This week’s pod ep is another Partner Meeting + guest interview combo.

Here’s what we cover during the Partner Meeting segments:

  • Twitter and our thoughts on the situation
  • An update on the continued FTX fallout and how classic crypto principles like Proof-of-Reserves and self custody could help us avoid similar situations in the future
  • G20 summit
  • Domestic midterm elections and potential ways a gridlocked gov might affect the economy
  • Startup Advice of the Week: social media strategies for startups

After the partner meeting segments I chat with Jehan Luth, Founder & CEO Banyan. Bayna is a global infrastructure company for item-level receipt data that allows its partners to enrich transactions. This is a super interesting topic that led to some great tangents about how new tech enabled data collection will unlock a whole world of studies and possibilities.

Transcript (this is an automated transcript):

MPD: Welcome everybody. I'm Mark Peter Davis, managing partner of Interplay. I'm on a mission to help entrepreneurs advance society and this podcast is part of that effort. Today's partner meeting, we've got a whole bunch of conversations we cover ranging from what's going on at Twitter ftx, the G 20 happening over in Bali, and we have a special guest on today, Jahan.

The CEO of Banian, super interesting FinTech data company, and we take a kind of left churn and talk about a tangent of using data to illuminate the interaction between what you eat and the medicine you're taking. And the truth is no one doctors, nobody else knows what is going on inside your body and even on like a statistical level across the population.

You know, my partner Kevin, recently did a full body. Uh, where they looked for cancers preemptively. There's all this preventative health stuff, and what keeps coming up as a theme to me is really how little we know about medicine still, even though it feels like we've made so many advances and how much frontier there is in terms of using technology and data to be opening up, uh, potential.

So we get into a session where we're talking about. You can be taking huge amounts of data. You can figure out what everyone is actually eating and then cross overlaying that in terms of what types of medicines they're taking. I'm sure they're doing a little bit of that now with the two, if you're taking a couple of types of medicines, they've got a little data on that.

But I really, really believe we are on the frontier, the very precipice, uh, being able to take huge sums of data, crunch it with AI and start to make draw causality. It might be there's something weird in the water you're drinking. That if you're on a certain type of medicine causes cancer. We don't know what the hell is going on right now.

Um, and just wanted to throw out, I think there's a huge opportunity here for all the entrepreneurs. Listen to this. Uh, please take out the mantle. I think there is a lot to be done and there's a very, very big human cause, uh, to be had here.

Mike, how was your breakfast? Honestly, delicious. 

Mike Rogers: I did like a nice soft scramble. Little garlic, little onions, little fresh sour dough, little hot sauce, 

MPD: breakfast of champions. You're like a culinary expert. 

Mike Rogers: I'm like a culinary beginner, but you know, we're doing the best we can. There 

MPD: we go. All right, let's talk tech.

What's happening in the tech world? And I actually wanna cheat and just push you into a direction. Let's talk about Twitter. 

Mike Rogers: No, I was gonna say, why don't you just open up Twitter and see what people are talking about on Twitter today, and we can talk about whatever they're talking about. Except everyone on Twitter today is talking about the death and talking Twitter, which something tells me is in the, was in the roadmap plan of Elon Musk's brilliance in how to get people reengaged and talking on Twitter.

Right. Checking this 

MPD: could way more often. 

Mike Rogers: Yeah. The Twitter is a 

MPD: Twitter attainment. Opportunity. It's a Twitter. I mean, 

Mike Rogers: he keeps posting on how maus are growing. He's like, ha, by the way guys, keep talking shit. Watch where maus grow. Right? And then he's like, oh, Twitter's dying. Great. Maus grow. It's like a Game of Thrones episode of Twitter's Twitter.

That's right. 

MPD: That's right. . Do you think, uh, he's going to successfully reposition the company or There's a lot of media that's out blasting him right now for making a lot of change. Or do you think he's driving off a cliff? 

Brett Palatiello: I think that he's a, 

Mike Rogers: obviously a brilliant man, but I think he's also a genius in like gorilla marketing.

Use whatever term you want, or Elon marketing, right. For using some sort of, uh, controversy to stir engagement. I mean, he's done this before time and time, and again with Tesla, with space. And I think now he's doing it in his own public town hall, which is now his Twitter that he controls. But I think he'll figure this out.

Absolutely. Uh, 

Brett Palatiello: do I think it will be 

Mike Rogers: clean? Not at all. I think he looked at a business that was upside down and. You know, like a lot of companies in the tech ecosystem today are gonna have to make some really hard cuts to get this business in a place where investors will value it again. And at the end of the day, like he's a businessman and he's trying to drive value for his investors.

And I think, you know, looking at 75, 80% cuts is something that he's doing at Twitter, but I think a lot of CEOs around the ecosystem should be doing as well. 

MPD: Yeah. It's, you know, it, there's dimensions of this, this one's so complicated. It's more than a business dynamic that is not only front and center by nature of the business, it's also become extremely politicized.

Questions about Trump rejoining The left is obviously attacking him, right? Uh, so I'm looking at this and I'm trying to distill out all the noise and just in my head, figure out where is he on his journey in terms of building a great company. Because I, I actually believe if he nails this, he has a chance to displace.

And to really turn over the landscape of social media. Not overnight, but over the coming years, there's only a few plays that have hundreds of millions of adopted users. And you can take a technology anywhere you want to go right over time. Yeah. I look at this, I think this is, this is kind of blue sky window for him, but it's been a tumultuous month or so.

How else would you do this if you were coming in and had to rip off a huge band? How else would you do 

Mike Rogers: it? Yeah, I guess some could argue that he took a little bit of a brass tact here and, you know, quick, like how fast he moved. Right? And, you know, so one side of the argument is, well, this is a textbook case and you know, how to, uh, product, uh, product innovate and, and move quickly.

Uh, the other side is like, well, If you're driving a 10,000 pound truck, you can't take a hard right turn cause the truck will flip over. You could take a hard right in a little sports car, but you can't take a hard Right. In a, in a 10,000 pound truck. And he took it to hard right. In a 10,000 pound truck.

Hard right. Hard right. And we're, we're seeing that now play out and, you know, I think the, actually the best conversations about where Twitter are going are the conversations on Twitter. And if you follow some, some smart minds on there, you can see both sides of both sides of. The end of the day, I think Twitter's too valuable of an asset and clearly it's the engagement is too high for this thing to disappear.

I think some of the memes are people saying, Twitter's dead is, is hilarious to me. Twitter's not dying. Now, will there be some bumps in the road for sure, but there's no way that Elon and Co are not gonna find people who wanna work on this really hard project. Cuz at the end of the day, engineers love working on hard projects.

And when a guy like Elon Musk steps up and says, Hey, we have a really hard thing to build here. Are you interested in joining me? Yeah, the, the, the soft people who don't want to, you know, get their hands dirty anymore, great. They should walk away and go find jobs somewhere else. They're good people.

There's nothing wrong with them and there's nothing wrong with that decision. But I think Elon will find, uh, find the right people to help him write the ship Here. 

MPD: He's resetting the culture, uh, yeah, in a way that a lot of people won't like, but you know, there's a potential to make kind of a SWAT team internally.

Um, also he's doing it in a market where there's an abundance of. All the big tech companies are laying off fantastic people and everyone's just gonna reorganize around new missions. And Twitter might be the mission for a lot of folks who, who wanna do something super challenging. 

Mike Rogers: Yeah. And to your point of what it looks like, who knows, right?

Is it just a better version of the current Twitter? Is it a full move to more of a social, less platform like Facebook? Does it replace it? Does it change it? Who knows? I think that's a long term question. In the short term, it's how do we get the right rails back up so that we can have a healthy dialogue in the digital community?

And I think seems to me that's what Elon's trying to do. And personally, I'm quite optimistic that it'll get it done and. 

MPD: Yeah, I am optimistic too. I, I think he's gonna pull it off. Uh, and I, I, my comment earlier, I, I just was highlighting this concept that his option set isn't adding little features onto Twitter.

He can literally take it over time anywhere he wants to with an engaged user base, incrementally. Uh, and I think the sky's the limit. So, um, you know, also acknowledging tough time for a lot of people who are dealing with change of jobs. Getting laid off or being unhappy in the new work environment. These are all things that I get that's not, that sucks.

Totally. Um, 

Mike Rogers: but this, but. I'll call it like a productivity riff, right? Is what we're really seeing right now across the tech landscape. It's a, these companies got big and fat and you know, you hear the stories. Let me just be clear. This is not a, this is not everyone, I'm not generalizing the, the tech workers of America, but you did hear and the stories of.

Engineers at xyz PMs at xyz, you had 1, 2, 3 jobs because they could do their job at big company in 10 hours a week and they had consulting gigs and second jobs and third jobs. And you know, when you hear enough of those stories, you know, it's not just a one-off thing and, and that there really is too much bloating in the ecosystem.

So I think what you're seeing across the board is on the talent side. Hey, the good times are, are kind of over as they were before. It's time to buckle down and prove yourself again. We gotta work a little harder. And at the end of the day, I think I saw a good tweet on this, so we'll give a little reference back to, to Twitter.

Uh, there's an opportunity right now for top talent to go into Twitter and make a name for themselves. And there aren't that many moments in time where you see an opportunity like this and say, Hey, if I want to go build a name for myself in the industry, I can. Storm the gates of Twitter right now and put my head down and work my butt off for the next two years and come out as a whole different engineer person, product leader, et cetera.

Uh, this is that kind of moment. I think it's that moment across a lot of companies. By the way, I think Twitter's just the most public one. Very interesting to be continued. Yeah. Let's see what happens. I'm, I'm pretty bullish that we'll find out what happens on Twitter.

Chris Zhang: All right. 

MPD: Let's get to the latest chaos in the blockchain universe. What have we got? 

Brett Palatiello: Yeah, so the FTX fallout, uh, is still unfolding. Uh, we've seen other exchanges and lenders, uh, halt withdrawals, which obviously is a bad sign since they. Either Lent Ed, um, or they, they potentially had some of their assets on ftx.

Uh, we're also seeing companies that unfortunately had their assets on ftx, and now they're looking for, uh, they're giving away equity to make up for that shortfall. Um, so the, the details of FTX are pretty gory, um, and it's pretty terrible about what happened. I wanted to, uh, deviate a little bit from the actual nitty gritty of what happened and try and move forward and see what values of crypto, uh, could we embrace more going further, uh, going forward that would've, hopefully avoided this situation.

Totally. And there, and there are two, uh, things in particular I wanted to discuss. One is proof of reserves and the other is self. So proof of reserves, um, imagine you hold a deposit at, at an exchange, um, would allow the exchange to post a cryptographic proof that they indeed do have assets on their balance sheet, okay?

And they would also provide a cryptographic proof that they do take into account the fact that your deposit is a liability on their books. Now, what do I mean about cryptographic proof? It allows you to anonymize all of the data that they have on their balance sheet, and this would be done under, uh, the guidance of an auditor.

So you have some assurances at the edges that there's not things that are going to be manipulated. Um, and this would give public, uh, again, an assurance that they have the deposit as a liability, and they also have an. Which would back that liability in the event. That's say I wanted to withdraw money. Um, and this, we've seen proof of reserves come up, uh, frequently in the past.

Uh, and Nick Carter is somebody who's been advocating for this for a while, who's a partner at, uh, uh, castle Island Ventures. We saw it after Mount go. Um, we saw it a little bit last year, but I think finally now we're gonna start to see all of the exchanges that take custody of people's assets start to, uh, show proof of reserves and do it under an auditor.

Uh, FTX did not do this, uh, which is, which is a terrible thing. Now, this necessarily wouldn't have, uh, stopped them, uh, from doing essentially. I mean, there's a lot of fraudulent activity. Um, but they probably wouldn't have wanted to do this cause there was shady things going on on their balance sheet. So that would've given people an indication that, okay, this is an industry standard.

People exchanges post proof of reserves, and the fact that you're not doing it is an indication that something is wrong under the hood. So I'm, I'm gonna start seeing even VCs for services that take custody of people's assets. Um, we're gonna start seeing VCs require companies, uh, post proof of reserves so that it, it eliminates or at least tries to mitigate their liability as well as, uh, the scope or, or space for bad actors to take money and move them around, uh, or at least catch them early.

Um, so this is something I see becoming more and more of a standard. We're seeing Obi and finance, uh, all starting to. Proof of reserves, um, 

MPD: under, and they're posting this on their website. How do you, how does a, an average consumer know the reserves are there? That's a 

Brett Palatiello: good question. Um, there needs to be more built out, um, in terms of making it user friendly.

Um, because in my opinion, it can't just be enough for somebody to look at, say, uh, an announcement by Binance for. And they say, oh, we, here's our purpose reserves, you know, we passed it. Uh, you know, all assets, uh, and liabilities are, are accounted for. It needs to be in a user-friendly format. So I should be able to unha, uh, part of the cryptography and see that I myself have a balance at finance that is on their balance sheet and it corresponds to, uh, the liability or the assets that they are also attest.

Um, so that's part of the infrastructure that I think needs to be built out because realistically, I should be able to not only see my balance on, let's say finance, but I should be able to see the proof that I indeed am being taken into account, uh, on their balance sheet internally. Um, so that's something that I need, uh, that needs to be built.

Um, and the other, uh, well, one other thing that I wanna expand on that is this is different than your traditional audit, right? Which is relatively opaque. Um, this would, since all the assets are on chain, this would potentially allow for more frequent at stations. Um, so it wouldn't be some, you know, months long process of, of, uh, analyzing a balance sheet.

Uh, it would all be on. So an auditor would be able to go in there and say, okay, you know, we can verify that these are indeed on the blockchain, which is part of the benefits of blockchains, right? Uh, it's open and transparent, but it's sometimes not clear. You know, which wallet corresponds to whom, and you know, what, uh, what they're actually doing with those liabilities because money moves around, but it is transparent and you can cryptographically prove that its in strong conditions.

If, if 

MPD: this was done. This would advance the transparency and reliability of blockchain financial ecosystem players ahead of what's being done in the traditional market. Right? Like this would actually be Exactly, this would take it from being more opaque. Too far and away the most transparent solution probably in the market.


Brett Palatiello: is exactly right, which is, uh, some people are really selling that well in Washington, which is you have these big banks that are extremely opaque. It's very difficult to track the money. You have these big audits, you have this massive regulation, um, which part of part of which stifles innovation, right?

I mean, a tremendous amount of the costs. Financial institutions is compliance, hiring people to make sure they are following the rules and things like that. And it doesn't necessarily leave a lot of space for investing in technological innovation. It just doesn't make sense. Um, so blockchains are a way to make this all transparent.

And with ai, uh, you can stress that it goes even further that you. Have not only a much more transparent system, but you also have the tools to be able to analyze what is going on in a much more, uh, transparent way, but also a much more comprehensive way. So it should be something that, and, and the Federal Reserve has written a little bit on this, uh, should embrace that transparency, especially for, uh, the financial institutions that basically, you know, connect every part of our, our daily lives.

So, um, so yes, this s uh, the benefits. Of blockchain transparency and IMU and trust minimization. So, uh, so yeah. And the other thing too, why people are stressing Conserv is that with SF and involvement in, in Congress, uh, you know, there's angst around the industry that, uh, you know, in him a bit. And if they couldn't trust in him, somebody like, uh, you know, how he was presenting himself, then they probably can't trust crypto.

So, you know, there's a lot of people pushing forward with this, which is okay, you know, regulation needs to be smart, but let's try and find a market based way, uh, to, uh, make people follow the rules and not be able to do bad things for, um, and the other one is, uh, self custody, which is really a core value of, of crypto.

So self custody is basical. You have your, your wallet on a blockchain, um, and you have a key that matches another key. Um, and if you want to sign a transaction with part of your key, then it goes onto the blockchain and, you know, balances are moved around. Um, and you own that part of the key, right? So you are completely in control of your, your balances of your, your self custody and your assets.

Now, this up, this up until this point has been very burdensome, right? If you lose your key, you lose all your assets. That's a pretty terrible way to live, uh, especially. I mean, I think most of us are pretty spoiled now with, uh, with banks. I mean, you know, all this money are, have our money in banks. Most of us don't even think about it, uh, at all.

Um, let alone, you know, going into web three and putting all our assets there. So how do we make it so that we can have services that are safe and secure without giving somebody else control of our money, uh, especially exchanges and banks. Um, and that's through self custody. Um, and one of the things.

Blockchains are trying to integrate is called account abstraction. Um, and I'm gonna try and abstract away, uh, a lot of the nitty grit details, but the way accounts currently are on blockchains is that public encryption. But in the future, what you would like to have is flexibility and how you verify transactions.

So imagine, uh, a situation where I lose my key, right? How can I recover? Right now, if I lose it, I'm done. But in the future you can customize how you verify transactions or recover your keys. So for example, I can say, mark, I'm gonna give you, uh, you and Will and Mike and Chris portions of my, if I lose it, I reach out to you guys and you are have parts of my key, and you put them together and I then recover that key.

It's called social. Right. So you have a trusted group of people that you can then have come together and restore your key. Um, there's, so what account abstraction is, is it allows you to customize your experience so that it makes it easier for people to actually self-study their assets. So there could be, say a trusted institution that holds a portion of my key and if I lose my key or whatever, I can get that portion from their.

And mix it with the part somebody else has. Um, so it needs to be made much more feasible. And account abstraction is something that's working towards making it much more feasible for people to take control of their own assets while feeling safe and secure. So, um, so yeah, those are two things that I anticipate people are gonna, uh, value more going forward to, uh, eliminate the risk.

Bad actors, uh, but also being, uh, much more safe and secure and practical from the perspective of a, a consumer.

MPD: Thank you for that update. I mean, the irony of all of this is this is exactly the type of behavior that blockchain is being created to prevent, and it's an infa, it's a fallible system still. There's more work to be done, but I think this illuminates holes in the system as you've identified, and the path towards creating a better financial system for everybody.

Hey, thank you for your time. All right, Fong. What are we gonna learn today? 

Phuong Ireland: So today, mark, we're gonna talk about social media and social media strategies. So we all know how important social media is to your overall marketing mix, but it's really complex. There are a lot of different platforms. They all have their own audiences.

They all have their own features. And to make it even worse, they're changing all the time. So to get social media to really work for you, you really have to create a very deliberate strategy. Um, and as you're doing that, remember that it's not an exact science. What works for one industry may not work for another.

What works for one business may not. Work for another. What's worked for you at one time period may not work later. So you always have to be reassessing and and evolving. So to help you do this, I've come up with a list of things to keep in mind as you're developing your strategy. First thing, set goals.

You're not gonna be able to figure out the right plan unless you know what you're trying to achieve. That goes for a lot of other things, but specifically it, it works here. So your goals could be any number of things, driving brighter awareness, building an audience, driving traffic to your website, driving conversions on your website, and even customer service.

Number two is to define your audience. So if you haven't done so already, and you should have, when, when you're, um, uh, building your marketing strategy, uh, create buyer personas and determine which of these groups you're targeting with your social media strategy. Number three is focus on a few key channels.

So this is quality over quantity, right? So don't just create content and copy and paste it on a bunch of different platforms. That's not gonna work, and especially if you don't have a ton of resources. Be deliberate and targeted about which channels you focus on and how you show up on each platform. So to think about which platforms make sense for you, look at your competitors, see what they're using.

Look at what's working for them from a content point of view and how engaged their audience's, their audience is from each channel. And then go back to your goals and your buyer personas who you're trying to reach and what you're trying to get them to do is really gonna impact what channels you. So, for example, if you're going after Gen Z or a younger millennial, um, customer, they probably have Facebook profiles, but they're not really engaged on it.

So if you're going after them, maybe focus on TikTok and Instagram. Now, when you've picked which platform you wanna be on, you have to understand each channel and how people use them, and you have to tailor that your content to work on that platform. So, for example, Twitter's really great for conversations, so it works well for things like customer service and for increasing your brand awareness as you're starting and joining discussions.

LinkedIn obviously is good for sharing professional advice and so it's great for B2B companies. Um, and we all have our gripes about Facebook and I don't really remember, remember the last time I checked my personal profile, but it's still a very important platform for businesses, especially if you're running ads.

Or if you're a brick and mortar business and you're targeting local customers, or you know, if you're catering to an older customer base. Now, last bucket is around content. So you have to create good, varied content and a lot of it, so if you break it down, content has two to three components, right?

There's visuals, there's copy, and then there's also audio. And all of these things have to work together. Now, when it comes to vi visuals, here's some. Don't use images with too much copy on them, especially if you're running ads. Facebook won't approve them if there's too much copy and it's just less engaging for your audience.

Use more photos with people and faces on them so you know, I know you wanna show your product, but faces and people get more engagement and they add more emotion and personality to your brand. Um, you need to have a variety of content, but obviously prioritize videos because the top platforms favor videos.

And don't be afraid to use videos that aren't perfectly polished and produced. The more organic, the more it looks like user generated content, the better it's gonna perform. So throw away your brand book. It's okay if it doesn't look exactly like what's on your website and what's on your marketing material.

And then remember, mobile first, 80% of the time spent on social media is on people's phones. So make sure it's optimized, your content's optimized to look good on, on a phone. And then very lastly, remember, content gets sta stale. So especially if you're using them for ads, create a lot of it and test, test and test.

And don't forget to test. I love that. That's what I. 

MPD: This is a big topic, uh, and it's super, super hard to do well. Yes. I think, um, headline here for most entrepreneurs out there is if you are building any sort of brand, you need to be doing this at some level. And if this is not your instinctual DNA on your team, hire an agency.

Yeah, that is my, just jump into it because it. Very hard to do well, and it has to feel authentic and well and polished at the same time. And we all know the stuff that gets the most attention on social media is not the stuff you actually wanna be producing for a company. It's the hype and arguments and noise.

Um, So to find this fine line between being on brand yet still engaging is really challenging. Really 

Phuong Ireland: challenging. Yeah, it is. And I think it's, um, you know, I think just working with people outside your company in general, even if you do have. Uh, you know, a few people or a team for social media having a different perspective and other viewpoints working.

You know, even if you have an internal team working with a, a range of freelance creators, you know, you never know when your next, you know, uh, viral videos gonna come from. So it's great to have a lot of perspectives, um, and see what works. Cause I think what comes from your team often has a very specific point of.

MPD: The other thing too is each platform has nuances, right? Mm-hmm. , there are very specific algorithm things you need to understand for TikTok versus Facebook. And if you have one social media person who's, you know, attempting to be a pro across all platforms, it's very hard to be exceptional. It's very hard.

The tricks of the trade just vary and are very nuanced. So another benefit of an agency for this is you can get a small percent. Of an expert in each field's time, usually for the cost of one person or less, so Exactly. Um, there's just too much knowledge required to be effective in this very developed social media landscape.

Thank you, Fong. Great topic, super helpful. Uh, I know a lot of people need to get better at this and it's relevant for a lot of companies. Thanks, 

Brett Palatiello: mark. 

MPD: Hey Chris, let's talk about the market. 

Chris Zhang: What do you got? Yeah, yeah. So if. S and p is any indication. I think this week has been a pretty calm week, relatively speaking, uh, versus the rest of the year.

Um, I think domestically the biggest news, uh, in my opinion is probably retail sales. Retail sales data came in for October at 1.3% positive, which is much higher than expected, uh, um, and certainly much higher than the September, September number, which is at zero. And what's surprising about that data is even X auto and gas, which has been the previous driver in a number, we're still standing around 0.7%.

And that means despite all the inflationary pressure, despite, um, the public sentiment, people are still spending, uh, part of that is probably a function of, um, preempting the holiday season and, and, and sort of, uh, shopping in advance. Um, you know, another level of that is, uh, you know, the, the decade worth of free money is still, still around and it's, it's going to take a while to be absorbed, eventually felt, uh, in a form of, of lower demand.

So, um, you know, we've talked about this, uh, a few times in, in the past few weeks that, um, what is sort of this soft landing? What's the possibility of a soft landing? Here is sort of another indication of it that um, maybe there is a possibility that, uh, inflation will come down gradually and that won't translate into a shock and demand.

So I take it as a, a relatively, relatively good sign. Again, 

MPD: this might be a silver lining in the American cultural norms of spending far beyond their. That's true. We have too much personal credit debt. It's a huge problem. We have actually have a company we've invested in called Relief that's aiming to help people get through this, but this is a major, major social problem and maybe this is silver lining.

This'll help us land a little bit by spending in retail. It sounds awful. Sounds like an awful silver lighting. Yeah, I 

Chris Zhang: mean household, if you look at household spending, household saving, um, the data has been pretty okay as well. I don't think necessarily on a household level people are levered and spending beyond their means as of yet.

But, um, if inflation confuses be here and doesn't come down and people spend like this, we will definitely move towards the dark side a little bit more. So obviously we've domestically, we've also got the US midterm. Finally, we got the result. Uh, Republicans, Republicans narrowly won the house and, uh, um, Democrats control Senate.

So we've got the gridlock situation that, uh, I think market was probably hoping for. Um, that's sort of yet another uncertainties really. Uh, the biggest news to me though on the week is actually international. So the G 20 happened from, uh, the fifteenths to sixteens in Bali, Indonesia. So for those of you who don't know, G 20 is where, uh, the heads of states, of the world's largest 20 developed and emerging economies gather.

Uh, it's not 20 countries. So for instance, European Union is one of those so-called member state together. The G 20 members represent about 80% of the world gdp, 75% of international trade, and 60% of the war population. So during this meetings, j Ping had his first sit down with, uh, president Biden. Um, and the headline, uh, uh, from the news media basically mentioned that the two sides agreed to more cooperation on climate change, on food security.

And Su J Ping also reinforced his opposition to the use of NCO weapon in in, in E. So this is reassuring on a few levels. Um, as Russia seemingly gets backed into a corner by the week, um, I think, you know, mark has obviously expected that, uh, that the nuclear, if, uh, Putin 

Brett Palatiello: were to 

Chris Zhang: resort to the use of nuclear weapon.

Uh, China would respond negatively, but it's, uh, it's more reassuring that, uh, now CIN has come out publicly, sort of reinforced, uh, this, this, this viewpoint. Um, that certainly should put some, uh, some thought into, uh, into head of, uh, uh, Russia and, and, and in terms of how, how, how that should be preceded. Um, is this strategic for China?

Absolutely. So as, as we all know, you know, China's second world world's second largest economy, has been facing a lot of problems domestically, housing market and pricing stability. Um, and along with sort of the, the, the package that Suining came up with to support the housing market LA in last Friday, this news, uh, would sort of ushers into a new era of cooperation, I think with a lot of.

Us and US allies, uh, with China. So, uh, what we've seen that part of the world is stock market rally 15%, um, basically recovering all the major losses into National Congress. That happened a couple weeks ago. Um, so that's certainly positive news. 

MPD: Um, is, is our politics with China to a certain extent, politically expedient in the sense that when a party's trying to get elected, they're really mean to China.

And then after they close out a midterm election and they've got a long runway between the next cycle that we're friendly. Is that, is the timing here a coincidence? Um, 

Chris Zhang: I think I agree with you. I think, I think the timing is certainly, uh, um, uh, how do I say timing is certainly interesting, uh, to, to say the least.

I wouldn't say, I think it's more of a function of, on the China side, the time around, uh, versus the US China is, is being back into a corner on a few level, on a few levels, and, and US technically has all the lever, the leverage that, uh, we previously didn't have. So I think for c to come out and, and, and support, uh, the camaraderie of the G 20 and, and being, being friendly to everybody, I.

It's more, um, to help the economy domestically in China more so than to, um, potentially set up more cooperative in the US let's say. Um, but it's good that, you know, um, the two countries are now finally sitting down and really planning and providing more clarity on a global stage regarding Russia, Ukraine, and, and that certainly will help every.

But I am a little worried about Russian Ukraine because, uh, I'm not sure if you, I'm sure you saw it to, uh, mark that, uh, Zelensky has come out publicly said that, you know, the object, the sort of the off ramp for this war is, uh, also contingent on the return of Crimea. And that is something that, um, I, I think a sense, I'm chills, uh, uh, to, to, to sort of all the world leaders finds, and we're not really sure how, how that is possible.

Um, uh, that is yet another uncertainty that we will face in the coming month. 

MPD: Lot to watch there. Lot to watch. Thank you, Chris. And for all those listening, just a reminder, Chris is an s e c registered raa and nothing he said should be used or construed as financial advice, yada, yada yada. Thanks, mark. All right.

We have a guest today. The co-founder and CEO of Banon Jhan Love, uh, it is a super interesting company. Uh, we are honored to be investors in it. So I'm gonna bring Jhan on here and we're gonna dive in. Hey Bud. Uh, welcome. Do you wanna start by giving everyone an overview of what the company does? 

Jehan Luth: Totally, totally.

Thanks for having me. Uh, so Banian is a receipt level data, or skew level data network. The goal is, you know, we live in a world where payments is advanced so much yet you're handed a paper receipt when you go to most stores. That shouldn't be the case. Uh, so with Dion, we're a two sided network. One side of the network we work with tens of thousands of merchants who share receipt level data with us.

The other side of the network, we work with banks and fintechs who are level data to power interesting solutions for their customers. 

Brett Palatiello: Yeah. Excited to be here. Can 

MPD: you give us a sense of the scale of this, right? When you talk about receipt level data, how many transactions are in this machine? 

Brett Palatiello: Yeah, 

Jehan Luth: we, we onboarded our first merchant, uh, tail end of last year, and we've already crossed 500 billion of spend on our network, so quite a bit.

Uh, and in, in some ways that's super exciting, but in other ways it reminds us of how much board there is to do and how many more merchants there are to bring on. Uh, but yeah, we're processing about a billion transactions right now. Um, 

Brett Palatiello: yeah. 

MPD: Why does this matter? And I think to someone not living in the FinTech world or a couple of the industries where this data might be critical, that sounds like a big so what, right?

Who cares about being able to see if someone bought toothpaste, right? Or whatever else? Why is this so important? 

Brett Palatiello: Oh, 

Jehan Luth: that's a great question. That's a great question there. There's, uh, there's many, many reasons why this is really powerful. So let me, let me start with pure financial services for a second and then kinda go broader.

If you think about pure financial services, the payment rails, right? What you see in your bank statement today, when you open it up, $300 retailer. Today banks have built billions, hundreds of billions of dollars in value off of six payment signal. Total amount of the transaction, name of the merchant, et cetera.

Uh, they've built risk models. They lend against it. They, you know, run promotions and offers against it against six fields, right? The second you overlay hundreds of fields and actually you can know the items someone purchases, you know, are, we strongly believe that that changes how banks are able to, and fintechs are able to.

That could be offering you better offers and better rewards all the way to eventually, uh, gauging risk for something like fraud. Right? It's a very different risk profile in a transaction. If someone's trying to buy 50 gift cards or someone's buying groceries for their family. These kind of insights. You know, we're in a world where the, the more granular the data organizations can get, hopefully leads to better decisioning.

Um, so it's quite powerful. And that's FinTech alone. You can imagine the, uh, use cases outside of financial service and FinTech eventually. 

MPD: Who else uses this? Like when you, it obviously applies to FinTech, I'm sure, for hedge funds. This. Wildly valuable. They can figure out which toothpaste company is on the up and which is on the down outside of FinTech.

Where's this? 

Jehan Luth: Yeah, it's a great question. Uh, and, uh, you're right, there's a lot of providers who could benefit a lot from this, but one very important distinction with what we do is we are a consumer permissioned data network. So we need a consumer's opt in a permission in order to ship their receipts to their organization.

So a hedge fund or someone is not someone we work with. Right. It's, uh, because they don't have consumers permission. Um, think of us as any consumer application, any consumer permission application. It could be people's budgeting apps, it could be, you know, people's, uh, expense management products. Could be their offers, platforms, uh, anywhere the consumer's opting in, we're able to route this data.

MPD: Got it. Now, this is obviously a big FinTech. The FinTech ecosystem has been maturing over the last decade or so. Any tips for other people in or around that industry or folks who are thinking about getting in on how to navigate the ecosystem? 

Brett Palatiello: Yeah. 

Jehan Luth: Um, first off, it's a really small world . Uh, FinTech is a lot of people know each other.

So, uh, to, to put it quite bluntly, um, treating people. Honestly, and the reputation on a of an organization is incredibly important in the ecosystem. So, you know, my, to give you like a fun story, one of our deals right now, we've inked with a large FinTech. I actually met the person on the other side on a flight to money 20.

Randomly sat next to them three years ago and we just spoke and we were, you know, she was nice to me. I was next to her genuine good conversation, treated people well. And you know, two and a half years later they were in the market for something that we could solve for and you know, we were able to help them.

Uh, I think that just paced dividends, and that's the attitude with FinTech because it's evolved so drastically over the last three to five years. No one knows what's gonna happen three to five years from now. So it's, it's, it's a pretty close knit community. I appreciate 

MPD: that. Well, looking ahead, you mentioned three to five years out, you're in the process of illuminating some data that's been there, and I don't, for last 10 years, been wondering why no one's done this.

Uh, not that I'd figured out the whole model or anything, but the fact that you couldn't see skew level data, you just see the purchase total. It's crazy. Uh, where, where are there gaps? Are there things that your industry needs or gaps in data sets that other entrepreneurs should get out there and start solving and fixing?

Jehan Luth: Yeah. Yeah. I think there's a very interesting thing happening in which obviously. You know, you have spoken about in the past and, and others appreciate quite well, but the distinction between the infrastructure stack and the application stack in the FinTech world. Right. And there's a lot of organizations.

Think about like the aggregators that came out, uh, call it seven to eight years back. That gave birth to a whole new set of FinTech organizations that wouldn't exist today if it weren't for, you know, four or five core aggregators. Uh, across the board. That's how we we're seeing the world, right? Where to power the next wave of experiences.

There needs to be better infrastructure. And a, that's our role is to be the social truth. B, the kinda standard rails. But to be very candid with you, I don't know the incredible cool things FinTech entrepreneurs are gonna build off of this set of rails and these infrastructures five years from now. And that's honestly exciting.

That wakes me up in the morning for what can be powered five years from now. We have some early. Hypotheses and early traction, primarily in expense management. If anyone's filed an expense report, know taking a photo or a receipt is painful, uh, necessary evil step to do. Uh, and then the other use case we're powering today is to do with carded offers and rewards.

But those are two, you know, we wanted to seed the ecosystem with those two, but as we. We're infrastructure and we want the world to build on on these pipes. 

Chris Zhang: Very cool. 

MPD: You have had an impressive background at education aside. I'm gonna embarrass you for a second. . Um, no one likes their credential shared, but we're gonna do it.

Uh, you did computer science at Cambridge Public Health and Law at University of Pennsylvania, but before that you studied to be a chef. Can you tell us how you went from food to fin? 

Jehan Luth: Uh, totally. Um, the consistent from outside and, and oftentimes some days it seems like a very, uh, erratic path, but, uh, there is some, uh, top behind the craziness there.

Uh, I think the underlying theme between everything I've done educationally has always been the pursuit of how do we get people to live longer, healthier lives using. Right. And, uh, core to a part of medicine, which I'm super passionate about, is the relationship between food and medicine. It's a one that is really complicated, really, really hard to figure out.

And guess what? Funny enough, you need receipt level data to figure that out. You need it level data to know what are people buying at grocery stores? What food, what dishes are they ordering when they go to a re. It is near impossible to know that information. As a clinical researcher, which I was, so the world's collided quite a bit with, I wanted to do more research, but I didn't have the data.

And every time I went down the path of sourcing the data, I realized the only way I could do it was asking people to take pictures of paper receipts, not sustainable. So the birth of Bion was really an immense pain. Trying to solve this problem very differently than many in FinTech have probably done over the last decade.

Uh, but at its very core, it's near identical. Consumers are opting in and they want their receipt level data to go to an application. They choose. That's it. It could be a health app, it could be, you know, your expense management app. It's still the same thesis and premise, uh, but. If you ever need a, you know, sobi Turkey breast, I'm your guy, and I can, I can probably cook that for you,


MPD: But you were saying before that the problem you were trying to solve in the prior job was figuring out the interactions between what people are eating and the medicines they're taking. You've consumers. I've never heard of this even being discussed. I hear about food as medicine, but at the interaction level, I, I've always assumed.

I guess I hadn't thought about it too much at all. It sounds like it's one of those things that's kind of far off the reservation where it's, we, we don't even have the hope of being able to make sense of that. We probably don't even know when you put drugs together, what happens in the stomach. Right. Or your bloodstream and everything else.

Um, yeah. Is there, is there anyone making progress on that front that since that's kind of something you've been passionate about, now that you're enabling the data. 

Jehan Luth: Yeah, it's, it's, it's really interesting, right? I mean, it's, it's also staggering. I'll give you an example. Uh, a lot of, uh, clinical trials trying to understand eating behavior of the USS population is sometimes done with less than a thousand participants.

Huh, that is staggering, right? How can you generalize data off of a thousand people? And, you know, there's models that do it well, and you know, models that do it worse. But if I, the ideal way to do it from a, to, to prove out statistical significance is how do I run a trial with 20 million people's data?

Right. That's, so if you think about, uh, you know, and a lot of this is public, but when Apple came out with the Apple Health programs and products where you on your phone could opt into a cardiac, you know, research study, and I could do that, it changed the level and granularity of the data because it went from being a thousand participants to 5 million.

And that level of data, give birth to therapeutics, to understanding, to research that's, uh, making all of our lives better. Uh, I really see that be a big part of long term. You know, we joke every company's a FinTech company, but every company's also serving people. Right? And those things are gonna collide and bring, you know, the FinTech, the health tech world, even closer as time.

Brett Palatiello: Thank you for being on today. Thank you for having me.

MPD: I gotta be honest with you, I cannot wait until. These data repositories become more and more available and the AI gets smart enough to ingest it and start telling us a lot of insights about our lives, our health, uh, that happen under, I think there's a whole frontier. It feels like we've made so much progress with medicine and quality of life that I think we really are beginning.

Uh, of a journey that the technology world is gonna unlock for us. So very cool to have Jay on today. Um, hope you enjoyed the conversation. You can find me on Twitter at npd, so if you have questions or comments, hit me there. And otherwise, 

Chris Zhang: we'll talk to you next week.


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