Episode 040 : 12/09/2021
Ben Parr, Octane AI
Ben Parr is the President and Co-Founder of Octane AI, the zero-party data marketing platform for Shopify and Shopify Plus merchants. He is an award-winning entrepreneur, investor, journalist, and the author of the best-selling book Captivology: The Science of Capturing People’s Attention. Previously, Ben was the Co-Editor and Editor-at-Large of Mashable, where he wrote more than 2,400 articles on technology, media, and startups. Ben is also a member of Forbes 30 Under 30.
Host: Ned Hayes and Ashley Coates
Guest: Ben Parr
Listen to every episode
Topics discussed in this episode
- When Octane AI was started the relationship between consumer and brand was fundamentally broken
- 96% of US customers opted out of various forms of online data tracking
- Zero-party data creates more revenue, lower churn, and happier customers
- A key to remote work is to create a central “water cooler” space for everyone to collaborate and share experiences
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Ned Hayes [00:00:01] Welcome to SparkPlug, where we talk to smart people working at the intersection of business and technology. Brought to you by SnowShoe your smarter loyalty leader, SparkPlug is happy to welcome Ben Parr to the podcast today. He is the President and co-founder of Octane AI, the zero party data marketing platform for Shopify and Shopify Plus Merchants. He is an award winning entrepreneur, investor and author of the bestselling book Captivology The Science of Capturing People’s Attention. Previously, he was the coeditor and editor at large at Mashable. He’s also a member of the Forbes 30 Under 30. So welcome to the podcast, Ben.
Ben Parr [00:00:44] Thank you for having me.
Ashley Coates [00:00:46] Thank you so much for being here. Ben, will you start by telling us a little bit about yourself? We’d love to hear about your background in addition to what Ned just mentioned.
Ben Parr [00:00:56] Sure. So I’m going to go backwards because I think that’s more fun. So hi everyone. I’m Ben. I am President co-founder of Octane AI. My co-founders and I started the company in 2016. And what we’re extremely good at and what we’re the best and especially in Shopify, is data collection and helping stores learn about their customers in a way they haven’t been able to do before. You know this direct data about their customers. We call that zero party data. So this is instead of like, I’m just tracking what the clicking or tracking, what they purchased, this is actually information that the customer volunteers, you know what they’re looking for, where they’re shopping for their size, their allergies, whatever is really important for you as a store, to be on a cat or a dog. And then we provide products that help our customers and Shopify brands collect this data using quizzes and conversational pop ups, and then leverage that data for deeper personalization, which is the real secret being able to leverage this information for more personalized emails and more personalized text messages and just a better customer relationship and even changing what happens on the website itself.
Ashley Coates [00:01:58] That’s fantastic. Thank you so much. So speaking of Octane AI, which you mentioned you co-founded in 2016. Can you tell us what you saw in the market for your company? What led you to founding this company and what’s your company’s mission? I know you touched on that a little bit, but if you can just go deeper with that.
Ben Parr [00:02:17] So let me kind of give you a little bit of two pieces because when we first started the company, it was not e-commerce and it was not zero party data. It was conversational commerce I would give you. And so it’s all a big part of what we’re doing. And when we first started the company, we realized that the relationship between consumer brand was fundamentally broken. It was very transactional in one way and still is being a just like a blast to everybody versus like if you could actually have a conversation to make it feel conversational and actually provide real conversation between the consumer, the brand, you could actually make it mutually beneficial for both and actually make it a better experience for all. And so we start with messenger chat bots to do that, but we’ve evolved since then to really help our customers do the same things that we’ve always wanted to help them do, which is like build better relationships with their customers and help customers build better relationships with their favorite brands using these kinds of conversational technologies like a shop quiz, our flagship product. I think we’ve added to that mission since then. I think a big thing that we’re really focused on is enabling our merchants to really control their own destinies and rely less on third party data sources like Facebook. I think this week was a stark reminder for a lot of e-commerce brands for those who are listening. This is the week when Facebook just disappeared off the internet for a day and we had customers who had big dips in revenue because that’s the majority of the traffic or the revenue. And they’re realizing that they’re so reliant on Facebook data that a single outage, a single thing, a single change like iOS 14.5, which changed all of Facebook and Instagram ads, could fundamentally harm your business. And the only way to survive that is to have your own data set and to use technologies to help you control your own destiny. That’s like everything that we’re trying to build for the world of e-commerce.
Ashley Coates [00:04:10] Absolutely. And we very much wanted to talk with you about these most recent revelations about Facebook. Can you chat further about your thoughts on how companies might change data collection in the future? And what will these revelations and congressional hearings actually do for the future of data collection?
Ben Parr [00:04:28] Well, the first is it’s already changed because of it wasn’t even necessarily the government or thinks it was Apple that made the first change which was making it so that users could opt out of data tracking. I don’t know if you know if top of your head what percentage of US customers opted out of some form of data tracking? Anyone want to venture a guess?
Ned Hayes [00:04:51] I guess 30%.
Ben Parr [00:04:53] 96%
Ned Hayes [00:04:54] 96?! That’s amazing!
Ben Parr [00:04:56] I’ll send you the articles. 96% opted out of some form of tracking, which makes sense when you think about it, when you’re given that option, who’s going to be like, Hell yeah I want to be tracked. But like the result is actually that the data sets that aggregators like Facebook are using are now very incomplete because that was the data they were using in particular for retargeting. And the result is like when you’re trying to do retargeting it, it’s just much more spray and pray than it was before, and it’s not hitting the right people. But also on that flip side, you know, this is just like the first volley of changes that are happening. Yes, government changes are things. But Google is going to be removing support for third party cookies beginning in 2023, and that alone will fundamentally change advertising once again. And more of these changes are going to be coming. It’s not like Apple’s going to go and reverse their decision. It’s final and it’s going to continue to like, have more people opt out more like Google and Android, they’re going to have the same options, too. And so the result is that it has to already fundamentally change. And for a lot of e-commerce brands, they’re already feeling that change. And we’re seeing that like I’ve talked with customers for 20, 30, 40% of the revenue. It is like they’ve seen huge drops in their ad conversion rates, which is, I think, why it’s so. So it went from nice to have to have something like a quiz or zero party data collection strategy to a must have right because like the quizzes and zero party data, you use that data. I can go over and over, you can make 30 40% more revenue. You can build a better relationship with customers. But now it’s fundamental to your business strategy because you do not have same access to Facebook as you did before, and you can’t rely on Facebook and you have to rely on yourself.
Ashley Coates [00:06:50] Can you explain the difference for our listeners in these data types? So we are all clear on all of the differences between these different types of data.
Ben Parr [00:06:59] This comes up super simple, simple versions. Third party data data that you don’t collect. It’s collected and aggregated by other parties, and you don’t really have direct access to that data. You’re borrowing that data. That’s like Facebook, that’s Google. They’re aggregating data across like two hundred two thousand two billion websites, and you borrow that in the form of ads. First party data is that you’re directly tracking. And so in particular is tracking user behavior. So it’s things like they clicked on a link, they made a purchase, they purchased this specific item. This is information that’s super valuable and you need to be collecting that. Zero party data, this data that’s directly volunteered from the customer. And so that’s when they’re saying, I have this problem. I’m looking for this thing. I am this size. I have this figure or I’m looking for this style. And this is the kind of information you would get if you were having a one on one conversation with somebody in the store. And there hasn’t really been an equivalent until we did the shop quiz. There hasn’t been an equivalent for online, and yet you can already tell that the most valuable data you could probably collect. Think about like if your beauty brand, what information you really want to know, what skin type they have, what allergies they have, what they’re looking for and what they’re concerned about. If you’re a pet brand, you want to know what kind of test they have, what kind of allergies that pet has, the size, the age of that pet. Those are the key questions that actually impact whether somebody buys and what you should be telling, and that’s what zero party data is.
Ned Hayes [00:08:31] Got it. So right now, you already talked about companies shifting away from third party and first party data, especially into zero party data. If you could just make a pitch, why should businesses shift into zero party data and actually asking people what they want, what their shoe size is and actually asking people to volunteer data? Why does that build better customer relationships?
Ben Parr [00:08:55] My first pitch will be Do you like making more revenue and relying a lot less on Facebook ads? If so, go and do zero party data. If you like lower churn and happier customers, you should also go to zero party. It’s one of the very rare things it’s actually mutually beneficial for you and the customer. Why does it make the experience of the customer better? It doesn’t have to send like 10 emails that are like random blasts. You can just send one being like, I know that you’re a first time user of eyelashes. I know that you are a connoisseur of energy drinks or wine, whatever it is.
Ned Hayes [00:09:30] But the key point there is that I know that because you actually chose to tell me rather than I creepily discovered it.
Ben Parr [00:09:37] Right? That’s also one of the most ethical ways to collect data because it is a direct volunteer. It’s like, Look, I’m asking you these questions so that I can give you these recommendations and personalized stuff, and you’d be shocked by how many people not just do a conversational pop up or quiz or a survey like that, but will do it multiple times because it actually is very helpful to them. Most people who go to a store do not actually know what they’re exactly looking for. They need some help. They need some guidance. That’s what a guided shopping experience quiz. You know, it’s almost like a limiting term. It’s like a product to recommend or get fined or whatever it is. A style recommender, a like skin care consultation. They’re all the same kind of vein. They’re like some kind of quiz like experience or question based experience that helps customers make decisions. And you have great confidence in their purchasing decisions and the result is higher conversions.
Ashley Coates [00:10:37] So Ben, our sponsor, is SnowShoe and SnowShoes customers are mostly consumers in brick and mortar retail stores who have store fronts. So how does zero party look for brick and mortar locations?
Ben Parr [00:10:54] So first thing this is like you put in mortar store pioneered by just like asking questions, right? Like literally, I always do the comparison between Let’s for the in-person, which is like the in-person version is what you’ve always done, which is the store assoicate that who asks you key questions and then uses that information to make smart recommendations. And also like asking the right amount of questions because as an example, if somebody walks into a shoe store, if you want to ask what questions like, what your shoe size and like, I’ve got one for you. You mean, like, how would you even know that that makes no sense at all? It’s actually going to ask more questions to get to that personalized level in that personalized layer. I mean, the reality is like, you’re doing this in the store, but you need to be doing the same thing online. And this actually helps guide if you’re doing online, too, which is just like if you ask those same questions that you ask in the store online, you’re going to do a lot better. So it’s already happening in the stores. I think the one maybe big difference between the two is like online is built for like storing that data to use in future pieces. I think that’s where it can be really cool to in brick and mortar. Obviously, someone comes back to a store they remember, but you can imagine, like, especially in certain kinds of shop, getting the recommendation afterwards, being like, I know that you were really in the market for this type of ski or this type of snow shoe or this or whatever. You know, this thing is just coming out. It’s just coming in and might be for you. That’s like the kind of cool thing that you do. That’s like, that’s all zero party data, zero party data is just the actual directing and relationship, and it either looks like a human talking person or it looks like a conversational experience like a quiz online.
Ned Hayes [00:12:35] Thanks. So what makes Octane AI a must buy? What sets you apart from the competition?
Ben Parr [00:12:41] Oh, so Octane AI, I would tell you in the world of Shopify, at least we definitely have become the default when it comes to quizzes. And I think that’s because it’s like in the past, the main competitor was custom building your own quiz and conversational experience, and brands would spend tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars to build these custom experiences. You can see some of them in Glossier and others. But the problem always has been like even they cost a lot of money to build those things, and every time you want to update it, it costs a lot of money and they’re not integrated in with the rest of your marketing stack. So like part one is how do I build a beautiful guided shopping experience? But the more important part, too, is how do I leverage that data for something more meaningful with my customers? And that is what Octane AI does like. It’s integrated with your email platform. You use Klaviyo. It’s so deeply integrated, so precise. The first email that it sends out, you want to personalize the SMS messages that can do that across all the platforms. You want to take that data and go and leverage it elsewhere or like even just customize what the website does. That’s where the real magic of Octane AI happens is. And you know, we’ve been doing this for thousands of Shopify branch even. Do it for Shopify themselves. You can go to their POS to their hardware store and you can actually see an Octane AI quiz there. I mean, the overall was we just felt the best needed product to go and build these beautiful experiences. But the secret sauce is actually the leveraging of that data. Once someone has taken a quiz for your email, for your ass, the best for every part of that customer journey or something, that’s much more meaningful.
Ned Hayes [00:14:21] Well, it sounds like Shopify is your main focus. So how does Shopify make it simple? What is that company getting right?
Ben Parr [00:14:29] I think the thing that Shopify is doing right and I think lots of good companies do right is making it easy to get started and making it easy to do things without having to hire super advanced teams that constantly had an update everything right? Like you’re a small business owner, you don’t have time to think about all the little nuances of the technology. You have products to sell. You’ve got marketing. You’ve got sales. You’ve got deals to make. You’ve got fundraising, whatever it might be. Shopify and we followed the same thing. Making it just really easy to get results and get setup and started. You want to set up a conversational pop up, which is like a quiz within a pop up, that’s our newest product being able to like instead of just begging someone for their email address actually like giving them help by asking what they’re looking for and actually getting some guidance that takes the five minutes to go and set up. We want to make it super easy to go and just start collecting any piece of data because the one thing that everyone should just start doing, no matter what is collecting some form of zero party data now. Because even if you aren’t leveraging it today, you can leverage it tomorrow. And as a result, we all seeing the time to future proof yourself is now.
Ashley Coates [00:15:37] That’s really, really valuable. So, Ben, I want to talk about your book. You wrote a bestselling book in 2015 Captivology, and I believe it was named the top marketing book that year by a strategy and business magazine.
Ben Parr [00:15:51] There are some awards.
Ashley Coates [00:15:53] There are some awards. So if you’re writing this book in 2021, what would be the most notable changes that you would make?
Ben Parr [00:16:00] I think I could have written more and I think now, but also, honestly, probably we wouldn’t have known it until the last four or five years. More about the protection of your attention and abuse of attention. Like even more about why certain things like TikTok, get your attention, but also like why certain things like politics over the last four years or, you know, specific tribes and how that psychologically works, because I can see immediately like the political divide, the tribalism without getting too deep into that side. And there’s a lot of scientific knowledge about that. I can see that. And if you know that you can understand like I might be falling down a specific path because of different psychological biases, or I could see why others are falling down that path. Here’s how I would have a conversation with that is a significantly different role now than it was in 2015 when my book came out, and I think it’s actually more relevant than ever. But from the perspective, especially of how do I protect my own attention and understand how my attention is being channeled by others?
Ned Hayes [00:17:08] Right? Well, you wrote that grabbing attention is absolutely critical. So can you talk about the different stages of attention?
Ben Parr [00:17:15] Yes. So in the book, I have like two key things. I talk about the three stages of attention, and I talk about the seven triggers that capture our attention. And they’re universal across cultures and age groups and themes. They’re universal to human nature. So attention, most people think of it as like an on and off switch, you pay attention or you don’t. But really, I interviewed over 50 different PhDs and attention and memory as part of my research for Captivology. Attention doesn’t work like that. Attention is a gradual kind of increasing slope, and so I use a bonfire as the analogy. So the first stage is the spark, the ignition. We call that immediate attention. And that’s like our short term memory. That’s like, you hear a thunder crack, you hear a lightning bolt, you smell something really bad. It’s protective mechanism. It’s defense. That’s why we have those mechanisms, that turn our head if we hear a loud sound, then there’s short attention and that is like our short term memory. That’s like our, you know, I’m paying attention to a podcast or a TV show or to one particular thing. And that can last maybe a couple of days or a couple of hours or a couple of minutes. And that is, in my analogy, the kindling or the bonfire. But really, as a brand, for example, or business owner, you want to build the bonfire to want to get to the bonfire stage. The logs lit the fire that can burn on its own for a long, long time. And we call that long attention to immediate attention and short attention, long attention being the three stages and long attention is related to long term memory, long term interest. The difference between advertising and hoping someone clicks versus building a brand being like an apple where you can just announce something and people will go and come. That didn’t happen overnight. They spent decades building that bonfire to the point where people will come to them. That’s where you want to be, and that’s what you want to go towards. And I talk a lot in the book about how you do that.
Ned Hayes [00:19:12] What do you have any other book projects underway? It sounds like you have a lot of insight to share.
Ben Parr [00:19:16] The answer is yes, but I can’t yet talk about what exactly it is. But it’s a slight departure from the last book, but a really fascinating subject and topic. It is really hard to run a venture backed company and write a book, I will say. But you know what? I’m nothing, if not superhuman. So it’s been. I needed a couple of years to recover because writing a book is extremely hard. It was one of the hardest things I ever had to do, but I’ve recovered, and there’s some very interesting topics in the world and some important conversations I think we all need to have.
Ashley Coates [00:19:55] And well we look forward to your next book.
Ben Parr [00:20:00] Yes, I’m going to have to put up a website that might have to do that and just be like, “Find out about Ben’s next book, topic? Undisclosed. Date? Launch? Undisclosed. People getting interviewed? Undisclosed.
Ned Hayes [00:20:14] Stealth book, stealth book right?
Ben Parr [00:20:15] Steal book? Undisclosed!
Ashley Coates [00:20:18] Nice! And that will be the title!
Ben Parr [00:20:20] And the three people will sign up for it.
Ned Hayes [00:20:22] Hey, sign us up, we’ll be two of them.
Ashley Coates [00:20:25] Yeah, we’ll be two them. So then I want to shift to talking about remote work culture. My understanding is that Octane started as a remote company that that was there from the beginning, and then you were named one of the 2021 best companies for remote workers. So can you tell us how you made that happen and what your secret is for creating a successful remote work culture?
Ben Parr [00:20:52] Well, we started all remote, almost out of necessity. My co-founder, CEO Matt, bestfriend, product genius. He was in Orange County at the time, he’s from there I was in San Francisco. Our co-founder, CTO Leif was in Seattle, and so we had to start remote in the beginning. And then we added our VP of product Megan Barry who has such experience building remote engineering and product teams, and we became a remote company, for sure. But it’s been a huge advantage, as you can imagine, especially in the last couple of years, because we were perfectly built for a world where nobody could see each other person. And so we have like 60 plus people in 14 countries. There’s no one secret, obviously, but like, we’re intentional. I think the biggest thing we’re intentional about making sure that we’re doing this to build team camaraderie community. We’re intentional about making sure that we have frequently team retreats, even if it’s virtual, ideally in-person in the near future, because there is a little bit of that is good. But even virtual ones where like you have teams work together across different departments so that they can build relationships and come up with ideas and do things together, we have like product challenges where they come up with new product ideas or new marketing ideas and different kinds of teams. I think a lot is just about the hiring and when we hire really happy, really motivated self-starters, and that’s really important in remote, we’re not going to be like, Yo, you need to do these 12 things and I’m gonna checkin every hour with you on it. We’re just like, Well, this is thing you need gets on. You already know the only goal is go in like building our video in bigger customers, happier whenever the simple goal is, and then we’ll just check in and make sure those things are happening. I’m here to help you push correct because I think some people over manage and over micromanage, in particular with brokers that we’re not doing enough that time of the day. The reality is we’re not machines that could work at perfect efficiency from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. or 6 p.m.. Some of us, you know, we might have a big spurt in the morning and then a big spurt in the evening. Some of us, it might really all be in the morning. We need to do meetings in the afternoon. For some of us, it might be that we need a break in the middle to like to go and work out. And that’s one of the beauties of remote work and what we try to go and support. And then there’s like different kinds of benefits are really important. One thing that happens remote work is people tend to have sometimes a harder time disconnecting, or at least not people not taking enough of their PTO. So we put in paid paid vacation as a as a benefit that we will pay you a thousand dollars to go and take a week vacation straight and like you’ve got to take a week vacation straight or we will not give you that money. And we’re trying to do more things like that.
Ned Hayes [00:23:35] Wow. Wow. Really pushing people to find their best self by taking some time off?
Ben Parr [00:23:41] I mean, again, it’s interesting the conversation around unlimited PTO because I think as a, you know, idea of a benefit, they can be really great, but it’s only great if you’re actually using that time. And so we’re really encouraging our team at that time. You know, we did summer Fridays to for people take a little more time off on Fridays before we get to the more intense Black Friday season, which is like our super bowl.
Ned Hayes [00:24:03] So as companies have had to shift into remote work, what have you seen really succeed and what have you seen fail? I mean, what lessons has the business industry in general learned from this?
Ben Parr [00:24:16] I have strong opinion that a lot of hybrid models do not work. Some do. But the hybrid model that does not work is one central office and then a bunch of remote employees. Because what happens is you get two company cultures, one that’s happening. They’re talking with each other at the office and one that sounded like on their own talk a little bit through Slack. One thing that we know is we were intentional. We’re all remote, 14 countries. All the conversations happen in one place, slack, and that’s like the water cooler. So no one’s actually missing out and everyone’s having the conversations there. And it’s all a central kind of thing. And it’s a one culture about two cultures. And so like, look in-person, like a full company, there are real benefits. And for some people, that’s the way they prefer to work or want to work, and they want to build their company that way. And that makes sense, and for others, like going all remote and I think, frankly, a better advantage to recruiting is going all remote, but it’s really hard to have a fully hybrid. I think it could work if you have like hubs like if you have little hubs and especially if you’re a certain size at different places for people to read at once in a while. But if you’re trying to go hybrid, you end up with two cultures. You don’t want to have two cultures.
Ashley Coates [00:25:20] That’s really interesting. Any advice for small businesses who are struggling to adopt or maintain a company that works from home?
Ben Parr [00:25:28] If you’re a small business and you’ve been thrown into going all remote, I think the first thing is there’s certain habits and certain behaviors that you almost have to kind of get rid of and new behaviors you have to add. One is, and this is a really important one at Octane AI when something is starting to get heated, you take it to a call or to a Zoom, you do not let that happen within the slack. People misinterpret typed words versus having back and forth. Be clear about when, which time in which platform you communicate a certain thing. You have a super long piece of thing that you need, people read. Send it over email. Quick by casual conversation, majority staff, slack or whichever platform you might be using. But like that personal piece or you have tough feedback or you want to talk through something? Got to get on a call. I think a lot is also just the mental piece, the mental state. We invested like we pay for tools that give our team the ability to like, get calm or get meditative or take a little time off or self educate wherever they go and need to do and just being like, Look, we’re not here to like, tell you what to do each day. We’re here to have a shared goal and to decide what’s the best way to achieve those shared goals. And we trust you to go and do it. And I think trust is a huge part of building a strong remote team. And look, you can tell if somebody is performing or not. The numbers do not lie and you’re just like, Well, you go do the things, but your KPIs or these and these are the numbers we need to have in order to be successful. So I hold you to those if we agree on them, what we’ll do to those numbers. But I almost do not care which way you go and do it. As long as you can go and hit it.
Ned Hayes [00:27:12] Right, it doesn’t matter anymore if you’re walking your dog in the middle of the day or if you like to take a bike ride, or if you work in a coffee shop or you work in your home office as long as you’re hitting your KPIs, business is successful. And this is the change that I’ve seen, that companies are beginning to actually care about what matters rather than if your butt is in a seat.
Ben Parr [00:27:33] Right. And one other one too. And I think this is especially true for executives in some creative roles, is put time on the calendar to just think, you know, we can be in conference rooms and cancel things all day. I’m guilty of it, but I try to put blocks where I’m just like, I’m taking time to think and process. Maybe it is like, I go and take a walk, and I think through what’s the next thing we need to be doing or like, we’ve run into this problem. What are the solutions to it? Or even just talk it out with one of my co-founders to go back and forth on that, but need to like sometimes I spending under your schedule put that in or just be intentional about it.
Ned Hayes [00:28:09] Right? Well, let’s circle back a data collection for a sec. And this is a question that I think has been really interesting in terms of the answers I’ve received. So from you, Ben, I’d love to hear what’s the future look like, you know, 10 years out with this data collection look like?
Ben Parr [00:28:25] 10 years out. I think data collection is entirely voluntary. It’s entirely zero party. It’s not that data collection it’s going to go away. It’s that third party data collection is going to go away. Third party cookies are gone. Third party like general advertising is much less emphasized, and the emphasis goes much more on the front end towards super cool creative, the super strong resident branding. And I think on like the back end, it’s really on the data side, directly volunteer data like experiences that are really beneficial to the customer and are mutually beneficial for both sides. It’s a deeper level of personalization, which I think is expected, and we’re going to be more expected. If you just get a text blast that’s 50 percent off, you’re going to be much more turned off in five years than if you get one that’s being like, Hey, you know, we have our newest cat food and it is based off of tuna and it is high quality. And we got the tuna from x-y and we know that you really care about sustainable food for your cat. That’s going to be a much more welcome text. And I think that’s the direction we’re going. And I think by then we will be at a real place, which just like I don’t know how much will even be talking about third party data at that point, because there won’t even be a way to collect that. They’re all being one zero part.
Ashley Coates [00:29:43] So Ben we have one last question for you what do you want your legacy to be and what do you want to be remembered for?
Ben Parr [00:29:50] Asking the easy questions huh? I’ve had a motto since I was in college and it’s corny, but it’s kind of been, I have the ability and that’s the responsiblity to change the world for the better. And I have always thought about things in terms of not like everything I have to do has to be the maximum impact I could possibly make because I think there’s a lot of things you have to go and learn and do and build to make those kinds of impacts over time. But I have gained through my different careers at Mashable, through Captivology, through Octane, different relationships, different knowledge, different things that can help me help a lot of people. And I have helped a lot of people, right? I sit on the board of an amazing nonprofit called the Leila Janah Foundation, which owns a majority of an AI data training company called Sound Resources. We focus on getting work. And so we train people in impoverished regions of Uganda and Kenya and other places, especially in Africa, on digital work, which it appears the charity. We are like, we’re going to train you on image tagging and data tracking and these skills that are universal all across the world. But you will be very valuable for and then help them get employed. Sometimes we directly employ them through Sound Resource. A lot of times they go on to start their businesses or join other companies. But now suddenly they’re able to radically increase their income and bring people out of poverty. And that’s been an incredibly exciting experience, and that’s one of the ways I want to, just if I’m talking about legacy long term that I did have the ability of responsible and I did do things to help move world forward in a more positive direction. And what exactly that looks like two months from now or two decades from now? I don’t have 100 percent clarity, and I don’t think I need to have a hundred percent clarity. I know the things that I’m doing are building up to more and more bigger things over time. It’s kind of like, you know, building a foundation and building layers on top of like the legacy, I suppose.
Ned Hayes [00:31:44] Great. Well, great to talk to you today, Ben. Really appreciate the conversation
Ben Parr [00:31:49] Yeah, thank you for having me.
Ned Hayes [00:31:52] Thanks for listening today to the SparkPlug podcast SnowShoe.io Your smarter, loyalty Leader. Smart Plug is a wholly owned property of SnowShoe all content. Copyright 2021 SparkPlug Media.