Sinan Aral

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Global Authority on Business Analytics and How Information Spreads Through Social Networks; Award-winning Researcher; Entrepreneur and Venture Capitalist; Director of MIT’s Initiative on the Digital Economy and Social Analytics Lab; Author, “The Hype Machine” (2020)

Biography

In order to successfully compete in today’s rapidly changing digital marketplace, organizations must have a deep understanding of business analytics – which is why companies like Microsoft, Facebook and WeChat tap the expertise of award-winning researcher, data scientist and MIT professor Sinan Aral. Since he is also a successful entrepreneur and venture capitalist, Aral offers organizations both a scientific and real-world perspective on how to gain a competitive edge using information acquired through digital networks.

Aral is the David Austin Professor of Management, IT, Marketing and Data Science at MIT. As an advisor and speaker, he teaches organizations how to read and leverage analytics to build business, make better decisions and plan forward – whether they are selling products or services, promoting causes or trying to prevent hacking, disinformation, fraud or election interference.

“The key to effectively interpreting and acting on the data is rigor,” says Aral. “I focus on the rigorous scientific work which is really the engine of everything else.”

In his role as Director of the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy (IDE) and its Social Analytics Lab, Aral is immersed in analyzing patterns of online behavior, from social media platforms to online retail sites. He has helped leading Fortune 500 firms, including Twitter, Yahoo, AirBnB, Jet.com, IBM, Intel, Cisco, Oracle and SAP realize business value from big data analytics, social media and IT investments. He also helps leaders understand the relationship between humans and machines and how artificial intelligence can play a role in advancing innovation.

Much of Aral’s shapeshifting work and insights will be shared in his highly anticipated book, “The Hype Machine” (Penguin Random House, September 2020), which is poised to be a best-seller and must-read for leaders at every level of management. Twenty years in the making, the book discusses – among other timely topics – the insidious ways social media is disrupting our elections, our economies and our lives and what we can do about it. The importance of “The Hype Machine” in an election year cannot be underestimated, and during a recent TED talk the author drives that point home.

Aral’s work reaches far beyond business applications to societal issues, like the effects of social media on a child’s brain, how social media is disrupting society and ways to combat fake news. And on the public health front he is currently studying behavioral patterns related to COVID-19 so providers and policy makers can be better informed when making decisions around safeguarding populations.

The common thread weaving through all of Sinan Aral’s work is problem-solving – and his belief in the power of analytics to reveal the answers is unwavering.

# # #

Sinan Aral is a scientist, entrepreneur, investor and founding partner at Manifest Capital. He was the Chief Scientist at SocialAmp, one of the first social commerce analytics companies (until its sale to Merkle in 2012) and at Humin, a social platform that the Wall Street Journal called the first “Social Operating System” (until its sale to Tinder in 2016). He is currently on the Advisory Boards of the Alan Turing Institute, the British National Institute for Data Science in London, the Centre for Responsible Media Technology and Innovation in Bergen, Norway and C6 Bank, one of the first all-digital banks of Brazil.

Aral’s research and teaching have won numerous awards including the Microsoft Faculty Fellowship, the PopTech Science Fellowship, an NSF CAREER Award, a Fulbright Scholarship, the Jamieson Award for Teaching Excellence (MIT Sloan’s highest teaching honor) and more than ten best paper awards conferred by his colleagues in research. In 2014, he was named one of the “World’s Top 40 Business School Professors Under 40” and the year before he was the Scholar-in-Residence at the New York Times.

In 2018, Aral became the youngest ever recipient of the Herbert Simon Award of Rajk László College in Budapest, Hungary. In that same year his article on the spread of false news online ended up on the cover of Science magazine, a piece Altmetrics called the second most influential publication of the year.

Aral is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Northwestern University, holds Master’s degrees from the London School of Economics and Harvard University and received his PhD from MIT.

Sinan Aral is available for paid speaking engagements – including virtual and in-person keynote speeches, panel discussions, interactive workshops and advisory/consulting services – through the exclusive representation of Stern Speakers, a division of Stern Strategy Group®.

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A-Z Name

Aral, Sinan

Biography

In order to successfully compete in today’s rapidly changing digital marketplace, organizations must have a deep understanding of business analytics – which is why companies like Microsoft, Facebook and WeChat tap the expertise of award-winning researcher, data scientist and MIT professor Sinan Aral. Since he is also a successful entrepreneur and venture capitalist, Aral offers organizations both a scientific and real-world perspective on how to gain a competitive edge using information acquired through digital networks.

Aral is the David Austin Professor of Management, IT, Marketing and Data Science at MIT. As an advisor and speaker, he teaches organizations how to read and leverage analytics to build business, make better decisions and plan forward – whether they are selling products or services, promoting causes or trying to prevent hacking, disinformation, fraud or election interference.

“The key to effectively interpreting and acting on the data is rigor,” says Aral. “I focus on the rigorous scientific work which is really the engine of everything else.”

In his role as Director of the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy (IDE) and its Social Analytics Lab, Aral is immersed in analyzing patterns of online behavior, from social media platforms to online retail sites. He has helped leading Fortune 500 firms, including Twitter, Yahoo, AirBnB, Jet.com, IBM, Intel, Cisco, Oracle and SAP realize business value from big data analytics, social media and IT investments. He also helps leaders understand the relationship between humans and machines and how artificial intelligence can play a role in advancing innovation.

Much of Aral’s shapeshifting work and insights will be shared in his highly anticipated book, “The Hype Machine” (Penguin Random House, September 2020), which is poised to be a best-seller and must-read for leaders at every level of management. Twenty years in the making, the book discusses – among other timely topics – the insidious ways social media is disrupting our elections, our economies and our lives and what we can do about it. The importance of “The Hype Machine” in an election year cannot be underestimated, and during a recent TED talk the author drives that point home.

Aral’s work reaches far beyond business applications to societal issues, like the effects of social media on a child’s brain, how social media is disrupting society and ways to combat fake news. And on the public health front he is currently studying behavioral patterns related to COVID-19 so providers and policy makers can be better informed when making decisions around safeguarding populations.

The common thread weaving through all of Sinan Aral’s work is problem-solving – and his belief in the power of analytics to reveal the answers is unwavering.

# # #

Sinan Aral is a scientist, entrepreneur, investor and founding partner at Manifest Capital. He was the Chief Scientist at SocialAmp, one of the first social commerce analytics companies (until its sale to Merkle in 2012) and at Humin, a social platform that the Wall Street Journal called the first “Social Operating System” (until its sale to Tinder in 2016). He is currently on the Advisory Boards of the Alan Turing Institute, the British National Institute for Data Science in London, the Centre for Responsible Media Technology and Innovation in Bergen, Norway and C6 Bank, one of the first all-digital banks of Brazil.

Aral’s research and teaching have won numerous awards including the Microsoft Faculty Fellowship, the PopTech Science Fellowship, an NSF CAREER Award, a Fulbright Scholarship, the Jamieson Award for Teaching Excellence (MIT Sloan’s highest teaching honor) and more than ten best paper awards conferred by his colleagues in research. In 2014, he was named one of the “World’s Top 40 Business School Professors Under 40” and the year before he was the Scholar-in-Residence at the New York Times.

In 2018, Aral became the youngest ever recipient of the Herbert Simon Award of Rajk László College in Budapest, Hungary. In that same year his article on the spread of false news online ended up on the cover of Science magazine, a piece Altmetrics called the second most influential publication of the year.

Aral is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Northwestern University, holds Master’s degrees from the London School of Economics and Harvard University and received his PhD from MIT.

Sinan Aral is available for paid speaking engagements – including virtual and in-person keynote speeches, panel discussions, interactive workshops and advisory/consulting services – through the exclusive representation of Stern Speakers, a division of Stern Strategy Group®.

Speech Topics

For a more in-depth understanding of these topics, book an interactive workshop or confidential advisory meeting with Professor Aral.

The Hype Machine: Adapting to Disruptions Brought on By Social Media

The initial excitement around digital technologies and all the opportunities they offer has been tempered by increasing concerns about Internet hacking and online crime. The potential dangers are highly consequential, from identity theft and election interference to system-wide crashes within companies, institutions and even global financial markets. Despite such concerns, however, technology continues to offer vast opportunities, especially when it comes to reaching audiences and driving growth. So how do we leverage the best of what technology has to offer while protecting businesses, governments and individuals from unwanted infiltration? Based on his eagerly anticipated book, “The Hype Machine” (Penguin Random House, September 2020), Sinan Aral outlines the challenges and offers solutions to some of the biggest problems facing society, especially businesses and governments.

“Block and Tackle” Digital Marketing

There’s a science and a strategy to engineering a successful digital marketing campaign, says Sinan Aral. He is continuously engaged in rigorous studies around the use of data to produce desired outcomes online. As for his strategy, he uses what he calls a “block and tackle” approach when helping organizations interpret and leverage their analytics so their brands stand out, their messages are heard and they can position themselves to outpace competition. During this presentation, Aral enthusiastically shares his masterful tactics and high-level insights, some of which he covers in his eagerly anticipated book, “The Hype Machine” (Penguin Random House, September 2020), which will be a must-read for organizational leaders in every sector.

Leveraging the Science Behind Business Analytics

Successful business operations rely on the accurate interpretation and strategic usage of analytics, and no one is more of an expert at reading and leveraging data than Sinan Aral. Even some “digital specialists” struggle to understand the deeper workings of business analytics, the importance of interpreting them correctly and the value that can be uncovered by looking at the data from different angles – all of which helps set up the next move in a business plan or digital campaign. Much like a boxer, Aral’s strategic approach involves making that move at just the right time, after reading and optimizing findings. This lively discussion offers participants the opportunity to work with the “Floyd Mayweather” of business analytics.

Media Giants and Anti-Trust Laws: What Should be Done

Companies like Facebook and Amazon have been under intense scrutiny due to their size, power and influence. Yet it is difficult to control the activities of such digital giants with current anti-trust laws, most of which were written before the Internet went mainstream. Sinan Aral has a deep understanding of the digital media business. During this presentation, he will discuss existing and potential regulations and why it makes sense to break up some companies but not others.

 

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