Link To Guest Website: mePrism

Title: “Take Control Of Your Data”
Guest: Will McKissick – mePrism
Interviewer: Nathan Gobes – Radio Entrepreneurs

Click here to read the transcript
Nathan (0s):
Welcome back Radio Entrepreneurs listeners and fans, I’m producer Nathan Gobes, excited to be back with you again, filling in for Jeffrey Davis. I’m also excited to introduce our next guest Will McKissick, chief strategy officer at mePrism. Welcome Well.

Will (17s):
Nathan, thanks so much. Great to be here. Really appreciate you having me on

Nathan (21s):
The pleasure’s all mine. Why don’t you start by giving a quick overview about me prison. Tell us what the company is about.

Will (28s):
Sure. So me prism is a technology startup that is helping consumers to access and participate in the data economy. So our technology allows any consumer to download and secure their personal data, explore that data and monetize it themselves. So in essence, what we’re doing is helping people th the same way that you store your cash and other assets in a bank or with your financial advisor, that’s what we’re trying to help you do with this asset that most people have, that they don’t realize that they have, which is that their, their data.

Will (1m 9s):
So once you, once you have your data, you may want to explore it. We have tools that allow you to do that. You may want to predict, excuse me, protect protected. We have tools that allow you to do that. And finally, you may want to monetize it yourself and we can help you do that to

Nathan (1m 25s):
Interesting, definitely something that I think a lot of people have thought about, you know, in this modern era where what’s going on with their data, how vulnerable their data is, how exposed they are, et cetera. So really interesting. And there’s a few different pieces that I think we’d love to talk about more, the first being, you know, how you guys secure that data. How do you, you know, get, get everyone’s data, I guess is the question.

Will (1m 51s):
Yeah. Yeah. Key question. So all consumers in California and Europe currently have the right to access a copy of their data from, from any, any company that, that, that collects it. They also have the right to ask that company, that, to delete it, to stop tracking them and to stop selling their data. So they have these rights, but practically, it’s really hard to exercise those rights because you don’t necessarily always know which companies are collecting your data. You know, we, we, we hear about the big tech companies, but there’s actually thousands and thousands of data brokers out there that you, you or I have really never heard of probably never interacted with that are also buying and selling your data and, you know, exposing us to privacy risks.

Will (2m 42s):
And so what our technology does is it allows consumers to exercise those rights under the law. So it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s actually something that most people don’t know. If you go to Facebook and dig through all their different privacy pages and find the correct Lank and request a copy. There, there is a button that says request a copy of my data. So any consumer can do that. But what our technology does is kind of cuts through all the BS allows you to just sign into your Facebook account. And we go through that, the rest of that process that I described for you collects that file stores in your account, and then shows you insights related to that so that you can actually understand what it is.

Will (3m 27s):
That’s, that’s another one of the problems with the way the data economy is currently set up that I think hasn’t been fully addressed yet, is that consumers have the right to ask for a copy of their data, but there’s no rules around what that data has to look like when a company sends it to them. So I don’t know about you, but I I’m, I’m not very familiar with looking at lines and lines of code and Jason files. And so for the average, for the average person, if they get that file, that could be the most valuable, one of the most valuable files on the internet about that, but they may not actually be able to do anything with it unless they have a technology solution to translate it into kinda more human readable terms.

Will (4m 13s):
So, yeah, that’s that, that’s another thing that we’re doing, but, but, but basically the technology just allows you to exercise the rights that you already have, but helps you do it at scale with a multitude of different companies and then actually do something with that data once you have it.

Nathan (4m 36s):
Yeah. I’d love to dive into that, that second half of it. What can be done with it? I know you mentioned monetize. It sounds very interesting. I think everybody, you know, knows that their data is out there. Most people don’t realize, I guess that, that there seems to be an avenue at which you can, you can monetize it. Why don’t we talk about maybe that, and I’d love to just hear a little bit about, you know, is there a cost for the users, you know, where does things like that come into play?

Will (5m 5s):
Sure, sure. So I think w like you said, one of the things that we hear about all the time is how valuable data is. There’s one extremely popular article written by the economist that said data is the new oil, but none of us are actually seeing the, the profit associated with that, that, that digital asset. So it’s, it’s, it’s actually a lot simpler than it sounds. So right now, companies go to any other big tech company or data broker. That’s collecting data about us when they need to buy or use our data for some reason.

Will (5m 47s):
So if they want to use my data to personalize an ad to me, or to send me a email campaign marketing campaign, maybe they want to do some consumer broader consumer research and see what sorts of products are popular among people. My demographic they’ll go to a data broker or to a Google or a Facebook and buy my data from those companies. So when with consumers in control of their data, it doesn’t eliminate the need for companies to use data. It just changes where they would access that data from.

Will (6m 28s):
So as a consumer in control, having protected myself from those other companies collecting and storing my data, and now owning my data myself, if a company, if a business wants to buy my data, they have to buy it from me. And, and not only is our technology create that reality for companies. There’s, there’s a lot of other, both regulatory and changes, other changes happening in the data economy right now that are forcing companies to actually go directly to consumers, to collect data rather than going to the company. So I mentioned CPRA, GDPR, so California and Europe, but then also I think we all saw Facebook’s stock price tanked last couple of weeks at M largely related to iOS is privacy changes.

Will (7m 23s):
So now for, for a company like Facebook, if they want to be able to get the same level of granularity of data, they actually need to be getting it from you or you or me. So that’s, that’s the, what the data marketplace does in, in our app is it’s a place for companies to just ask consumers directly for permission to use their data and incentivize them through either paying them is kind of the main, the main way or, or other, other sorts of incentive programs, like a gift card or personalization through their, their product.

Will (8m 9s):
So, yeah, that’s how it worked. You’d go to the marketplace in our app, you’d review, which companies are bidding for your data, and you’d either accept or deny that bid based on how much they’re offering you and what they’re saying they want to do with your data. So it’s seems, seems complex, but it’s, it’s, it’s actually pretty straightforward once everyone’s trained on.

Nathan (8m 33s):
Sure. That that makes a lot of sense. I’m sure a lot of these big companies, you know, they may not be going out there saying, Hey, I want specifically Nathan’s, you know, my data, but they might say, you know, we’ve got, you know, X amount of budget per, per individual. And, you know, if they can get that at, at a reasonable rate, then they

Will (8m 52s):
Will. That’s

Nathan (8m 53s):
Right. So where do you guys fit into that? You know, is where does a, where does mePrism make their make your profit?

Will (9m 2s):
Yeah, so I think one of the things that’s really important to us as a company was developing a business model that was compatible and aligned with consumer interests. I think one of the main issues with the data economy in the way that it’s set up now is that the incentives are misaligned where companies want to get our attention, keep our attention, and basically sell that attention as much as they can just because that’s how the business models are built. So for us, the app is free. Any, any American can and actually European, oh, as soon as we get approved over there can download the app.

Will (9m 46s):
No, no questions asked. And then we only profit when consumers profit. So if a company bids a consumer for their data, that person accepts, we just take a fee for facilitating that transaction. So right now that’s, that’s the, the revenue model is just transaction fees on businesses, paying consumers.

Nathan (10m 14s):
Interesting. That’s a, that seems like a good way for people to a, you know, maybe make a tiny bit of extra money. I assume that it’s not, you know, millions of dollars that people are making per month on their, on their data, but it’s, you know, it’s better than the, nothing that we’re all getting paid right now for our data to be used and a good way to secure the data as well.

Will (10m 38s):
Yeah, I think that’s right. There’s a, some aspect of it is sure. Just making, making some extra money each month. I don’t think anyone is going to say no to that, but I think the broader implications are actually even more valuable potentially where right now, if a company is knows that they can get your data from just about anywhere, they don’t, they’re not really incentivized to protect it or to use it in a way where you would be, you, you would consent to that, that usage, but in the economy that we’re trying to create, where a business has to get permission from a consumer directly, you can see how that would change the incentives where a company is now saying to themselves, oh boy, if we want access to this data, or if we want to pay the lowest price for it, we better use data in a way that’s actually improving the customer experience for people.

Will (11m 39s):
So rather than trying to buy data in order to convince somebody to vote for a certain candidate or to buy a product that they don’t actually really want. I think in the world that we’re trying to create companies are purely using data to improve our customer experience, personalized recommendations, and only do it to the extent that that, that we want to. And so that, that control is really the most important thing, because one of the examples that I always use is how ridiculous it is that Nestle is going to pay the same amount for my data on Facebook as Cambridge Analytica was in and leading up to the election.

Will (12m 23s):
Like my data costs the same to both of those companies, because I’m not the one selling it, but if I’m the one selling it, I don’t know. I like chocolate. I might give it to Nestle just for free and, and, and, and not think twice about it. But then if Cambridge Analytica wants to buy my data for political influence, they’re going to have to, they’re going to have to pay a pretty penny for that. So it, it, it, it just creates a more control for consumers. And I think better incentives for companies.

Nathan (12m 57s):
Well, that’s great. You know, as we get further and further into an interconnected world, these kinds of things are definitely important for consumers to have. I know you mentioned expanding into, or trying to get permissions for Europe, any other things on the horizon for me, prison, you want to talk about before we wrap up here?

Will (13m 20s):
Is it company? Yeah. W w we’re actually investing a lot right now into new product development, which would help consumers delete their data from all of the 5,000 data brokers servers that I mentioned, we are actually pursuing a blockchain solution for that. So the way that would work is a consumer puts whatever information on our platform that they want to protect. So maybe it’s just their name and their email address or their phone number. And we would hash that, put it on the blockchain.

Will (14m 3s):
Then if a company wants to access that information or wants to contact that phone number, send an email to that email because, you know, we all hate spam. They would need to check to see if they have permission to use that information. If they do great. If you’ve given, if you’ve given them explicit permission to use it, you’d be able, they would be able to give you a phone call or send you an email. But if you have not explicitly given them permission, they, that that should re route would return to that, do not call. So it’s basically a do not call list for the modern day internet.

Will (14m 47s):
We, we, I was pretty young when the do not call came out and I think it was a fantastic idea, but I can tell you, I still get a lot of spam, whatever, whatever is, is, is whatever was built originally, I think could just be updated to fulfill the needs of, of kind of the, the, the modern consumer on the internet. And that’s what we’re trying to go out, go out and do we haven’t picked a name yet though. So if, if, if you have any ideas or if your listeners have any ideas, we’ve come up with the, we don’t want to just say that, do not call us. We’ve come up with the, do not know list or delete new list, or anyway, if anyone has any brilliant ideas about names, please let us know.

Nathan (15m 32s):
Well, that’s a great segue to what we always like to ask at the end, which is if listeners or viewers do want to get in touch with you, I guess whether it be to give you guys a good name for the product, or maybe it’s just to find out more about me, prism, to find out how they can secure their data and monetize it, et cetera, what are the best ways for them to do so?

Will (15m 53s):
Sure. I think I, I always love to talk to consumers and, and, and users of the product. So anyone can email I always am interested in either positive or negative feedback. We want to, you know, continue improving the product as much as possible because you know, we’re still pretty young company and they’re going to be things that we continue to improve on. So will it be You can follow our social channels. It’s just me prison on, on just about everything. We’re actually coming out with a new podcast. If you go to our YouTube channel, you can learn more about some of the issues related to data, brokering, big tech companies, and how to control and monetize your own data.

Will (16m 41s):
And then finally, I would just encourage people to check out the app and see what they think. Great.

Nathan (16m 47s):
I appreciate you joining today. It was great talking to you. Well,

Will (16m 51s):
Yeah, Nathan really appreciate it. Hope you have a good rest of your weekend week and she’s making that weekend clearly Tuesday, and yeah, I really appreciate you having me on,

Nathan (17m 4s):
Thank you just to remind everyone, this was Will McKissick chief strategy officer at mePrism and you can find us Radio Entrepreneurs on Facebook, iTunes, Spotify. We’re also on LinkedIn, YouTube, and of course, Radio Entrepreneurs dot com. I want to thank all our listeners. We’ve back with more after this.

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