Jawbone hires LinkedIn scientist to head data team

By Jonah Comstock
11:04 am

monica rigatiJawbone, the San Francisco company known for its Bluetooth speakers and headsets and, more recently, for the UP wristworn activity tracker, has hired Monica Rogati, a data scientist most recently working at LinkedIn, to the newly-created position of VP of data.

"I'm going to lead the data team @Jawbone; excited to be at the intersection of wearable computing, quantified self & personalized healthcare," Rogati tweeted last week.

Rogati focused on text mining and applied machine learning at Carnegie Mellon University, where she got her PhD in Computer Science. At LinkedIn, she led the team that developed the site's original talent matching system, as well as developing the algorithms for features like "People You May Know" and "Groups You May Like," according to a Forbes piece from last year. She also used LinkedIn data to drive up publicity for the site, answering questions like "what are the most common first names for CEOs?" Prior to that, she worked at IBM's Thomas J. Watson research center, the same lab that developed the Watson AI that is currently being tested in hospitals as a clinical decision support aid.

In a statement emailed to MobiHealthNews, Rahman talked about Rogati's potential impact on the Jawbone UP bracelet.

“We designed Jawbone UP to help people discover things they might not have known, and ultimately understand themselves better. Our foundational belief is that data is good, but understanding it is better. As the UP experience grows rapidly and achieves longevity, we see endless possibilities to help our community make connections about their actions and their health, through data-driven insights. Monica is a world-class data scientist, experienced in turning mountains of data into meaningful insights for every user. We’re thrilled to have her on the team."

Jawbone has been making a number of big moves in the crowded activity tracker space, acquiring Massive Health, which appears to have been mainly a talent grab, and BodyMedia, now a division of Jawbone. When MobiHealthNews spoke to former BodyMedia CEO Chris Robins about the acquisition in May, she said that both she and Jawbone CEO Hosain Rahman put a high priority on not only tracking health data, but meaningfully interpreting it.

"The future is multisensors," she said. "It's what do you do with all this data? How do you make intelligent sense out of it? How do you provide insights and analytics? That's really the key piece and I've talked about this for some time now. Getting the data and holding it in isolation is one thing. And you're seeing all these individual devices come up. We all have open APIs and you can pass the data to other applications, but that's really not what's going to be a seismic change. It's when you can start to apply analytics and intelligence across those devices, across those data points to provide predictions for people, to provide insights, to provide new learnings that can start to affect behavior change and healthcare outcomes, and I think that's where the future's going."

Rogati tweeted today that she's looking to build a data team at Jawbone, and the company's website confirms that the company is hiring data engineers. The job description gives some further insight into the company's plans.

"In terms of user experience, our goal with UP is to help people craft motivational stories from their own lifestyles," it reads. "From that perspective, Jawbone's data scientists are the production designers and casting directors on the team, and we take the concept of story very seriously. Our job is to gather the settings, props, characters, and events that give each user's experience motion, authenticity, and meaning. With these data elements in place, we experiment constantly to maximize engagement and long-term behavior change."


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