A few weeks ago, our Co-Founder Dr. Brian Sullivan sat down with Rich Conte of Silicon Harbor Radio and The Tech Life podcast in Charleston, SC to discuss Vizbii and its platform, Morphii. Below is the download of the podcast. And for those who can’t listen right now, we’ve taken the liberty of pulling out some great excerpts below:
Start by telling us about VIZBII, what it is and who your customers are.
Help people to realize the value of emotion. The value of emotion in their lives, but particularly the value of emotion as it is expressed in digital media.
We’ve designed some tools to help people to capture, communicate and measure emotion in new ways that are clearer, more specific and with greater utility than most of the other methods that have existed up until this time.
So, our customers are folks who simply want to be able to express and communicate with one another more effectively and businesses that want to understand and connect with their consumers, customers and clients, and to be able to leverage the power and impact of emotion, which is the cornerstone of experience.
And where did the idea behind Vizbii originate?
Well, I’m a Clinical Psychologist. And some years ago, I was in the habit of administering questionnaires to folks to try and get a good objective reading of their mood, and their feelings. What I found was that the paper and pencil measures with simple Q&A, Likert style responses didn’t really resonate. They didn’t feel an identification, a connection with that medium. And so it was tough for them to express and accurately represent for me what they felt and the information I was trying to get in order to serve them better.
So, I had the idea that there had to be a better way to get better data more frequently from more people with less annoyance… They would zip through them… I wasn’t getting accurate information and they were annoyed.
The germ of the idea was these dynamic emoticons. We’re hardwired to use facial expressions in our communications with one another. So theoretically, I could have a meaningful exchange with patients with whom I didn’t even speak the same language.
[These methods] require patients to quantify their emotions in some way, which is not natural. If they could just pick the facial expression that best represented the feeling they wanted to convey.
I wanted the intensity to mimic the intensity of movement of muscles in our facial expressions in a natural way, rather than flipping from one static intensity level to another. I wanted them to have a mirror that looked like their own expressions.
Upon deciding that he did need this technology to better communicate with clients, Dr. Sullivan discovered that there were no tools in the marketplace like this available to him.
We call them morphiis because these facial expressions morph. Now we are patent-pending for this technology and off and running from there.
Then came the trouble of deciding on which verticals to introduce Vizbii and morphii to. Quickly, Dr. Sullivan and his Co-Founder, Corley Higgins, discovered that the API-based model would be best for their business.
It was always so daunting… It took a long time for us to figure out that if we could build the basic tools that other third parties—in the verticals that we knew this could apply, like medical, social media, political polling and customer relations management… could adopt our tools could deploy them and then help us to understand how exactly they might best work in their vertical.
They began to meet professionals in the area, most notably their CEO, Julie Moreland, who previously worked at PeopleMatter.
Julie became really instrumental in helping us to think through and plan where we could go with this, eventually to such degree that we felt compelled to have her come onboard… in that key leadership role and help us turn this into a viable business.
Then we began to attract some other talent.
What short-term goals have you established for Vizbii?
We are working to establish a science of morphii. Morphii is unique. Not only is it a user-adjusted, dynamic emoticon, that can be employed in the selection of the specific type of emotion and representational of the emotion’s intensities. That is novel and unique and brings real value beyond other available options. It is also based in a core science of psychology.
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced?
The biggest challenge has been holding onto that tiger’s tail and channeling all of this potential into reality-based, practical steps.
How do you define success in the long term for Vizbii?
Adoption, distribution, refinement and translation of data into actionable insights for businesses, for individuals, for the medical community.