It's New Orleans: Out to LunchIt's New Orleans: Out to Lunch

You Know It

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If you want to know the answer to a question, all you have to do is ask Alexa, Siri, or Google. If your question happens to be, “What is the capital of Latvia?” or something else pretty straightforward, Siri, Alexa, or Google will do just fine. But if you’re looking for information that’s more complex, or if you have to be absolutely certain that what you’re finding out is true, there’s another way of conducting research.

There’s a vast repository of fact-checked knowledge at your local library. Just how vast that repository actually is, though, depends on where you live. If you live in a big city, you have access to a big library. If you live in a small town or suburb, your library is smaller.

But your access to reliable and specialized information doesn’t have to be limited by where you live, thanks to your local librarian. Librarians everywhere receive the same training. As our quest for information changes, librarians’ skills have to change too. And they have to change more quickly now than they did before Siri and Alexa showed up.

Since 2018, librarians have been adopting a software-driven training program called Skilltype. Skilltype’s librarian customers are spread across the United States, and around the world, including the UK, Israel, Singapore and Australia.  

The founder and CEO of Skilltype is Baton Rouge-based New Orleanian, Tony Zanders.

If you’re a company or organization, rather than an individual, and you’re looking for information about individuals, you conduct market research.

The most common form of market research is finding out what people like, or don’t like, by simply asking them. You’re probably familiar with that phone call. The person on the other end says they’re conducting a survey and asks if you have a few minutes to answer some questions.

This person is typically working for a research firm that a company or organization pays to design and administer a survey.

The research firm maximizes its profit by completing the greatest number of surveys in the shortest possible time with the least number of employees. Because what they’re doing is specialized -meaning, their client doesn’t understand it – there’s no oversight. And so, the door is open for unscrupulous corner-cutters to use technology like automated phone bots to make it look like a batch of surveys were executed honestly, when in fact they weren’t.

If you’re the client, how are you going to know whether the company you’ve hired to conduct your research is giving you reliable data? Or whether they’re defrauding you with bogus information? Well, the way you can tell is to make sure the company you hire to conduct your research is using a piece of software called Research Defender.

Research Defender uses A.I. and machine learning to keep up with and defeat the dirty tricks that unscrupulous survey-takers employ.

The CEO of Research Defender is Vignesh Krishnan.

Living in the Information Age, we’re constantly bombarded with information. Although “Knowledge is power,” there’s a significant difference between knowledge and information.

Knowledge is the foundation of our whole lives. Everything we decide, or do, is based on what we know. We regard knowledge as truth. Information, on the other hand… Well, it can be anything from true, to wrong, or even intentionally fraudulent.

Tony Zanders and Vignesh Krishnan are in the business of helping individuals, companies, organizations, and institutions find and share knowledge. It’s impressive that the kind of specialized, sophisticated technology they've  developed is coming out of Louisiana. Their contributions are helping put  Baton Rouge and New Orleans on the worldwide technology map. 

Out to Lunch is recorded live over lunch at NOLA Pizza in theNOLA Brewing Taproom. You can find photos from this show by Jill Lafleur at And check out what happens when local New Orleans tech companies hit it out of the park


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