We talked about TruthFeed sometime back and its introduction of new features that included the Twitter Bot and the Historical Development. While we personally believe in doing our bit of reviews on startups and tools it is always a good idea to get in touch with people behind and interview one of the team members. We therefore decided to get in touch with TruthFeed’s founder; Johan Haataja to learn his part of story on the newly introduced features and TruthFeed itself.
What is more interesting is that Johan Haataja is currently a student at Aalto University studying strategic management and has experience in software and management consulting sector.
Arctic Startup: How do you think the Twitter Bot helps you improve TruthFeed?
Johan Haataja: Basically this solves or solved our biggest problem – the critical mass. In this context by critical mass I mean the critical mass of data. This is also directly linked to the number of users, because TruthFeed is valuable to our users when there is enough data that our algorithms can work with. Now the service is becoming increasingly valuable all the time.
In addition, the larger amount of real data has enabled us to develop our algorithms further. This work will also continue in the future.
AS: With so many sites that act as recommendation engines, experience sharing, etc how does TF stand out?
Johan Haataja: First of all, TruthFeed is a place where you can find and share experiences about anything. That’s not the case with most of recommendation engines. In addition, we make everything comparable, filter and extract the relevant information from noise, and focus on quality and validity of data. TruthFeed is a place where the user can quickly find what people think about anything. That’s our main selling point.
AS: The Historical Development – why is it important to keep an eye on trending topics?
Johan Haataja: This provides a lot of insights to individual persons as well as businesses, because the things around us are changing all the time. For example, a restaurant you visited six months ago is probably either better or worse today than it used to be. Mark Zuckerberg or some other celebrity is probably today more or less popular than he was three months ago. The development of global feeling, which I like to call it, is basically telling you, where things are heading. Most of the time they are getting either better or worse and it’s good to know which way is it.
I personally find it also a fun feature, because following the development of global feeling is like following share prices. Similarly, the development of stock price tells you instantly what the world is thinking about a company. TruthFeed extends this ideology to cover any conceivable topic.
AS: The future planning – what’s in for TF and its users in the next six months?
Johan Haataja: The focus point is still on improving the user experience: meaning making the service more intuitive and adding more useful features. The vision is that TruthFeed is a place where you can easily follow the topics that you are interested about and get informed especially when something radical happens around the topic.
Concrete examples of the features that are coming out quite soon are automatic email alerts and the possibility to compare between different topics. For example, you could follow how Madonna is performing compared to Lady Gaga or how Nokia is performing compared to Apple.
This might sound a bit harsh, but Facebook is about being connected with the people you know, Twitter is about being connected with the people you are interested about and TruthFeed is about being connected with the things you are interested about. At the moment Twitter is our only external source of data, but soon there will be also some other data sources. We are also going to scale the things up gradually.
Besides what I have already told, I don’t know where the service will be in the end of this year. We have a lot of ideas and new ideas emerge all the time. Hopefully one of them is going to be a game changing idea. You can find it out only by trying it. Therefore we also need a lot of luck.
AS: The team behind TF – with respective positions and previous experiences.
Johan Haataja: Officially I’m the only person working for TruthFeed at the moment. However, a team is hopefully going to be formed quite soon. In addition, already for a while there have been some people with whom I have thrown ideas with and who have given me valuable feedback of the service. For example, the Twitter bot wasn’t my original idea.