Transparency As The New Norm

In this episode of Startup Hustle, Matt Watson and Rob Loughan, CEO and Co-Founder of Ferret AI talk about risks and security. Learn all about how AI works, machine learning, and how to keep yourself secure in today’s cyber world.

Covered In This Episode

How can you stay transparent with clients without compromising your online security, reputation, and investments? Find out as Matt Watson connects with Rob Loughan, Relationship Intelligence expert and Founder of Ferret on the topic.

Rob is all about helping clients (and Startup Hustle listeners!) step up their due diligence strategies to clean up their search engine and social media presence. During this episode, they discuss Rob’s entrepreneurship background and a host of other topics, such as:

Get Started with Full Scale
  • promoting transparency as the new norm by cultivating a culture of trust among businesses 
  • using AI and Machine Learning to perform background checks on individuals and organizations 
  • the future of Community Learning and what it means to our society in general
  • dealing with the risks in the ever-changing landscape of data privacy
  • practical tips when starting a business (not just in the cybersecurity space)
Startup Hustle Podcast Is Now Available for Entrepreneurs

Highlights

  • Mobile cloud-based application (8:36)
  • The idea behind Ferret (10:35)
  • Transparency as the new norm (14:05)
  • Background checks with AI (15:00)
  • Ferret- how it’s doing now (18:15)
  • Data is king (23:55)
  • Community learning (29:00)
  • Data Privacy (39:00)
  • Tips for startup entrepreneurs (36:11)

Key Quotes

I’ve had my share of failures, and I’m not perfect. I always tell the people I invest in to not run out of money. It doesn’t matter if you raise a million, a hundred thousand, or a hundred million. You have to treat that money like it’s your lifeblood because if you run out of it, the probability of raising that cash right now has just decreased significantly. So, always be on guard.

– Rob Loughan

Building the right culture, if you don’t get it right in the beginning, will kill you somewhere in the middle. Your true ethos is what you’re trying to do, and it will attract the right people. People will come to your company because they like the ethos of what you’re trying to do.

– Rob Loughan

We might be able to make the world a better place. So, I had delusions of grandeur that we could shrink this data down and make transparency the new norm. You don’t know me, and yet I’m on your show. What if tomorrow you found out I was a bad dude? You’d be like, ‘oh my god, I can’t believe I had this guy in my show.’ It’s going to reflect on you.

– Rob Loughan

Rough Transcript

The following is an auto-generated text transcript of this episode.

00:00.00
Matt Watson
And we’re back with another episode of the Startup Hustle. This is your host Matt Watson, and our guest today is Robert Loughan from Ferret. We’re going to talk today about AI and Machine Learning, risk and security, and all sorts of fun stuff. Before we get started, I want to remind everybody that today’s episode of Startup Hustle is sponsored by fullscale dot io, helping you build software teams quickly and affordably. Rob, how are you doing today?

00:26.18
Rob Loughan
I’m doing great. Thanks, Matt, for having me on the show.

00:35.69
Matt Watson
I’m hoping that you’re an expert at AI and Machine Learning, and you can teach me a few things about it today. Could you start out by giving us a little bit of your background and what your company, ferret.ai, does?

00:46.20
Rob Loughan
Sure. I won’t go back too far, but I’ll guess I’m probably one of the only people you ever have on your show that came from Vermont, in the mountains of Vermont, because there aren’t any real cities. It’s always a first. I don’t know how I got to Silicon Valley from Vermont. It was a circuitous route.

00:57.70
Matt Watson
Vermont, that’s a first.

01:03.30
Matt Watson
How many people live in Vermont?

01:05.47
Rob Loughan
Um, I don’t know, a couple million. I mean, it’s a small state. I haven’t been back in 20 years, but that’s where I came from. Yeah.

01:11.47
Matt Watson
I have been to Rhode Island before, and I think I flew out of the airport of Vermont or something because it was easier to fly from, like, if you were in Boston, to go to the airport in Vermont or something.

01:23.60
Rob Loughan
Yeah, probably there were chickens in the overhead.

01:28.87
Matt Watson
But it felt weird when I went through Rhode Island. And, I’m like, this is a state?

01:30.61
Rob Loughan
For months, even worse, But I actually think it’s a great place to you know the values and everything great place to grow up given some of the other options in the country today. Um, I was supposed to go to law school, but I grew up, unfortunately, in a family that couldn’t afford to send me to law school. So I had to make money really quickly, so talking about entrepreneurship, I had to start quickly. My dad actually died when I was 15. So I created businesses when I was young, and actually, within six months, I was making more than my dad was making the job he was in 17 years, so it was kind of baptismal by fire. I didn’t have a choice but to become an entrepreneur that’s spending my blood since I was a kid, so what I did was I got ah I got a one-year reprieve so I could make money and pay the bill. The first time I didn’t get scholarships to pay for school. Um, I was trying to get into law school. So I showed up at a software company called Base, which was taking on Oracle, if you remember those days. I went into telesales, and I learned quickly how to make some money actually, within a year.

02:32.27
Matt Watson
Yeah, yep.

02:44.24
Rob Loughan
Number two in the entire company worldwide, and I was 20, You know, 22 years old, they didn’t want to hire me actually, and I chased the Ceo out into the cold of night. But when he’s walking out to his car after they so unceremoniously told me they were going to pass on me.

02:45.00
Matt Watson
Um, wow.

03:02.71
Rob Loughan
I thought I was going to bash him. It’s important why I’d tell you about this because it comes in later in the story. I ran up to him, and he kind of cowered like I was going to hit him, and I said you’re making the biggest mistake of your life. You don’t hire me, and I was crying, and I got my car and went home. I got to call the next morning, and they hired me. And of course, I did quite well within, you know, within a year, I was living in a penthouse and driving a Harley and a Mustang, you know, 1969 Mustang Convertible in San Francisco, and I had money that I never knew even existed because like I said I grew up in you know, working-class, blue-collar family. They went public within three years, and I had stock. I didn’t even ask for stock. Um, so I did quite well. I was very lucky the CEO of the unit that they bought called solutions took me under his name. His name is Bob Devotli, and I owe him my entire career.

03:42.97
Matt Watson
Wow.

04:00.83
Rob Loughan
He’s the one I ran up to in the parking lot. Um, so I left one day and decided to go to San Francisco, loaded my car, and took off. They wished me, you know, good luck and I went to San Francisco. I got a job in a company called Scopus which was the first CRM system that ever existed. And we were taking on Siebel, the first CRM system. Scopus, we took on Siebel, which wasn’t even Siebel at the time, and yeah, so I was employee number 8, got really lucky and, by the way, one of the top.

04:21.13
Matt Watson
The first one ever. What. Wow.

04:38.90
Rob Loughan
Things you could hope not to fail are a little bit of luck and all the hard work and doing the right thing. I was lucky I ended up in the right place and didn’t screw it up and went right up to the top of the sales organization, closed some of the biggest deals in the world and CRM at that time, and I’m still in my twenty’s. I started upgrading the place I lived; my cars, my motorcycles, all the things I wanted because life was so good living in San Francisco in your twenties and killing it. It’s, you know, just really hard work and learning how to sell. I obviously never went back to law school. They went public. Top 18 or top 20 of the year just like Sybase, you know, I’m mean out of my twenties. I decided that I was tired of making money for everyone else.

05:23.56
Matt Watson
There you go.

05:29.25
Rob Loughan
You know, I had a car washing business and mowing lawns when I was a kid and making a lot of money doing that as a kid. Um, and I got asked to run a company out of the UK. It was called Micromuse. When I say run it, I was running sales and operations started in the US. And the same thing, within a year, no customers went to within fourteen months, we IPOed with D and G, and it was the largest UK-based tech IPO ever. So I did my first road show. I’m still in my twenties. Um, you know, Wall Street, getting investors selling stock. It was baptism by fire; my whole life, until I was 30, was baptism by fire. So, as soon as we sold as soon as we went public. That’s when I decided I would go back to the CRM model. Um, and decided that CRM belonged on the Internet.

06:11.28
Matt Watson
Um.

06:27.84
Rob Loughan
And that customers should be able to be served everywhere. There was no way to talk to anybody back then other than by phone. The CRM systems didn’t have real, you know, anything like that on the Internet or chat, or was coming around, so we built one of the first cloud-based.

06:47.54
Rob Loughan
So we had to build the tools to make the app because they didn’t exist. That was 1997, so I raised my first money, but there were 4 of us who founded the company, and I was doing most of the presenting to the VCs.

06:50.54
Matt Watson
And what year was that? Okay.

07:05.92
Rob Loughan
Done it before, and we raised 55,000,000 and then cut to the end of that story; that company was called Octane Software. We sold that company for a record 3.2 billion. There was no such thing as a Unicorn. They didn’t have a name for us. We broke all the records there were.

07:19.66
Matt Watson
Wild.

07:24.67
Rob Loughan
We broke all the records, and to this day, I’m pretty sure it was from a timing perspective. We were the ridiculously largest one for the amount of revenue we had, the amount of money we raised, and the 3.2 billion dollar price tag. We were Epiphany, and Epiphany got acquired.

07:37.36
Matt Watson
And so who acquired that? What happened to that today.

07:43.46
Rob Loughan
They were a $9,000,000,000 company doing online marketing when it first came out, so they bought us to basically make sure that we didn’t take over their market, and you know we were basically going to converge and compete. So, we were replacing the Sybils and the Scouses and the IBMs.

07:58.64
Matt Watson
Um.

08:01.50
Rob Loughan
And the Oracles with an Internet-based Sun system. So I got very fortunate not to screw it up and be in the right place, you know, that’s how I got started. That was my baptismal of fire, of being an entrepreneur.

08:20.50
Matt Watson
Well, that’s amazing, man. You’ve done a lot of stuff, and you still look like a young man.

08:21.22
Rob Loughan
The first few years, I did a lot of stuff. By the time I was thirty, I was not young at all. The reason I’m doing Scope is just to fast forward. Then after that, my favorite company that I ever started was Dextera, and Dextera was the first. Application mobile cloud-based application in the market. So the first time someone downloaded an app, like B to B downloaded an app. It was from Vodaphone, and they have an equivalent in the Apple Store, and they download; it was basically sales and support.

08:54.23
Matt Watson
Um.

09:00.33
Rob Loughan
Applications for mobile for field people, and that was us. We had the first server in a telco environment. We downloaded an app on the phone. We work with Microsoft and HP. All of Intel was on the board. Microsoft Motorola grew even faster than Octane.

09:08.88
Matt Watson
Wow.

09:19.32
Rob Loughan
But being in the right place at the right time, we raised twice as much money. But the problem was, the world crashed in 2008, so we sold for pennies on the dollar like everyone else did at the time.

09:27.50
Matt Watson
Um, it it didn’t crash for everybody though my company my company took off then they had helped that that’s his thing with those those events right? It’s it sucked for you. It was great for me.

09:35.29
Rob Loughan
No, not for everyone. But it’s all timing. I had a timing. Yeah, well, it was all timing because we were just finishing up around, and we were raising another round.

09:45.74
Matt Watson
Yeah, yeah.

09:52.34
Rob Loughan
All the windows and doors got locked for the VCs, so VCs got scared. They didn’t want to dump more money even though we were killing it. We owned that market worldwide. We were all over the place, so they decided to sell it, and they sold it. I didn’t want to sell it.

09:53.36
Matt Watson
Um, yep.

10:11.32
Rob Loughan
Another example of a better company; wrong timing. And that company, it had offers between 40,600,000,000 first couple of years, so I got very, very fortunate but then bad timing yet.

10:21.39
Matt Watson
So so fast forward to today and with what you’re doing with ferret what what gave you? the idea to start ferret and you know what was the you know primary problem you were trying to solve.

10:30.64
Rob Loughan
Ah, yep, yep, well I didn’t think I’d be running I didn’t think I’d be a Ceo of a startup again. Um I’ve been investors and been on the board and helped run some companies but only for the intent of handing them off to others so I was always a very active. Little you know like seed investor with the money that I made in there but before before that more interesting to me is I went I got the time to take a step back from technology and I went and did some things I love I started a ski resort. There was some buddies up in Nelson Breer’s Columbia if you’ve ever heard a bald face. Um, loga up there. It’s now it’s number 1 like all the red bull it all goes on up there. It’s number one back country snowboarding resort in the country well in north america now that was a really fun project I went and bought a winery and created a label and won a worldwide award and that was fun. Drive a tractor for a while then came home and started doing these investments. Well I gotten this is a lot How fair it started I was raising money and I was in a very very large financial institution that everybody knows a name of and I won’t name it at one financial center. In New York and I was introduced to an investor who decided to invest $8000000 into our company that I was a founder but I wasn’t running I just wanted to hand it off to have someone else running but I was raising the money. Um, that investor was new to investing and had this. I’m going to call it a scam where he would basically write notes to the company for bridges after the first round and convince them to not take money and then let the note run out and grab the I p and kick everybody out on the whole thing and he did it to 3 companies.

12:19.33
Matt Watson
Okay.

12:24.93
Rob Loughan
And of course this very large financial institution that called me and said hey we had no way to know this is going on. We don’t know this is in New York these things were going on in other parts of the country West Coast and southern us and um, so my next investment so you know I put my tail between my legs. We lost that company to this this fraudster. Um, and I invested in a company called Nominodata and Nomino data supplied aml it’s it’s boring as rat shit to me but highly you know needed in our world that we live in today because there’s so much. You know there’s so much fraud going on they supply all the boring data to all the big banks and governments for any money laundering and I did really well the company went up to 8000 banks around the world using this data so Ceo of the company. So I was a biggest investor called me one day and said want to sell put together a plan for me. Let’s sell this thing so I called him back the next morning Matt and I said you know what we’re not going to sell it. We’re going to take a page out of the only oldest plan in Silicon Valley we’re going to take that data. It’s paid millions for by big bangs some governments we’re gonna shrink it down. Put it on a phone and democratize it and give it to everybody so we all have know who we’re dealing with so so issues like what happened to me with this fraudster that stole our ip and our company. Um.

13:49.33
Matt Watson
You know.

13:56.58
Rob Loughan
You know we might be able to just make the world a little better place so I had delusions of grandeur that we could shrink this data down. Add a whole bunch more to it of course and make transparency the new norm I mean you don’t know me I’m on your show what if tomorrow you found out I was a really bad dude. You’d be like oh my god I can’t believe I had this guy in my show. It’s going to reflect on me. But what do people do they go to Google they go to Linkedin which you write your own story. Google’s all Seo and suppressed and advertising led all that you can’t find stuff half the stuff’s not on there. It’s been deleted. Yeah reputation companies have pushed it down blah blah blah. So that’s how the company started because I got taken advantage of and lost a bunch of money and had to hand over the keys to one of my companies because someone took advantage of it and both of those other companies happened before me and that data was available. But how’s a guy like you or me get it right.

14:44.66
Matt Watson
So the data So the data that you have is it the same kind of data that um these other online background check kind of sites use or like where where does that data come from and and like how does the data that you have.

14:57.33
Rob Loughan
Ah, really good question. Yeah yeah, well that was the genesis of the company. So this Aml data which was mainly around white collar crime most of it. So if you’re a sex offender. It’s not going to show up there. So once we built it.

15:01.34
Matt Watson
Ah, compare to like other kinds of background checks.

15:09.36
Matt Watson
Yeah.

15:17.25
Rob Loughan
And and the reason that we have to use Ai and I’m answering your question but the only way I can explain it is I mean I’ve I’ve spent over $5000000 so far on Ai and machine learning and I didn’t know a damn thing about it. We started this company I had to go hire. You know the people that knew how to do it. Um, and it’s because you’re trying to find a. Ah, haystack in like needle like trying to find the needle in the haystack you got to find the haystack in the haystack and then find the needle in the haystack. It’s a very very we have like two and a half billion records in there. You don’t just do a sql search. You know what I mean it just doesn’t work that way. Um, so.

15:46.32
Matt Watson
M.

15:54.17
Rob Loughan
Even though I started with that just to give you an idea that was like 18000000 records which sounded like a hell of a lot of records to do ah like a s sequel search back then so we had to to have this whole new architecture to do it right? So the big difference is one is the technology to extract the data imagine if your name was Chris Smith I mean your name as it is is. You know there’s there’s others out there with that name so you can’t just do a search what some of the yeah that be hard right? And if you don’t know that much about them maybe have their phone number. You know what state they are maybe you know what kind of you know what? what their age limit is.

16:15.21
Matt Watson
Yeah, sure yeah Matt Watson is also a Youtube streamer and a baseball player.

16:32.40
Rob Loughan
There’s basically 3 categories of these companies to come back to the question. There’s you know the the novelty ones and I won’t name their names but we all know that they’re there. You can go put a name in and a phone number and they’ll tell you where they live and if they’re married and all of that stuff. But that’s novelty for consumers. Okay. We have all that same data but we use it in a different way and then there’s the background check companies that large enterprises hire and pay a lot of money to um when they’re you know when they’re doing hires and things so they can check on their on their hires. But it’s not really used. Much else. The biggest law firm in the world is our law firm because we need to make sure that you know even though all the data is curated public Information. We have to be assured that you know we’re not breaking any personal privacy laws is the top top company top law firm in the world. They’re there. They guided us on on all of that.

17:20.63
Matt Watson
Yeah, yeah.

17:29.26
Rob Loughan
I ask them and other law firms what they use and unless they go pay a background check company. The ones that are really really expensive. Take like two weeks for you to get you know a report back on a person and you have to have a lot of knowledge about them to get that to work. Um, they just go to Google and they look at Linkedin and then they you know they talk to people they know. Right? They talk to people they know and and word of mouth. But the problem is the people you’re getting the word of mouth from they didn’t do their homework either because they don’t have access to the tools.

17:57.90
Matt Watson
So so how how are things going with with the business now. So you you like you said you know you got millions billions of data points. You had spent a lot of money investing in machine learning and all that stuff.

18:05.67
Rob Loughan
Billion points and.

18:10.77
Matt Watson
How was it going where are you guys finding success like who who is your ideal customer and use case.

18:13.85
Rob Loughan
Sure first of all, it took a long time to get the tech right? It was so frustrating I had to raise more money than I thought thank god it’s a good business model because we failed to deliver on time because it’s so hard what we were trying to do now it works. Um, so where the business is now is we’re in public beta but we’re it’s limited and we’re about to open it up literally next week to full public beta we’ll go out on Google and Android and you and any of your friends can can download it in the us and in India those are the first 2 countries are going after. So the good news is it finally works. Um, you know how ways works where if you see ah you know a police car or there’s a whole you know if there’s ah, an obstruction or something we all work together and tell the app and it helps us avoid trouble. It took forever to get that to work.

18:58.14
Matt Watson
Is it.

19:09.89
Rob Loughan
So inside the app. It actually asked look if we just put in Matt Watson like you say there’s a bunch of other ones. These bots will come up and start asking you questions about Matt Watson that are derived from the quantum of articles that we’ve curated already that have a Matt Watson in them. There’s you know there’s there’s a lot of attributes that we look for so ask for age and you know like where you might have worked. We might know where you work or if there’s an article about where you got in trouble. We might know where it is or what it was about but we just ask all these questions. So we start narrowing down so we’re not talking about the Matt Watson that does the you know the the other.

19:31.11
Matt Watson
M.

19:47.63
Rob Loughan
That you spoke about that you often get you know that get get get yeah um, so so that’s all that’s all working now and then what it does is it knows that my Matt Watson because I don’t know any other Matt Watson but you so now anyone that comes in the application later.

19:48.81
Matt Watson
Yeah, sure.

20:04.55
Rob Loughan
Since I know you and that do that that verification has already been done. It doesn’t have to ask any questions. It’s a lot like ways where it’ll actually use community learning to go? well. I have Matt Watson’s phone number indoor email. You have phone phone number email. So I know your Matt Watson is my Matt Watson I don’t have to do any of that I can just notify you immediately when something comes up about Matt Watson good bad or ugly. So um, we have over. 900 companies and people that have signed up to get early access to the beta so far we had to turn it off. We’ve got 5 or 6 mo use with large multimillion user system platforms that want to plug us into the platform like an app at an app. Think of dating matrimony. Um, ah financial sites that you know give you financial advice or where you can do financial transactions. Um, it’s one of those rare deals where literally everyone that has Linkedin should have a ferret. And Linkedin has 700000000 users.

21:13.42
Matt Watson
So would it make sense as a business owner for me to use it to keep tabs like on all of my employees and like weird things that they may be up to that I don’t know about or something.

21:19.56
Rob Loughan
Yeah, yeah, yeah, um, yes, it says right in the app when you go in it. You can’t use it for hiring because there’s if there’s so much there. There’s there’s so many legal barriers that we would have to climb to use it for hiring and you can’t use it for housing those are the 2 things you can’t use it for here in the Us.

21:31.22
Matt Watson
Okay.

21:38.42
Rob Loughan
But absolutely think about you know if you’re running a company um like the bedroom company that that you guys wrote about um, you want to know what your competitors are doing you put your competitors in there. You want to know what all your employees are doing you want to put them in there. You want to put anyone in there remember it monitors right? and it tells you but anything comes up on the 3 times a day so on the day like when it comes out anywhere in the world. Um, if it’s something we’re plugged into you’re you’re gonna you’re gonna get that Data. Um.

21:58.12
Matt Watson
M.

22:12.20
Rob Loughan
And you know and then you’re going to take it home and use it. So let’s say you’re away and I don’t know if you’re married but you know I I live with my fiance and she um, um, if she’s home and and and the ah waterline breaks in the house. You got to have someone in write up immediately. You need to know on the minute before you call someone in to make sure that person’s Licensed. We even know that maybe they’re a god forbid a sex offender or they beat someone up or they have you know 20 ah lawsuits against them. Probably want to call the next person on the list. So all these light bulbs go off and you say who’s going to use it again. The delusion is a grandeur if we all use it and has this community learning and we we accept transparency as the new norm for your deeds and the things that have been written about you that are you know, validated from the right sources.

22:51.12
Matt Watson
Um, yeah.

23:09.88
Rob Loughan
Um, then we can avoid a lot of bad things happening and also uncover a lot of opportunities.

23:14.94
Matt Watson
So I I have a lot more questions for you but before we get we get to that I do want to remind everybody that today’s episode of startup hustle is sponsored by fullscale io hoping you build a software team quickly and affordably um I’m gonna guess you have quite a software team that’s helped you build this.

23:30.78
Rob Loughan
Yeah I do.

23:33.87
Matt Watson
You mentioned you had to invest a lot of money in in machine learning. Did you ah did take um, probably people that were really good with data science and um data analytics and databases and all sorts of stuff to figure out how to build this. It seems like some be really complicated to figure out how to do.

23:40.75
Rob Loughan
Better.

23:47.49
Rob Loughan
So complicated and and it’s not like a normal software company that you build where you but you hire a bunch of engineers remember data is King Now. It’s all about data. But if you can’t get the data to the right person at the right time at the right, You know the the right level of accuracy. It’s just not worth It. You build it wrong? No one’s going to come right? So So I’ve learned a lot of new lessons. Both how to do it right? and wrong about how to amalgamate Data science and machine learning are very very different than writing you know Python code or you know.

24:07.60
Matt Watson
Yeah.

24:24.50
Rob Loughan
Hitting a sql database if they and or else Boolean Logic These are entirely different. Um ah technologies to Meld Together. So even at the team level getting them to work together. They work so differently. You know a machine ai data scientist. They’re not going to be in a scrum. Most of the time that’s on the same level as you know I know I’m going to I’m sorry to go so deep in the hole but like I struggled with this trying to get them to work together because they’re coming at the problem different. You know, different aspect.

24:50.41
Matt Watson
Database You know people that are good at databases and machine learning and stuff is a different skill set than people that are good at creating software and you know I’ve and I’ve been a.

24:59.98
Rob Loughan
Totally totally different I underestimated that by the way. Oh yeah.

25:07.10
Matt Watson
Ah, software developer for basically 20 years but honestly the part of it I’ve always enjoyed the most has been more of the data side like databases you mentionedybase which which eventually was acquired by Microsoft became sql server and is still then today is probably 1 of the top 3 database engines in the world probably and um.

25:22.20
Rob Loughan
Um, yeah I was selling it I was selling it twenty years ago

25:26.19
Matt Watson
I use I’ve been using that for 20 years so I knew exactly what it was I knew it was sidebase before? Yeah so um, I’ve always loved that the data side of it is my point but it’s it’s definitely a different specialty than other other types of of database of software engineering. So tell me this. How.

25:37.45
Rob Loughan
For sure her show. Yeah.

25:46.40
Matt Watson
Do you feel like there are a lot of of con artists and scammers out there in this world.

25:49.11
Rob Loughan
Oh my god so I was asked to write an article in Forbes which I was very surprised. They wanted to hear from me I’ve never published anything that I can recall and it’ll be out in a couple of weeks and it’s called covid cash and crypto and. In there I outline by the way you don’t want to read it if you’re in a good mood because it’ll put you in a bad mood. What I wrote but basically what’s happened in the last you know this era that we just are coming out of right now I think we’re coming out of it where everything’s crashing crypto and nfts and all this um. Is people let their guard down because of fomo fear of missing out. Um, so first of all, there wasn’t good tools. It’s a whole new arena to ah you know to play in. Um, you know and covid through another whole.

26:31.94
Matt Watson
Yep.

26:45.11
Rob Loughan
Monkey wrench into the whole thing because we had to change the way we normally do things so what does all this add up to it adds up to the crime rate has gone through the roof through the roof the amount of scamming and frauding and all of this and crypto and look at covid look at all these people. Scmed the government and other businesses during you know the whole covid rush a lot of people got taken advantage of him loss and they weren’t like you know there’s no patterns there because it was all new. It was a whole new environment. So anyways I wrote an article for Forbes about just how dangerous it is.

27:05.91
Matt Watson
Yeah Ppp and all sorts of things.

27:23.74
Rob Loughan
Right now or have been in that time and and it is now and the lack of tools and accessibility to tools that actually can if if you boil it all down. We talk about machine learning and ai and how cool the app is and how it you know it does all these magical things. Um. But but at the end of the day. It’s an ah roi play because there are tools out there that do things but you’d have to go buy like 5 or 6 of them and you and I aren’t going to do that because they’re unaccessible, they cost too much. They’re meant for companies not for individuals like us to get the full picture. So we’ve kind of stuffed like 5 or 6 different. You know types of of tools into one and put it on your phone for 15 to $ 30 a month There’s even a free version There’s even a free version. It does some of the basics and we’re going to be giving some of it away where we can help people. Avoid dangerous people. We’re actually going to be giving that away. Um, so yeah, it’s gone way up I mean it’s it’s it’s horrible. How much crime there is right now and course there’s defunding the police going on in different parts of the country. So yeah, that really help. Ah so.

28:32.24
Matt Watson
Um, that’ll help that’ll help there’ll be less scammers and less steves than.

28:38.90
Rob Loughan
Yeah I mean like I said I mean I don’t want to skim over it I’ve already had my 15 minutes of fame I’m doing this because the social benefit to us all I want to be remembered for that. No one’s going to remember octane just because it was a big deal. It’s ancient. History. Um, but if everyone’s using ferret and that community learning is going on and it’s doing the work for you. You don’t have to do it even though you can dive in you you know, do it ad hoc the world’s just going to be a little the needle’s gonna move a little bit enough for us to be proud of what we brought to the world. Um. And we’re going to make our investors a lot of money in the process for the right reasons doing good.

29:20.11
Matt Watson
So do you guys have to worry about any of the data privacy sort of stuff like you have all this data right? So what? What do you? How do you have to deal with that part of it like do you do specifically? for example, not do business in Europe or something because of like gdpr kind of junk or.

29:24.50
Rob Loughan
Um, yeah, and. Um, yeah, yeah, that’s what keeps me awake at night among other things is the ever-changing landscape of personal privacy especially in Europe’s leading with you. You nailed it the gdpr.

29:39.67
Matt Watson
Like how do how do you? How do you have to deal with that part of it with all this data that you collect.

29:51.50
Rob Loughan
Here in the us we have ccpa which is you know California leading which everyone’s copying in the rest of the country. Um, yeah, yeah, yeah, yep.

29:56.75
Matt Watson
But every country in the world has some form of this crap because when I dealt with this before it was hard right? because it’s like you’ve got europe with gdpr and you got California but then Australia has their thing and everybody else has their thing and they’re all slightly different and and the truth is.

30:08.78
Rob Loughan
Um, yeah, yeah, yep, ah.

30:15.52
Matt Watson
Nobody’s compliant with any of this shit and I don’t think any the whole time I don’t does any consumer actually go to Gdpr and say remove my information and then does anybody actually comply with it like who the hell knows.

30:16.70
Rob Loughan
Um, so.

30:24.57
Rob Loughan
Oh we actually we actually did we already did like 1 of our one of our beta testers who’s a you know, big investor. Um, he came and said in California I want you to remove? you know all my stuff and Peter who runs the tech said. Yeah, no problem pushed but boom it was all gone. And the joke around the office when we talk to investors that are coming is that Rob was so worried about personal privacy when he started the company. He hired a law firm before he hired the engineers to build it and that’s the truth I hired the law firm started paying them to guide us before we wrote the code. So.

31:01.50
Matt Watson
Yet it we we did so much work at my last company you know with gdpr compliance and you know all that kind of stuff and it it was like ah all the talk when it first launched and then after that like nobody ever mentioned it again like became.

31:04.21
Rob Loughan
All over it. Ah.

31:16.14
Rob Loughan
You know it’s softening up a bit I think they went the pendulum swung too hard because we needed it I mean I won’t even go into the we all know what you know some of the big companies that will go unnamed in social media did with our data you know and we didn’t know and I’m a firm believer in personal privacy Matter. Of fact. There’s data that we’re allowed to show that we won’t show because we don’t think that it’s fair. So It’s an ethical thing and that guides us a lot. Not just the laws. What we can’t do but the ethics around what we’re what we’re showing and what the context goes.

31:38.18
Matt Watson
Um, sure.

31:46.53
Matt Watson
Well then you have when you have crazy stuff that goes on in places like China where they use facial recognition stuff too and kind of know where he’s at and where they’re going and like all sorts of big brother sort of crazy psycho stuff. So.

31:53.88
Rob Loughan
Um, yeah, yeah.

32:00.31
Rob Loughan
Yeah, that’s not us so the the other the other thing that guides us so call it company culture is we always want to be kind of seen as the you know you know, probably laugh but the you know the Knight in shining armor on the white horse. Not the creepy.

32:15.28
Matt Watson
Um, yeah, yeah.

32:18.53
Rob Loughan
Face recognition cia type or or even worse. So yeah, it guides a lot of our decisions on what we’re and we want to give back like I said we’re actually going to be giving data away that you don’t have to pay for because we think that you know ah we have it. You don’t have it. We’re going to give it to you your life. May you know may be improved as a result and we get to you Knowpose the app. It’s not just all altruism. It’s part of the go-to market strategy.

32:44.23
Matt Watson
Yeah, it’s absolutely amazing and I um I think it would be really helpful and things like you said earlier like online dating or things like care dot com where you’re trying to hire a babysitter and you don’t know who they are and or any kind of service company right? Where like people are coming into your house. So.

32:55.63
Rob Loughan
Um, yeah, yeah, exactly yeah.

33:02.92
Matt Watson
All those kinds of use cases are great use cases for this kind of technology.

33:04.77
Rob Loughan
Somebody new moves in next door you want to know who your new neighbors are even worse like you I mean I have two kids and there they just went off the college but I can’t tell you how many times they come home and go hey there’s a sleep it over at you know Joe’s house we want to go tonight and you’re like who’s Joe. You know and you like oh Joe’s you know where does he live who is parents so you know the old way we’d call and make sure that they sounded okay on the phone and that was good enough if they sounded okay on the phone. We’d chip our kids off to them right? Let him spend the night well those days are over if you have ferret, you go? Okay, who’s Joe’s parents and you look them up and go okay, they’re they’re cool. You can go right.

33:26.79
Matt Watson
Yeah.

33:42.42
Rob Loughan
But there’s going to be reasons why you don’t So think of all the gig economy stuff like you know, like like getting in cars and riding with someone instead of taking taxi. You don’t know whose car you’re getting into and those poor those poor people have no idea who’s getting in the car in their backs seat. They could be. You know they could be.

33:44.75
Matt Watson
Yeah.

33:56.99
Matt Watson
Right? yep.

34:02.31
Rob Loughan
Drug Dealer gangsters. Whatever whoever you don’t want the backseat they could be they could You could be picking them up outside of the criminal you know looney house or whatever where they let people out back into the into the world and you’re you’re picking someone up that you know might have done something really bad. You can avoid those things. So.

34:17.92
Matt Watson
So I mean do you do you foresee companies like big tech companies being able to use this kind of of sort of like rating system for a person like somebody like uber you know is like a you’re going to pick up this passenger hang on. We know their name and their information we’re going to run them through the database figure out if we should allow them to even.

34:28.80
Rob Loughan
Ah.

34:36.98
Rob Loughan
We use theojis to give you an idea of what kind of data there’s in there but from the beginning we made a decision to not score because scoring means you’re judging someone even if it’s algorithmic. It’s you’re judging someone so we.

34:37.79
Matt Watson
Use uber.

34:54.33
Rob Loughan
Fancy ourselves as curators of data but we don’t know your context I mean if you want to sell your house tomorrow your car and the person you know has sold drugs ten years ago and now they’re the you know now they’re ah rehabilitated a nice person or doing good things in a world. Um, you may be okay, selling them their car.

34:57.44
Matt Watson
Yeah.

35:12.86
Rob Loughan
But you might not be okay, sending your kid over their house. You know, go on a vacation with them or something that’s up to you That’s context. So no, we don’t score we never will. We’re curators of data. We hand it to you and you decide on your own. What to do that data. No scoring.

35:21.60
Matt Watson
Um, yeah.

35:26.81
Matt Watson
Well once again, today’s episode of startup puzzle was sponsored by full scale helping you build a software team quickly and affordably reminded everybody that you can find us on Facebook join our our Facebook group called the startup puzzle chat. Um, lots of good conversation in there every week um we like to stir the pot and get people talking and have some interesting conversation. So as we start to wind down the episode here I was curious what other kinds of um tips you have for other entrepreneurs. Obviously you’ve done a lot of things had a lot of success. All in your twenty s I can’t believe you’re still 29 um, tell you know what? what other kind of suggestions huh what are the kind of suggestions. Do you have for ah aspiring entrepreneurs out there.

36:01.58
Rob Loughan
Ah, they God The video is not on I said Thank God The video’s not on.

36:12.20
Rob Loughan
Hey I’ve had my share of failures too I’m not perfect I’ve I’ve been involved in a lot of deals and there’s a couple there’s a couple I would that I always tell the people I invest in and you know one of them is don’t run out of money. Doesn’t matter if you raise a million a hundred thousand or a hundred million you have to treat that money like it’s your lifeblood because if you run out of it look the market’s closing right now if you’re a startup and you’re running out of cash. The probability of raising that cash right now has just decreased significantly always guard. Your money and don’t chase every shiny ball because eventually you will not deliver an app that the market wants and by the way there’s an article in Forbes it was written that I I thought was brilliant and it basically gave all the reasons companies fail 42% of them fail not because they run out of money they run they they. Fail at because they built the wrong thing and the market doesn’t want it because they chased the first person it said I love what you have come build this for me. It’s not you know it’s off the it’s off the the core ah vision and by the way I’ve made that mistake that’s why I know I made that mistake myself

37:09.14
Matt Watson
Yep yep.

37:21.31
Matt Watson
Yep I have to that? Yep, that was the problem that was problem with my last company is we really we built an amazing platform that really did like 5 things. But if we would picked one of those 5 we probably would have been more successful than trying to do all 5

37:24.67
Rob Loughan
Yeah I made that mistake so it’s money.

37:31.42
Rob Loughan
Um, yeah I mean you can almost say that we did that with ferret I I mean I was way oversubscribed when I went out to raise money for this. The money came so fast. And we did expand our footprint because we kept hearing people wanted more and more more and more I probably could have gone on the market six months earlier and make money. But for the company and get it. You know, get it on solid footing but we we chose to add more in hindsight I probably could have gone the market with less the the other one is. Team you know you built you built a a couple of companies. You know a few companies. You know exactly what I’m talking about if you don’t have I call it the roundtable if you don’t have all your bases covered and there’s a weak spot. It will bite you and possibly kill you right? So if you don’t have a good finance person. Even though you’re all like shit hot tech people and you got a whole bunch of people that want to buy your product. There’s all kinds of things that can kill you if you don’t have a good ah you know finance person. Um, and and then there’s culture I mean there’s a thousand things but I’d say those are the top 5 and I’ve made all the mistakes. And I’m done right? a few times lucky enough but building the right culture if you don’t get it right in the beginning it’ll kill you somewhere in the middle getting the right culture of the company. You know what? what your true ethos are and what you’re trying to do because that will attract the right people people will come to the company because they like the ethos of what you’re trying to do.

38:58.17
Matt Watson
Um, yep, yep.

39:04.20
Rob Loughan
Like my delusions of grandeur right? I’m trying to make the world a safe place.

39:06.71
Matt Watson
Well I appreciate you trying to do so and I’m excited to see what you know what comes to this is you go from beta to journal availability and and launch the product and wish you all the best and um, again, this was Rob today with ferret ai talking about. You know, security and due diligence and trying to identify risk in the people that you’re dealing with and thanks again, Rob for for being on the show all right, take care.

39:32.19
Rob Loughan
It was a pleasure thanks for having me Matt cheers.

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