“Think about healthcare reform,” she says. “People refer to it in many different ways — Obamacare, the Affordable Care Act, and Universal Care. At two.42, we need to understand the context surrounding the ways that people talk about healthcare so that we can classify the conversations into one category. Once the category is created we can more accurately measure public sentiment related to the issue. Are people talking about it positively, negatively, or with sarcasm? Based on a candidate’s position, we can then begin to predict which factors influence his or her overall reputation and impact on voters.” As they were thinking through the algorithms and experimentation needed to advance their business, Drew and Hamid met David Inwald, a junior computer engineering student, at Lawrence Technological University’s career fair. “We immediately connected with David because of his go-getter attitude and self-motivation,” Drew notes. Inwald knew that he wanted an internship where he could be involved in more than a small piece of a big company, which made two.42 a perfect fit. “I was very interested in the company and felt I could help them with their goals. It took more than just shaking someone’s hand and giving them a business card. Instead of leaving it to one conversation, I followed up through email, and eventually it led to my internship as a research engineer,” he says. Since starting the internship, Inwald has been introduced to cutting-edge data mining methods. He has become a valuable contributor in growing the company’s platform. However, before he found his niche, it took him weeks to get immersed in media analytics. “You have to understand the business before you can do anything,” Inwald says. “I found that learning the general industry, seeing the context of the business, and understanding how competitors work was a prerequisite for making improvements and recommending changes.” In his role, Inwald not only helps to develop the media monitoring platform, but he uses customer insights and feedback to improve it. “At two.42, I have the freedom to see what’s going on with the whole company and at the same time work directly with our clients,” Inwald says. “We wouldn’t have developed much of the platform if it hadn’t been for clients expressing what they wish we could do with their data.” When new discoveries are identified, whether by clients or by two.42’s team, part of Inwald’s role is to figure out the logic and coding to make the suggested developments. He then calculates how much time it will take, the methodology, and the cost. He communicates his findings in simple, economic terms so that employees without a technical background can understand the concepts. CEO Lisa Drew is the first to admit the importance of the skills Inwald polished in his professional and technical communications course at LTU. She notes, “David’s ability to communicate to the team and work together with us is incredible. Even those without an engineering background can follow the technical solutions he explains. While working with the clients, he produces insightful reports for us, beyond the analytics and numbers.” On most days, only five to six people are in the office at the same time, creating an ideal environment for collaboration. “The culture at two.42 is really enabling — we work in an open environment without offices or cubicles. The communication process is turning around in my chair, shouting out an idea, and getting instant feedback. There’s a very good chance that I’ll be involved in whatever is going on at the office,” Inwald says. The fast-paced and constantly changing environment gave Inwald the internship experience he desired. Instead of completing his technical assignments like checklists, which can be common for interns, Inwald is positioned to work through the lens of an entrepreneur. He now thinks about his work from financial, economic, and societal viewpoints. Inwald explains, “Everything that I’m working on needs context outside of engineering; I’m never using just my technical skillset.” CTO Mohammad Hamid (left), CEO Lisa Drew, and colleagues enjoy working in two.42’s collaborative environment David Inwald, junior computer engineering student at Lawrence Tech with an Entrepreneurial Mindset Engineers end up in all sorts of unexpected industries, and that’s certainly true for Lawrence Technological University student David Inwald. He discovered the internship of his dreams at, a technology firm specializing in next-generation marketing and analytics. Using its marketing analytics platform, provides organizations with strategic insights used for reputation management, marketing strategy, media buying, and voter-contact. It turns out that engineering with an entrepreneurial mindset is critically important at two.42. The company was founded as a start up in February 2014 by CEO Lisa Drew and CTO Mohammad Hamid. After spending over 15 years in market research, Drew felt that there must be a better way to garner marketing insights and study public opinion by leveraging recent trends in technology and digital media. Together with Hamid’s background in artificial intelligence and computer science, they decided to create a new, differentiated analytics platform focusing on data integration, classification, and predictive modeling. “Analyzing the data becomes more difficult because the datasets get bigger and noisier,” CEO Drew says. “For instance, we use media data to understand how communication exchange impacts presidential candidates’ reputations. Who is talking about a particular candidate? And what issues, such as foreign policy, the economy, or healthcare, are most associated with a candidate? MINING MEANING 27 26