What Your Electric Car Says About You

As an American, I take a certain amount of pride in the high standard of living made possible via an economy built on liquified dinosaurs (sweet sweet fossil fuels).  There are some subversive elements in our society, however, that would like their grandchildren to have breathable air and non-poisonous water.  They have elected to drive electric cars.  While this post is not sponsored by the kind, almost Colonel Sanders-esque, big oil companies, I am sure they would appreciate our attempt to shine a light on these alternative energy deviants.  So let us consider the Prius, the Tesla Model S, and their devotees.

In this case, a minimal level of interest in a specific automobile model was used to define a set of users across the Gravity personalization network. A total of 900,000 Prius fans and 183,000 Tesla Model S aficionados met our selection criteria. Their individual Interest Graphs had previously been created for the purposes of personalization of content; every click on content or advertising within the network is analyzed semantically and augments the nodes and edge weights for the engaged user.

When analyzing audiences, the individual graphs are coalesced into a single graph reflecting the aggregated interests and attachment levels for the entire set. This allows for a holistic view of the audience which can then be compared against another audience or the general population of hundreds of millions of users. In this way, we are able to establish what defines an audience and what makes them special. The results are often quite surprising.

Let’s take a look at the Prius cohort highlights.


The first data set is the overall Interest Graph on the left of the infographic.  It describes what folks interested in the Prius care most about.

  • They really like technology, with a strong emphasis on Apple, Facebook, Twitter, and Bioengineering.
  • Among their favorite media are The Atlantic and the New York Times.  They are closely following matters related to international security and right-wing politics (not necessarily because they agree with them).
  • Perhaps unsurprisingly, they are keenly interested in Eco-friendly subject matters and Social Change.

The second data pivot highlights some of the areas of interest where Prius fans differ substantially from the global set of users.  Basically, it’s what makes Prius fans special compared to everyone else in the world.  The results are expressed as an over/under index compared to global set.  Some of the results are surprising (this is why we like data mining).  Compared with the global set, Prius fans are:

  • 1.2 times more likely to enjoy physical exercise
  • 2.5 times more likely to like Yoga
  • 1.3 times more likely to be interested in McDonald’s
  • 9.1 times more likely to dig Tyler Perry
  • 13.6 times more likely to love Apple
  • Slightly less likely to be interested NASCAR, Football, and Waffles (their Sundays must be so empty)
  • 6.3 times more likely to be concerned about Sustainability
  • Just as likely to enjoy Ninjas as everybody else

By the time we got the Prius data together we were in a full data mining extravaganza.  There was no way we could let the fun stop with just one infographic.  How about people who are interested in the Tesla Model S?  It’s another electric car.  How different could that audience be from the Prius  folks?


Turns out that people interested in the Tesla Model S are materially different in their interests than the Prius crowd.  Let’s look at some of the highlights of  the Model S fans’ aggregated Interest Graph.

  • Environmentalism is not a substantial area of interest in the Tesla Model S Interest Graph.  This may indicate that Tesla interest is driven by the technological or aspirational aspects of the brand rather than it’s environmental benefits.  This is supported by the fact that, while the Tesla audience is 8.5 times more likely to be interested in fuel efficiency than the general population, Prius fans are 4x more likely to be interested than the Tesla folks (34x general population).
  • Business and finance were dominant categories of interest.  Interest rates, economics, the economy of Saudi Arabia, and bubbles, both real estate and economic, were high on the list.
  • They are thirsty.  Maker’s Mark, breweries, and Jim Beam are Tesla aficionado favorites.
  • They like things that go.  private transportation, Ferraris, and motorcycles were of high interest.
  • Their lifestyle interests are a mixed bag.  While family topped the category, Tesla fans do exhibit abnormally high levels of interest in cannabis, erotic dance, strip clubs, and Lululemon.  It is unclear from the data available whether the Model S/”big night out” relationship is causal or simply correlated.

On the left, you’ll see some of the traits that differentiate Tesla fans from the global set of users.  As with the Prius set, the results are expressed as an over/under index compared to global set.   Compared with the global set, Tesla fans are:

  • 2.5 times more likely to be wired on coffee
  • 90% more likely to be interested in social issues
  • 5.2 times more likely to be interested in cannabis
  • 4.1 times more likely to like magazines
  • 41.8 times more likely to be interested in SpaceX
  • 3.8 times more likely to like Evernote
  • 10.7 times more likely to dig Marissa Mayer
  • 96 times more likely to be concerned about traffic congestion

Let’s take it home with some Tesla versus Prius comparisons.

  • Prius fans are 28.1 times more likely to be interested in wearable computers than Tesla fans.
  • Prius fans are 3.3 times more likely to be interested in cannabis than the general population, but Tesla fans are 44% more likely than Prius folks to enjoy.
  • Prius fans are 1.62 times more likely to be interested in sustainable transportations than Tesla fans.
  • Tesla and Prius fans are both more than twice as likely to be into music than the general population.

I hope you enjoyed these audience analyses as much as we enjoyed doing them.  Let us know if you have ideas on data you’d like to see in the future.

All Techies! To the Roof!


To beat that mid-summer malaise, we fired up the grill and invited some tech-savvy friends from AEG over for a  successful rooftop mixer at Gravity Headquarters in sunny Santa Monica. The festivities began circa 6pm last Thursday and the party went on well into the evening as Gravity compatriots mixed drinks and conversation with their AEG friends. Everyone lounged on the expansive patio and enjoyed culinary creations grilled up by Gravity’s VP of Engineering, Richard Buckingham as the sun set. It was a reunion for some and a chance to make new friends in the tech circle for others. A great time was had by all.

Scala Meetups @ Gravity HQ!

Scala Mtg Sign in

Gravity has recently been hosting Scala Meetups at our headquarters in Santa Monica. Wednesday night, we hosted our second Meetup for the LA Scala Users Group. Lots of pizza and beer was consumed by the 30-or-so attendees who were entertained by talks from Chris, Gravity’s Chief Architect whose spoke about Implicit Code in Scala & Discoverability, and Erik, one of our Senior Scala Engineers who discussed Akka, Scala’s Event-Driven Messaging Framework.

“I discussed the implicitness of Scala, results in tradeoffs between readability and discoverability. I then used an example in Scala, the type class pattern, and illustrated how it demonstrates that tradeoff. Finally, [I] went through some exercises to show tricks we’ve discovered to address the issue. This is in the overall context of us having used Scala for several years now, and looking closely at some places where it helps reduce our complexity but can also increase the amount of time it takes to understand the code.” – Chris Bissell, Chief Software Architect

We hope to host more regular Meetups at Gravity HQ in the future and will continue to share what we’re doing with the rest of the community, not just Scala but for Hbase too as it is another of our core technologies. Both are constantly changing with new features in each revision and with best practices still being refined for each.

The Tech Startup scene in LA continues to blossom and we at Gravity want to help encourage it by sharing what we’re doing with the community and demonstrating to everyone that LA Tech should not be underestimated!