A Personalized News Feed for Millions – an Interview with Tiffany Pham

#Personalization

Mogul is an online publishing platform that helps millions of women around the world share ideas, stories, and career advice with each other. The site’s news feed is personalized, it displays content according to the location, interests, and previous actions of the users.

I sat down with Tiffany Pham, the founder of Mogul, at the Pioneers Festival in Vienna to ask her about the development of the platform and her future plans for personalization.

 

What approaches, strategies, and technologies do you use to personalize your website?

That’s a really good question. Our platform is connecting women all around the world. Our 18 million users connect and share information, and access knowledge from each other. As they sign up, they indicate their interest at that time, and whatever they may be interested in across life and career is filtered through the platform.

Then on a real-time basis, they are seeing all the posts related to this specific interest. As they consume that information, they can realize that they can be more than what the society says…

Does the website use any kind of analytics to track what articles or content users read? Does it take into account their reading habits when deciding what to show them?

Yes, we do machine learning with the platform, and with that over time, we understand what our users like, and how to tailor the experience to better service them.

Do you think is it better to show the users only what they want to see, or can displaying content that is not related to their interest work as well?

There are two feeds on our site, one of which is completely personalized to you. On this, you can see the topics that you most want to consume information about, but there’s also the universal feed. And the universal feed is one in which you can see things beyond what you had actually even thought you were interested in, and then therefore as a result, you’re expanding your horizon in ways that you didn’t actually realize that you wished to expand. So it could be really powerful.

Tiffany Pham in the office

I see that you have an up-voting system. Are you displaying the most up-voted posts in both feeds?

Exactly.

Mogul applies Facebook Login, but you only ask permission to access the basic information about the users. Have you thought about using information on their social profile of their likes, interest, and relationship status to make the experience even more personalized for them?

That’s a really good point, and yes, I think that there are definitely ways in which you can even further leverage the data that we gather via Facebook sign in and other similar systems in order to ensure that our users get the best experience possible when it’s personalized.

And that’s always something that we look in to further optimize, and so you’re going to see continued extension in that area.

You constantly optimize your site, and I’m sure that you have a huge backlog too. How do you prioritize?

The main value proposition for the platform is the personalization of the feed and optimizing the user experience around that. So, actually it remains our number one priority, and you’re going to see a major feature update on that particular area within the coming weeks. Literally as we speak, that is the main priority of our technology and product team, so you’ve hit the nail right there.

 

During our meeting, I also asked Tiffany Pham about her entrepreneurial journey. I posted this part of the interview on my blog. If you’re interested in her personal story and her motivation to create a platform that now reaches 18 million women weekly, click here to read it.

#sharingiscaring 😉

by Péter Szántó
on Tuesday, October 4, 2016

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