In this fascinating episode we chat to Jason Bullock, CEO at Numerous App, the app that lets you use your personal data to help you earn great rewards and find better deals from better brands. Jason gives us the inside scoop on all the exciting developments at Numerous, plans for the future and his New Year’s Resolutions.
Read the transcript
Andrew – Happy New Year. Happy New Year. Welcome back to the IJYI Way. It’s 2021. We are back for another season of The IJYI Way. And with me, of course, here, I’m Andrew Walker it’s great to be back. I hope you have a nice Christmas. And with me is Chris Point.
Chris – Happy New Year, Andrew. Have you had a good Christmas?
Andrew – Yeah, well, I had a I had a mixed Christmas like everyone, but we all got covid over Christmas. That’s what that’s what Santa brought down our chimney. Thanks, Santa. But you know what? We were very lucky. We it’s not great. I’m going to say right now, you know what? If you hadn’t had it, I don’t have it would be my advice. But we’ve been very lucky compared with, you know, how the symptoms can affect some people. I think, you know, we got away lightly.
Chris – 2020 is over and it’s a new year. So, you know, something to look forward to now.
Andrew – It is. It’s something to look forward to. How was your Christmas? Yeah, it was good to spend some time with the kids, actually. A very different Christmas, probably my most sober Christmas yet.
And I said, okay, well, that’s good, because I saw a sign, a meme the other day someone sent me saying that if you think things are bad now, in twenty years the country will be run by children who were homeschooled by alcoholics.
Yeah, I think as long as you manage to get a Tesco delivery, that’s the main thing. We we actually bought a turkey enough for the in-laws coming. And and they can eat quite a large volume of turkey. So we got a big turkey which is currently now filling my freezer. I was you tubing how to butcher a turkey so as not to waste any of it.
Andrew – OK, so what is on the menu for IJYI for 2021. What are your New Year’s resolutions?
Chris – Well we’ve got a lot of marketing activities on the go. Obviously what we can do within the restrictions at the moment. So lots of webinars, lots of round tables, lots of content going out there, which is exciting. So this is all going to be about tech trends for twenty, twenty one. So there’s lots of lots of reports out there generally by big analytics companies like Gartner who will look at tech trends, but they tend to be aimed at large blue chip businesses.
And what we’re aiming this is is smaller SMEs. What tech trends can we see having an effect on these small, medium sized businesses? You know, what can be adopted easily by these businesses where you haven’t got millions and millions of pounds worth of budget to throw at it?
Andrew – I’m thinking Internet of Things has been the one that people should be getting most excited about, because obviously 5G was going to be unlocking a whole new level of connectivity, which, of course, you know, in sort of a business context is going to have a huge impact on logistics and supply and the mechanisms that drive a lot of that kind of stuff, which could be vital, obviously, as we rebuild things after covid having smart ways to actually deliver and sort of quantify our needs with sort of life systems. Do you think that’s going to be a big one or are we looking at, you know, things that are going to be slightly more attainable.
Chris – No, absolutely. I think 5G enables a lot in terms of IoT. And it’s not just the extra bandwidth. You know, everyone focuses on the extra speed. It’s not just speed, it’s reliability. It’s the edge compute capability and the lower battery consumption. So you can have these small devices out there that run on batteries, you know, constantly sensing things like temperature or vibration or pressure. And, you know, they can sit there for years just running off a small battery.
But it’s also the price of those devices that’s coming down. You can get Raspberry Pi zero now for for what? Fifteen quid and you can write code that runs on these devices using everyday programming languages like dot net, Java, Python, and easily deploy them. So it’s making the whole IoT ecosystem much more accessible for small businesses.
Andrew – And it’s an interesting one as well, isn’t it, for experiences, for consumer experiences, our guest this week, Jason from numerous Jason CEO. Of numerous app is joining us here in our virtual studio this week, and they are one of those amazing sort of tech startups, ups that’s looking at doing more interesting things with your personal data. And we were having a conversation and we’ll come back to this with him shortly where we were talking about the idea that actually, you know, walking into a shopping mall and having your phone lining up deals for you, using near field chips and beacon technologies and actually directing you to places where you want to go in that whole sort of next level. Brick and mortar shopping experience is is also just around the corner.
Chris – Yeah, it’s exciting. But at the same time, you know, a lot of what Jason is doing at numerous is making sure that people are able to make those decisions on where their data is used and how it’s used so that you’re not walking into a shopping centre and getting bombarded with adverts that you don’t want or communicate with you when you when you don’t want that.
Andrew – I suppose there are still a lot of little things that we need to get sorted out, because I find adverts that follow me around the Web are still annoying. And that’s that’s really, you know, old school technology, I guess, and retargeting and cookies and all that kind of stuff. So, I mean, there’s a lot of, though, user experience issues, just like, you know, that one thing you search for on Amazon then follows you around every other website.
Yeah, it’s scary when it follows you around the Web, you know, other websites that you’re on. Suddenly you’re seeing those adverts for that same thing that you’ve you’ve been searching for on Amazon.
And, you know, after you’ve bought it or you do see adverts for the same product. So I guess before we get into, you know, live experiential shopping things, we have got a few privacy issues we’ve got to fix.
Chris – You’ve kind of need to button that says I’ve bought them. Now stop sending me the adverts. Yeah.
Adnrew – Or maybe what you need is a new kind of relationship with your personal data with the brands that want to access it. And, you know, the things that you get to do with this, you meet smarter personal data. Right. And on that front, this is a great time to bring in Jason Bullock, who is the CEO and the co-founder of Numerous App, numerous.App, which is, of course, doing just that. Jason, welcome to the show.
Jason – Hi, Andrew. Nice to meet you. Thanks for having me.
Andrew – So, Jason, for those people who don’t have the numerous app yet, it’s being called a data sharing marketplace where consumers and brands can meet, I call it a way for people to actually get rewarded for sharing their data with brands. Tell us a bit more about it.
Jason – Essentially, it hinges around the vision that we want to establish a new personal data sharing economy, create world where the power and value of data benefits all. Essentially, that means there’s enough value in personal data, for everyone to benefit and society and not just those large corporations those big tech companies. So essentially, it’s a data sharing marketplace for consumers and brands to meet and benefit mutually from the value of data. So essentially for consumers, it means that they can for the first time, they can come in and they can have some control over the data, but more importantly, they can share in its value.
So they do this very simply by creating a data profile. And we then give them a number of different ways they can unlock the value of that data. And also, the more detailed the profile, the more earnings they can expect to make. And so obviously, in order for consumers to get benefit emotionally and financially, brands have to also benefit from the data, which is a great value for them. So we learn to do things like they can use the personal profile the consumer creates to to personalize the shopping experience both online and out of home.
They can identify and engage with new audiences. They can identify customers who have a stronger affinity because we know a lot about these consumers, know more about these consumers, than they would be hard to find that anywhere else. We have a number of machine learning models that help them identify the best customers and help them personalise experience and convert those customers and then retain them and encourage loyalty. And then also we can help them doing things like conduct quick and cost effective market research.
And they can also get a lot of insight on the data we hold. But the most important thing, though, is that while we create all this value for brands and retailers, the most important thing is all of that value that Numerous creates is shared back with the consumer. We help them unlock the value that is is it is it is in their personal data. And this is something that others have tried And I can go into a bit more detail later about why I think that they have not been able to successfully crack the the formula why I think we’re different. The idea has been around for quite some time, actually, so we came up with the idea about two years ago, we decided that because there are a number of companies really trying to tackle this problem, we decided that we need to do a lot more research and really understand the needs of the consumer.
And and then because I was I mentioned to you before I was I was working I was running another business at the time, which I eventually stepped down from. But we wanted to develop this in parallel. So we did a lot of research. And then actually we we engaged with IJYI and IJYI the MVP for us. From that MVP, we did a soft launch. We got a lot of feedback. It turns out the consumer didn’t actually like the app that we built. And it’s nothing to do with IJYI, they’d built it exactly to spec but it turns out we made some miscalculations. And so we we collected a huge amount of feedback over a short period of time from consumers it was a really good learning curve. We then rebuilt the app, launched again in what we call our base trial and completely smashed it out of the park. The consumers absolutely loved it. So since then, we’ve raised the seed round. We’re now going through the process of making a number of changes and introducing a number of features based on the feedback. We’ve added 50 brands to the platform. We should be close to a hundred within a couple of months, which is now preparing to go live. So we’re still quite a small team. So actually, as you know, Andrew, these things do take quite a long time, but we’re really trying to get a strong product out to market. We’ve got a team of seven full time employees, which is primarily a strong development team and then some kind of support around that. And a few part timers, including Chris Pont, who’s our CTO.
Andrew – Yes, indeed, Chris. There we are you get some Chris time as well. It’s great co hosting a show with him. I hope he’s good in the boardroom as well. He does make a mean cup of virtual coffee. So it’s a busy time for you right now because January traditionally is a time when people review their services. They’ll sign up for new products. They will sign up for new services. They’ll make changes. They sign up for diets, it’s New Year’s resolution territory and getting household finances in order or getting rid of that old TV and getting a new one. It’s that time of year, it’s why we have the January sales. So I’m interested in this busy time. You’re getting information out of people in a really sort of interesting gamifying way. And the more information they decide to share with brands, then the more rewards they get back. Tell us more about that.
Jason – Yeah, so with regards to the New Year, obviously new Year is really important because there will be more activity. But really this is more about a changing trend in society in general. We’re latching on to the zeitgeist here with this is this is a time when consumers are far more aware of the fact that their personal data has value. In fact, actually, research has shown that 50 percent of consumers now see their personal data as an asset, a valuable asset. But actually virtually no consumers in our surveys and other studies we looked at are able to name a product or a company that’s designed to help them unlock that value and they become slightly resentful about it. So consumers don’t mind sharing their data. And this is actually this is a really important thing to consider because there’s a lot of companies out there at the moment who are trying to tackle this problem. And their solutions tend to focus on this this decentralized model, this idea that you have to extract the data from the system in order to give consumers control and control that comes from ownership of the data and the responsibility in the decision making, what to do with it. But the problem with that is data itself isn’t inherently valuable. It’s what you do with the data that’s valuable. And if you decentralized the data, then it becomes that much harder to create value for the consumer. And that’s the most important thing. The idea that consumers, you know, they don’t necessarily want to own their data. They just want a fair system that’s equitable, that treats them with respect, that is transparent, gives them some control over the consent so they can agree what you can and can’t do with it and they’re fairly compensated. With regards to the gamification, the most important thing is creating that clear link between the amount of data they give us and the value they can create. So, you know, the gamification is there’s lots of different facets to it, lots of parts to it but one of the most important things is we have a system whereby. You can you can earn actively by participating in branded surveys and transacting and engaging with brands, and then there’s the the passive where you don’t participate and it’s where we are not valued through insight and machine learning models and whatever else. But the most of these first of all, you generally become more valuable. The more we know about you, so the more we know about you, the more value we offer to brands. And therefore the more they’ll pay, the more they will compensate. But we also create a tier system. So when you come in, you can participate in everything. But because you haven’t given as much data, you’re on a lower tier whereby you generally, you know, you’re not worth as much as a consumer and therefore there’s only so much value we can unlock. And so the more data you give, the more you transition through the tiers. And as you get to the top tiers, you become a lot more valuable. We can do a lot more. We can unlock a lot more value for you. So that creates a really strong link between the data that you’re giving us and the the amount you’re engaging with us and the amount of value that we can unlock for you. And that is why I think it’s so engaging.
And it’s interesting you mentioned before about this idea of the Internet of Things and, you know, how that changes things and it does change things. And there will be a lot of companies that benefit from it, but it will be those companies that are covertly collecting data in order to create more value for themselves. And and this is exactly what consumers aren’t happy with at the moment. So we don’t really focus on passive and passive data is the byproduct of your technological existence. That’s the best way, I think to describe it. Every time you do anything online, there are traces of data you leave behind and that’s collected and then it’s used and it’s used to manipulate your buying decisions. And it’s used for all kinds of ways to create value for those businesses.
Andrew – And we’re going to take a quick break because, well, we’ve been talking about gamification. We’ve got a quick audio selfie here from Benjamin Rogers, who is, of course, a senior quality engineer at IJYI and he also has a few thoughts about playing more games and gamification.
Benjamin – Hi, I’m Benjamin Rodgers, I’m the Senior QA here at IJYI. I’m not a great one for New Year’s resolutions, but I think this year, 2021, I’m going to have a resolution of playing more games. Now, my colleagues will probably think that’s ridiculous. How could I play more games? But I think it’s particularly with the last year that we’ve had, I think getting around with people I can play with and I can game with be it at home or support bubbles or whatever I think is a big thing for me. And it’s an escape and it’s fun. But also it reflects on what I do at work because I’m very keen on gamification, on taking aspects of games and putting them into projects and putting them into the way we work so that you can make that workplace fun. You can make project activities more engaging. You can create a bit of possibly competition within teams and within the work environment, but also just to kind of lighten the mood and make work as fun as it can be. And so, yeah, I think play more games in work and out of work and just Happy New Year.
Andrew – We know that people are increasingly concerned about their online data cookies getting targeted and reach out by advert as me and Andrew spoke about earlier. The benefits for consumers and their personal data is really strong. But tell us more about the brands, what are the benefits for the the brands to actually get involved with Numerous.
Jason – 90 percent of the ads you see are not relevant to you. So it just shows that actually it’s not that effective. And, you know, brands try to personalize it. So consumers are really, you know, they enjoy personalized shopping experiences more. And so I think the latest research shows that 7 percent of consumers, they now want personalized services when they’re shopping online or in-store or personalized experiences, say, and it makes a big difference for brands really desperately trying to provide these personal experiences. But the only way they do it is by collecting massive amounts of this passive data covertly. And and there’s no benefit to the consumer for that, too. And consumers become more aware of this, we focus on the active data, and that’s the data that consumers give us consensually. And it tells us who they are as a person and what their values are and what motivates them to buy and what kind of brands they enjoy doing business with. And in all this really fascinating information that can really help match them with brands that really meet their individual needs, and that’s really important. One of the early models was a maxing algorithm and so as a consumer, you’re not just presented with an entire market of those businesses that you could do business with. We would try and match you with brands that really align with your values and really meet your individual needs. And so you’re more likely to be happy with that brand and you’re more likely to be loyal. There’s this big expectation gap research showing that customer loyalty dropping is in decline year on year. And it’s because of the expectation gaps, because you shop with a brand based on what you think the value proposition is and you end up at some point disappointed because the company hasn’t met your expectations or the product hasn’t, and therefore you’re more likely then shop elsewhere in future. But if you can get that alignment right and if you can find the best customers and the best brands and match them together, you’re more likely to have more loyal, more valuable customers for the long term.
Andrew – How do you get brands to engage with this product from the other side? Because it’s a bit of a mindset shift for them, right? So understanding they’ve come out of a world where it’s all about buying ad space and ad retargeting and those traditional models aren’t working. How do you get them engaged with a product like numerous that’s sort of shifting mindsets?
Jason – Well, yes, good question. And brands and retailers that have to adapt that we can see that there is a shifting paradigm where there’s more legislation and more awareness and it’s going to get harder and harder for brands, retailers to collect and use covertly collected data or let’s say, harvested data. And so in the early days, it’s quite straightforward because we create lots of ways for consumers to unlock their value without necessarily have too much involvement from the brands and retailers. So we can in the first instance, we can send you through to a retailer and we can provide cashback, that’s the first and foremost. And the more we send users through to these brands, we talk to a lot of brands already. So we’ve got a really close relationship with a lot of brands who are on the platform and they’re really interested in what we’re doing. But obviously we can’t put the cart before the horse, so we need to build up that user base. This is a movement. We need consumers to really get behind this and help us reach that critical mass, because as we will, users on the brands are going to be more willing to adapt this model. And we can then start unlocking a lot more value to do so. In the short term, it’s really easy because brands are quite happy to connect with us and just provide that. Cashback is not a new model. But as we progress and as we grow, we can then start to look at ways to unlock value and really engage brands directly. So we can we can provide insight. The the brands, they can do Co-branded surveys, in fact, actually, some brands are already now participating in branded surveys which reward consumers financially for some surveys. And as you mentioned earlier on, we’ve built this survey engine for numerous and we built it with Numerous being a client. So it’s built in such a way that we’re where we’ve been added onto the platform as a client. We create these surveys for consumers to to engage in. So that’s it’s interesting because at the end of surveys, you get some insight about yourself. Actually, that’s that’s what you’re about to launch. At the end of each survey, you get some interesting insight back about yourself. You’ll be compared to a similar cohort and and cross sections of society. You’ll get to share the outcome of their surveys on social to drum up some interest. So there’s lots and lots and lots of different ways for brands to get involved that can give the insight. They can do current surveys. They can they can access the consumer profile to personalize the shopping experience.
So, yeah, it is very interesting. With consumers, to help us reach that critical mass. We’re doing things like there is there are co-branded surveys, so you can get some surveys. We’re doing a really interesting referral system. So if you refer friends, you get an immediate reward, which is a five pound bonus, but you also get a lifetime percentage of all the value that that referral creates. So if I was to refer you to the platform and you become very active over the next couple of years, I take a percentage of all of the value that you create. So we think that with the vision that we’ve got and the and the engagement platform, all the gamification and this really interesting and lucrative referral system, we think we can we can scale-up quite quickly.