“Boston was just a city of New England when I was a kid.”
SocialSphere CEO John Della Volpe took the stage first at The Ad Club’s 2014 EDGE Conference on Monday, and laid out five reasons why Boston has grown into – and is destined to hold onto – the coveted crown of Innovation Hub in the coming years:
1. We are the home, the home away from home, for founders, tastemakers, geniuses and generals.
2. We are America’s Millennial Lab.
3. We are social, online and off.
4. We are not a one-company or a one-industry town.
5. We value education, from kindergarten through graduate school.
Though the Brockton born-and-raised, die-hard Bruins fan of a chief executive may be a bit biased when it comes to a pro-Beantown stance, Della Volpe has a strong point. Because in a way, the same aspects that characterize our city’s success are at play in SocialSphere as well.
Founded in 2007, SocialSphere is a social analytics company dedicated to helping clients target and engage the Millennial generation, inspired by Governor Deval Patrick’s 2006 run for the state seat.
“He went from third to first [place] without any paid advertisement…it was unheard of,” admitted Della Volpe, who has a background furnished with politics and social sciences from time spent on campaigns and Harvard’s Institute of Politics.
Then, Della Volpe was driven to action.
We started SocialSphere with the idea that not just government officials, but everyone – whether you’re running for office or you’re the CMO of brand – you need to know who your most passionate and influential fans and stakeholders are, and need to have a way you can reach out to them directly on your behalf.
But to meet great people one must bring on great people, who understand the space and can relate to the needs of the customers themselves.
“We have access to the best and brightest people across all fields,” Della Volpe stated. Leveraging Boston’s talent and internationality, the company has both employees and clients educated in all schools of thought and based in many corners of the globe. The company’s co-founder and Chief Analytics Officer Jonathan Chavez, for example, is a Texas transplant who first came to Boston for Harvard.
“There’s an unbelievable amount of talent within three T stops from Harvard Square,” shared Della Volpe. “There’s been countless times we’ve had clients in other regions of the world that we have been able to find local experts who can help bring their knowledge into client engagements here.”
Alums from other local universities, like Northeastern, Boston University, Emerson and University of Massachusetts, also contribute to SocialSphere’s success, many of which hail from non-traditional analytics backgrounds, according to the CEO:
There are so many companies that are really innovative in different industries. I know very little about biotech, but our CTO was a CTO of a biotech company before joining SocialSphere, and we’re actually thinking about and using data in similar ways.
Said Della Volpe, “We’re constantly learning from the ways in which companies in Boston are learning in their own field every day…We’re a microcosm of Boston.”