Last week I attended the 6th annual Text Analytics Summit in Boston with the Lexalytics team and it was noticeably different from years past. There were fewer vendors in attendance, and while the overall attendance seemed to be down a bit from the year before, there were more end users in attendance than previous years. So the real question is, was the show a success for us or not? And on that question I’d have to say it was a huge success. For whatever reason we seemed to have the heaviest traffic at our table, and we generated more leads than any previous year, so as a vendor I have to mark the conference as a success. As to the content of the show, I would have to call it hit and miss. I found the opening keynote from LinkedIn to be really interesting and very well presented. Like the bit.ly presentation (described below), LinkedIn was able to tell an interesting and, more importantly, profitable story about how they are leveraging Text Analytics to mine profiles and their interconnections to help people figure out who else they should be connecting with. In my opinion, there were way too many presentations focused on Voice of the Customer and opinion mining and not enough on different and novel uses of Text Analytics. Still, there were some really different presentations, like the legal eDiscovery presentation from Gerald Britton, and I was very happy to see our case study presenter, bit.ly, give an overview of their service and how they were integrating Text Analytics, though I’m not entirely sure the audience totally understood the value proposition that something like a bit.ly brings to the table. For anyone that didn’t fully grasp the unique value of bit.ly, here’s my oversimplified attempt: bit.ly shortens URL’s for inclusion in short text posts like tweets. The value is that they crawl every shortened URL and keep track of which shortened URL’s are being heavily clicked on. Basically they know what content is important before anyone else on the web. Since they store the content, they have the content and can use text analytics to enhance the metadata and therefore know what the pages are about. Sounds like an advertisers dream to me. As I said above, I think there was still too much focus on Voice of the Customer at the show, but I’m hopefully that will change going forward because the attendees this year were quite varied in their interests so maybe in the future the presentations will widen out to match the audience.