Connecting with Bill Sobel

Two years ago, Esteban Contreras sold most of his earthly possessions on Craigslist, walked away from a city he loved – New York – and moved to Canada. He happily resettled about 30 minutes from Vancouver, British Columbia but stayed connected with his adopted hometown by by advising and working with NYC based Sprinklr, a provider of social media management tools.

We told you about Sprinklr last month when it bought Austin, Texas-based Dachis Group, a social analytics company, and formed the largest independent end-to-end social relationship platform in the market. Contreras is director of strategy at Sprinklr.

He's a native of Guatemala, but he has little concern for geography — and said he's "glad we live in a day and age in which it is possible to work from virtually anywhere."

And he's probably just as glad we live in an age when it's possible for one person to do so many interesting things. Before moving to Canada, Contreras was the first social media marketing manager at Samsung USA.

He's also the author of the book "Social State," founder of Social Nerdia Consulting, which focuses on the convergence of technology, marketing and social, and an advisor to multiple tech startups.

Anything but Socially Awkward

esteban contreras

You just have to look at the title of his book to know Contreras knows a lot about the state of social media, social business and emerging digital technologies. So I thought it would be interesting to hear what he had to say.

Sobel: You taught yourself how to use number of blogging platforms, created a show on BlogTalk Radio and impressed the guests you interviewed from Samsung so much that they offered you a job. Now you devote your time to Sprinklr as well as Social Nerdia. What am I missing?

Contreras: Before Samsung, I was a technology consultant for Amdocs, a software company that creates solutions for the telecom industry. That's where I became passionate about social networks and first discussed topics like "Social CRM" with executives at companies like AT&T. While at Amdocs, I started a blog and podcast about the convergence of technology, marketing and social media. I called it Social Nerdia, inspired by a typo someone made on Twitter. I never thought the name would stick, but I'm glad it did. The podcast interview with Samsung certainly led to a big career move for me.

These days I'm very focused on helping the world's best brands leverage social media, digital technologies and Sprinklr's powerful software to enhance the customer experience and drive business goals. Whether it's providing strategic services or re-imagining solutions — such as Sprinklr's brand new Command Center, which was soft launched at SXSW recently — I'm excited about what Sprinklr is doing and the role our company has in the highly connected world we live in.

Sobel: In the opening of your book, Social State, you quote Charles Dickens.  "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness." Can you explain what you meant?