Episode 9 - we speak with serial entrepreneurs Tom Holder and Gilbert Hill, co-founders of TapMyData. In today's digital age, we're constantly being bombarded with advertising and our data is being used as a currency. Tom and Gilbert are driven by their mission to put data and privacy back in the hands of the people. We find out more about the PrivTech sector, and what it’s like to be a serial entrepreneur. https://tapmydata.com/
no. Hello and
welcome to another edition ofthe Founded and Grounded the podcast for start ups on DH. Entrepreneurs are one of the entrepreneurs. Over the next 30 minutes, this will be your fortnightly dose or advice, inspiration and wisdom from those who have gone before in that journey. My name's Andrew Parsonage on DH. Sitting across the table for me in our studio and I use the word in the broadest possible sense is business Startup guru Mr Ali Colour. Good morning, Ollie.
Andrew. Hey. Yeah,
Good. Thanks. We're all right. We're hanging in there this morning our way. We're recording from the difficult circumstances, having had broken sleep with our respective younger Children and also the I've got a cold coming on as well. So if if the sound quality, this is not his usual high standards and you'll understand why. But I think the copy's been best this morning less voice to than the previous edition anyway. So here we go with edition number nine on DH Ali, who have we got this week on the show?
So I'm doing by Tom Holder on Gilbert Hill from tap my data
on the theme this week in this ear off data on DH social media and privacy and how data is the be all and end all seemingly is all about people taking back control of that very precious resource with feature lots of different kinds of businesses over our run. But this one, it's a little bit different and quite interesting. One rated because data's quite a quite a dry, maybe a bit of a grey, subjective some people. But as we go into it, you realise how important is in this age when we commit so much of our lives to the ether, to organisations that will never, ever meet?
Yeah, it was something to look at my phone the other day and looking number APS I had installed on it was about 200 or something. And you know, when you're agreeing to signing up with these APS, and you know you don't read through the terms and conditions of what actually you're giving, giving them access to so it's actually quite scary.
Okay, at least, so we have a future business for this week on what is our abiding theme for this Pa kissed.
So today's theme is around serial entrepreneurs on how to set up a business for the second time,
so let's crack on. So you met with Tom on Gilbert from my data. They're based here in Bristol on DH. You caught up with him recently, didn't you?
Yeah, we kind of discussed that at my data journey.
Short. My data at the moment is an app plus an interface to help people one hand take back control of their personal data. And on the other hand, a portal to help responsible businesses manage their compliance obligations around GDP are on also to build much needed trust. The process is for people. If you're curious about an organisation that may have your data, you received some unexpected marketing or you're concerned about a breach on these happening. Maura Mohr. You can download the app and we've removed a lot of a hassle made in exercising your right to make her access request to find out the information Organisation has on you. You could do that to multiple organisations on DH. Then when you start to get that data back, you can keep it safe in your data locker. The other cool element but we've got is that it uses the Blockchain to incentivise on one hand consumers to make requests and keep their data with us with crypto tokens. So one of the cool things that we offer of actors that we create a narrow market for merchandise and that's another area of growth. We're looking to him in the future for businesses and the business model. We have identified that the current processes that they have to fulfil these requests which getting only bigger and bigger in volume in many cases aren't secure and don't scale. They're still horror storeys. We get every day about organisations sending things in post, getting people to, like scan their passports and seven God knows where. What we offer organisations is a secure, dedicated channels that that's where the Blockchain comes in again because it's creating a permanent statement of record everyone Khun, see that? I asked my data. You gave it back. We're going to be charging businesses a monthly or annual subscription to take advantage off the scale ability in the security. That platform offers on also some of the new features that we're bringing in around solving this ID verification problem via know your customer software. Excellent. That leads quite nicely onto
the mission. So what is the mission behind my data? The mission is, quite simply, Teo. Open up access to data companies of sitting on too much data. They don't need to be business models that sort of fundamentally broken. To some extent, we're living in a world where everything is advertising driven, and I don't think that's healthy for anybody. Ultimately, I want to see better and more mature business models driven by cos there aren't derived from selling people's data. You're already starting to see that to some extent, with more accessible sort of subscription services, things like like Netflix and no, you know, I had driven on DH. I think long term people should be paying for the services that they want to consume. They shouldn't be something hidden going on behind the scenes that you don't know about the consumer. I think there's a simpler sort of use case and that is being able to use your data more easily in a more accessible way, not having to fill in forms 50 times a year with the same information self sovereign identity. Why do I have to send people copies of my possible and stuff like that. You know, it's this is all tedious and potentially dangerous stuff to be doing is a consumer so long term we want to eradicate that side of things. But in the short time is about it's about transparency between you and the organisations that you trying out with.
So are we on the Siri's. Virtually every business we've spoken with his wants to go out, and they could post a difference in one way or another on DH tap, my date or no different. Certainly what they want to do is actually make a difference to other small businesses. But it's unlike they came full circle. So they almost went through the whole business journey and in a relatively short time on going back to our theme off serial entrepreneurs. How important is it for a start up to have that sense of agility service Ugo and setting up with very clear business idea or products, but began to respond if it's not quite working, if you need to leap to it being in another position,
well, I think it's fundamental, you know, if the market is telling you one thing on DH, you're going off in there different direction than is easy to adapt and pivot and change the business model. And I think because you know you're a small, agile organisation, then you've got the control and the freedom to be able to do that. The media
was of the very interesting point about companies sitting on too much later. I mean, were seen to be in an age now where there's like this so much data, it's almost like it's got out of control almost on DH. They had an interesting perspective. Quite progressive viewpoint on this and actually being less Alberto really driven on DH falling, for example, they quoted the Netflix model there. And do you think this is maybe the way forwards only in this in this particular area that we're living in?
Yeah, I think so. I mean, anything that use that is essentially free. You've got a question. Why? Why is that for him? What they how are they making that money? So I'd personally rather pay a small monthly subscription model for something that I got value from, rather than using a free service and essentially being exploited and directed ads out myself think sector. So I think yeah, It's a good point, kind of reflect on business models and how you want to engage with your consumers.
Yeah, just unjust on the back of this, as well as being advertised into oblivion, and people sort of becoming almost like weary of it all. In the week that we're recording this, there was a news storey about in particular home A II, the ability to listen and to pick up on stuff that we're not really hunting, spacing them capturing again. It just seemed to chime with this sort of air, a greater concern around technology in our homes. What, exactly, it's capturing about us?
Yeah, I do think it's quite scary in terms of the volume of data that organisations are actually obtaining from individuals, and I feel that the individual should be able to take back some control over their data. And obviously this is what tap my data is aiming today.
Okay, I just finally also I thought was quite amusing that in terms of the work they do or they've gone into the world of Cryptocurrency on merchandises, a way of keeping their clients on board or keeping people with their meals and building a relationship that way. And if you go, it's actually their website. That's quite amusing image. We can't possibly repeat it on this family, but this is a family programme, obviously about some great examples of some of the merchandise they got there. In terms of you say mugs and hoodies, this is quite a novel way to sort of generate that relationship.
Yeah, obviously the data requests that people are obtaining, they obviously don't wantto go against her values and use that data in any bad way. So how can they make money from it? They've looked into utilising Blockchain to roared people for using the platform on also, yes. So the merchant dices is fantastic. I see it on the daily basis in the simple web office. Yeah, I'm really good stuff. Doing
difficult to invest in somebody's this programme. Maybe it should be an extra arm of founding a grounded all legal getsem podcast motion dinosaurs down. Okay, so there we have it. We have the foundations of the premise of a very ethical business, one that's in step with people's concerns about their date. But inevitably comes the backlash. Andi, this is coming from the established order of things from those organisations were effectively morning people's data who's sitting on all that valuable information and they weren't necessary, like these two up starts coming in and disrupting things. And the system that you touched upon with him wasn't really?
Yeah. I mean, when they're trying to invoke a positive change in the world, they're going to face tension and backlash and on that friction. So they had to deal with that head on
depending how you view it. We have some thrown, a bit of a hand grenade into a cosy process on DH system of players that existed. We get haters and it's easy to get taken back. And so, you know, knocked by the developments with which some of them come back to us. I've been around long enough to know that this has happened before on that if you're trying to drive positive change, not everyone is going to be be with you. What we pride ourselves on is, no matter how forceful someone's being to us, we will always be professional maintained because we're doing this. We're driven by a belief system to do the right thing by data on this is a message that we're trying to get across the other, I think, really challenge for you find is that when you get beyond that point off people trying to shoot you down or describing what you do and then they suddenly pivot to okay, we can see what this works is that there's a real danger get taken hostage by 11 particular customer, and that's a real danger. With a start up, you can end up rebuilding your product, your service just to meet the needs of one customer, often the big multinational. That's great in terms of short term revenue, but you confined. You know, you've actually put all your risk in someone else's basket, so sometimes it's really difficult. You have to actually say no. We've gotta separate plan that we're sticking to, and that can feel really counterintuitive. That's that's a big daily challenge. So it only started simple
Web in 2006 were in 2020. Now what's changed in terms
of the startup landscape? That's an interesting question, and a lot has changed almost. Certainly I think the the fundamental certainly, in Bristol, at least, there has been an underlying positivity with start ups for the entire duration and that that hasn't changed. I've always come across a lot of positivity where I am with regards as we're going out on your own and starting. But I think what has happened is that technology has become a lot more accessible. And that has both made it potentially easier to build a technology focus startup but also presented some additional challenges, such as lack of technical resource to actually build the things that you might want to be building. Wages have gone gone up significantly, so it's probably more expensive, too. Start things on. I also think that with Mohr startup to rushing into the scene, it's very difficult to get noticed. You know, marketing and social media. It's far more accessible. It's easier to get going. But it's not necessarily is easy to make A big splash is it is. It might once have bean that could be quite demoralising. I think you know you can spend time building a product and a start up. I think it's gonna be an amazing success and then you launch it perhaps a little bit underwhelmed by that that launch that you've been sort of so amped up foreign. What waiting for it to come? Good. I think the way to counter that is to ship often and early to do less better on DH quicker on the faster it orations you have, the more evidence you can get to support, the better. We live in a perfect world, so you need to be as a founder, pretty comfortable with delivering in perfect solutions with a desire to improve them over time. And that's that's how I feel. Things have possibly changed,
so kill. But what were your motivations for going back into founding and other startup? To be honest, it's the ability to create on DH leverage on DH to get back from investing really a network. When you know in smaller businesses, we can't do everything ourselves. It's one of the most rewarding things to be able to help other people and to work towards a common goal, as I mentioned before. Once you combine that with social media, you've got a great platform for getting your voice out there, meeting like minded people to help you, Matt. I mean, when I was working in the financial services sector, I would always be wondering what you know how our competitors approaching this this same big challenge, even getting online or dealing with problems associated with that. And I'd be told, you know, junior stage in my career like, Well, we don't talk to those guys. They're idiots were different. You know, in small business, you don't have that luxury, so you have to reach out to people, and that becomes a almost a self fulfilling prophecy. You know, if more people were talking to often without an immediate compassion commercial imperative that you're getting fantastic business Intel, The network effect is the biggest driver in small business and something that I really missed again when exiting a small business. And you know what was attracting me about exiting it? Wass But I would have access to large amounts of resources, you know, Pan European global scale. Actually, I found that in many ways the horizons narrowed because you were following. You're working from a playbook that someone else had had written, whereas in the entrepreneur space, we're all trying to write this on. It's a it's a shared work. Same question to get off.
My main motivation is that I was enjoying what I was doing a lot of people that go into a start up making a sort of binary choice between working for a company with a secure salary or flipping over to a start up where the risk is inherently much greater. Or at least the perception of that is the case for me. I actually had quite a comfortable backstop in the fact that I was a founder of simple Web business, was, was and is doing relatively well. So for at least a period of time, with with with Tap my data, I had a job to go back to if I wanted it. I'm not entirely sure that take me back now, but that was certainly the situation I was in. But we talked my data. I was really enjoying the product development, the ability to feel that I was making a difference to something that I feel quite passionately about, which is, which is privacy. I think ultimately being driven by the mission of the company is really important. But for me, it comes down to Are you enjoying your work on a daily basis and I was very much enjoying it.
Quite a few things to go through here. Let's talk firstly about that backlash. And what was encouraging to hear was that in this area where people do seem to be a polarised about stuff, you know, save you go on social media. There's always very black and white opinions about all kinds of stuff. But the point these guys are making here was you trying to drive positive change. There will be people who naturally will be resistant to. That would be quite vocal about it, but it seems like they're saying, Look, just stick to your principles, stick to your guns
yet the sticks of their beliefs and stick to what their mission is. And if they're staying true to that, then they can overcome any objections they bound to face.
Obviously, haters gonna hate, as someone once said, but they do come round. In the end, it was interesting. One of the guys picked upon to avoid the temptation tryingto sort of build your business or your business model about one particular client, too. In the short term, it might be quite lucrative, but wise words to just don't fall into that trap.
Yeah, if you've got a big multinational client, then they're driving a large percentage of your business. That would be very easy to adapt your business, so their needs. But ultimately you're not building a sound business model because there needs might change. And
it was always like your business is always that becomes their business.
So if you're building your business around their business, then ultimately you're not in control. So if they change direction of the multinationals business, then you know that could have severe consequences on your business.
So we come up to the point of positivity later in the programme. Let's just pick up on something else that's said on DH. What's interesting to me. And it's posed the question in my mind, which wants to ask you all these is being an entrepreneur and a serial entrepreneurs of theme. This podcast is starting her own business. It's been addictive nature to that
potentially. Yeah, I think if you've gone out and built a successful business and potentially exited that and sold it, then you're probably a bit lost was watching a Tyson Fury documentary last night on DH. He was saying when he won his world title, then, you know, he achieved everything that he's out to achieve. And so we just became a bit lost in depressed. So I think maybe for an entrepreneur that's gone out there, built a successful business, sold it. They're looking for their next the next mission and the next drive. So I think, naturally starting in other businesses. Probably something they're looking today.
Yeah, it almost feels as if it's the point of no return. Once you decide to go into business for yourself to go back into a conventional role where you're employed by someone else and you're working for a bigger company, I can see how that maybe leads to all kinds of problems down the line and in your own head. It's like it doesn't feel right, you know?
Yeah, I think once you're in control of your own destiny and being your own boss, then you don't want to go back to being told what to do by somebody
else's someone else's play. But was the words they use. That which I thought was quite neat, also wants to talk about the start of landscaping. Yes, the interesting question about how the startup landscape has changed, and I think obviously we're recording. Some are based here in Bristol. I mean, where every listing towards the mob's. You're more than welcome. But we do come across a lot stuff here on the doorstep in Bristol, and it just seemed to one of those UK cities, which is very started friendly. It's almost like you can't move Mr our tips on DH. This seems to be a double edged sword. The waves. On the one hand, it seems like a very supportive environment, and there's a lot of collaboration out there. I'm not just saying this about breast of what do you think? We've almost reached about the start of saturation point when there was too many startups out there.
I don't think there's maybe too many start ups out there. Do you think there is a lot of support for start ups, particularly government funded programmes which add to the complexity from the businesses perspective about what support they can actually tap into? I think nationally there's over 600 business support schemes out there, so it's like kind of like where do you start? How do you know which one's good? How do you know who to trust?
The issue about social media? Also was quite interesting and without wanting to split down on all of us. Nowadays it's there is much more better Tito to put yourself out there in the marketplace. You have a platform now, which is what social media doesn't. It does it for free. But obviously, then every man and his dog is doing the same thing. So again, it's a pros and cons, Really. I mean, that challenges. For example, through social media, how do you break through that noise and make yourself relevant in a very crowded and noisy marketplace?
It's bloody hard. I think those people are, ah, quite distracted. To be perfectly honest, you have around 70,004 per day. So when you're trying to break through that with constant social media, I think you need to capture someone's attention within 2.8 seconds on social media. So you need to stand out from the crowd. It's hard today.
Yeah, I mean, from your experience on Lee, have you found any things that work for you in terms of what you do with your company?
I think it's about staying true to your mission and your values. Really. I think if you are really clear on your target audience and you know their problems, then you can be quite targeted in terms of your messaging. So I think it's going back to really focusing on your customers,
okay? And they just finally came back to Tom Gilbert Storey. So we've heard how they have almost come full circle now. They started out, they did something, they created something. Then they moved on from that and then start all over again. It's important to mention hit this point that they did have the luxury to fall back on the proceeds of what had gone before that they had the cushion off finance. But is it possible for an entrepreneur he doesn't have that luxury to start all over again and do something else or starting with the business at the same time?
I think having a security blanket they both had is obviously a massive benefit. But I don't think that would stop someone with a great mission of where it started. My dear, I don't think that you have to have sold a previous business to start up a new business, so I think it's a barrier, but I don't think it's ultimately it's going to stop you. So what advice would you give Tio start ups who are looking to obtain except advisors or build a
board? It's a tricky question because I think more often than not the right people you don't you don't necessarily go looking for them, so they're probably probably the best piece of advice with regards to that is to be out on the scene and network as much as possible. Talk to as many people as you can about your start up. You will find a comfortable groove with the right people on DH. It's as much about their availability and desire to get involved as it is your desire to get them involved on DH. It's one of those things where I really don't think you can force it. Having a good board and a group of advisors is invaluable, but I don't think you should force it. It might take you a year or two to find the right people on DH. In the meantime, what you really need to be doing it forging forward with your business. It obviously also becomes easier. The more attraction you get, so those two things go hand as you make more forward progress, you'll find interesting people, a bit of a cliche to say, come out of the woodwork. But but that's that's kind of kind of how it's sort of tends to work to some extent. So, yeah, just be, aren't they? Talk about you what you do. I'm I'm really not a fan of being cagey about what I'm up tio. I find India is a pain in the neck. Really. The success of your business is going to come down to these days more often and not your ability toe execute, execute if it effectively and quickly.
So what? One piece of advice would you pass on to somebody thinking of starting a business or is in the early stages off a starter? While technology has got more accessible, got more commoditised and often what we're selling is in danger be commoditised. I don't think that you can commoditise or shortchange on relationships with trusted advisors. I think finding yourself trusted advisors in around things like around tax finance or specialist areas really pays dividends, not least because they can often give you a reality cheque and tell you what you don't want to hear some of those relationships I've I've started have now lasted almost 20 years and continue to to give back on both sides Awesome on same question to you, Tom.
One piece of advice is always difficult because building a startup is require so many aspects. I think if I had to distil it into just a single thing, though, it would be stay positive because there's always challenges. There's always not backs, but opportunity is always around the next corner, and if you can pick yourself up quickly and get on with things, you will see the whatever it was that set you back is very quickly a distant memory, and you've moved on to something far more positive. The trip to that, I think, is ultimately to surround yourself with people that make you feel good. That will push you beyond your comfort zone on DH, keep you growing as an individual, and I think that's probably it was probably very true in life as much as it is in business.
So really, you can't force it discuss
Yeah, I think it's a really good point. I mean, if you if you're going out there meeting with people putting yourself out there having lots of good conversations, then ultimately, the timing might not be quite right. You might not have got the traction that the other person is looking for, so don't try and turn their hand. Revisit it in six months a year down the line when things have moved on. I think ultimately, if you're trying to build partnerships or relationships or gained new customers, you get that gut feeling when it just feel too right. So I think, don't try and force it on DH. The point of time will come where you gain that extra traction and people will be coming to you.
The things that they both picked up on our things that other guests on our podcast divorce dimensions We talked about networking, for example. I don't think we need to go back through that thing. That's the self explanatory for May. The thing I liked was anything sort of peaked. My interest was, if you focus on delivering your business and you know you're out there networking and doing the basic marketing, then it feels like over time things will naturally happen on that. Actually, if you focus on the right things then Don't was like, Don't worry about it.
Yeah, I think Tom said. Opportunity is always around the corner. So if you feel like you've hit a dead end, just keep ploughing on and you don't know where that opportunity is gonna come from.
Yeah, a lot of points made about is easier once you get more traction that this was like a natural momentum, and I'm going to say it is actually instinctively east to feel that momentum. You know when it's going, you know, when all of a sudden the wheel stop turning in the carry on turning, but only from your experience on people listening to this. Who by the gone down this road or about to start their own business? I think it's such an important point is one. The reasons we set up this podcast because it's about providing some motivation and reassurance is to built to deal with, not BACs to stay positive. But it's easier said than done, because it might be acceptable under your desk at midnight, thinking like when this is ever going to get better, when when is that client going to come over the threshold? The view from your own personal experience that there are any, particularly as you do in order to stay posthumous, stay focused or just sort of regroup mentally.
Yeah, I mean, it's very easy to take things personally, but you gotta learn not to be able to do that and take it to heart. I think ultimately, if you've gone enough opportunities enough leads on of prospects enough potential customers in your pipeline, then you know you're not going to get bogged down with the one or two that don't come through. So I think it's about building a very strong business of Ottoman pipeline. And then when you get those not backs, you know that it's not massively can affect your business because there's plenty more, I suppose. Fish in the sea?
Yeah, sure on just the fun things pick up on and building on this point is about surrounding yourself with the right people. Now there's nothing new in that piece of advice, but it's one thing I see again and again because there are lots of people out there on DH. If you go networking, for example, if you are linked in or you're another sort of various networks, there's a lot of people potentially out there who could be part your circle. But there seems to be a scale and just having the right people in that circle, whether it's actually people from a. And I think when the guys used the phrase trusted advisor point of view who can offer a professional service or piece of advice, or it's just having people who can keep you going. So that seems quite fundamental here.
Yeah, and when you're looking for trusted advisors, I'd approach, you know, free of four different people and asking the same questions and just see how much value on Advisor is going to give you from the outset on DH. If they're challenging your thinking, that's probably quite a good sign that there, they know what they're talking about.
Yeah, okay, just almost having a team in place. It was like, in a way, shuttle the noise and just focus on the people who were going Tio, make a difference to you personally whether it's from a sort of a professional vice point of view or just generally in terms of that support encouragement.
Yeah, and they're gonna be on your journey with you for a long time, so it's important to build those relationships.
Okay, well, thank you. Once again to Tom and guilt for their time, chance was on this week's programme. It's not my data for some reason on Facebook about Ali,
I can't see why their
whereabouts are they working people find them.
So obviously they're on the APP store. So even on apple IOS or on the Google placed, or you can download their app. You can make requests on your data that obviously organisations hold for you, which I've done a couple off myself, very easy to use. It's literally a tap. Hence the name tap my data. But they're also on instagram linked in telegram on there, generally at tap my data.
Excellent. We'll try get hold of some of those murders as well. Your missions trying pinched a couple of blocks from the office Next time you're in there, Tom
has promised me a heady actually
has a follow a couple of those. So, Ali, our theme for this week was serial entrepreneur. So basically, the question is, is it possible to be a serial entrepreneur? Is it realistic to expect people just gonna keep on starting a principality of again and again over the course of their life.
I think once you've got the start up bug, then if you've already run and sold one successful business or exited from that business, then you're very highly likely to get involved with another startup.
Okay, So just before we finish this week, a couple of things just to mention to you. Firstly, we talked in the last couple of episodes about a panel events on poor casting that we were due to be hosting here in Bristol. That was just beyond the 20th of February, unfortunately, was cancelled. It's fairly short notice, but the idea is that we will be rescheduling it for the first week off April. So stand by for news on that. Speaking of socials, every week I put Ali on the spot and get him to remember what our platforms are just too confident. We won't mind your data if you want to get in touch with us. But we'd love to hear from you, Ollie. What those all important links.
So on Twitter, we are founded, grounded on DH on linked in on Facebook, were founded and ground it
on on there you'll see that Ali is posted a beautiful infographic about all the problems we got coming out of the next 23 months.
Yeah, we got some great guests coming up so very excited
just for radio and in keeping with this week's theme around data, privacy and all that kind of stuff, we thought it only right that in addition to checking us out on Facebook on Twitter that you can also find us by your home A II listening device, whatever you wanna call it. So just to demonstrate this, we have in the kitchen here our good friend Alexa, who's joined us on the show. So we're just going to demonstrate the power of Alexa on how you can also listen to family grounded whilst doing the cooking or washing up or anything like that any of your domestic chores. You can also listen to our daughter tones as well. So here we go. Alexa play. Founded on grounded podcast.
He has founded and grounded from Chin in resuming number eight Genesis. How did you find your vision? Purpose and values.
So there you go, as well as through all the various platforms. If you do have a device like Alexa or a similar home tech listening device. What they call those things was the official
vehicle. Home is your
home. What? Have you got it? You can find us that way as well. On you could listen to is in your home wherever you happen to be. Another way to catches on the podcast. Ali, once again. Thank you for your
time. Thank you very much. Andrew.
Ok, you've been listening to finally grounded with myself. Andrew. Passenger on Adi coloured on. We'll be back with you in a couple weeks time. So until then, take care. We'll speak soon.