Optimizing communication

I listened to this Andreessen Horowitz podcast entitled “It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it”┬áthis week. I found it fascinating which is why I wanted to share it here. It’s 34 minutes long but I left the piece wanting to learn more.

The podcast consists of an interview with Textio co-founder and CEO Kieran Snyder. Textio is a company that analyzes pieces of text to determine how likely they are to make the reader of the text take a desired action. Although the company’s first product optimizes the text of job postings in order to attract applicants from the right talent for the job (hint: avoid using the word “synergy”), the same technology can be applied in many different contexts. Political elections, investor presentations, marketing messages. The list is endless. Any situation where you’re using text to get people to do something is a candidate.

In the future, the source of the information being analyzed and optimized doesn’t need to be limited to text. It can also include voice communication (where the communicator’s tone can also be analyzed) and face-to-face interactions (where one’s body language can also be analyzed).

Although there are books with recommendations on what tone and body language you need to use to achieve a desired outcome, these are based on anecdotal evidence rather than comprehensive data analysis. The result is that the recommendations aren’t context specific. Textio’s data driven approach is an important step towards accurate, context-specific communication optimization.