Nielsen IAG is the leading online research firm analyzing the effectiveness of media advertising, across television, film, and the Internet. Matt began at IAG as a full time software developer and technical team leader. Soon after arriving he was promoted to oversee the entire technical team: software developers, systems engineers, and database administrators and data mining analysts. After enrolling in the doctoral program at Teachers College, Matt continued in a part-time capacity and leader as a consultant, with a focus on improving the IAG’s web-based software development.
One of Matt’s key contributions to Nielsen IAG was as the principal architect and lead programmer of its custom survey engine. Prior to the launch of this product, IAG’s data came almost solely from fixed questions about television programs and the ads that aired during them. This continues to be IAG’s core data. The research team, though, often needed to ask questions in greater detail and with more flexibility. The survey tool that Matt implemented allows researchers to directly author sophisticated web surveys on any topic. It support advanced features such as sophisticated survey branching, time sensitive questions that are re-asked if they become stale (e.g. “how many children do you have?”), multimedia authoring, and much more. This tool opened new avenues of revenue and created a richer data model for internal analysts and clients.
In addition to the research system, Matt oversaw the maturation of IAG’s programming methods. He played a central role in transitioning the development team from a loose, reactive “start-up” mode, to a solid model informed by agile programming techniques which balanced long-term and short-term goals and elevated the importance of producing high-quality object oriented code. His efforts resulted in a robust web software system that serves more than 10M hits daily, and flexible code and processes that allow the team to quickly adapt to changing business and technical strategies.