Category Archives: General

MavenMagnet study On Current Perceptions Of Ebola Reveals Public Remains Scared And Skeptical

Research Undertaken in Support of Strategy Summit for Fighting Ebola

A high level of concern and an equally high level of ignorance about medical facts, real or perceived, continue to fuel conversations about Ebola in social media and the press, even as the disease drops out of the headlines.

In support of Strategies for Fighting Ebola: A Columbia University Summit to Help End the Epidemic, held this week at the Columbia Club in New York City, MavenMagnet, a multinational big data-based research company, conducted a study to understand the current U.S. public perceptions of Ebola.

The Summit is sponsored by: Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University School of Nursing, Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia Business School Alumni Club of New York, The Columbia Alumni Association, and The Columbia University Club of New York.

The nationally balanced, projectable sample of 2,090, was drawn from an analysis of conversations about Ebola from a wide range of digital sources including Facebook, Twitter, blogs, forums, community chat rooms, press, and other platforms between October 20, 2014 and November 20, 2014.

“With the vast majority of the conversations (41%) centered on discussions of the Medical Understanding behind the virus (i.e. the causes, prevention, effects, treatments, etc.), only 4% of the conversations were positive indicating a continuing high level of concern about the disease and a continuing lack of knowledge about medical facts,” said MavenMagnet CEO Aditya Ghuwalewala.

The key words which had the greatest impact in the conversations were: scared, plot and airborne. The reference to Ebola being part of a plot was, of course, highly charged, as was the reference to airborne which remains both a very hot and misunderstood topic.

Skepticism and Fear were the second most discussed topics and the focus of 18% of the conversations with Controversy a close third at 14%. Disturbingly, Racial Stigma also was part of 11% of the conversations.

On the positive side, 14% of the conversations referenced the importance of Global Solidarity in fighting Ebola. Awareness of celebrity initiatives such as those by Bob Geldof and BandAid, drove the solidarity references, with mentions in 58% of the conversations on Global Solidarity. Clearly, celebrity events are noticed and have the potential to have an even greater positive effect.

Surprisingly, both references to President Obama and hospitals were few and had very low impact.

Build or Buy

This classic question comes up every time a company comes at a crossroad where options are either to build an expertise or buy it from the experts. The short answer is: build it if it is your core competency, buy in all other cases.

If your core competency is to sell detergent, build the product and sales & marketing machinery, buy the services to support it. You don’t have to build a data center to store information, you can buy it. You don’t have to build data analytics machinery to understand this information, you can buy it. Let the system engineers and data scientist respectively at expert shops do that while you focus on selling your detergent.

Buying has a lot of advantages. It keeps your overheads under control. You are relying on someone whose entire job is to sell that particular thing. What you would otherwise build as your back office is their front office. They stay on top of things. In areas like technology where machine learning, new technology deployment and product evolution happens at a rapid pace, the service provider will distribute the cost among several buyers making it so much more cost-effective for you along with making to get the latest and greatest stuff without worrying about the details under the hood. When you are buying, in most cases you are options, i.e. there’s competition among the sellers, which always work in your best interest.

So long story short, you got to buy it if it is not what you do. Focus on what you do and do it the best it can be done. Buy the rest.

MavenMagnet research takes a new look at Boomers and Millennials

Boomers and Millennials may not agree on a lot of things but there appears to be common ground in considerable areas when it comes to purchase decision.  In a broad-scale study of the two cohort groups conducted by MavenMagnet, a big data research company, both groups agree that value for money (vs. cost alone) is the most important factor in the purchase decision.

One area where the groups are significantly different – that color how they approach life and make decisions – is that Boomers are “INSIDE-OUT” skewed, whereas Millennials are predominantly “OUTSIDE-IN.”  Boomers are more driven by shared values than Millennials who are more concerned about social appeal. Aside from common turf on value, and quality, Boomers give importance to benefits such as personal relevance and individuality most highly, reflecting inner-directed values. Conversely, Millennials rate social conformance at a rate more than twice as high as their older cohorts.

“Fitting-in” or social conformance is important for Millennials – be it in college, society or when they move into the workplace. Many of their choices are driven by what is considered “right by others.” Boomers are a lot more comfortable with who they are…they don’t look for social approval.  Individuality is important to them and their purchase decisions may or may not conform to social trends.

Sensory appeal is important for both generations, but the sensory drivers are very different. Comfort is way down on the important criteria for Millennials (in favor of aesthetics), reflecting the clear variance in life stage of the two groups. Boomers would rather pick something average looking than compromise their comfort; Millennials will accept slight discomfort in their clothes, furniture or even bed sheets, if they look good. Again, this supports the inner-directed vs. outer-directed differences between the two generations.

The green groups can take little encouragement from this study since sustainability is at the bottom of the purchase decision list for both generations.

What are some of the lessons learned? This study could have saved JC Penney from taking the wrong turn in their ill-fated no-coupon marketing strategy.  Both groups place high importance on discount coupons and price-off promotions. Interesting tidbits? Boomers reference USA in emotive word associations. Millennials do not. And guess what big box stores – Walmart is for Boomers, what Target is for Millennials.

About the Study

MavenMagnet used its Conversation ResearchTM methodology to analyze Boomer and Millennial purchase attitudes using big social data. Proprietary technology and methodology was used to analyze and gain insights from thousands of consumer conversations over 12 months (June 2013 to May 2014). Please contact us at for an overview study report.

Every individual should find a Ben Graham

When you see a 79-year-old living idol refer to his mentor’s name half a dozen times in a 60 minutes talk, you got to pay attention to it. I had this unique opportunity to listen to Warren Buffett and Bill Gates at a town hall event at Columbia Business School. I got more than a few sparks to think about, but one I believe I should share with everyone is the importance of Ben Graham for Warren Buffett.

You will say that there can only be one Ben Graham and one Warren Buffett in a generation. True, but that’s not the point here. The point here is to find a true mentor, an individual who inspires you, someone who makes you excited to talk to and work for and make you a better person. Ben Graham was a great professional mentor to Warren Buffett, someone whose values he lives up to and applies in his work even to this date.

Many of us will find our parents as inspiration to live up to. They are possibly the best personal mentors one can ever have and the easy thing here is, you got them when you were born. In your professional life, it’s a bit harder than that. I asked someone lot smarter than me: how do you know that this is the Ben Graham for you? The answer: it’s more of a realization than anything else. If that’s the person who energizes you to stay up at night and get things done, if that’s someone who motivates you to jump out of bed early in the morning and that’s the person you can refer to in order to crack the toughest codes, you found what you were looking for.

Good luck!

Hello world!

I have been thinking over the past few days about how much time I spend talking to friends and family using emails and instant messaging? Well quite a lot. Normally these start with a simple point and after a few bounces across the wire, they’re like full-blown discussions. And often I noticed that I have discussed the same topic with different folks and thought that it would have been great if I can get comments of all of them at the same place. So I set out to look for something that could fix it up for me, is there anything out there which can make World even more reachable for me, can something called technology help…and bang came the answer – I can what they call blog it. So after months and months of “will do next weekend for sure”, here I am…ready to blog!

So what is this show blog all about? Well I can sum up the entire show blog for you in one word – “Nothing”. “Nothing”, then why am I watching reading it? Because it is on the TV Internet. Not yet Yes it is!

My Seinfeld fanaticism apart here’s what will be in there…lots of seasonal stuff, some marketing talk, tons of advertisement chitchat, little bit of finance, college football…well depends on how good we play (Go Longhorns, and yes, I bleed burnt orange), India talk and what else, technology and software (btw, I also write software for living and I’m lovin’ it!) So we can sum it all up to basically Nothing.

What will I gain? Freedom to express myself, talk to the World, have a voice and all that crap. What do I want from you? Lots of comments and chitchats.

So I will end this with one of my favorite quote: “Experience is like a comb that life gives you when you are bald.”