For three months in 2007 Joe Fernandez had his jaw wired shut following surgery and found himself relying on social media for news and companionship.
Over that three months of sitting on the net Fernandez found he had become a social media influencer and the idea for Klout was born.
In many respects Klout is the classic startup in that Fernandez started with a series of spreadsheets with the algorithm being an Excel formula, something he now calls a ‘Minimal Minimum Viable Product’.
“It was super minimal,” Fernandez remembers. “When people would register for Klout, it would send me an email and I would manually download their social media data into Excel and run the algorithm and then I’d manually update their page.”
Today Klout processes fifteen billion accounts every day with data pulled from four hundred data points including 15 social media services.
Like all tools, Klout does have some limitations and Fernandez admits he gets frustrated with businesses giving priority to users with high scores, another area that concerns him is marketers who don’t examine the relevance of individuals to the business before making judgments on that person’s influence.
One of the key things that Fernandez is proud of is how Klout is spawning its own alumni in a similar way to the PayPal mafia that developed out of the payment service at the beginning of the Century.
“It’s really awesome to see people go on and take on big challenges and do different things.”
As social media develops, tools like Klout are going to become more important for businesses trying to understand how