of the product. If current personalization efforts by businesses can be compared to cars, then Boomtrain algorithms should be compared to spaceships.
Spaceships that are as easy to drive as cars.
The A+ Team
The people at Boomtrain are awesome.
The co-founders – Chris and Nick, have already gone through heaven and hell together while working on the early stages of Boomtrain. There’s even a book written about their experience on Wired and on Kindle.
What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right? With Chris and Nick steering the wheel, we are gathering a kick-ass team to become one of the fastest growing SaaS startups in 2015.
Intelligence here is a must-have. Top notch data scientists and engineers that built the above-mentioned Amazon, Netflix and LinkedIn personalization systems are now working at Boomtrain.
Some of these guys started and successfully sold companies before. Other folks play in music bands or watch Arsenal games in the middle of the night on weekends (even when they play against Stoke City, right Travis?).
Most importantly, everyone is super-smart and super-friendly. Even now, six weeks after I joined.
“This is a world-class team. Thank you” read a Christmas greeting from Chris and Nick. And I’m really happy and proud of being a part of it.
If you want to hear more about my role in the team, new challenges I face and my personal tips on how to find a job in Silicon Valley, look up and subscribe to my blog.
P.S. We’re hiring. Join us and the first beer will be on me 🙂