Talkwheel: The Future of Social Conversations

Talkwheel

Brands have many social channels. Each channel hosts various on-going discussions associated with that brand. Sometimes similar conversations are taking place on two or more channels. For instance, say a brand launched a video on YouTube, and subsequently posted the video through their news feed on Facebook. The result is that each channel has on-going discussions occurring in the comment threads about the same content (the one video). Wouldn’t it be great if there was one main hub that fans could go to for all on-going discussions about this new video? This is where Talkwheel comes in.

Talkwheel takes all of the discussion content in your social media channels and turns it into continuous and meaningful user discussions by unifying conversations across all websites and devices. On Facebook, there are over 300 brands currently using Talkwheel to engage with 3 million+ fans. Fans are engaged in a way that is not possible with the confinement of single channel, single post comment threads.

Jeff Harris, Founder & CEO of Talkwheel

Jeff Harris, Founder & CEO of Talkwheel

Recently, I had the opportunity to chat with Jeff Harris, Founder and CEO of Talkwheel. When he showed me a demonstration of how Talkwheel works, I was blown away.  The interface is sleek, intuitive, and very user friendly. The wheel aspect of the design is brilliant. It helps you to visualize the broad reach of discussions that are easily accessed through this software. You can’t help but to be impressed.

In our interview, I asked Jeff several questions to get some background on the development of this idea, and to get his personal take on a future that includes his software. Here’s what he had to say:

Q.  What is Talkwheel?

A. Talkwheel is a new age social communication and community platform that:

  • Enables brands to build simple yet interactive, hosted, consumer-facing communities.
  • Easily integrates into any website, mobile app, blog, and social media channel.
  • Turns random social media comments into continuous and meaningful user discussion.
  • Aggregates comments across web and mobile into one unified fan driven conversation no matter the consumer touch point.
  • Analyzes social content in a scalable and searchable way.
 
Q. Who is using it?
 
A. We work with numerous brands and artists, such as Spanish Broadcasting Systems, IBM, and Keith Urban. We are now starting to launch with our first set of enterprise sized customers. Talkwheel’s products have been used by over 6M unique users.
 
 
Q.  Who should be using it?
 
A. Most VC’s try and label you as a B2B (business to business) or B2C (business to consumer) startup. We sell to brands, but the consumers of brands are the ones that use our product. So we fall in this hybred model of B2B2C, which the model is now finally gaining momentum with investors, but was a pain in the past when pitching to VCs.
We work primarily with consumer brands and media companies.
 
 
Q.  What surprised you most during the development of Talkwheel?
 
A. The importance of a very sleek UI. The UX and UI will make or break a product like ours. We have gone through 10+ UI overhauls to get to the stage we are today. We often look back at older versions and we are always like what the heck were we thinking with this certain design piece. People always really liked the visual concept of Talkwheel and we finally have the UI to a stage where the design matches the concept.
Talkwheel User Interface

Talkwheel User Interface

Q.  Can you give me a funny story/anecdote from your time in development with it?
 
A. Any product development story that may be considered a funny to outsiders is still too soon for us to laugh over.
One funny story not related to development, but how we got one of our investors. We had a a meeting with a well known angel investor in Palo Alto about a year ago and were only given about 30 min for the meeting. Of course the elevator breaks down, we are stuck on the investors floor, and the doors wont open. We ended up having to pitch him through the elevator. Hardcore elevator pitch! I am pretty claustrophobic so that was an experience. Luckily he did invest.

 

Q.  Where do you hope to see Talkwheel by the end of this year? 
 

A. By the end of 2013 we are expecting to be profitable.

 

I’d like to thank Jeff for taking the time to speak with me, and for giving me some insight into his revolutionary new platform.  Best of luck to you with future elevator rides!

The question posed on the Talkwheel website states, “Life isn’t linear. Why should your conversations be?” I think Jeff and his camp are onto something here. This is the future of social media conversations.

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