Bad Data Series #4- Atari Doesn't Like Apples

Join us as we analyze memorably misinformed business decisions in our “Bad Data Series.” We’ll explore the many ways the wrong social analytics solution, offering inaccurate insight, could result in brands misunderstanding potential market opportunities. And missing out on category-defining moments in time. Here are the posts in the series:

To continue our series, let’s see how Atari lost out on acquiring Apple – and how social analytics could save your company from making a similar mistake today!

Atari Creates Gaming Category & Misses Another

Although Atari was first to get gaming consoles in homes, thanks to seeing the value in microprocessor chips, it obviously isn’t around today beyond retro machines that are more kitschy than clamored over.

The great gaming crash of 1983 happened due to a quantity over quality issue that turned the market away from gaming. The highly anticipated E.T. game was a bust – and just in time for Christmas!

ET is holiday failure for Atari

It was a busy, competitive bunch of years in the burgeoning industry, so walking around half-distracted could be expected. Maybe that accounts for Nolan Bushnell’s fateful decision in 1976:

In 1976, Steve Jobs went to Nolan to get him to put in some money in exchange for a minor equity stake in Apple. Nolan remarked, “Steve asked me if I would put $50,000 in and he would give me a third of the company. I was so smart, I said no. It’s kind of fun to think about that, when I’m not crying.”

He also hints that he may have felt put off my Jobs’ personality: “He was a difficult person”, said Bushnell of Jobs. “He was very smart. Often, he was the smartest person in the room, and he would tell everybody that. It’s generally not a good social dynamic.”

So, Atari created one category (from which the bottom dropped out) and missed out on another entirely. Each are forgivable errors in judgment, considering the lack of in-depth consumer insight available back then. But today? Inconceivable! There’s really no excuse for it/sense to be made from missing out on something major – or even minor. Here’s why . . .

Consumer Sentiment Says It All

Whether working on a product launch or understanding consumer needs to come up with something entirely new, the insight supporting it is out there online, waiting to be discovered.

NetBase data sources to support social analytics insight

Today, brands can still create categories, even though the internet feels category-crowded most days. There are endless consumer needs to be met and equally endless structured and unstructured data sources sharing these desires with social listening savvy businesses. The trick is finding the best way to aggregate all of it and analyze it meaningfully.

For example, after noticing a conversation consistently happening amongst a particular segment, like “retrograming,” it may be time to explore a bit further!Gaming platforms mentioned in retro conversationFrom there, we can see Nintendo, Playstation and Sega (suprisingly) capturing conversation there, along with Indie developers. No Xbox?

retrogaming as gaming segment uncovered with NetBase insight

Further exploration of important insight gives brands an idea of who these gamers are, how they identify themselves and related interests. This can help form a framework for communicating authentically with them, and for finding influencers that resonate. Each is crucial when it comes time to reach out to potential customers:

Understanding retro gamer demographics

And this intel would help a gaming platform better understand what retro gamers want, and what sort of purchase potential the sub-category offers before investing too heavily (or not enough). It seems Nintendo, PlayStation and Sega may be on to something though. So, it makes sense to monitor.

Insight Beyond Conversational Context

Capturing context around conversations is just one of many applications to help brands win again. In NetBase, there are many dashboard templates for quick white space ideation, brand health reporting or category analysis and so much more. They can also be custom-made and tailored to fit any brand’s analysis and reporting needs.

Using a variety of different widgets, topics and themes (a predefined sets of filters) our next generation AI-powered social analytics platform enables you to create a holistic picture of what’s trending and resonating on social media:

understanding trending topics, something Atari missed

And how your particular brand or campaign is performing over time:

tracking brand or campaign performance over time with advanced social analytics insight

And then reporting this insight out to key decision-makers is easiest of all. Dashboards can offer scheduled reports that strategically compile and organize various data visualizations of everything mentioned above (and more). It tells your consumer story, with data. And it’s powerful.

Don’t Be the Next Would Have, Could Have . . 

Too bad Atari didn’t have this amazing insight at their fingertips back in 1976, hmm? And they really could have cleaned up with access to our latest, greatest (and first-to-market, category defining) AI Studio offering – automated theme discovery!

AI studio automated themes show power of next level insight in action

With it, brands are able to surface semantically related insight without human intervention. There’s no need. Our next generation AI is pre-trained on billions of documents, removing user bias from your searches and speeding up the process for you at the same time. Considerably speeding it up, actually. Making our social analytics predictive in all the ways brands have hoped for. And helping them make the most of the powerful analysis side of the tool, with our advanced AI doing the heavy lifting as it relates to search!

Imagine having that insight available – to see that people were wanting more access to computing and such at home. Even having an inkling of that desire . . .

But hey – Pong is cool too.

And don’t feel too bad for Nolan Buschnell. He went on to create the Chuck E Cheese franchise and says he’s happy. And that his life may have been less so (happy) had he been super mega rich. Plain ol’ super rich apparently suits him just fine though . . .

AI studio automated themes show power of next level insight in action

And likewise, whether your brand’s goal is super mega dominance in a category or its okay with just maintaining a comfortable lead, reach out! We can help you hit that goal. And also ensure you don’t miss the next “Apple” if one is casually tossed in your side of the court.

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