How we use technology to create a better product for our customers.
By: Grant Allen, Chief Data Officer
We are a company founded on data. But we’re not a company that treats data as a commodity. It’s fundamental to what we do and powers the effectiveness of our products, but it isn’t our product. This is an important distinction to make, as today many tech companies are data companies, with the product acting as a wrapper around a data business. At L3M, the product is the heart of the business. And when we started to build the company, we knew we had to create a culture that was compatible with the product.
For the product to work effectively, and to give people the help they need, it requires their data. To hand over data requires a bond of trust between brand and customer, even more so when that data is comprised of some of the customer’s most personal habits. That bond is as important to us as data. They are inextricably connected.
Creating an environment where this bond can be forged has been a deliberate target. The decision to focus on a specific group of people – pre- and post-natal mums – for our first product positions us as a service company, not a data company. We’re not in the business of squeezing data for money. We’re in the business of using data to help people.
We have an advantage granted to us by technology. The artificial intelligence and machine learning sensors in many devices mean we don’t need to export all of a user’s data to remote servers – the analysis can be done in situ, increasing security. Where the requirements of processing might slow the speed or compromise the user experience, we use data aggregation and anonymisation that surpasses industry standards.
The ability to build respect for data privacy into our culture from the outset gives us an advantage. Our success will be largely defined by the willingness of our customers to trust us, and we must prove ourselves to be trustworthy.
As the supply of data increases and becomes more complex, gaining and maintaining that trust becomes ever more important. Sensor fusion – combining data from multiple sensors in a device – could help us improve the precision with which we get recommendations right for the user’s location. Great for the product and for the user, but to identify that someone’s probably just taken a flight and recommend a set of suitable exercises could be regarded as intrusive. Balancing the need for information with a user’s comfort zone is more important than creating the most effective product.
We’re not the first to use data to help people change their behaviour and lives for the better. But we have built a company from scratch on the principles of responsible, ethical data use, because we know without trust and consent there is no product. Used responsibly, data can change lives for the better. And that’s our purpose.