kred

Kred, a platform to measure social influence similar to Klout, just introduced a new interface called “Story” with several very interesting new features. It is so graphically-intensive that I wanted to provide a video (below) so you can experience the changes first-hand. In my view the overhaul provides some valuable new tools for marketers interested in influencer marketing (and you should be).

Click here if you can’t see the video of Kred Story.

So what does this mean to you?  I see at least two interesting business applications of the new “Story” format.

First, this puts some useful, free tools into the hands of small businesses and brands. So far Klout has really been the domain of big brands fortunate enough to be able to experiment with Klout Perks. One of the questions I am often  asked is, “OK we understand this marketing trend, but we’re a small business. How do we find these influencers?”

Kred has come up with some very nice free or inexpensive features so that many businesses can find topical influencers by geographic location.

A second benefit I see (which may not be even be apparent to Kred) is the usefulness of seeing the most shared content by category and the influencers behind the sharing.  This could be an extraordinary tool for curating top content.

When I previewed the new Kred offering, there were still a few pretty strange bugs in the system, but honestly that doesn’t bother me as much as other people. We are watching an entirely new marketing channel unfold and iterate in public — a pretty extraordinary business model. So I am more focused on the trend and the opportunities than short-term things that look might appear silly.

I had an opportunity to ask a few questions of Kred CEO Andrew Grill about this latest round of social influence innovation:

andrew grill

Andrew Grill

Mark:  I imagine that it is difficult creating sustainable points of differentiation in a field where there really is no intellectual property protection. In other words, you are probably in a cycle where competitors simply continually copy each other. How do you compete in an industry like that?

Andrew Grill: When we gained access to the Twitter firehose back in 2008, we developed our architecture to be able to handle the masses of data that come from sources like Twitter, Facebook, and the ever-growing social networks. We’ve developed IP (Intellectual Property) and know-how around receiving and ingesting big data.

We are the only influence provider that is generating scores in real time. We also took the decision to be open and transparent from day one, by not only publishing exactly how we derive the Kred scores, but also showing on every one of the 120 million Kred profiles the effect of interactions on the scores in real time. No-one else has decided to be this transparent – something that sets Kred apart from other platforms.

Mark: What is Kred’s R&D cycle? How often can we expect to see major updates like this?

Andrew Grill: We iterate fast. Kred was built in just three months, and the build time for Kred Story was even faster. Small enhancements to the site based on our valuable community feedback are added into the development cycle on a weekly basis. Customers also benefit from our quick R&D cycle as we can build custom versions of Kred elements extremely quickly.

Mark: One of the things many people don’t understand is that you have no choice but to iterate in public. There is no way to test enough ahead of time to be able to predict everything that might happen when you flip the switch and a million people hit your servers. From a business standpoint, how do you gear up for the inevitable fire-fighting when you make a major change like this?

Andrew Grill:  Having an amazing technical team who work around the world in multiple time zones means that we’re ready for anything. You are right that we have to iterate in public, and we are always listening to what people are saying about us and the product – feeding things back to the development team as we receive it. We love being in such an agile environment and industry – it makes us work harder to build the best possible platform we can.

We also utilize our network of Kred Leaders to seek feedback on new deployments. In addition, we have a round the clock community management team looking out for any issues and feeding them back to the team. As social media is real time, if something is not working, we hear about it pretty quickly through Twitter.

Mark: How do you project the Twitter API change will affect Kred and its new format?

Andrew Grill:  We don’t expect any material changes to the Kred Story format to be compliant with the new API. We have been working with Twitter for four years now since we gained access to the full Twitter firehose and we have a great partnership.

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Take a look at the demonstration video and let the {grow} community know what you think about it. Other than the features I’ve named here, what else do you like about this new interface?

Disclosure: Kred has named me a “Kred Leader” but I have not been active and maintain a neutral position in the industry. Andrew Grill bought me dinner earlier this year during a business trip. 

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