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The opportunity for personal clouds and VRM

Posted on: Friday 14th of February 2014

At our Personal Information Economy 2014 event we’ll be exploring the game changing opportunities and implications of the new information rich digital economy. Personal information management services and trusted data sharing are changing relationships between consumers and organisations. An example of this is Pribook.

Pribook is a private networking platform which puts users in control of their information. It is a personal cloud service which lets users manage their identity, relationships with contacts and organsiations and information about the objects they own all in one place. By using Pribook, individuals are able to choose what information they share and with whom, creating permission-based relationships with organisations, based on mutual value, trust and reputation. We spoke to Pribook founder Saúl Trujillo Suárez about his business and the opportunity for private personal cloud services.

1. What’s the big benefit Pribook is designed to offer?

Pribook personal cloud solves the problem of information reliability, and the connection between people and/or organisations at any relationship level.

Using multiple contact cards that extract limited information out of your profile, you can connect in privacy with people and organisations without fear that it will “leak out” all of your data.

We want to empower users to take their authorship and reputation across any platform to build trust both online / offline.

The benefits are very clear for us:

  • No more duplicate contacts or sync, clean and merge features needed.
  • No more fear about connecting with organisations’ T&Cs that “leak out” your data.
  • Your property is marked and linked to your account
  • Take your reputation anywhere you go.

2. What inspired/motivated you to start doing this?

Today, “customer interaction” and “marketing optimisation” are provided by “metrics” that don’t interact with the consumer. We started because we wanted to improve the ways companies relate to customers.

I have worked in marketing my entire career so organisation tools like CRM are very familiar to me. These tools generally lack data ownership and privacy, probably because they are unidirectional, meaning that they “capture,” “acquire”, “lock in,” and “manage” consumer information in their own silos, with very little input from customers.

In consequence, out-of-date / unstructured CRM data is reducing the lifetime value of customers’ data and increasing the customer acquisition cost. Marketing / sales campaigns are wasting extra resources in advertising / communication to maintain their conversion rate levels, generating concern about their SPAM reputation.

As consumers, we want to be protected from organisation’s poor data protection and privacy policies, and be participants in our relationship with them, rather than captive followers; and VRM (Vendor Relationship Management) tools allow that.

3. How big is the market opportunity for Pribook?

It is difficult to put a value, but there are two factors that are very clear for us:

First, the value of an identity is not what it should be. The market economics of an identifier is worth $0.55/user/month, based on Facebook data from 2013 (1 billion user/month; $6.6 billion of revenue). At Pribook we can create that value above $5.50/user/month, and our business model doesn’t rely on advertising at all.

Second, there is a greenfield opportunity for C2B and C2C relationships where Personal Cloud + VRM stand. CRM is an estimated $18 billion market and it only looks after B2C relationships, leaving an emerging $trillion market opportunity based on the market size of all the marketing segments.

4. What is the business model? How do you/will you earn your keep?

Pribook is free to use for individuals and we charge organisations a small fee for plugin to our network. We have designed a SaaS model that is affordable for businesses of any size and grows aligned with their revenue from the platform.

5. Where would you like to be in 3-5 years time?

Most Internet businesses are still seller oriented, generating a problem of trust between individuals and organisations. Even successful businesses like Google and Facebook still have a retailers’ perspective, with nearly all of their revenue coming from advertising.

We want to leverage and take Personal Cloud and VRM to the next level, with a business model that doesn’t rely on advertising but on bidirectional permission-based relationships between organisations and consumers, based on mutual value, trust and reputation.

6. What obstacles will you need to overcome to get there?

There is a lot of work to be done in order to prove out the full potential of personal cloud networks. People have low expectations of what they can demand from the tools and technology available today. Our focus is on solving real the problems of today and educating our target audience.

7. Have you got any more general thoughts or views about the emerging personal information economy you would like to share?

Within my network I have noticed a lot of controversy about privacy and surveillance. On this subject I would like to say that internet is great, organisations are building the tools that give us the opportunity to be open / visible in order to be discovered and connected to the world.

But the trade of personal data in exchange of services requires a choice of Privacy, where consumers define how open or inaccessible they want to be for each connection.

I would like to have the same toolkit that organisations use today, to analyse my data and make better decisions in life, and why not manage my personal data from multiple organisations’ silos in one place.