The Tech Workforce

Episode 270

State of Identity Podcast


Episode 270

The Tech Workforce


Cameron D'Ambrosi, Managing Director at Liminal


Andrew Hine, Founder, CEO and CTO of Reputationaire

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Cameron [00:00:03] Welcome everyone to state of identity. I’m your host, Cameron D’Ambrosio. Joining me this week is Andrew Hines, founder, CEO and CTO of Réputationaire Andrew Hine, welcome the state of identity.


Andrew [00:00:17] Thanks very much for having me.


Cameron [00:00:18] It’s my pleasure, you know, I always love bringing young, you know, enterprises on their founders on to kind of talk about what’s on this cutting edge of the digital identity space, really fascinated by what you’re building to step on our episode too much. But we did have the pleasure of of connecting once previously for me to learn about, you know what it is that reputation is and excited to to share this with our audience. But before we get into all of that, I do love to have you share a little bit about yourself, your background, people’s on ramps, as I like to say to the digital identity space, are so varied. Oftentimes so interesting really shape how they have decided to tackle the set of identity problems that they’re looking to solve for. So what was your on ramp, if you will, to this really exciting digital identity space?


Andrew [00:01:12] So I’d be interested in dog ownership for a long time. So I’m a techie. His Masters of Oxford University was sponsored by the UK Intelligence Service. Whether it worked? And obviously, working working with the UK intelligence service very spot my interest in kind of data ownership and giving people control of the data, not not just any kind of terms of privacy, but also in terms of kind of empowering them from from the data they already have and allow them to use that kind of benefit. The reason we started off with rectilinear five years ago was because my co-founder, I wasn’t able to rent a Melbourne apartment, and that wasn’t because you didn’t have a job. It wasn’t because you didn’t have money. It wasn’t because you didn’t have permanent residency in Australia. It was because the Indian rental references with Indian names and phone numbers were put in the too hard bucket our Melbourne estate agents. So her story is not unique. I think conventional requirements for the antiquated local reference checks, local work experience, local qualifications and local credit scores obviously affect everyone to some degree. I think it was massive exclusion, which I think is ridiculous in 2022. And obviously, as you as your listeners know this, there’s one billion people on the planet who are unable to prove their ID. So with reputation, I’m trying to kind of achieve my life mantra, which is to make significant improvements throughout Amendment four. And that’s what I’m trying to do. Raptors now, which is working towards seven of the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals to really kind of empower people with that data and enable them to use that to improve their life situation.


Cameron [00:02:51] Fantastic. I think you’re on ramp common in in one thread, which is people seeing a major pain point, which in many cases in the modern world we live in can really be tracked back to digital identity and looking to solve something to help make that pain point better. So first of all, kudos for the ambition to diving with both feet in and really looking to make an impact. If I were to. I guess summarize it a 15000 foot level. What reputation there does, is it safe to say that you’re helping to kind of plug the gap that national identity systems are kind of leaving behind when it comes to how your identity can be portable across whether it’s jobs, whether it’s legal jurisdictions, whether it’s careers, that fundamental misalignment that, you know, current identity systems are not really meeting the needs of users across the space, whether it’s enterprises or banks, governments, you name it.


Andrew [00:03:57] Exactly. So it’s not about kind of trying to help individuals overcome that lack of local references, lack of local work experience, lack of local credit scores, but not just not just those obviously important aspects, but also kind of help increase trust between individuals. Obviously, the world is moving digital very, very fast, sped up by the pandemic. There’s actually 3.4 billion people on the planet who already do have kind of what we think is required proof of trustworthiness and reliability and character and stuff and job skills solid away on the on gig economy and peer to peer websites. And that we use on a daily basis. So what we’re trying to is is an empower people with ownership of that data and then allow organizations that are reliant on applicants and sign ups like estate agents, employers peer to peer gig services, financial service providers allow them an ethical way to access to applicants existing ratings interviews about themselves money website because we believe additional data would help. Obviously, the individual overcome that lack of local references, lack of local work experience, lack of local credit score or lack of local trust, but also help the organization because I think organizations, at least they say they really want diversity and inclusion, and I think they’re doing a poor job in general of working towards that. And I think one way is because they don’t have the systems all the time or the knowledge of how to kind of overcome those people with lack of local references and work experience, for example, or credit scores. So we’re giving them an alternative way to kind of price risk and assess applicants as a kind of a real concrete tool that they can use today to increase diversity inclusion within the organization and within that customer base.


Cameron [00:05:53] So in terms of how you decided to move from, you know, identifying this problem around this lack of, you know, functional identity to launching reputation air, you know, what was that journey like? And I guess apologies for being blunt. But you know, what would you say is, is your secret sauce in terms of how you can succeed? You know, where we have seen others fail in terms of actually solving for what I think is a pretty common challenge, which is, you know, I have identity attributes about myself that I want to be able to prove, but for whatever reason, can’t seem to get, you know, a good enough set of proof that I can then share with another relying party.


Andrew [00:06:39] So actually, if you if you have an origin story, my co-founder, I wasn’t able to give her her rental. Jess used a printout of Airbnb reviews in the end, and she found this Asian who took. He saw more value in those more kind of authenticity than her a legitimate Indian rental references, which we obviously had Indian names and phone numbers we should just put in the to hard bucket. So. In terms of kind of our secret sauce, I think first of all, we need we need individuals who kind of realize there’s an alternative way out there to kind of overcome this lack of conventional references and that kind of thing. Obviously, the change is coming. I think individuals more and more want ownership. At the moment, I think people just kind of talking about owning that data, the Facebook data, whatever. But there’s more to it than that. You can actually own data from all these services and kind of pull them all into one place, which is what we do. And I think our secret sauce is Olmert University funded out provisional patent, which allows individuals to prove ownership of their public profiles on any website. So much of the socials. I don’t think there’s many organizations kind of doing that. Obviously, a lot of focus on the socials allowing you to kind of link link all those together and that kind of thing. We’re talking about kind of any public website. So kind of like Airbnb, Uber, eBay, these sites kind of not conventionally included in the social bracket because I think there’s a wealth of information from individuals because obviously, you know, success on that B and B depends on your Airbnb rating as a to hosting the guest. And that kind of says says volumes about you in terms of your offline kind of behavior. In Russia, we’ve actually done a two year study into proving the correlation between people’s online ratings, interviews and the real world offline traits. So we’ve been looking at the the big five ocean model, which is traits like conscientiousness and agreeableness, an excavation, and we proved that from people’s public content. There is a correlation, particularly in conscientiousness, which is great because, for example, employment conscientiousness has already been strongly linked to employability. So this white paper we’re shortly about to release if your readers listeners are interested, kind of scientifically prove that correlation. And hopefully that will kind of move the world in the direction of allowing individuals to kind of apply to the services. And with that, with that kind of wider dataset rather than kind of the rigid passport and local references and that kind of thing.


Cameron [00:09:41] Super interesting. So, you know, one of the ways that we really like to think about data or solutions within the digital identity space is, you know, is this solution segment or or solution powered by deterministic data sets. So, you know, something I guess most analogous to a traditional database, right? You know, Cameron last named D’Ambrosi employer, you know, liminal strategy partners address Brooklyn, New York, but obviously there’s a whole bunch of probabilistic technology out there as well where you are doing something like taking a set of behaviors and then crunching on them through some sort of algorithm to produce, you know, a trust score for lack of a better word. It sounds like you guys are hoping to kind of bridge the gap between these types of data sets and play in both spaces in the sense that you are both collecting, you know, some of these deterministic elements that might be associated with, you know, name, location, nationality, et cetera. But then also, you know, I guess it’s in the name of reputation, fair use these more probabilistic methods of assigning kind of a trust score to individuals


Andrew [00:10:52] that that’s a common assumption. So we actually don’t generate an overall trust score for individuals. And that’s on purpose, and there’s several reasons why we don’t do that. Number one is because who are we to kind of come up with a trust score for someone? People’s character is so detailed and multifaceted that I think that overall trust score kind of like these social media social media scores is kind of unfair and unrepresentative. So we perhaps to avoid doing that for all of our clients who do kind of need obviously that kind of risk a risk score in kind of terms of giving credit or something. We kind of obviously have API feeds that once the individual has authorized sharing their anonymous data with the organization, your organization can internally use that data to kind of come up with their own risk. But that’s obviously only within kind of the organization’s niche niche use case. So we don’t have any overall scores. It’s also we also it at this time don’t have any kind of conventional I.D. service integrated ever. We want to empower people with the data and obviously we want to work for diversity inclusion. So there’s a lot of what our system allows individuals to prove ownership of this data and then share that or we have the data anonymously. So you kind of like anonymous but trusted used to be our main slogan, so we can say we can we can improve using a provisional patent that this individual controls this happy account, for example, on these accounts, and we can then extract data for public data from those public profiles. And then, for example, maybe this user joined Airbnb in 2012. They’ve got 16 out of 17 positive reviews. They verified five forms of I.D. on Airbnb, but we don’t know which ones. So we don’t have access to the source of those I.D. proofs, and we may also give a ranking, but that’s only within that website. So, for example, because that individual has those data points, maybe they’re in the ranked in the top seven, 17 percent of trustworthy guests in New York, for example. So the individual reviews all that kind of metadata, including that that ranking just driven Airbnb and is then free to choose to share that with the organization. Along with that, the data points to other websites. Yes, that’s done anonymously by default, with the organization’s not not even getting access to that the verified public profile URL, although there is an option for that in our system because obviously some organizations, particularly estate agents, it turns out, really want to kind of want a deep dove into an individual’s kind of character by looking at kind of reading those reviews and ratings and that kind of thing.


Cameron [00:13:55] That’s super, super interesting. And then in terms of revoke ability, I presume the consumer can then kind of claw back that access as well from a single point of control, if you will.


Andrew [00:14:08] Yes. So by default, access is a kind of once one time snapshot view. So that data is provided kind of as one song at that is in time without ongoing access. So, yeah, so we really have kind of design is to kind of empower the individual. So the individual kind of debt really has that kind of security and data ownership and anonymous anonymity by your organization kind of generally kind of want more more access and that both for you to kind of regulatory frameworks, obviously like full ID checks and that kind of thing, but also because I think kind of just organizations just want to know everything about someone. And I think over time, they’re going to realize that maybe that maybe it’s best not to try to find out everything about someone and maybe they don’t actually need to as well. That’s definitely kind of what we’re trying to trying to push and encourage.


Cameron [00:15:06] Super fascinating. So I think from a consumer perspective, obviously the. Benefits of of such a system are legion, and I think in many ways, you know, consumers increasingly expect all of these facets of control and consent around their data to be adopted by platforms. Unfortunately, you know, the platforms themselves, that’s a wicket of a different stripe in terms of your approach to, you know, talking with these relying parties. You know, what is your approach in terms of recruiting them to the platform? You know, from my perspective, I fully believe that they’re completely remiss to not consider all of the benefits of these types of technologies. I don’t necessarily think that right now, the executives who run these platforms feel the same way. I still think they see to some degree ownership and control over user data. You know, as a core element that they want to monetize. How do you help them square that circle? And you know, how are you messaging out into the relying party ecosystem to kind of break through that resistance?


Andrew [00:16:22] Yeah, I totally agree with both your points that individuals are definitely kind of increasingly demanding this kind of ownership, and I think that’s fantastic. But yeah, organizations are reluctant and still want to own it. We don’t actually in terms of kind of websites that individuals can prove ownership of the public profiles on. We don’t require any integration with the third party website provider like Airbnb or eBay. And again, I think that’s one of our one of our unique selling points is that provision of patent to allow individuals to verify that public profiles. So that works in pretty much any site that people have a public profile. And we believe because the individual owns, we believe the individual owns that public data because if the company is making it public on the web to increase kind of trust and engagement with the service, we believe fundamentally the individual owns that. So once the individual has proved that public profile using a process, we then trust that public data because we have, like I said, we believe that belongs to them. So that’s how we kind of deal with the sourcing side to allow individuals to collect all this metadata from the different websites about themselves. So pretty much any website with public profiles. And then in terms of kind of consumption of that data, we are kind of working with real estate agents and employers and trying financial service providers. But obviously, it’s a very regulated industry, and I think a lot of companies are kind of quite archaic in their views, thinking, like we said earlier, they need kind of kind of full KYC data to make any kind of risk assessment and kind of conventional credit record references, rather than maybe kind of a rich, rich kind of metadata. History of Pepe was patriotism, eBay or rebates kind of showing that they have kind of this disposable cash available to them, which could potentially, I think, be more valuable than a conventional credit score in many cases, especially if someone’s kind of got no credit offering credit files. So we’re allowing what we’re trying to obviously work with these all these consuming organizations ourselves and encourage them to kind of Alaskans to apply with their reputation and data vaults, but also allowing individuals to kind of share their reputations with anyone by just one way is kind of just sharing a link, a one time view linked to that, to them, to the direct actions they’ve chosen to show the share. Also, that can be shared. If anyone asked an individual, you’re trying to sell your car to prove that you can trust where we sat down to kind of a staging company that you’re trying to get a rental from or even at an employment lawyer. So really kind of trying to empower the individual to use that data for them everywhere that it makes sense.


Cameron [00:19:24] So thinking to the economic side of the ledger, we’ve seen, I think, multiple different models and approaches to monetization to how. The cost in profit, if you will, should be apportioned among the different pieces of the ecosystem. What are your thoughts in terms of, you know, which direction and how, you know, money should be flowing around these types of data attributes?


Andrew [00:19:52] Great question. So obviously, a lot of services these days which are allowing you to share your kind of more conventional data with organizations. And then again, you organization to kind of pay to pay them, who then pay you or to pay you directly. We are trying to provide a free service for individuals. We think individuals should be able to prove there in that data, I collect that I went to one place for free. So it’s generally a free service for individuals, and we’re trying to get the the organizations to kind of cover the costs of allowing individual supply of our service. Obviously, a startup needs to make revenue, so enabling those all organizations to accept the data and getting them to pay for that, that privilege and outside privilege, because I think, like I said, these companies talk about wanting diversity inclusion and I think we’re dividing away. They can definitely work towards that. So obviously not a one stop shop, but allowing individuals who maybe don’t have any local rental references to include that maybe their Airbnb and their LinkedIn metadata within their application to should allow them to kind of be considered rather than just kind of ruling them out instantaneously because of my local rental history. And I think this going to obviously benefits the estate agent in this case as well, because they potentially might get a much better renter who is going to cause problems for them. And the landlord can be more kind of conscientious and reliable than someone who does have a local rental history. I think that the peer reviewed data you have on Airbnb, though those different hosts, for example, you’ve statement, is richer and staying with maybe one or two landlords. I wanted to ask the agencies, he told me, don’t go into so much detail in terms of writing your reference, then people in the meeting after they’ve hosted you. So that’s that kind of revenue model


Cameron [00:22:05] that’s really, really exciting. I think, look, it is in my opinion, time that this, you know, portion of our economy take shape. And I think COVID has been a very interesting catalyst for change in the space. And I think it’s going to continue to be an evolving market as. You know, more industries understand their need to participate as well as, you know, global regulatory forces kind of pushing in and and changing things as well. Towards that end, in terms of geography, you know, where are you now? Where do you hope to be? And for folks listening like, you know, can they can they join the platform now? How can I interact with reputationally as it stands?


Andrew [00:22:54] Great question. So we’re counting as a small company, small set up effects and kind of a b to B to C market. So, for example, empowering kind of estate agents, as we talked about to offer our service to their to their existing applicants and employers to offer it to their job applicants and that kind of thing. So individuals are welcome to join our newsletter to be informed when a free public votes go live. And the reason we haven’t done that yet is because of that kind of demand for service. We want to be able to write a good service. And also, you have to accept some acceptance of of what we’re doing in the market and kind of awareness of of our name because obviously people who need people and organizations need to kind of trust the reputation that brand a kind of really understand that we are giving users ownership at the start of and it’s kind of anonymously that they started presenting anonymously and just the metadata kind of access and profiles that kind of thing. And I think that kind of awareness takes time to build. I’ve seen, but yes, so please do join our newsletter organizations that want to the option of pursuing this data. We’d like to talk to them to have a separate section for them on our website and also look out for white paper. So I think this is a this is a kind of a 50 page document that we researched over two years, proving the correlation between people’s online public content and that kind of signed scientific psychometric traits. The Big Five, that’s the kind of conscientiousness agreeableness. Yes, we proved there was a correlation that and we’re hoping that will encourage more encouragement to organizations to kind of fast track around kind of some of the fatality data. And like you said, I think some of that goes back to kind of legislative frameworks. I see what we do kind of sitting on top of kind of digital identity. I think digital identity is kind of the the base stone that’s kind of acquired. And then obviously once you’ve got identity sorted so you’re confident who you are interacting with, then kind of next thing is that kind of trust and kind of reputation of this person. So I think once kind of digital identity rolls out around the world and is backed by government kind of frameworks and these kind of accepted and interoperable between organizations, I think reputation and trust data is the next logical step. So I’m really excited and really kind of hoping that these identity adoption speeds up as quick as possible as we have seen over the pandemic because I guess it’s fundamental to allow people to own the data really and kind of fast track this trust, which is sometimes hard to find online. These days, I find


Cameron [00:25:58] yeah, I think that is the perhaps the understatement of the century. You know, we we always joke about, you know, the lack of a digital identity layer being the original sin of the internet. And I think how you just phrase it is a an elegant way of of reframing that to some degree. We are coming up on time here. But one last question for you, Andrew, before we wrap. Pull out your magic crystal ball and make some predictions for the future of digital identity could be next year could be long term. Would would love to hear your thoughts on what you expect and hope to come down the pike.


Andrew [00:26:41] Yes, I think there’s going to be a merger of kind of the three things, so this led entity, I think governments, especially those kind of more innovative governments, are going to kind of really push that these identity frameworks and kind of organizations that W3C and hopefully companies, organizations within those countries are going to kind of start accepting it and become more ubiquitous. I think social media checks, which show mostly famous, for example, in China, I think. They are going to become kind of more common in that kind of very much like, oh, let’s look at all the all the bad things this person has done. So we’re kind of kind of an inverse social media tech. By allowing the individual to kind of will the good things and all the good facts about them and the market is kind of very much at the moment focused on trying to exclude that one percent of kind of bad actors. Whereas we’re trying to bring to the 40 percent or potential good actors who might be rejected, for example, from a fintech product because of kind of lack of information and lack of credit scores. So I think it’s going to be a slow shift to kind of look towards kind of the positive data about people. We already see that in kind of disclose, for example, where they used to kind of just mock the number of times you missed your, you know, your credit card payment or whatever. But but they kind of look at positive data in terms of how you made this payment on time, you made this payment in advance and that kind of thing. So. I think slowly, slowly that the world is moving in that direction. And I think once trust trust frameworks, the kind of once digital identity frameworks, the kind of ubiquitous and I think kind of the world will be ready and looking for other ways to kind of find out more information about the individual in terms of kind of trust and reputation. And yeah, I’m hoping that being more in the more kind of positive light looking for reasons to include individuals rather than kind of exclude those bad actors, which I think they’re really quite good at. Obviously, you have all these services to stop bots and kind of detect fraud on the platforms. And Airbnb I had, for example, has 100 people working in that trust team. So there’s a lot of kind of working that already been done in that space of rejecting bad actors. And yeah, I think that there’s going to be a slow shift towards including good actors, which is really what we’re pushing for.


Cameron [00:29:01] Fantastic. I, for one, am really hopeful in general that we’re going to continue to see growth across the space and wish you and the reputation our team the best of luck for those listening who want to get in touch, whether it’s to invest, to deploy the solution, to join the platform. What’s the best place for them to go and if they want to reach out to you, how should they reach out to you?


Andrew [00:29:28] So our website has a reputation, our economy, service, reputation and then eat. So we came out with that name in terms of kind of, we believe, like millionaire instead of being rich of your money. We believe this. You have a lot more value in terms of reputation of the people who you know, like and trust you. So reputation, our dot com is our website and we have a contact information on that. If you’re interested in obviously following our story and getting hold of your own personal data vault, please do that to our newsletter. It’s very infrequent. And organizations that wish to kind of consume this data, please visit our organizations, our services page and get in contact with us, then to chat. And also, something else that we’ve been working on is kind of political taxi rank. So taxi rank is taxi rank following takeoff. And that’s kind of taking what we do and putting a very niche focus on the kind of tech hiding in the suite, the tech development industry. So developers can prove ownership of that GitHub and StackOverflow profiles to technical services and then share free verified credential Adlington proving that kind of their ownership of those profiles and that ranking. I mean, this is this is a massive missed opportunity for developers, particularly kind of junior and migrant developers. Because Stack Overflow, for example, a technical question that’s form allows you to kind of prove your soft skills like communication and that kind of thing. Employers have reported that soft skills are as often more important than job skills. So that kind of development skills, so many techies within the within the audience please do check out taxi rank and share those free verify credentials to your LinkedIn to kind of boost, boost your profile and boost boost proved to be a kind of soft jump and soft skills. And also look for a white paper, which is again proving this correlation between people’s online public content and their real world psychometric traits. So if you’re interested in kind of psychology, what we think that the future will be? In terms of what data can be accessed from your online content, but to your advantage, please do register to get a copy of a white paper or join a reputation and newsletter.


Cameron [00:32:00] Fantastic. Thank you so much for sharing all of that and I think reputation, air and. The other platform that you’re building.


Andrew [00:32:10] Taxi rank. So why I incom


Cameron [00:32:16] taxi rank, thank you, Andrew, thank you so much. That was fabulous. And you know, I think taxi rank is a really. Perfect application of this type of technology that you’re building in the sense that, again, there’s such a tremendous need for a portable identity in this space for proving skills that, you know, oftentimes are not things that people got a degree for or to the degree you have a degree in. It doesn’t necessarily reflect how you can actually do in the workforce, you know? I mean, I have a history degree. I would not be very well qualified to actually be a historian. But exactly in the context of computer science, I could have a degree in a field that I’ve been working on for 10 years and ostensibly have a better chance at, you know, landing some of these positions than folks with that experience. So super, super fascinating. Thank you again. So much for your time. I really do appreciate it. Looking forward to hearing more as you continue to develop these platforms and is there anything else you’d like to plug before you go?


Andrew [00:33:24] No, no. I just want to thank you for your time. It’s been a very interesting conversation. And yeah, I appreciate your support of our startup working to help individuals overcome lack of local references, lack of local work experience, lack of local credit scores and kind of fundamental lack of local trust online just these days.


Cameron [00:33:42] Fantastic. Andrew, thank you again so much, and we will talk to you again soon.


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