Socialgist Interview with Brendan Weitz of Quora

Jim Reynolds
By Jim Reynolds On May 19 2020 On interview series, quora

Quora

 

Hello!

As you've likely seen our press release announcing our partnership with Quora. Today we sit down with Brendan Weitz the GM of NY & Head of Product Partnerships for Quora to learn more about Quora.

Tell us a little bit about yourself?

Hi! I’m Brendan and have worked for technology companies for the past 12 years. My roles have spanned sales, business development, and general management at companies with advertising/marketing related business models (Facebook, AdRoll, Quora). I currently live in Soho in NYC and enjoy watching Michigan sports / playing basketball / investing in startups outside of core work.

What is your role at Quora?

I currently lead business development on the product team which includes both monetization and distribution ultimately with the goals of driving revenue and user growth for Quora.

What sets Quora apart from other social networks?

We actually don’t consider Quora a “social network” internally but more so a resource or platform that enables people from all over the world to come together to share and learn across millions of common topics and interests. It’s an open place where anyone can contribute personal insights and meaningful real-world experiences to help others make important decisions and learn more about the world.

I think what sets us apart from other places people spend time online come down to credibility, personalization, quality, and evergreen knowledge.

Credibility

Quora is a knowledge resource people can trust and rely on because our writers are credible and their content is truthful. On Quora, you are required to use your real, full name on your account. Our real names policy enables users to form a judgment on the credibility of an answer. Signals from other readers, such as upvoting or down voting an answer, validate the credibility of an answer and enable the best answer to any question to surface to the top.

Personalization

We understand and value that each user is unique. We’re constantly improving our ability to tailor an experience on Quora that features people, questions, and answers that matter to you. We follow signals, ranging from what topics an individual has indicated interest in, to what type of content they engage with, and from there we personalize each user’s feed and digest.

Quality

Content on Quora is worthwhile by virtue of the quality of our writers, signals from readers, and product features that ensure credibility. Sharing knowledge calls for openness and respect amongst our diverse groups of users. Our ‘Be Nice, Be Respectful’ policy requires a minimum level of civility when using Quora. We also use advanced technology—machine learning and natural language processing to detect and remove the things that detract from a high-quality experience, such as spam, plagiarism, and serial trolling.

Evergreen knowledge

Quora’s content is consistently moderated, validated, and maintained by our community. This means that as we grow, our content not only stays relevant, but improves over time. The questions and answers on Quora today will be helpful and useful forever.

How is Quora’s audience different than other social networks?

The audience on Quora tends to be influential, educated, and within a high household income bracket. From studies we’ve done with 3rd parties - 37% of users are more likely to be in a management position, 65% report a college or advanced degree, and 54% report income above $100K/yr. Also, the Quora audience in the US is unique in that 49% of Quora users are not on Linkedin, 54% are not on Reddit, 39% are not on Twitter, and 34% are not on Instagram.

*Based on Comscore, Nielsen, and internal studies.

How long do questions stay live? Weeks? Months?

We’ve had clients tell us that Quora contributions continue to get views for years versus content on other platforms getting views for just hours or days, which aligns with our key pillar of providing evergreen content that lives on in perpetuity and gets better over time.

What types of communities & topics does Quora cover?

Over 300 million monthly visitors come to Quora every month to evaluate products, conduct research, learn about the world, share knowledge, be productive, share stories, be surprised, and find community. These use cases yield 10s of 1000s of topics in the Quora ontology, but some of the larger topics are technology, software, jobs & careers, finance, entertainment, education, and auto.

What topics and communities really stand out in your mind?

As someone who makes purchasing decisions for Quora, I actively lurk in software topics to learn about different vendors from other subject matter experts who have experience in the buying process. I’m also an active early stage investor, so I’m always reading about private companies in finance and startup topics.

When we discuss innovation, how has Quora evolved, and where is it going in the future?

Quora aims to allow anyone to easily share their knowledge and in the process to dramatically increase the total amount of knowledge available to the world. As we grow, we will be able to provide larger and larger audiences to writers, cover more and more topics, and have greater and greater impact on the world. We hope to become an internet-scale Library of Alexandria, a place where hundreds of millions of people go to learn about anything and share everything they know. To do that we are going to have to expand. Today Quora is largely questions and answers, but that is not the ideal format for all knowledge. Other formats will gradually be added as we scale up, which can be seen with Spaces where we’re starting to go beyond just Q&A.

Quora feels very organic and user-driven, how has advertising been integrated into the platform?

Our guiding principle for advertising on Quora has always been to help businesses make more money while maintaining the user experience on Quora. This translates to building ad products which help businesses reach qualified audiences for their offerings that lead to positive ROI and providing users with a good experience by showing them the most relevant and high quality paid content that is aligned with their interests.

Do you have examples of a way this has been successful?

Yes, we have thousands of advertisers leveraging Quora for customer acquisition today and some of these success stories are displayed here. Our advertising platform is mostly used by B2B or B2C marketers selling products/services with a high consideration cycle like technology, education, or financial services.

Our partnership with Socialgist is the first for Quora in opening up the corpus of content, which will enable buyers to measure this at scale to inform content, advertising, investment, or publishing decisions for brands both big and small.

What is your favorite question and response from Quora?

I have too many, but my favorites are probably questions that I’ve asked where CEOs have answered like below:

Screen Shot 2020-05-18 at 3.11.36 PM

Screen Shot 2020-05-18 at 3.12.49 PM

 

This one is pretty cool too where Jackie Chan answered a question about himself:

Screen Shot 2020-05-18 at 3.16.37 PM

In closing, thank you very much for your time today Brendan and we are just as excited for the partnership and sharing success together!

To learn more about the partnership and to schedule an briefing with a Socialgist consultant click here to learn more.

 

 

 

 

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