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Happy birthday Talkwalker - A decade of data analytics

Happy birthday Talkwalker - A decade of data analytics

Time flies when you’re having fun. And that’s certainly the case at Talkwalker. This year, we celebrate our tenth birthday. A decade of data analytics, and helping clients. We’ve gone from a small start-up in Luxembourg, to a global brand with 5 offices and over 2,000 clients around the world. I chat with our founders, to see how it all happened.

Be part of the next 10 years

From table tennis to technology - A chat with our founders

Dan: 10 years ago, Christophe Folschette and Thibaut Britz, met at a party in Zurich, and came up with an idea. That idea, was Talkwalker. And today, it has flourished into a leading social data analysis company.

I took the chance to sit down with our two founders, to discuss how it all happened, and exactly what makes Talkwalker tick.

1. How did Talkwalker start?

Christophe: We’ve known each other for about 20 years, we actually met playing table tennis. We played against each other, and regularly met at tournaments.

When I went to university, I worked on numerous innovation projects, but I really wanted to create a company.

Thibaut: I studied in Zurich, and following my studies, I ended up working for a tech company in Zurich. It was there that I saw a need for data. You need data to analyze, to be streamlined.

Christophe: We met up again, and we chatted about what we were doing, and it was then we realized we should try to do something together.

Thibaut: When I returned to Luxembourg, I started programming, Christophe also quit his job and together we founded Talkwalker.

Christophe: It was tough in the beginning, as we had to take care of everything, but we were really dedicated, and driven by this dream. Thibaut had to take care of the systems. I had to take the calls, on Sundays, Saturdays. And always be positive, reactive. But we grew, and kept growing!

2. Why did you choose Luxembourg for your start-up?

Thibaut: It was very easy. It’s because I’m Luxembourgish and my family is here, which could also support me at the beginning. There’s huge support here for Luxembourgish start-ups.

Christophe: There’s a lot of initiatives from the state. They’re pushing really hard on start-ups, creating an ecosystem of innovation.

It’s also an international environment. It allowed Talkwalker to find people to cover all of the nationalities and cover all of the markets that we’re active in. It’s a central hub from where we can deliver globally. With so many multinationals in Luxembourg, we have a great talent pool here.

3. Tell us about your best & worst days at work.

Christophe: The Christmas party is one of the best days. It’s when we celebrate successes, and celebrate the people that have delivered exceptionally.

Also, the best days are when we win big. Bigger customers, bigger brands. More famous brands. And release days...

Thibaut: It’s when we see the feedback from the client incorporated into a new product, and everything works. It’s the integration of the team effort, the ideas, every team working together to make a final product that customers want to use.

At the speed we progress, when we look back at what we have achieved, 6 months can look like 10 years. But it’s good to see what we have achieved.

Christophe: The worst days usually involve internal challenges.

Thibaut: For me, the worst days, there’s not so many.

4. What do you do when you’re not at work?

Thibaut: I program a little bit on the side. I spend more time with my family, especially since the birth of my second daughter. And I like running to unwind.

Christophe: I enjoy being with friends, with family. And I like doing sports, like basketball or running, just to free your mind. I love traveling, and I love good food.

5. What motivates you from day to day?

Christophe: I always try and take the positive from every situation. So even if it’s very negative, I try to take the positive and try to leverage this. Everyone else says, work hard, play hard. But I would say, work efficiently, play hard.

Thibaut: What motivates me is working with the team. We have a great team where we can learn from each other, trust each other, and rely on each other. We have a team that gets things done.

6. And what inspires you?

Thibaut: I’m reading a coding book right now, as over the years, coding is something that I’ve missed. I wish I had more time to read. When I do code, I listen to something more calm, like classical music.

Christophe: When I read, it’s more relevant news, but I always try to read books when on holidays. But then I have to get inspiration from some friends. I always have Spotify on, with a mix of music. Though I prefer old school hip hop, especially when running.

7. If there’s one thing you could do in 2019, what will it be?

Christophe: From a business view, I want us to continue at the fast pace that we’re running at. And personally, I would travel the world.

Thibaut: I’m happy in life right now. From a business side, I just want to help more companies in helping them succeed in the social media landscape. Personally, spend more time on the things I miss, and take more holidays. I would love to travel to Asia once, as I had basic Chinese lessons at university and we’ve recently opened our APAC office.

8. What do you think of the current state of social data analytics?

Christophe: I can see 4 major trends going on…

AI, that’s making the gathering of insights faster, and allows you to automate workflows within organizations.

Omnichannel focus. Bringing all channels together, so not just social, but print, broadcast, web, paid, and all other channels.

Integrations. So being integrated across business processes within organizations, and not treating social as a separate entity.

And data democratization. Engaging people on how they should leverage social data in their organization, and integrate that data into their processes.

Looking at the market, it’s consolidating. It’s becoming more and more mature and the barriers to entry are now quite high.

We’re in a great situation, as we’re the fastest growing company, and we focused on the right technology stack since the beginning. We lead with product as well, compared to our peers, as we innovate faster.

9. How would you sum up the last 10 years, and the next?

Christophe: The last ten years were good. We don’t have grey hair yet. We learned a lot. We were pretty young when we started, and we learnt how to run a business and how to scale. But most importantly, we learnt that the key is people. It’s about growing with the right people, so we can sleep in the evening.

Thibaut: We now have a team, some are friends, that we can each other rely on. It’s no longer a solo effort. Talkwalker was initially Christophe’s and my dream, but now it’s the dream of everyone.

Christophe: In the next ten years, I envision more growth. More offices, thousands of employees. We want to be a leader in empowering companies with data-driven business decisions, not just across digital, but across the whole business.

To do that, we’ll leverage technology, keep developing our AI, integrate more and more data sets, provide more and more insights. It’s going to be another busy 10 years.

10. Can you hint at some of the innovations Talkwalker has planned for the future?

Christophe & Thibaut: We’re going to be adding more and more data sources, to collect & analyze text, images, and video. Building out more analytics to make the right decisions, to be more predictive and prescriptive.

More AI-powered business applications. Just next week, we’re expanding our analytics tools, with the premiere of our industry-first breakthrough {censored}...

Dan: I think we should stop there, before we spoil the big reveal. Let’s just say next week, is going to be very exciting.

Thanks guys for sharing with us, and I’ll see you again in ten years.

In the meantime, if you’d like to join Talkwalker today, you can request a free demo below.

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