The window of Josh Lopez’s office, which has a view to the Lake Park at the City of Knowledge, is full of encrypted messages, algorithms, marketing acronyms, and possibly, a Skype meeting with a customer from another country in a couple of hours. Just below knee height the walls also have some more discreet messages, more reminiscing of the mythical Mayan wisdom (both for being permanent and illegible). These last few codes have been written by the hand and artwork of his two and half year-old daughter. She wanders around the halls of Media Rank, the digital marketing agency that sets innovation standards in Panama and the region, without any fear of being reprimanded because her mother (Viviana Ordóñez) is the accounts manager and her grandmother (Iris Arbelo) is the chief financial officer. Can you say family entrepreneurship?
Josh López, avoids being labeled as the guy who created an algorithm to help large brands read the data generated by social media users. “When in this industry I work in they say I created an algorithm people imagine things that go beyond what I did, like ‘this guy created perpetual energy,'” Josh explains while in his office, and talks more about the need that he envisioned in the market and where he took a gamble with Media Rank, a company founded in 2013 after studying in two schools (Computer engineering, Electronics and Communications, both without graduating) and having launched an initial “boutique style” marketing agency.
“Media Rank was created to address the need that television stations in the country had to measure ratings in the way the market required. From that point, I took the lead to develop a technology that would fulfill that need: how do social media audiences react regarding the content they see on television? Josh explains that his product is already helping television channels (Telemetro, TVN, OYE, NEXtv), and its characteristics have also been applied to other local brands (+Móvil, Cerveza Atlas) and international brands (L’oreal, Uber, Reebook).
With this product in motion, with family on his side, and a partnership with Tony Hau (operations and venture capital) in the company, they found in the bubbling phenomenon of influencers the new strong branch of diversification that the marketing agency was looking for and Social Rank came to life: a type of Media Rank spinoff — in Josh’s words — used to rank, in several categories, those people who generate content on Instagram and are classified as influencers. What sets Social Rank apart from other similar tools, Josh says, is that his tool can detect all the brands that these new ambassadors of our daily decisions mention: a lucrative return for companies who want to capitalize on these market niches as well as those who make Instagram a look into their lifestyle, and who also want to profit from it.