Uncovering and analyzing big data to improve individual and organizational performance
Shelly Blake-Plock is the CEO and Yet Analytics. Based in Baltimore, Yet builds software that allows decision makers at major businesses and organizations to improve their human capital through big data analysis. The company’s technology has been applied to test emergency responses, train medical staff, enhance education, prevent theft, and more. Earlier this year, Yet rolled out Yet Core, a platform built on the U.S. Department of Defense’s Experience API (xAPI) that measures and evaluates human performance data, which it collects from a wide array of sources such as wearables and social networks. As of this writing, the company is in the midst of relaunching its website, but those interested in Yet can follow along with its news and culture at the Yet Analytics blog.
EDWIN WARFIELD: How many people work at Yet Analytics?
SHELLY BLAKE-PLOCK: We’re a small team. We started up at the ETC [Emerging Technology Centers] on 33rd Street in Baltimore, and we’re all Johns Hopkins expats. There are five of us. We’ve gone from the development of our own technology, where we develop everything internally, have all our own IP. We really like the craft of developing and take a lot of stock in that, right through the development of the business to getting our first clients and getting exposure, both in Baltimore and beyond—the ETC’s been absolutely instrumental in that.
How do you recruit team members?
We found people with absolutely unique skill sets, and that’s why we are the team that we are. Our team has a background in data structures, a background in early embedded Internet and IoT [Internet of Things] work, and a background in linguistics, semantic web, and visualizations. It’s really a matter of finding the smartest people in the world around the problem that you are solving. For us, that was at Hopkins.
What do you think differentiates your company What makes Yet stand out in your industry?
I feel that we have a really special team at Yet. The reason I say that is not just because we’ve been able to do what we have done up to now, but because we’ve had a team that is fearlessly approaching massive problems. That’s what I want to do. There are so many designers and developers who are far better at taking on myriad different tasks, and Baltimore is full of amazing companies—especially companies that have started in the last five to ten years. We’re looking at a problem that I think is going to affect entire industries. Increased data production is going to be the greatest industry and market mover over the next 20 to 30 years, and we can’t even imagine the amount of data, the mountain of data, that’s going to be produced with ubiquitous, wearable, and sensor-based and vehicle-based connected technologies, with the integration of the Internet into not just the computers and phones that we use—but into the tools that mechanics use, the clothes that athletes wear, the experiences that we have with the urban environment and with architecture. We are about to see the most amazing explosion of technology that we could possibly imagine. Where we are right now—if the PC sort of lit the spark and we think the Internet is mainstream? We haven’t even touched it. And so, to be a company that is really focused on solving problems related to the relationships between humans and technology, and between the data that connects them, that’s exactly where I want to be right now.
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