Leaders in Supply Chain and Logistics with Radu Palamariu

#42: Chris Sheldrick CEO & Co-Founder of what3words

May 08, 2019 Season 1 Episode 42
Leaders in Supply Chain and Logistics with Radu Palamariu
#42: Chris Sheldrick CEO & Co-Founder of what3words
Chapters
Leaders in Supply Chain and Logistics with Radu Palamariu
#42: Chris Sheldrick CEO & Co-Founder of what3words
May 08, 2019 Season 1 Episode 42
Radu Palamariu
Chris is the CEO & Co-Founder of what3words - a global address system which names every 3m square in the world with a unique 3 word address.
Show Notes Transcript

Chris is the CEO & Co-Founder of what3words – a global address system which names every 3m square in the world with a unique 3-word address. Some of their backers include Intel, Mercedes (Daimler), Sony, Deutsche Bahn, SAIC Motor Corp, Aramex, Horizons Ventures, & Alpine Electronics. Daimler acquired a 10 percent stake in the London startup last year and built it into the navigation systems of its newest A-Class and B-Class cars and Sprinter commercial vehicles.

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Speaker 1:
0:00
Hello and welcome to the leaders in supply chain podcast. I am your host ratable Mru and it is my pleasure to have with us today. Chris Sheldrick. Chris is the CEO and cofounder of what three words, a global address system, which names every three square meters in the world with a unique three word address. Some of their backers include Intel, Mercedes, Mercedes, Daimler Group's, Sony do Javan, Saic Motor Corporation, RMX horizons ventures and Alpine electronics. Daimler acquired a 10% stake in the London based startup last year and built it into the navigation systems of his newest a class B class cars as well as sprinter commercial vehicles. A bit on Chris as well. He worked in the music business for 10 years, booking bands and managing production for events around the globe. He was constantly frustrated with suppliers, not finding side entrances and Ben's not finding their way from the hotel to their gigs.
Speaker 1:
0:52
Hence he tried distributing addresses and gps coordinates for years, but both failed him on numerous occasions. So hence he was certain there was a better way and therefore what three words was born. Um, it now accounts for 103 people in its offices in London, Mongolia, South Africa, the u s and Saudi Arabia. And to date it has raised a total of $56 million across nine funding rounds. Chris, welcome and thank you for being with us today. Hi, ready. Thanks for having me. Our pleasure. So maybe, maybe let's start with the, with the interception. Let's start also with, uh, with, with your story because it's a fascinating one. You worked in the music industry, you're organized, lively events. Um, you know, people get lost, equipment got lost. That seemed to be the frustration that kind of got you into, um, into starting this. So tell us a little bit more about how you started. What was the story and you know, what's the background?
Speaker 2:
1:45
Yeah, that's right. I mean, firstly, I actually grew up on a farm in the British countryside and we have post codes here in the UK. Um, but if you're in a rural area, your postcode often does not lead people to your door. So for decades we've had delivery drivers showing up in the wrong place. I mean if they even get to anywhere near our house is kind of a success cause they're normally calling up sort of saying there by a hedge in a tree but about a mile away. Um, so I kind of always was aware of this issue around addresses and then I worked for 10 years. But in this music business to only realize that the, uh, address problem is worse if you're in a freelance industry where people are going somewhere new every day. So that can be like trying to find the back entrance of Wembley Stadium at gate 46 B or trying to find the entrance to some kind of Italian villa.
Speaker 2:
2:34
Halfway up a mountain side, uh, you give people an address, which was sort of villa something calmer town name. Um, and it just wouldn't resolve, um, in cars or in sat navs and soon enough you were back to, you know, look for the opening in the head, which is fine when it's one person you're trying to meet with. But if you've got 48 suppliers or delivering something, um, that is a monumental hassle. So, um, I guess I was just, particularly the way my life went, I was always just exposed to this issue of addresses. And then, um, so what I tried to do to, to fix this for me was to get everybody using latitude and longitude. I was like, look, everybody can just input, uh, an eight digit last tude comma space and eight digit longitude. And everybody's going to show up very precisely.
Speaker 2:
3:23
I thought I'd just tell everybody to do this, which is wonderful in theory, but in practice, people, your everyday consumer and especially professional musicians are very bad at accurately transcribing latitudes and longitudes into whatever car, gps device, sat nav, um, phone or whatever else they might be using. Um, and on one particular day we did this event in Rome. Uh, the truck driver who brought all the gear from the UK mixes us up for four and a five as the latitude and arrives an hour north of Rome, not an hour south of room. Um, and this was a serious issue and you suddenly realize, because you know, he thought he was going to Rome and therefore just didn't know. There was a problem, I guess. I thought, okay, there's got to be an easier way for people to do this and I can't believe that, you know, we have latitude and longitude.
Speaker 2:
4:15
Um, but it's so rarely used. And then I kind of realized why it's actually just very hard in practice. So I guess the whole idea was how do we simplify and last June longitude into something very, very simple for consumers. Um, and so I chatted that through with a friend of mine called Mohan, who's a mathematician, was like, how do we reduce these 16 numbers into something human memorable, very easy to communicate. And we batted some ideas around, um, we look to making an Alpha numeric code, but we realized we'd have to have about nine characters, which we felt was too long. And we kept thinking. And then it was, we kind of happened on this idea where if you took combinations of three words from the dictionary, something like table chair spoon, um, that there's enough combinations of three words that you can uniquely name all of the 57,000,000,000,003 meter squares in the world, um, with their own three word address.
Speaker 2:
5:11
So, you know, Coffee Branch pyramid, uh, is the name of one of them. You might move three meters to the size and gap, a cafe, custard spatular, you know, and you keep going and you have your own unique three words for every three meters in the world. And to me, that felt like something that my musicians could get behind. I was like, I'm sure I can say to somebody, turn up at, um, coffee branch pyramids and they would, um, this is something that everyone could wrap their heads around. And so I cannot the idea. And then got in a jack who was a friend of mine who had run a, uh, a language business and thought, hey, you know, we're going to need a language specialists because we want to do this in lots of languages. And then that was kinda how we started. What three words. Wow.
Speaker 1:
5:58
Fascinating. Fascinating. So, um, definitely there's some correlation as we were talking before, the pressing the record button in between the music industry and figuring out creative solutions to problems, which, which uh, which is great. Um, uh, and I wanted to maybe bring into the attention because one of our listeners has had actually the, the, the question in the last, the purpose of the product, what value it brings and why the world needs it. And I wanted to link that to a very clear and life saving potentially, or, or yeah. Saving, uh, case study with, with how you're using or you're collaborating with the, I think I read with the emergency services, if I'm not wrong in the UK, um, and, and how there is a specific case study with how they're using what we worst to very accurately. And pinpoint the exact location of the person, um, that, that is in danger or has gone through an accident or something. So maybe you can tell us a little bit about that.
Speaker 2:
6:58
I'm sure. I mean there's, there's lots of usage, but what three words and emergency services is one. Um, you know, normally the, the communication of your current location isn't something which you necessarily think that, um, that that needs to be a solution for. But with emergency services, a lot of this is still done over the phone. Um, and when you're on the phone to emergency services, there is still no even in 2019 way of accurately and electronically transmitting the gps coordinates of your phone device. So you are resorting to have to um, explain a series of directions or anything like that. So for the emergency services, if people have the, what three words app on their phone and they can simply relay the three words over the phone line to the call center, then people can incredibly quickly know exactly where the emergency is taking place and dispatch people out there.
Speaker 2:
7:56
And this has been something which has really taken off even in about the last nine months here in the UK. It started with one call to Hartford, your fire surface, uh, last summer from somebody who was in the field and run out the three words. And that's kind of escalated into something where a lot of the UK emergency services not only support what three words, but actively tell their communities. So the educated on the APP and they have it on their phones ready, um, and that they can then call in when they have an issue. Mm,
Speaker 1:
8:25
no, that's, that's super. And I wanted to talk a little bit to the, to the application. So you said that that is one of the applications. Maybe let's go through and you have a few listed on your website. Nebulize go through a few of the other fields and domains and, and case studies or use cases where we're, what three words can, can make a significant and is already making a significant difference to, to different industries and applications.
Speaker 2:
8:52
Sure. So, I mean, um, I think if you think about the ways we use addresses in our lives, um, it's normally when we want to go somewhere. Um, and also if we want, let's say an object to go somewhere. So it's like, so normally with a delivery, most use cases will boil down, uh, for addresses into, into one of those two things. So, um, for example, in, uh, the mobility people are navigating, we are now built into Mercedes cars. So for the new Mercedes cars that come off the production line, they come with what three words installed as standards. And that means you can get into your car. You say, Hey, Mercedes navigates to what three words index home raft as an example, and the car will then navigate you straight to that three meter square. Um, and that is something which is, which is rolled out globally.
Speaker 2:
9:42
And it's just a, a big sign of the way that whole industry is going, which is how do I make the user experience in the car as straight forward as possible. I think everyone wants to get away from twisting the dials and all the things we had to do kind of five years ago, or even now in a lot of cars, um, to sort of clunkily input things into that head unit. Turn it, turn the car into a voice assistant, and then what three words helps because it's a very simple way by voice that you can act accurately and uniquely specify where you want to go. You'll get away from all of those issues of road names being duplicated in the same city I was at that Victoria road. Or is it that Victoria Road? And just very simple by saying a three word address. Now after Mercedes, uh, we're also now in Ford cars, uh, something called the Ford's sync system.
Speaker 2:
10:27
Um, and it means that you can now speak a three word address to a Ford car. And again, you can navigate to any way you want to go. And you will see shortly there'll be more cars, uh, which supports or three words in exactly the same way. Now really this use case is what that extends to apps. So you've got apps like now for me, the world's biggest offline navigation app, but your three word address straight into now for me. Um, even if you have no data now for me, we'll give you turn by turn directions to where you want to go. So we are just, I guess talking to all of the big players in that automobility sector to get what three words integrated as a standard. Now if you then look at the ecommerce and logistics field, this is exactly the same uh, kind of thing.
Speaker 2:
11:12
People want to get somewhere very specifically, but it's normally about taking an object. So it is, let's say any ECOMMERCE, uh, I've bought something, I want to deliver it somewhere. It may be where I am now, but it may be where I'm not now. It may be at my office and I'm at home or vice versa. So I need to give a specific place where that package is going to be dropped off. And this process works to varying degrees where wherever you are in the world, um, it's generally easier if I want to go somewhere, I know where I'm going. But in a delivery case, um, you know, generally speaking, the person does not know where they're going. And so it's really, really important to be very precise for that delivery company, um, to, to get it right. So that is how we are working.
Speaker 2:
11:57
Our first deal was with the Mongolian postal service. Um, it was, there was a very forward thinking board member there who said, we want to be at the forefront of this technology. Um, fast forward and we're now used on ecommerce checkout pages throughout the world. So there's, for example, the ice store in South Africa. If you were to an apple products, uh, you'll be invited when you're doing the checkout to input your three word address, uh, if you know it because it then will help their career service find you. Um, there's online grocery company called woody in Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia really struggles with a lack of address infrastructure. Um, and again, exactly, exactly the same thing on the checkout page. You will see that invitation to put in your three word address. Um, and that's it. It's always the same. It's always the same use case. It's always the same way that it's delivered, which is, uh, a widget on the checkout page, which helps people, but their three word address in.
Speaker 2:
12:51
It's then about getting our past to the delivery company and making sure that their systems are able to use a three word address or latitude and longitude, which it translates to. I'm at the back end to make that delivery. Um, I guess aside from those two main use cases, you've got things like drones, which are now a much more popular, um, and even people experimenting with drone delivery. Well, how are you going to sell the drone where to go? Because a street address is actually a pretty large area. Um, and often the pin drops you on a middle of a building. Um, whereas for drone delivery, you need to specify as at the front garden. Is it the bank God? And it's a bit around the site. Um, we need to think far more, far more accurately. Um, so yeah, I think, I think everything that we're doing boils down into one of these core use cases.
Speaker 1:
13:40
Did you grow up and you're really curious, uh, let's, let's talk a little bit about Mongolia. I mean, it's, it, that's a fascinating, uh, how, how, how did that come about? I'm just personally curious because you said there was a very progressive thinking board member, but how, how did it come about? I mean, it's not the first time that you would think of, right? I mean definitely they probably have some and you can think vast amounts of land for sure. But how did you end up, uh, you know, opening up such a strong partnerships is partnership in Mongolia.
Speaker 2:
14:09
So, um, I was actually at the World Economic Forum meeting in Dalian, China and met, uh, this board member for, from uncle posts there and we got to chatting. And, um, he, he at first said, um, I mean he, he actually wasn't a board member of the, of the postal service then, but he was a huge fan. He then called me back when he became a board member and investor in the a post service and said, actually Chris, that there's a huge opportunity here in Mongolia. Yes, there's a fast country, many of it without an address infrastructure. But once he actually saw firsthand the issues, the postal service we're having, um, it's when he said, look, there's an opportunity here to transform this country. Um, and he's influential guy and he brought us there and helps us with a lot of publicity and got us a, I guess into popular culture there as well.
Speaker 2:
15:00
A lot of people tell us when they're around, you learn, uh, a tool that they will be going to a cafe and they will see a three word sign in the window, which is a big piece of work, which was done a couple of years ago to sort of ingrain what three words into the fabric of society and people there. I mean there's, I think 20 plus ecommerce sites now in the country. It's a relatively small ecommerce scenes. So that's most of them. And they will, they will all have those, what three words feels on the checkout page. Um, and it's something that just, just repetition, um, in the society gets things known and used. And when you don't have a way other than directions, um, people, people really want it to have something very simple to use. Um, and you'd even say, see in the most recent lonely planet guides to Mongolia, you'll see that are printed next to every single point of interest in that book is the three word address. So it just helps any travelers getting around the country, uh, it gets to exactly where they want to go to. And that happens totally organically because the author of the guide went to Mongolia, um, saw that were three words was being used and therefore added into the book. So, um, I guess that's, it's just a great example of how, um, through one innovative party you can spread the word and, and rally an entire community around doing something new.
Speaker 1:
16:28
Uh, I mean, it's not, it's not about necessarily about the newest, it's about the utility and the fact that it's so practical. And it was so badly needed. Um, and, and um, yeah, I find it fascinating. Obviously mobile is a huge amount of land and there's other countries like that in the world. I guess you just need to identify, well just you need to identify the forward thinking board members of postal services rights or the influencers in the respective markets too. But it also works like a snowball effect because the more you have this, use the case studies and more you have this type of, um, sharings that you can, you can, uh, propagate then, then it's going to be easier and easier for you guys. Um, so fascinating case study. Uh, I wanted it to also kind of go into the little bit further into the cause.
Speaker 1:
17:13
A lot of our audience is from the supply chain, so from logistics, ecommerce, last mile side. So we're in the world of ECOMMERCE, which is a booming world, right? Which is basically double digit growth most, most of places in the world, right? So here in Southeast Asia is growing like crazy. China, obviously a u s Europe pretty much everywhere. And, and the fact that, uh, I, I don't have statistics, but I'm pretty sure there's a lot of time wasted, uh, in terms of, you know, Korea's arriving at the wrong place, wrong time or God knows what getting lost. Um, have you done any specific, uh, or a, do you have some case studies or some sharings that you can, you can bring to the table in terms of this kind of health that you've lent a with the, what three word type of solution to the final mile logistics in ecommerce delivery issues that are currently being in different markets?
Speaker 2:
18:05
Um, sure. Um, I mean, I think that the issue of careers getting lost and time and money being wasted, um, is universally understood across that industry. I mean, quantifying, I think ups ever figure that for every driver her mile that they, um, that they waste, it costs the business $50 million per year. And I'm sure that's going to be consistent across anybody operating at that scale. Um, and when we've actually quantified it with our customers. Um, and Nisa pee for like quick up in London and Rmx in the Middle East. Um, your talking, you know, huge, huge savings between 20 and 40% depending on what the scenario is that you can, that you can knock off just because people are going to the wrong place. And often that's happening in the last mile or two where they think they're near, but actually just not being able to. So locate the front door, um, means that the driver is going around in circles or even sometimes can be incredibly close, but if they can't get hold of the customer, um, to, to understand exactly where the entrance is, then you have this problem.
Speaker 2:
19:15
Now as soon as that extrapolates through every driver, every delivery, this, this is a huge problem. Um, and I think that people are, are aware of it. Um, it's a case of how, how they are going to respond to actually getting, getting a solution put in place because, um, the, the ecommerce logistics world is complicated. It's normally the logistics provider. Um, who is the one that, that really cares about this issue the most because the, the, the losses are on them. Um, but actually it's the ecommerce customer who is the one directly interfacing with the consumer. So you have to get everybody moving in harmony. You have to get the ecommerce customers and get a three word address widget on their checkout page and you need to then have a logistics company who are prepared to deliver two or three word address or last June in longitude, which, which are basically interchangeable, um, and be able to respond to that and not rely on street addresses.
Speaker 2:
20:17
And this is actually a bit more elaborate than it sounds in practice to get everybody making that change. Um, in parallel, ideally you have an ecommerce customer who, who has their own logistics arm because then all of the incentives are totally aligned. Um, but that's not the way the most of the market is. And they're two different companies that you have to deal with. Um, you, you then have the issue of it. We'll have people using greasing software and the way that it flows there. Does one have to get the routing softwares to integrate? Sometimes the answer is yes, sometimes it's no. Um, and all of the component parts, um, this is what is actually needed to get something like what three words working in the sector. It's not as simple as the mobility sector where you just plug it into whatever that navigation bit of software and hardware isn't go great. Consumer puts in three words navigates, they're done. The, the ECOMMERCE logistics supply chain industry is far more complicated about the flow of information. Um, and it takes more effort to get, um, a new system. Like what, three words integrated.
Speaker 1:
21:19
I'd love to go a little bit because there in lies the crux of the challenge, right? I mean, you know, great idea. There's a lot of great ideas in the world how they implement it, right? So maybe we can take the example of, because again, it's a fascinating example cause it's, it's the scale of the sheer scale is massive. Let's take the example of Mongolia and maybe then we also take an example of maybe [inaudible] or somewhere like that. So I'd love you to maybe walk us through and the audience through how did you manage to successfully implemented so in Mongolia. Okay. It started with that French person, where that happened and after that to be the board member and to be announced as board member of the postal service. But what were some of the steps and the process that you followed to make it successful?
Speaker 1:
22:01
Right, because it didn't happen overnight and definitely people started talking about it, but how, what, where did you start and what were the, you know, what would the next steps that that helped it be what it is today? Right. Because I think now for the first time in Mongolia, you are, they are able to receive mail. They were able to register for a bank account I was reading there, but to receive food delivers by using the three word address, which was no way possible just a few years ago. So how did it, when there are certain steps that were involved in that, that looking back, you can see, okay, this is what made it successful.
Speaker 2:
22:32
Um, I think it's really just about doing all of those things in parallel. Um, and I think it's as you are training the postal workers, I mean to, to be fair, like we set up a local team in Mongolia and we trained every single postal worker, um, in the capital city on war three was what were three words was, and that was groups of people sitting around. One of our team, um, with smart phones in hand, um, downloading the APP, trying it out, understanding the three word addresses for their own homes, the postal workers, and then understanding how this was this can be used in the field. So that effectively there that you, your evangelists for you as well. Um, and they understand it through and through. It's not like they're just being told to press another button without really understanding how the system works.
Speaker 2:
23:21
Everybody has to understand it. Um, and, and we did that and um, and all of them gave us, gave us their time because a Mongol post was prepared to invest that kind of time to learn. Uh, in parallel, we were speaking to the biggest bank in Mongolia called con bank. Um, and they had this issue, they were just starting credit card delivery. Um, and it's frustrating for them if people don't get credit cards. This is an important product that people really, really need to get. And so they, they added simultaneously a field onto their credit card application form, which said what three words, um, plain and simple. And then again, this wasn't just a secret formula and suddenly everyone did this space actually a new what it was. Um, they actually trained all of the, um, bank tellers across the country, um, onto what, three words, what it was.
Speaker 2:
24:15
They made a training, um, brochure pamphlet if you like. They even ran a competition. Um, so that people, um, so the people, the Han Bank staff were incentivized to understand it, incentivize to ask the consumers for it to get the consumers to download it. And this was all happening in parallel. Um, taking again those 20 plus ecommerce sites, we went to them all while this was going on. And you can't just do this by putting one person in the country. You need a team of several people. Uh, and we were getting there. So we were getting the, the checkout pages integrated. So to get all of these things, you're basically generating your volume of three word addresses to actually come through the system. So that then as soon as that postal worker has been educated on it, they see a three word address and they know what it is.
Speaker 2:
25:00
You can't train them. And then a year later have got your stuff together. Because by that time, people understandably have forgotten what it was that somebody told them about a year ago. So the, the skill to this whole game, if you're going to build an ecosystem around a new standard, is to get everything happening at the same time or as close to that as you can. Um, and, and that is admittedly a easier in a, in a smaller country like Mongolia where there's, there's you, you're very, very clear on all of the moving parts and you can move everything in turn. Um, I think as you get bigger and bigger that gets more complicated. But if you are dealing with a bigger organization who, who have more, um, elaborate internal communication tools, there's nothing to stop that, that happening in the same way. I mean our in the Middle East would be a good example.
Speaker 2:
25:49
They've done a lot of internal communications, um, about what, three words, um, up and down the organization. So there we haven't had to go to every person in turn. They've done a lot of it themselves. So I think there's, there's a way that you apply that to what you're doing. Um, but then battery Mongolia in parallel with all of that, that's when we started approaching all of the local businesses saying, um, are you aware of what three words do you want to have a sign? Do you care about people finding where you are? And before we got lonely planet, we actually got off the local travel guides to put a three word address, um, throughout their guidebooks so that people realized what the benefit was. So, so I would say that the skill is doing all of these things, realizing that not one of them in isolation is what drives it forward and gets usage. You have to, you have to get a standard used by by starting it off in all of these different ways. Um, and that's how you do it. This
Speaker 1:
26:44
leads me to the, to the question that the audience had in terms of the business model was definitely, there's, there's, there's quite a few user cases that we shared with us, but how do you actually make money? What's the business model
Speaker 2:
26:58
longterm? Sure. So, um, there were three words. App and map site are free for consumers. Anybody can download the APP, find the three word address, typing it through the address and use it. Um, what people will people pay for or generally businesses pay for is to have this, uh, the tool, the API or the SDK, which converts three word addresses into latitude, longitude. And just to be clear and API is, is, uh, is, um, uh, web based platform or way that a company can simply send a three word address to our server and we will then return to them a latitude and longitude and all of their existing software will be built on latitude and longitude. So it's, it's, it's like an encoder decoder. Um, and that is exactly the same way that addresses are monetized today. There's actually nothing different that we're doing on the business model.
Speaker 2:
27:48
So let's suppose in you, you use a ride hailing app and you type in number 41 region stream. What people often don't know is that the right heading app have to pay to send off 41 regent street and receive back the latitude and longitude. Um, so our model is exactly the same. It's, it's about changing three word addresses into lat longs rather than street addresses. Um, but it's, it's something that the industry are used to paying for. Um, and therefore it doesn't really matter if you're doing it with a street address or a three word address. Wow,
Speaker 1:
28:24
that's fascinating. You're wanting to change the industry standard in comes a point of reference. You wouldn't become the point of reference. MMM.
Speaker 2:
28:34
We would, we would like the industry to move to three word addresses as a way of specifying it, delivery point. But we're not changing the model in the process. We keep in the moment. There's nothing else that people will have to be painful. Huh.
Speaker 1:
28:52
And at the same time, that's a humongous task because the world is big. And I think you mentioned what you mentioned, 57 trillion,
Speaker 2:
29:01
uh,
Speaker 1:
29:03
unique addresses and unique three word combination for the, for every three square meter, um, in the world. Um, so then, then there's a, and I think we also spoke a little bit before we started about Charles' question, right? In terms of, um, uh, registration in terms of scale, pure scale of having 7.5 billion people on the planet at the moment or something like that. Um, it's humongous in terms of overall getting more and more and more of that population and more and more of this institutions and postal services and all of that to come. And local governments of course mobile is a great example, but there's a lot more
Speaker 2:
29:43
okay
Speaker 1:
29:44
to come and, and I'm on board your system. Right? So how, how, how many do you have registered and how do you see scaling? So, so you have enough of the global population
Speaker 2:
29:54
to have that actual global scale. Sure. I mean, I think with any new, um, standard, there's, there's going to be a journey from when you start on day one to when it's just being used day in, day out by everybody. And it's second nature and any, any single consumer or business has their free choice to go, um, I am going to be first on this and I'm going to use it on day one when, um, it's going to be a little bit harder and we're going to have to help with awareness. Or people can say, I'd like to wait right until the end, until this is so ingrained in the fabric of society that this is just very easy for me to take off the shelf. Everybody knows what it is. Um, and we will do it at that point. And every day we come into contact with consumers and businesses and people are at varying degrees along that scale as to what works for them.
Speaker 2:
30:50
Um, as to when to take it up. I mean, when the UK emergency services started looking at it, it was when that first person, so you've got a particular, um, so there are things that have happened today, right? So the, the person called up who knew about what three words, um, who was in a field when there was a fire and they also felt confident enough in it to be able to use it in that stressful situation and sees the emergency services. Have you heard of it? You've also got the emergency services who had heard of it and they said sure. And once that particular, um, environment has happened, uh, the most of the services fell able to then tell the other emergency services to use it. And at that point, and you know, we'd, we'd, we'd have, we told people about it in the sector before.
Speaker 2:
31:35
Um, but of course until you get over that hurdle of, well, when is the first emergency call going to happen with a three word address? You, you struggle to get momentum. But of course once you start off, you go from there. So you find actually there's quite a few people on, on that spectrum of adoption who may not want to be first, but they may want to be nearly first if you like. Actually the same with the car companies. Um, now the Mercedes of integrated so many car companies, uh, and now keen to have a look at it because they're realizing that this is, this is a new thing for the sex of which feels more trusted to them, which feels more credible. And therefore, um, they're really keen to be kind of, not quite first, but very fast followers. If you, um, when you use that expression to, to then bring this in.
Speaker 2:
32:22
Now there are still companies that, that you talk to who go, we would only like to adopt this kind of technology. We would like to be the last ones because that is just the way that this company operates. There's that, that's, that's normally the reason they give. We prefer to do everything last. We don't like to, um, to when we don't embrace innovation and they'll often be quite open about that and say that they will only take things, um, when it's enormously trusted and that's, that's the way the company works. So I think it's one can't, um, sort of ignore that or push through it and say everybody should be first and everybody should be happy to be the ones to, to bring this new innovation in. Um, but you know, in, in turn you've got to go, okay, fine. I'm talking to a company who, or a person who wants to be much later down that, that process and say, that's fine that you've been integrated in this, fine, you've been integrated in this.
Speaker 2:
33:16
However, until 7 billion people are using it. Um, it's, it's not for me. Um, and that's cool and there's just no point. There's no point spending a lot of time on, on those people in companies. You have to go for the ones that matches what your state of the business. And when you walked through the door, there are people who, who today will say, wow, I am incredibly convinced by what three words, the product incredibly convinced by the brands that we have on board today who are using it. And, and this is the time that they're going to jump on board. And those are the ones were entirely focused on. Um, because then it gets us to that next step and on and on and on. You Go. I think my point is that you can't, um, you can't please everybody because everybody has their own time. They're going to jump on something which works for them. Whether that's smart phones or, or any other kind of technological standard or, or revolution. Everyone has their own criteria for when they want to join.
Speaker 3:
34:14
Yes. I guess the, the next door then question that comes to my mind is how do you select, because again, your pool of potential clients and potential people that that would find, well, I mean of course it could be, I mean at the idea stage, right when you're finished, when your mission is done, if I, if I was going to be done, but let's say when your most of your mission is done, the whole globe is mapped, right. But, um, right now at the phase that you are in terms of, uh, you know, finding those early or very early adopters and identifying them and not, not spending too much time on people that will come only at the very, very last stage. And then that are kind of resistant to change because you have such a multitude and palliative potential clients and how do you fine, I guess, and decide because you can't be speaking to everybody.
Speaker 3:
35:01
Right. So, I mean, I, I saw, and you have had a lot of successes recently then you've shed, you, you did the integration in South Korea [inaudible] map, right? Which is the largest, uh, Korean online platform. You had the launch in Mexico, in China. Also, I said that you had the integration in the cabify APP, which is kind of the Uber version in South America if I'm not wrong, but how do you, how do you kind of find this case, this case that his clients, potential clients and correct light in the five fastest. Okay. These are the people that will most of the most likely use this fastest and, and not spend so much time if there's a process around it, you know, on the other people that may be a slower in the adoption.
Speaker 2:
35:40
Uh, sure. I think, um, I think that's something you get better at identifying over time, um, and deciding what you will and won't concentrate on as well. I mean, a lot of times people call us up and say, you must come to x country because there's a huge room with addresses. And if you come here, I'm sure that, you know, this will be adopted in front of me quickly. Um, and you have to really judge, uh, which of those you're going to go after because of course you have a limited team size, um, and there's only so much of the world you can be in at one time. And so we, I guess strategically workout what is likely to lead to what, um, and which things ideally a geographically centered in the same place. So, um, take, take account map there. We met a company, um, who are incredibly forward thinking and innovative, um, hugely ticks the box there.
Speaker 2:
36:33
Um, it's, it's a great household name within Korea and it also now leads to a lot of expansion opportunities for us in Korea because can count map actually drives so many other services. So it's, it's somewhere that's, we've had known for a while. Um, went and spend a bit of time there. And because we're also now spending more time in China, it makes sense because geographically they're very close to each other for us to, to work on both simultaneously. Um, but I think it's, it's one of those things you've got to look at. Um, how, how big is the country? Cause sometimes like with Mongolia at some point, sure. Looking for something smaller than a more sort of control the ecosystem. And then sometimes you're looking for scale and what you do and you want to go somewhere where there's a lot more consumers and say, you know, like, like many businesses developing.
Speaker 2:
37:24
It's kind of like an elaborate game of chess. Um, but even more so with what three words, because it's a standard that, that you want more consumers and businesses to adopt. And that additional validation you get with every single new company or adopting it, you're often looking for the first in a particular sector or if the sex is slightly different to the last one. Um, what are you trying to get from this new integration that you want to talk about? Um, and those, those are often different things. Sometimes it's pure consumer numbers, sometimes it's, it's that validation of a, of a particular use case. And then you've got to throw geography into the mix as well. And you've got a fairly large matrix that evolves. Um, but I would say that that a lot of it's just based on good common sense of the things that we've learned. Um, and, and maximizing our time on the ground wherever we go with our team.
Speaker 3:
38:16
Yes,
Speaker 3:
38:19
you're above 100 plus people, right? One in three people in five offices. So, you know, there's, there's a lot of countries, there's a lot of different businesses, so you need to be very good at. And I'm also guessing that out of the 100 plus people that you currently have on your staff, maybe half of them were more to a more of the coding things. And not all of them, of course, are in commercial sales partnership side of the business, right? So, um, it has to be a very focused approach because you don't have infinite resources and also you need to, I'm also thinking and having run the businesses and having helped a lot of businesses throughout our consulting arm as well. It's also a matter of making sure you don't run out of money, right? So you were doing all of this whilst at the same time making sure you don't run out of fuel for the, for the MMM company as well, and then you're able to fund it.
Speaker 3:
39:09
And of course, the moment you start attracting this big brands like, uh, you mentioned some in the car manufacturing side, it's, it's very good. It's almost like a stamp of quality, a rubber stamp of quality that you're on the right track. Um, and, and one of the, one of the listen as was, was wondering right in if you're to look long term beyond the navigation solution, um, how are you thinking? I mean, again, uh, his case, kind of asking the question that I've, I've kind of answered, but I want to ask you because I might be wrong as well right then. And he's asking how to adopt the method in the daily life of individuals in a sense that, do you imagine some day that will basically just be giving our address to a friend coming to visit by just saying that magic three words combination. And I think you've kind of answered that. But anyways, I'll ask it again cause it's a different way of asking it.
Speaker 2:
40:00
Yeah, I mean I think, I mean to be honest, like people have been doing that already for years. It just depends on who you are. Like this is actually not the big leap. It's really simple to just tell your friends, hey, come to a dinner party at word, word, word. Um, this is, this is the first thing to do. Uh, people are doing it throughout the world. Um, but I guess that comes down to the, to the adoption curve. Um, it, you know, some people would see that maybe as, as beyond the navigation, I would see that as, as thing to do, number one. Um, and do it this Saturday. Tell people, you know, when you've next got a social event, give a three word address. Try it, see how people find it. Um, they're, they're probably going to like it. They're probably gonna find that easier. It'll generate interest because if, uh, if they don't know it, it's, it's going to be different. Um, but they're going to see the value in it. Um, so like many new things just start, I guess would be my advice on that. Just aren't using a three word address and don't think of it like this seismic shift. Um, people are going to get where they want to go more easily and more accurately. I think that's a good thing.
Speaker 3:
41:04
Yes. I think, you know, if you manage somehow to incorporate the largest and biggest piece of movie production, which happens to be three words, uh, game of Thrones, Chris, I think you should incorporate that. And if you manage to put an address, I'm sure you have and do a campaign around it. A lot of people that will be, you can play with it, right?
Speaker 2:
41:28
[inaudible] there are no two lesser words in English, so you won't find any olives. Guys, you not to read into the words. Um, in terms of meaning that the three was, are definitely random. Um, and, and do, do you not have meaning attached to them? So yeah, it's purely a mechanism to communicate in digit number.
Speaker 3:
41:51
Talking also about getting people just to curious that would work for, I mean when I, when we communicated over email then when I committed also with, with Kate, if I remember your assistant as well. Then when I saw on the higher signature, the three words that addressed to your office, the definitely got me thinking because sometimes of course I knew your story but when you see it actually it was like, wow, that's actually interesting. So it's also a matter of getting the buzz out there for you guys cause it's its scale, its scale and the more people talk about it, the more people try it. Uh, some were will eventually implemented and then then the word goats go goes out even further. Um, another question that I found quite fascinating and interesting and it can be more and more of relevance, uh, in, in, in the context of, in the context of deliveries and all of that, uh, is the plans and the question whether you have any plans to incorporate height because uh, you know, uh, an address would, would take the delivery to the front door, but, uh, whether the consumer lives on the first floor, the fifth floor, is it pretty big difference and for, of course for deliveries in cities that, that, that will be extremely valuable information potentially.
Speaker 3:
43:02
So, I don't know. Do you have plans also to incorporate high? Does that matter at all or not so much?
Speaker 2:
43:07
Um, yeah, I mean, height massively matters when you're making a delivery because a lot of things on indoors, um, and not on the ground floor, whether it's right for war, three ways to incorporate a height premise. And now I don't think so. But mainly because the supporting technology. So the indoor gps positioning, the indoor maps, the indoor navigation, I don't think those pieces of tech are yet good enough that if we were able to say index home raft and then that say the number four for the fourth floor, I don't think that, um, the supporting technology would actually get you there. And I think people then have a bad experience and we don't want people to have a bad experience. There's no point us allowing for whether that's fourth floor, four meters or whatever else, um, for people. So only fines. Ashley, I didn't get that.
Speaker 2:
43:57
Um, I think this is something for the future and I don't think we should underestimate what a seismic she joked that is to actually map the indoor spaces of all of these buildings and give people a seamless indoor navigation task. I'm sure it'll come. Um, I just don't know how quickly. So until that point, I think just, let's acknowledge the enormous job that is in accurately defining the entrance to buildings that people want to make deliveries to. Um, if we can solve that, then think about those hundreds of millions, billions of dollars plus in those wasted Korea, um, hours that are spent not finding the correct entrances. Um, there are plenty of ways that you can do it. You give a three word address and you say it's apartment one oh six, or you say fourth floor and all of this additional information that you could give to help a delivery driver make, make the delivery. Um, but I don't think as trying to be the one size fits all and incorporate height at the moment is the right way to do it.
Speaker 1:
45:01
Makes Sense. How about when do you plan to expand next? So, you know, you have, you have five offices, the main one in London would then you have Mongolia, South Africa, US and Saudi Arabia. How about the Asia Pacific? Obviously Mongolia is in Asia of course, but I'll be, I'm sitting in Singapore or Southeast Asia is growing tremendously. The lots of problems here as well in terms of not, uh, not having, I mean I can, I can name some countries, maybe I shouldn't, but this countries that have some significant issues also in terms of the logistics and addresses and all of the big problems around deliveries. Do you have a certain, you know, do you have certain areas of certain places where you want to target next or, or certain strategies in Asia Pacific or what's your thoughts around it?
Speaker 2:
45:46
Yeah, absolutely. So, um, you'll have seen that we just launched in China, which is fantastic. Um, we have a new investors from Japan in the form of Sony and Alpine electronics. Um, Cacau map is a great opportunity for us in Korea. Uh, and I think we're also having a look specifically at Southeast Asia. Um, a lot of which, as you say, have, have enormous addressing infrastructure challenges. So we are looking at, um, exactly where we're going to place that, um, second Asia hub outside Mongolia. Um, and it, it may well be, um, in Hong Kong, Singapore or somewhere that we can service the region from. So I think that is, that is coming soon. And we will, um, we'll confirm in due course.
Speaker 1:
46:31
Okay. I'd love to talk also a little bit about talent, culture, leadership, uh, selecting people. It's, it's, it's a, it's a the soft skill side, right? Because building a business is always about having a great product, uh, having a great idea which your publicity half, uh, Eh, it's actually you're redefining the standard for the way we do things, which is even more progressive than most ideas and more creative. But it's also, I mean it's, but it's also mostly about people to make it successful or not. Um, you, you seem to have a great culture at the what, three words? Um, uh, I have looked online at the more visible type of people that are employ. So I'd love to also share with us a little bit what some of the key things that define your culture for you as the CEO because you're the main architect of that and the, and you know, how do you make sure so that you maintain it and pass it onto your new employees?
Speaker 2:
47:25
Um, so I think, I mean when you say Greek culture, um, I guess the whole point about that is that it's totally subjective. Um, for us a great culture is about being a culture that works for what, three words. Um, and whilst on one hand it sounds like stating the obvious, um, to, to work at what three words you have to believe that creating a new global standard in the form of three words is a good and wonderful thing that you are really keen to evangelize about it every opportunity. Um, and that means that this isn't the right place for people who, for whom that's not a fit. Um, you know, this, this, this sounds like stating the obvious, but let's say if, if you're coming here to sell what three words or you're really coming here to do is to evangelize about what three words as to why people, um, wants to join what we're doing as in other businesses, who we partner with and who will be our customers at this point in the journey.
Speaker 2:
48:20
Um, you know, we are not a company that, um, that sells chairs or printers and we don't want to sell cheaper chairs or printers. Then the last chair, old printer that you bought or better it chairs are printers. Um, it's not that kind of sale because it's so different. Um, and I think that it's, it's just about embracing that and going, okay, this is the type of company we are, um, come here if, if you're totally excited by our mission and what we're doing and making sure that those, those are the people that we see and we talk to. And those are the ones who end up joining our company. Um, but realizing that we're not right for everybody and therefore the culture does grow exactly like that, uh, because we just totally out front about it. Um, and I think that being upfront about what, what you're not as a company is, is an important as, as what you are. And, um, by being absolutely crystal clear about the mission of that we are on, um, people can make their own decisions.
Speaker 3:
49:26
And how about in terms of, let's say when you're hiring people and, um, there's obviously a certain soft skills attached to that, certain traits attached to that. So believing in the mission and believing in the vision is very important. But are there some other characteristics that you look at, uh, on the soft skill side in terms of okay, knowing, okay, this is a good fit, this is not a good fit.
Speaker 2:
49:50
I think it's variations on the theme that I was saying before. Um, I think just by the nature of what we are, which we're a global first company, our strategy has always been to, to be active in a lot of parts of the world simultaneously. And therefore, um, our team is constructed of a lot of people who, who are very worldly in nature. I mean, um, when a lot of people come in, like there's, there's one guy who had like cycled around the world once and that was kind of part of his pitch to us and why he was appropriate. And that was a really good pitch to us because it means that he's seen a lot of stuff. He knows innately the, the problems of trying to find your hotel when you are stranded in x country. Um, and that for us is as important as anything that people firsthand understanding get what three words without us having to say what three words is good because of this.
Speaker 2:
50:45
Um, and if you live on a street that's never happened, address problem. And if you, if it doesn't resonate to you on a personal level, then it may not be, it may not be right if you're just struggling to, um, to understand it. And you know, a lot of the UK is well addressed and doesn't have the problem. So I think for us that's the most critical thing. If people firsthand having counted all of the ways and that the world is different specifically around the dresses, um, then that's what makes you an ideal fit for our team.
Speaker 1:
51:16
How about the hard skills technical skills goes on, obviously you're hiring a lot of uh, taking technology. People are programmers, data scientists and all that. What are some of the hardest tech and hard skills to find and to attract or to retain? When it comes to the common days, because obviously you're competing also with the googles and the Facebooks and the, on the technology side, there's a lot of options for people to join companies. Right. Uh, how about yourselves? Right? So what are some of the skills, the hard skills that you're looking for and how do you attract those people to do what? Three words?
Speaker 2:
51:49
So one of the things that we're expanding into really faster than moment, his voice and voice search. Um, so when you've got an Amazon Alexa device or a Google device or any of the smart speakers and assistance, um, if they've got no screen, you have a particular tension around addresses that, um, I guess it's more, um, more concrete than it has been when you have a screen, which is, if I want to uniquely tell this voice assistant where I want to go or where I want something delivered, as soon as you've got two streets with the same name in the city, you have a problem. The fact that there's two Lonsdale roads in London is a problem. If I say I want to get this delivered to Lonsdale, right? London number 14, well which one? Uh, if I want to get exhibit to Victoria Road, London, well, which one?
Speaker 2:
52:38
And so from our point of view, we, that we are now furiously making what, three words, um, a plugin for all of the main smart device, smart speaker, smart assistance, um, systems which are driven by voice. Now, um, a lot of people, especially those, um, on the tech side are really interested in voice. Voice is not as straight as it often found. You have to work out what people might have said because there's no such thing as like an exact match. When you have somebody who types something in, you can work out what did they type exactly. When you're dealing with voice, that's, that's no longer a thing. It's all about confidence scores. And what do I think somebody said versus this. And you never, you never get 100% certainty. So, um,
Speaker 1:
53:26
what three words was designed and we made this decision very, very early on to design it in a voice friendly way. We put table chair spoon in one place, we put table chair spoon in another place to specifically um, help a voice assistant work out which one the user meant based on where they are now. Now doing all of the intricate coding for this, um, is actually a really interesting tech challenge and we've got a lot of people here who, who are loving building all of this stuff because it just makes her voice assistance on the, you can actually rely on versus something that you get frustrated with because it gets it wrong enough. I think that's, again, back to cars. That's one of the reasons that the cars are really keen on building a sin because actually they are building themselves into voice assistance.
Speaker 1:
54:09
And I think that the number one issue consumers are having with their cars at the moment is the fact that the voice system doesn't work as well as this market too. So this is some somewhere where our tech and product teams are really, really interested in. It's a fascinating space for all of us to be throwing ourselves into too. So I think that you'll see a lot more from voice assistance in general and I'm sure in the ECOMMERCE logistics supply chain well too, but also with what three words because we are such a good fit for that particular product. And also it's super short. I mean from a practical and pragmatic, some interest is a bloody long realistically. I mean I'm sitting on a pretty long street here by the time I, you know, even if it's by voice, which I typically would not. And typically most cars, I mean as you said, it's about accents and it's about tone of voice tonality and they get it wrong. But it's also long. I mean, okay. I mean when it compares 10 seconds to three seconds, but it's still, I think people like, like the simplest way. Right? So for now, probably versus not as used as it will be in a few years, but at the point of that it will be, it will be also about how quickly can you say the response? So it's different.
Speaker 2:
55:19
Absolutely. I mean think index home raft really didn't say me a long time to say, um, I didn't have to give a town a city, an area or region, a country. Um, it was just done and yes, sure I have to help by saying apartment three at one, but that the crux of it, the main bit, which is narrowing me down to a three meter entrance somewhere on the planet. So it may about a second to say, and I think that is the point as you say, um, latitude and longitude or any other long complicated code is really unwieldy for voice. Um, I think that is, that is the big focus for us is how can we make it super simple, anybody to specify a location however they're doing it.
Speaker 1:
56:03
Yes. Final question from us and then this is more about your entrepreneurial journey right then, then I like to ask it because there's people that listen to the podcast and they want to be or aspire to be entrepreneurs on their corporate people that, but then not want to step into the entrepreneurial world at some point. Um, what is the best piece of advice or some of the best pieces of advice that you've received throughout your journey
Speaker 2:
56:24
and how has it helped you? Um, I would say this, there's a combination of things. Um, which probably sums up the two things that we have to do. I mean, one is, is absolute persistence. Um, a lot of people, when we started, before we had any validation, um, a lot of people do want to see something. And when we started we were going, hey, we think you know, a great way of, um, uh, having an address system is to say sponge cabbage, Rhubarb. And that's an e three meter square. And until you've got any sign of validation at all, um, the number of people on that who are going to be, let's say first on that journey with you, much smaller and you just got to push through that. You just got to know that you will gather them, you will find them and that you will get to that next step.
Speaker 2:
57:09
Um, and I guess the lean, a lot of people say to us now what three words is a good idea, a great idea. But I guess what comes hand in hand in that is that if you have an inverted commas, a great idea, a lot of people will see it as something which is different. And for people who don't like change, um, that's a problem. So I guess if, if you have a w, if you have an idea which feels new and different and bold, then you have to expect an equal and opposite force. In some ways I'm saying actually this is, this is new and not in a good way. If you have something which doesn't feel so, so new, you maybe won't be told it's such a great idea, but then you maybe will have less opposition. But, um, you know, there's this almost like an, uh, uh, no, there's no situation in which which is win win.
Speaker 2:
57:57
Um, but what I'd say is just absolute persistence into determination. If you believe what you're doing works, um, and you are convinced on the use case, even if your mission is as bold as ours, which is to change the way that those 7 billion people talk about addresses, just push through and, and find, find the, the people in businesses who want to be first, who will propel you to that next stage. Um, and I think just, um, second to that would be just, I always think about the kinds of inventions that got through when they seemed that bit. It's kind of different at first. And I often go back to the idea of the guy who first spoke wheels on a suitcase, um, you know, late seventies. And before that we all used to like lug our suitcases around, um, by having to carry this thing, which was really heavy.
Speaker 2:
58:48
And on one hand, like this wasn't a huge technological invention, right? It was a wheel and a suitcase of which we'd had both for quite a long time, but it took a while for his own state, the one on the other. And actually he took him six months to get a single department stores or stock a suitcase on wheels because everybody said it looked a bit weird, even though they could see it was useful and clearly make carrying a suitcase much easier. And, and sure enough, once everyone gets that past that first hurdle of, well, I tried it and it was good and I like it. I'm sure enough, I'm pretty sure suitcase now has Wilson. Um, yeah, this is one example. You can see countless examples in this vein, but it's just about believing in what you're doing and finding the ways to standardize things which have felt new and then everybody looks back on it goes, we'll of course. Um, and that's really the whole ethos of, of what we do here is there's a massive bold mission, but that's a good thing. And we worked really hard to, uh, to deliver on that.
Speaker 1:
59:49
Well said. Well said. And uh, and I, the crux of it is also the fact that you have personally and you're scratching your own itch, gone through the pain. You have started with your own personal pain of, you know, in the music industry are people not finding ways and then getting lost and equipment getting lost and all of that. So they were, there is definitely a personal pain and or usually the most successful businesses also start with the founders stretching in their own itch. So that's also good. A good, a good starting point. But, uh, Chris, I must say you, you definitely got me convinced and hoped and I will be, I will be trying out what three words. I haven't done it yet. If you can imagine in a sense like I claim to be a specialist in supply chain and logistics, I better get my act together. So I will, I will, I will for sure. I promise you and us that the proof that I've done it. Um, really appreciate our sharing, appreciate you, you coming in and joining us in all the good stories and case studies and the and the learnings that you had so far and we wish you a successful and continuous journey and I really hope that uh, you know, next time you come to Singapore and we go for dinner, I'll, I'll give you the three words that at this point.
Speaker 3:
61:05
That sounds great. Thank you so much. Ready. My pleasure. Thank you for listening to our podcast. If you liked what you heard, be sure to follow us on [inaudible] dot com slash podcast for all the show notes, links and extra tips covered in the interview. Make sure also to subscribe to our emailing list to get the news in the nick of time. If you're listening through a streaming platform like iTunes or stitcher and you like what we do, please kindly review and give us five stars so we can keep the energy flowing it get more people to find out about our podcast. I'm most active on Linkedin, so do feel free to follow me to stay tuned for our latest articles as well as future guests for the podcast. And if you have any suggestions or any other ideas, please feel free to write to me. I respond to all, and also please make sure not to miss our next episode where we'll, we'll be having a few other c level and top leaders in supply chain joining us. Stay tuned.