Jun 12, 2019

Introducing Ben Hobson

People often tell me that computer science is a secure field and that is why I should pursue it. While I agree, I've never been motivated by extrinsic benefits of the field; that’s not who I am.


I grew up in Columbus, OH and began teaching myself how to program in the 6th grade. At the time, I began to publish mobile applications using LUA––a programming language. As I learned more, I peeled back the fundamental layers of programming, fascinated by the idea that I could create anything. The motivation to create software has always been an internal passion of mine, and I knew it was more than a knack.


Enter Spatial.


I found Spatial after my first year of studying Computer Science and Engineering at The Ohio State University. I reached out to various companies that were also driven by a passionate vision, but Spatial really captured my attention; in a very real way we are measuring communities - their ins and outs and everything in between. I saw how this vision benefitted people by allowing them to make more educated decisions. After I spoke with Lyden Foust and heard his story, it became clear that helping people was something he was passionate about as well, reminding me of my own origin.


As an intern for Spatial, the company impresses me by the focus each member has for his/her role. Infrastructure, analytics, marketing, sales––everyone is dedicated to their specialization. My project is to investigate how we can understand change in communities over time using Geosocial data and use the information to possibly identify places undergoing gentrification. Measuring change should help clients understand trends of certain social segments within communities and may even help us begin the process of forecasting change.


Measuring change is challenging, but the information I’ve learned in the little time I’ve spent here has completely equipped me to be successful. By working for Spatial, I’ve learned many practical skills but also important concepts like knowing what to look for as opposed to how to look for it. Beyond the knowledge I’m gaining, I feel included at Spatial in a way I likely could not at a larger firm. The company began as a group of friends and nothing has changed; everyone is friendly and although the project is something I’m working on alone, it doesn’t feel that way.


For my project, if I can determine a reliable method of evaluating change over time, we will be able to help our clients make more accurate location decisions. For example, a projected increase in “Coffee Lovers” and “Hipster” segments would give insight to coffee shops about where to advertise or expand. We believe this information will give our clients an advantage in understanding their community.


I’m looking forward to tackling this project and making something useful that the company can use for clients. I hope that the metric I create for measuring change can eventually allow companies to make smarter decisions that will help them succeed in business.


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