“Many of these people have been on our radar for years,” says Chayes of the new hires. “We’ve been trying to find people who do computational social science. There are very few people in the world who do this research, but it’s an area that’s really taking off.”
This year will be the year of Big Data. The Data Warehousing Institute (TDWI) reported that 90 percent of the IT professionals it surveyed said they were familiar with big data analytics. And 34 percent said they already applied analytics to Big Data. The vast hordes of data collection during e-commerce transactions, from loyalty programs, employment records, supply chain and ERP systems are, or are about to get, cozy. Uncomfortably cozy.
FC: Big data is also why you have faith in Groupon
RH: Yes. There’s two points on which a lot of the discussion about Groupon misses key insights. First is what exists with Groupon today: both scale and data. Data becomes important because of the scale. If you look at the core service that Groupon built on, it’s: Here are some offers that may motivate you to act today. That’s interesting enough for you to plunk down the money.
As the activity in this space gets denser, it becomes important for [deals companies] to maintain their value proposition, both for the merchant and the consumer, and to be able to match the right two. The ability to do that kind of matching, off the data, is the kind of thing that has a robust, at-scale, defensible value proposition and makes it harder for other people to offer products that are as good.
I also think people discount Groupon’s ability to build new value propositions. Groupon launched Groupon Now. An ability to raise my mobile phone and say there’s a 20 percent off offer two blocks from you in the next hour is actually pretty useful. And that’s a value of scale.