No one likes to think of relationships as a numbers game. Well, almost no one: Michael Wu is one of the few doing the heavy lifting—and hard thinking—to rationalize CRM’s soft-and-squishy side with its reliance on metrics such as return on investment. As principal scientist of analytics at Lithium Technologies, a provider of social networking software and online-community management solutions (and one of our Rising Stars last year), Wu’s influential work has to do with influence itself. His Community Health Index gauges the relative strength of a community, and he’s written extensively on “the six factors of social media influence” and what he calls “The 90:9:1 Rule”—the notion that 90 percent of all users in any given community are lurkers; 9 percent contribute occasionally; and 1 percent account for the majority of the content.
“Michael is passionate about research into the dynamics and the biology of the brain,” says Esteban Kolsky, founder and principal of consultancy ThinkJar. “He is, by far, one of the smartest human beings I’ve ever met—and one that understands business.” Ray Wang, a partner at Altimeter Group, says that Wu “gets the business requirements for social analytics…[and] putting [metrics] to social CRM and other future relationship technologies.” In other words, Wu fits his own criteria for social influence.