In the age of information, personal data is the new oil
Every piece of data in the world boils down to 1’s and 0’s. In programming speak, these are called bits, and they are ‘flying’ everywhere around us. As a marketer, I have always been intrigued by the ubiquity and enormity of data, and how powerful data sets can be used to uncover great insights about people and improve our lives. Customer-obsessed technology brands have shifted the paradigm and gotten us hooked on services like Netflix, AirBnB, ridesharing, Amazon’s 1-click delivery, and my personal favorite, Spotify’s customized mix-tapes. Our smartphones have turned into magic wands, exposing us to digital experiences that were once inconceivable less than a decade ago.
The visual language is based on building blocks representing 1’s and 0’s. These symbolize the creation of “context” that surrounds a person in specific moments.
In the information economy, digital transformation is sweeping across industries all over the globe. Even Google is starting to feel rather archaic at 22 years old. Will people 5 years from today still be doing online searches? The pendulum seems to be swinging the other way. With the new breed of destination apps, information now finds us as opposed to us looking for it.
But there’s another aspect to living in the age of information that has exposed a darker side, a Pandora’s box that has created echo chambers, social media addiction, data scandals, and the list goes on. What exactly have we unleashed?
Data is the raw material that fuels artificial intelligence engines and brings you more personalized, streamlined experiences tailored to your needs and preferences. This can range from the next movie that starts playing before the credits of the last one even started rolling to shopping recommendations popping up on your Instagram feed that look vaguely familiar. This level of familiarity, where a brand knows us so well – has become commonplace, and in many cases not even questioned. But do you know what happens to your data when you give it up? What’s the true cost of receiving this degree of personalization?
Many of the big tech giants act as storefronts, where you give up your data through your eCommerce purchases or through your actions and viewing history. But the reality is that the interactions don’t always end there. In some cases your data is sold to third parties, in fact, there is a whole dark economy transacting with your data through brokers. Your data is being sold hundreds of times without you even realizing it. To keep your data safe, you would have to opt out of these companies one by one.
The Social Dilemma, sounded the alarm to data mining and manipulative technology in our social lives and beyond, exposing how addiction and privacy breaches are features, not bugs, of social media platforms. Is it surprising that Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Equifax, or countless other tech giants have experienced the biggest data breaches in recent history?
A champion for better data
Flybits strives to be a data company with a better purpose. Its founder and CEO, Hossein Rahnama has bold ideas about the future of banking in the data economy. As he explains it, the difference between big banks and big tech is trust: banks have it, and Silicon Valley doesn’t. People trust banks not just to manage their financial assets but also to secure their financial data, and therein lies the future. By becoming a good custodian of customers’ data, they could serve a purpose beyond being transactional entities that move money around.
Flybits opens a door to a new world of banking. One that puts banks at the center of a good data ecosphere, enabling them to act as trusted data custodians, bringing relevant advice, information, and recommendations at the moment they need it. But perhaps even more important is that with Flybits, financial institutions give control back to the customer – so they can choose when to give up their data and for what purpose. It’s privacy by design.
Flybits can orchestrate powerful data sets. But the bigger question we ask is: why do we do it? Why create Flybits in the first place? Because we want something better – better than the mediocre data that serves people irrelevant and contextless ads. And something better than the broken data ecosystem we live in now. For Better Data is a mindset, a guiding principle, a description of what we do and what we believe in.
People deserve better, more secure, and more relevant data. And Flybits believes that this approach can actually make the world a better place. That may sound like an audacious vision to some, but in an era where it often feels like we have no control over our data, there is something reassuring about companies with a conscience. Purpose-driven technology brands aspire to re-think standard approaches to solving problems and be an evolutionary force in changing how we live and do things.