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Faisal Galaria talks about the rebirth of Blippar and the future of augmented reality.

by Sam Sethi
August 10th 2020

Sam and Faisal talked about his recent tenure as CEO of Blippar. Why now is the right time for an Augmented Reality (AR) rebirth and what are his expansion plans globally for Blippar.

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Hello, everyone on Welcome to Sam Talks Technology, Your weekly guide about all things Tech on Business with Sam Sethi. Hello and welcome to another episode of sand talks technology. Today I'm joined by Calgary A. He's the CEO of Flipper. How I or good thanks somehow you very well. Now I said, you're the CEO of Flipper. Can you tell me what is Blip Blip? Er is a technology company that's been around for since 2011, and I've got the privilege of being the CEO. The business essentially does two things. We are a technology platform that allows content creators to build an author very sophisticated through two. Very simple A. Our experiences using a tool called Bleidt Builder, which is a dragon drop tour on We are a studio for a

are creative. You've come into Blip er recently a CEO. It's a term around that you're working on. So when blippar first came out, everyone was talking about it. What happened? Was it too early for blip? Er, exactly. Look, as you said, Blip has bean innovator for nearly a decade now, and not only is it innovated in the augmented reality space, but it was an innovator in in computer vision ai machine learning a spatial listening. They were a very experienced engineering team that were experienced across a number of technologies back in 2000 and 11, when Rich and the team first built the first a our experiences. We were still using 2.5 G networks, and the most sophisticated you could buy was an iPhone three Eso The ecosystem wasn't there for a our fast forward nine years. And of course, things are very different. You say things are very different. What does that mean for a Are are the building blocks now in place to

make a are the next breakthrough platform? Because I, as a techie, have been wanting A are for a number of years. I can see the potential. I can see the value proposition. I should be able to, with whatever mechanism, be able to look at an object and get metadata on it or information around it. But I don't seem to find out. Yeah, there's use cases of walking around museums, and there's the fun cases. Snapchat. There's an example, but what is missing, in your opinion that's making it not jump into the mainstream from being a techies playground. Right now, it's a good question because, as I said, Flipper pioneered. A are back in in 2000 and 11 and back then clearly the ecosystem, what wasn't there. But things are changing. And in the last nine years, blip on its own has done nearly 20,000. A. Our experiences on In that time, everyone from Unilever through Thio, Audi and Porsche have built

interesting, compelling A. Our experiences sometimes for marketing, sometimes for advertising. It might be for learning and development or education, or for for for e commerce. E think they are. Is starting Thio. Find its feet. But what will make it break out? And I think that's your question. There's a number off plate tectonics. If you like that are coming together. I think we're seeing the imminent arrival of five G networks, which will put a are on steroids on open up the mass adoption off a R. We're also seeing some of the other players in the ecosystem people like Android on IOS launched a our Kids and our core, which are the text X for mobile phones on. Ever since IOS 11, every iPhone has been an a r phone. Never since a our core launched every android phone has been an A R phone, which now means that there are over four billion phones globally which had the A R capability

inside. We're also seeing Google a couple of weeks ago. Launch a R is part of the native mobile search capability. So I think over the next couple of years we'll see every mobile website needed to have a are on three D capability in order to be indexed by why Google Wow, that would be massive. We're seeing it coming and there's a reason for that. It's because yeah, as we moved from a are being the principal form factor through which we consume A are to it being wearables, at least for a certain part of the population. It's gonna have to be easier to trigger on. That will probably be through something like spectacles on, I think spectacle, they're gonna be interesting when they get here when they become mass market. But in the meantime, four billion smartphones is where we're concentrating our efforts. At the moment you mentioned the rollout of five G is that just a pure speed requirement because of the A R requirement for data? Or is there another benefit

to five G? I think there's multiple things, I think, from the point of view, a network operator. If you're trying to explain to a customer why they should upgrade from 42 to 5 g selling speed or Leighton see or throughput. But it's not really a compelling now because it's good enough right now, but also telling an end consumer that five G has 10 times less Leighton see than four g. That's not starting a benefit when you can see ah holographic image of off the person that you're calling in your living room. That's the quite compelling I think you could start to see even in the UK telcos Experimenting with that I don't know if you if you watched the BAFTAs a couple of weeks ago, presented Maya Jama was wearing at the first a R dress on duh. It was sponsored by E. On. If you held up your your E phone on a five G network, you saw the dress on, it moved around and it was a fully interactive dress. It was quite

amazing to watch that this was, um, live. So I think that there's going to be some interesting on fun, a our experiences. But I think we're also starting to see some really smart applications that people find. Give them rich information. And that might be as simple as we're working with the shampoo company that that you can point your your phone at the shampoo, nod your head. It tells you if that's the right shampoo for your head. That's the sort of product that I think I've been waiting for. That reason Detroit to actually get my phone pointed at an object and get some value. I've done the pointing it at the planets. That blip, er has an example on. I did that this morning. I was looking around the room and great this Saturn and I clicked on it. But it's like, Okay, I've done it. I've seen the object floating in my room. Done. It doesn't give me that compelling. Must do this constantly, regularly, habitually. But if you start to see product placement and with they are built

in that I think could be really interesting. So on the theme of Procter and Gamble, and we're also working with a number of CPG companies where you point your your phone at the product, it could be at the shelf. It could be at home on the rest of peace for that product. Come on your phone and those are Those are nice, I think some of them or interesting B two B applications probably worth exploring as well. I don't know if you've ever had a boiler engineer come to your house on. You have to service or repair, and that's if they recognize they know how to fix that boiler. But if the engineer holds up the phone on, were able to recognize using computer vision that boiler on, then through a are delivered the instructions to the engineer to how to service or fix that boiler, nobody's going to see the new application, which I think more around learning and development around training, as well as some of the other things that we're working on with

piss and in education with super dry in e commerce. So there's a core of the business. I think still on, at least for a while, will be marketing and advertising because we've got a rich heritage over nine years of working with brands and agencies, building interesting calls to action that we can show engagement on click through rates. But where we are today in the platform that we're building building today is a true a our platform, which is extensible across education, learning a development, training e commerce Aziz Well, Azaz Martin Advertising So products that you described on the platform that they built on. How difficult is it to build? Is it a time thing? Do you build these? Do you outsource it to agencies? Is that a third party channel? How are these products going to get built on? What's the complexity required in building them? As

I said earlier, we have a tool called Bleidt Builder, which is our are offering and create creation tool that allows a license holder Thio Dragon Drop. The graphical user interface on is pulling ah lot of the A R technologies that we had in the previous version of Off Flipper together in a really simple, robust, easy to use to. What that means is that we have people of school age nine and 10, building simple A. Our experiences through to people at Martin's college building really exciting A our experiences through two agencies of brands who, rather than relying on some of the gaming engines that they've used historically for building a R and those are huge pieces of software for which an A R was only part of what they did on requires a creative technologies to build an A r experience. What blip builder is It's designed for purpose, where a simple

, easy to use a our creation platform brands license that agencies licensed that some individuals licenses think we've got about 60,000 individuals that build a our experiences on blip builder. So if you're an agency or a Brandon, you want to license the platform. We do that and they don't require our help. They just license the platform. There are other brands and other agencies that come to us with a brief on the like. Other studios that license our our software. We use our own software to build the A R experiences according to the to their brief in the case off something like an a R add that you might see on your mobile phone on that might take two days to build. Imagine we're doing something for Coachella and you can create a portal way you could step into Coachella from your home anywhere in the world that

might take us a couple of weeks. Uh, now, what's troubling you most with Blip er, what is the thing that keeps you awake at night in terms of if I could turn this switch on it? This is what's going to make flip are the next big thing again. I think the biggest issue that that I, as a CEO, have today is we are seeing the top of the interest in the in the platform surge again. I think that this combination off the blip of being well established as a a r platform for many, many years, with brands and agencies all around the world on dear excited that the platform eyes available again. We have been able to do some new, very exciting things we've done away with the apse, and all of our experiences are now available in in the Web with no required. So we're getting a lot of incoming eso. What troubles me is we're still quite a small team

on. What I need to do is to do what we did at Scapa and Spotify and ramp up very quickly in a covert situation where you can't meet people hiring people and scaling is it creates next mayor off difficulty which we have not seen before. We need to put people on the ground in the U. S. In Canada and Australia and Singapore in Hong Kong on. Ideally, I'd love to meet those people in order in order to make sure that but culture that is right. So in order to scale, you need to be well funded. How are you in the funding situation? Are you fully funded and got a roadmap of several years? Or is it you know, ah, constant battle that all CEOs have. We're very lucky from a funding point of view that the business was acquired by Candy Capital who had invested previously in flippers while they invested over $30

million in in seriously in Syria's d of the previous version off Flipper on Candy Capital bought the assets and are now the largest owners on bond. Continue to fund the business. But clearly, having backed the business quite seriously in the past, this is we are building this business in the expectation is to build a very large business and candy capital are standing behind the business to help us to grow that because the vision is to grow this into a very large business Again. Brilliant. I interviewed maps recently from 60 dot ai who got sailed to Niantic. The makers of Poker Man. Did Pokeman help bring back the sort of excitement around a. R? Because it seemed to be like with a I. For example, it was the AI freeze they all talked about. And then we're all back into the world of AI and machine learning was Pokemon. Go the driver that got Wasel back excited again, e think for a certain type off a r. It certainly helped

. And the fact that Pokemon has Bean adopted so quickly I think it went from. But I forget that the speed of the adoption, Sam But I think it has been the fastest adopted technology. I think it got to two million users faster than whats app or high. The million or 100 million Don't remember which one it is. I'll look it up for you. So that helped. But Pokemon, what was a singular use case that around gaming on what I'm interested in is building a platform that extensible not just across gaming but across education, learning e commerce advertising Training on Pope was great in terms off bringing people's attention. Thio er, but I think we need some more of those use cases if you would like to to create the breakout that you mentioned earlier. One of the biggest challenges I I used to be involved with Netscape and I was in the browser

walls with Microsoft, and it was the HTML standard in. Is there a standard for a are or are we going to see the ER version of Flipper on the ER version of Niantic and Magic Leap and Hollow Lens and apple? Clearly, you're going to come out with something because they've just been rumored to bring out their glasses shortly. So are we in, ah, world of walled gardens? They are, or is there ah, universal standard that you're all applying Teoh a very smart question on I guess you've seen it in the browser paper, so there is something interesting happening. If you're trying to create a are today in snap, you'll probably use snap lands. And if you're trying to build a are for Facebook. You probably use you spark on DTIC talk of just launch Brandon effects on What we're trying to do at Blip er is to say those air great distribution outlets on we're not a distribution

company. What we are is a content creation company on DSO. What we're doing is trying to create a platform where authors advertisers agencies can create the content ones and distribute anywhere over the web. So we're not concerned with the walled gardens that that some of these distribution companies are building in the platforms they're building specifically for their walled garden. Our mission here is to democratize a R and for a are to be available across any platform on the web. So whether you're using an android phone or in IOS phone, whether you're consuming a are on on snap on Google or by bleeping in a newspaper, we're trying to be the one platform that allows distribution to anywhere on the Web. Interesting. You use the verb lipping is that what we're gonna try and get to Google is to search. The Hoover is to vacuum. Are we gonna have to blip his to a R e

don't know yet. I think we still are juggling with our own Mexican internally as well. And sometimes it's flipping, and sometimes it's snapping and it changes were only seven months old, So I'm sure we'll find, uh, appropriate, appropriate Mexican up in time. Good. Now you've had a amazing career looking at your linked in, which is why I love doing interviews because you think you somebody and then you look at their linked in because we don't all go around looking each other's linked in's on go. Really? I never knew And I mean you and I met when you were, you know, GM for Skype, but obviously you're a non exact directorate Super dry. You've done other things that are really interesting with off calm. So let's just investigate some of those things because I think it's really interesting to understand you as a person, Really. You started off doing your MBA in Spain. Now most people don't go to Spain to do an MBA. That's a start. You and for those who can't see you, you're a fellow Indian. That is no

, a natural home for us. Let's start off with Let's think what language we can use Spanish. That's a good one. So how did that come about? How did that come about? I finished my undergrad a little early, and I Does that mean you didn't finish it? No, I did finish. You finished it earlier. Just clever. Sorry. Let's start a workout. Andi. I was offered a job by Arthur Andersen T to start, but they they said, You've got to come back when you're 21 like everybody else on They had a scholars program and they said, Here's here's Here's some money. Go and travel the world for a year. Come back next year. This was back in the mid nineties, so I came back home on, said to my mom, I'm going Thio travel around the world for a year and I've got a great job when I come back on being a typical Asian mother, she said, there's no son of mine going to go lie around the beach group better find something to do. Well, that's only because she couldn't

brag and boast. Like all Indian mothers, that's what it is. I remember telling my mother because I was an army officer and she was proud of that. And then I said I was going to be an entrepreneur. She didn't know what one wants, so she couldn't brag about what? What's an entrepreneur? She certainly couldn't brag about some, you know, bombing around on a beach somewhere. So the compromise waas I could go somewhere sunny and on dwarf. Um, if I studied and so I applied to a number of universities I chose Spain on, decided to do an undergrad at the University of Cordoba in Andalusia. Which is why I also learnt Spanish was going to say those that rolling off the tongue was looking very good there. I spent five years now living in Spain. All told so between the underground and my MBA. So I went back. Thio to Spain, have ongoing love affair with Spain, and I at some point I id love that for that to be home again. That's how I did it. Undergrad in in Spain. And then when I did my MBA

, I went back Thio Spain. But to Barcelona, which is beautiful. I love Barcelona. So how did you get into? Off? Come on, I've got a couple of related questions that but how do you get into off com, which seems like an odd thing to go from Arthur Andersen. Toe off Come. It wasn't by design, obviously, I was finishing up my my MBA at the essay on, but that was the summer of 2000 and three. So when I was thinking about coming back to London and going back into work, I was looking and it was 2000 and two. So, essentially just after the tech bubble had burst Onda the typical route for an MBA but back then was probably into a bank or into a consultancy, I'd bean at a consultancy. It wasn't necessarily keen on going back on, had a number of conversations with old client of mine, a gentleman called Ed Richards, who was the controller of strategy of the BBC when I was consulting. And in the two years

that I've been a business school, he'd gone on to work for Tony Blair's his TMT adviser. He wrote the Communications Act, which created the converged regulator off. Come on, did he became the CEO off off calm, and he said to me, Look, if you're coming back, I'd love to get the band back together again come and work for me at off call might need a strategist and you'll have the opportunity to work with all of the telcos, all of the media companies that that there is a consultant you would love to work for. But in this working at off com, you'll have a great deal of exposure to them. How we've got some really interesting projects coming up. How about it? Andi coming back from Barcelona, the opportunity to work and start off Khan because Khan was, was created on December the 29th of 2000 and three. So, in essence, it was one of the first start ups that I did. It was a great opportunity to to work with Ed, who's a is a fantastic intellect and a space which

I immediate telecoms communication, which I found thoroughly interesting. Now it says you were involved in the Premier League football, right? What were you doing for? I ask that what football team do you support? How can you do that and not support a football team? This was a common metrics and accounting exercise. We were asked by the European Commission to investigate skates monopoly Permission League football. Onda uh, part of part of what we did. The result of the investigation was to create a new Siris of packages including ketchup rights and Mobile writes on video rights, to create more packages and to create competition. I think what would be interesting? I don't know if you can put your hat back on and just cast your mind back. Amazon this year got into broadcasting football matches over Boxing Day and New Year's. The Facebook and US is famous, he said. They're

going to get into NFL. Google has sort of hinted that it might do that as well. If you were still enough, come. How would you see this landscape changing? It does feel like Sky has a monopoly on it. Ah, no BTR playing at the edges. But is this going to be a sea change? Are we going to see the American companies come in and the likes of Sky and Bt just being outbid or well off, come have teeth to prevent this happening or does it not care? Actually, I think to the extent that football on DSA Port is a reason why people subscribe, Thio what otherwise our commodity access technologies, it seems to me a Ziff. The MAWR competition there is for those users, the better. And if if there are more ways of people to consume the content that they want, that's better for the income consumer. I look forward to a time when you're not forced thio by a package because

you want that particular content. And desegregating the bearer from the content, I think is, uh is probably a force for good, at least for the consumer. And there's a lot of challenges going on in football. No crowds for possibly 12 months, maybe longer. There's obviously the international market, which is proving much more lucrative to the Premier League. I think the big talk right now is a Netflix of football, which goes back to your point where I can watch that match and that much. I don't have to buy the whole package and I can watch it when I want. In terms of there isn't a 3 p.m. limit on not being able to watch it live, Andi. I think the other the other side of that is the type of content, so that if there was an increased content available on your mobile phone on catch up available for streaming. There are so many ways that people consume content today on for that to be controlled on, monopolized by one access provide a. It does the consumer

a disadvantage. If you're Liverpool and you're a player or the club, you want to generate income for the club. It has many different ways as possible and for your football and your players to be able to be seen on enjoyed wherever they are in the world. And if consumers want to consume two minute clips or 30 minute clips or extreme football, that seems to me is if the more competition there is from people that are willing to bid for different writes, the more that this content will be confirmed, which is good for everybody. E think the rights air up in in less than 18 months and I think there's a massive issue that's looming. No crowd, tighter budgets because of co vid. I think football is gonna have to re realign its golden pockets. Maybe, but we'll see now you moved on from there to where I think I first met you, which was being GM of Skype Europe. How did you come about that role? I mean, that seems an odd thing. Was it the off com link that brought it about it? Waas So

whilst I was at off com, we had to make a recommendation to the D. C. M s. A populate voice of ripe on dso. For about a year, I was meeting some of these very early voice of ripe companies understanding the technology. I'm trying to understand to what extent they were I t companies or they were digital companies or indeed telcos so that we could figure out how to regulate them on. I spent about a year looking at this meeting with them on my recommendation at the end of that period of meeting everyone from Nicholas Enstrom at Skype Thio. Jeffrey Citrine at Vonage was that this was a very, very early in voice over I p. And we should follow a a number of other regulators had had done around the world and forbear from regulation and to allow the technology to grow before we figure out whether regulation was appropriate

on during that that process. I actually said I got to meet ah lot of these companies and as soon as D. CMS announced that we would be forbearing from regulations we wouldn't regulate voice over i p. Vonage Skype. Net two phone As as telcos and make on make make them comply with some of the requirements of a telco like providing telephone boxes or priding 99.9999% up time and all of those requirements, I got a couple of phone calls from some of the founders that I've been working with. I remember one of them in particular, where the chairman and the CEO said we'd like you to become Jump from being gamekeeper to come help us approach Andi. I had a number of conversations. Onda Very luckily for me. Now I remember talking with very early Skype when it was a minimal buyable product on there was a small team

based in SoHo. I remember thinking, if I'm ever going to do this, this is the time to do it and this is the team. They were a very, very smart engineering team, and they showed me the product. And it was quite different, for example, from Vonage, where Vonage looked like a regular phone. This was calling through a PC, which we now do regularly and we're doing now you zoom call. But but back then, trying to explain to people that the future of off telephony was through their computer Seems slightly strange. But I was so I dont Michael J. Fox in back to the future with this TV war, we were all waiting for it. It was just we didn't know how it was going to turn out. Indeed. Now, Skype itself had an interesting history. It started off as kazoo, a music service, and then pivoted into I guess it was the underlying peer to peer network. That Is that correct? Yes, there was. Qasar. Let's get it right. Mr. Sethi was founded

by, uh, Nicholas Central of the Honest Onda. The underlying technology behind Cazale was jolted. The peer to peer technology performed the underpinnings off. The P appeared to be distributed system for for telecommunications that became Skype. So one of the things I said to you at the beginning of this conversation off line was the covert experience that we've all gone through. I never expected. I've been using Zoom for a couple of years for interviewing people, but my father in law is now using Zoom, my friends, who are non technically using Zoom. Where did Skype miss the goal? Because clearly they've missed this one like a big one. The verb to Skype doesn't seem to be there anyway. It's now I'll zoom you rather than Skype. You. How did they miss it? I think that the world has moved on from 2000 and three when we first created Skype, when, when

? Nearly two decades to DeShaun and inevitably, technologies and particularly digital technologies moved out of pace. And I don't think we have any digital technologies that have survived to two decades. But when I look at you know what we create in Skype, it was really a platform on. Perhaps we didn't even realize back then what a platform was, but we had Skype messaging before Twitter. We had Skype profiles before Friendster and on Facebook. We had messaging before. Before what spots at on. We had video calling, as you mentioned before, before zoom. So we were very, very early and in many ways the fact that we were a European tech company that had a multibillion dollar exit back in the early two thousands That was an amazing, amazing outcome on I think has created a on ecosystem in London, Onda across Europe, which can trace it. Oh, trace its roots back

to the success that we that we that we had escaped. So why did the eBay make such a mess of the acquisition? Because they clearly did. I can see why they wanted it on. They made a really hashtag of papal as well. So why do they make such a bad one with Skype? I've asked myself the same question over the years. We said that we created these technologies in these platforms a long time ago, and I when I used Zoom now and I use what step it's It is interesting because the experience off messaging or video calling for us is not, is not is not new. I can't speak to you know what the thinking. It wasin eBay when they acquired us, and I left a year after we were acquired. And what I am proud about is we built all of these technologies. People were at the time, 2004, 5 4006. Skype was as

ubiquitous, then as zoom or what's Hap is today on. As you said, everybody used the verb to Skype. So I think that we did create something 22 decades ago that everybody used. But as I said, two decades, a long time ago and technologies in particular digital technologies move. I think the killer feature of Skype was the free call. That was it. The other features around it weren't, I guess, promoted significant. All people just didn't realize the value of what they had on. They weren't used. Now, one of the things you told me was, and I'm pretty sure I remembered was that the underlying technology wasn't sold to eBay. So that allowed Nicholas to sell a Skype again. How did they do that? I mean, why didn't eBay by the underlying technology? It is perhaps one of the great conundrums off Europe European technology on. Maybe someone should write a book about it at some some point, I can only assume that eBay

were concerned about some of the potential liabilities off acquiring what what was jolted The underlying music peer to peer network. Andi thought that they could rebuild Ah, lot of the source code without jolted, But as you said. Subsequently it was acquired by private equity Cut Company who bought today. Pond put it back together with Jolted on. It was subsequently sold to to Microsoft. So another great event for Nicholas and Dennis. Yes, Andi, I wonder, given web 3.0, what we call distributed APS The return to peer to peer Uh, do you still keep in touch with them at all? I wonder if they're gonna dust down the old business plan and come up with a peer to peer music service again. I think, as you said, that there are a lot of use cases now appearing for for peer to peer distributed systems that we saw last a

lot of hype and attention around Facebook launching Libera as a currency which was based upon distributed ledger technology, which we saw of the last couple of years. Bitcoin and another virtual currencies, which are essentially predicated on the same distributed technologies, peer to peer networks on, I think, where there are so many advantages in terms of speed and reliability to these distributed technologies. Inevitably, we are you're going to see more of it. It creates resilience, privacy. It's fast whether it's Nicholas and Yanis that build those or or fund them, I think probably more likely to be ladder. All of the Sky Team remains very close, ironically, were connected on Facebook. Linked in and what? What's up? So we use a lot of the platforms that came after us, but to close network and we duel was keep in touch, moving on from there

. Then what really happened? You started your own company. But German German, That's right, which is an Indian fruit wood on a tree. German Waas, a place where fans, off festival films and international films could come on stream films free watching ads or download on own the film for $5 on the platform that we built. At that point, I'd moved Thio San Francisco I was working with Cora Dylan. We built German, and we built the platform on a peer to peer network. So when Nicholas and Yannis work doing peer to peer TV streaming at Juiced John movie, yes, I remember that now here to pay a film streaming. We had licenses from for beautiful films, the kind of films you would normally see at a Tribeca or Sundance or Cannes Film Festival's everything from Bangkok dangerous

. The original tight film through to Arab cinema. Spanish cinema going back to where I went to university, Russian films as well as you know, people like Penelope Cruz wanting to put their cattle or film so that their friends could could see everything that they've done on the German platform. It sounds like a great plan. Maybe it again just too early for them to it was too early that what what we found was that there was massive uptake. So the demand for this this type of movie, this film globally was very significant. But there wasn't enough video adding country in the world back in 2000 and eight, but there was perhaps in the UK and in the US. But because our our fans were consuming these movies everywhere from Taipei through to Turkey, it just wasn't enough Video ad inventory to make the business model work the free free with ads and damage toe own. Having said that, you've got to try a few things to figure works

on duh. Interestingly, the business model, off free with ads or pay for premium, cropped up a couple of years later again on we made it work that time at Spotify. So let's go on to Spotify because, wow, what a great company and other European success story. So how did you get into Spotify? So whilst I was at scape about from being European director, I also was before that responsible for international expansion and business development on was responsible for opening up Skype in China. So we had an investment from Huntington one power group. They were very keen that we look at expanding Skype in in China and interesting at the point of acquisition by eBay, 35% of our users globally work. We're in China. But in order to to start with the JV in China, Way had to figure out that that the problem which waas because

it's a distributed network because it's a peer to peer system, you need piers for the Skype network toe work on on day one in China, there were no piers, and so I worked with someone called Daniel Ek, who was very young at the time, but a brilliant peer to peer computer engineer, and he created the super node network. So we launched Skype China together. And then, if you fast forward a few years Hey had raised 30 million for in the Siri's A for Spotify, great engineer, great product developer. And he said, Look, I want to continue to build on the best music streaming product the world has ever seen. Eso let me focus on the product and you figure out how how to expand this product Spotify internationally and figure out all the deals. Get me into as many markets as you can. But do what you've done at scape

and kayak previously and figure out the deals and figure out the international expansion planning. You do that and I'll figure out product, but wow, that must have been amazing journey because Spotify, he's now going great guns. I think it would be safe to say it was a massive rise, a little dip and then it's gone again Recently I was lucky to join early on was there for about four years. I launched eight or nine markets on France, Spain, Redland Finland on finally that the United States. So my recollection of my time at Spotify was you know, we were launching Spotify across the world, changing the way that people listen to music. Previously, you're either listening to CDs. My Children will never know what a CD looks like, right? But yeah, but quickly again, technology changes or downloading MP threes on here. We were saying thio people

that they could listen to anything in the world instantaneously on it changed the way that people consume music. So, uh, it was great fun. I was traveling three weeks out of four s. It was by the time my four years were up, I was I was traveling from London to New York and the New York to San Francisco, San Francisco Thio either Hong Kong or or Singapore on a monthly basis of certain navigating the world and God knows what I mean. My carbon footprint Wasat at the time. But four years was enough. But the team that we built, there was a great fun to work with. They were brilliant, and it was a real privilege to be part of me. Did you get much pushback from the record companies? Was it open arms? Steve Jobs screwed us over. Welcome. Let's have another one. Or was it Steve? Jobs screwed us over. We really wanna work with you as a new platform Or was it none of that? I mean, um, I putting words into your mouth. Now here Steve

Jobs arguably wasn't the first person that legged over the music label arguably MTV and built it a multibillion dollar video business before Apple had come along and change the music industry. So I think by the time we it Spotify toe turned up, there were a number of instances of where industry defining changes that happened and value had been created in the music industry, where the music labels felt that they had not participated. Andi, I remember being in many, many music label conversations where they were very keen. First of all, Thio figure out where Spotify and music streaming was was going, and they were in no hurry to let the technology proliferate. Andi didn't necessarily get it for a long time on made licensing. Not as easy as it could be. But you overcame those clearly on your linked in profile. It talks about

you brokering a deal with Facebook. I can't even remember Facebook and Spotify doing anything together. So what was all that about? Um so you're testing my knowledge of Facebook, But remember a time when the reason for using Facebook was top left hand corner. You had photos and share photos. The deal that we ended up doing with Facebook Waas just below photos, which was the most they used part of on Facebook. There was Facebook music. I really can't remember that. And you could share. You could share what you're listening on Facebook with your friends. I remember being able to go into my Spotify account and I can still do that today And I can I can list what my music is currently playing on Spotify and that we could have played through into Facebook. Is that what you mean? And back then it was by default. Sir, if you would log into Spotify through Facebook and then on your Facebook feed everybody What, you would like

this? Yes, I remember. And the idea of that waas essentially to use Facebook as distribution so that more people would see Spotify and therefore download the application on what that meant. Waas All of a sudden, rather than being an app which was known in parts of Europe which just breaking into the United States, suddenly we were able to leverage the full footprint off Facebook globally to distribute to the end and showcase Spotify and people were we're seeing what their friends were listening, listening Thio. And if they clicked on that, they could listen to music on Facebook. But if they wanted Thio listen to more music, they would have to download Spotify application. So became a massive two of distribution and we actually on the back of that, I think, within a couple of months tripled the number off paying users on Spotify. So it was a great partnership, and I know there's a relationship between Facebook and Spotify endures

even now. Now. Famously, people like Taylor Swift pulled their catalog and Jay Z tried to do their own thing and cost them a lot of money. Do artists in your humble opinion now, you know, in Spotify do they get a fair share of the revenues that are generated? I think you gotta look at this in a number of ways. Streaming music services like Spotify have actually grown the aggregate size of the music pipe on without streaming music. We would not have either the revenues in the industry or the distribution that now artists like Taylor Swift or or Jay Z have. So I think you know they've got a lot to to thank services like Spotify four in terms off how the subscription revenue that Spotify charges get split up. No Spotify has to pay both the music labels on Did the collecting societies that represent the PPL PPR s etcetera on DSO. You could look at the account and

you'll see that the vast majority of the subscription after tax goes to those entities. So it waas Spotify that that does make a profit. The labels and the collecting societies collect the vast majority off that revenue and how that revenue then get shared from the labels on the collecting societies with the artists that they represent. That's always been something between the artists on on the labels. You know. There are increasingly ways that artist compartment directly with music streaming systems. But the question about do do artists get paid appropriately by Spotify. The vast majority of um actually get paid by the music label and on that we should be asking the question that do artists get paid properly by the labels that they work with? Well, interesting. You mentioned it because I think Spotify started to sign directly artists

to its own platform. Is it becoming a label in its own right? Are they trying to disinter mediate the likes of Sony on duh other companies? You see that as a trend. I'm not privy to the strategy I'm giving them or about Spotify than I will ever know just in your external observation, I guess. I think music labels have a really important role to play in the music industry, not least for finding, nurturing, sponsoring on mentoring, new artists. And, you know their roles should not be diminished. Even in a world that's being disrupted by technology. They have a really important role to play. But I think what what is interesting is outside of music and whether that's in TV films or podcasting, Streaming is definitely becoming a technology which is wider than music. I have often wondered

when you'd be able to pay for a streaming package, which includes your films, your TV and your music. And I don't think we're very far away. I don't I think Amazon will call it prime. If, uh, maybe I think there are probably gonna be some other moves people have a limited wallet on, But I think if you make it really easy for people Thio find what they want on, consume what they want and have having all bundled together. That's probably the right direction of travel. But these services had to come in into existence in their own right first, before we realized we wanted them. E think is interesting. A lot of bands that I follow now beginning to play live concerts on Twitch, for example, the Amazon platform. Eso is less about watching people play games, which I never understand because I'm not a gamer. But this band that I watch young bands who play out on Twitch and then I as a fan join in and I could monetize by paying for the privilege of watching them. It's a mini concert

before co vid, and it was great, and it was a great way that bands could do it, uh, going back to Spotify. I think what's interesting is their move into podcasting diversifying out of music with the acquisition of Joe Rogan. I don't if you spotted it, but obviously you're busy with Flipper, but it looked like they about to launch a video services Well, because they tested Joe Rogan briefly on it came up as a video, and then everyone Hello, what's that? And it went away So clearly Spotify is going to go into taking on YouTube in the video space. I just think it's an interesting diversification for the company videos being part of the platform since the very beginning. It's not something I consumed. Then it was passed me by, but it's perhaps you didn't spot it, but it was used in the early days for for advertising. So a lot of the advertising I paid my subscription to avoid that which figure would trigger a video? Kodak. It's been there for

a while, so I wonder what the most likely combinations are likely to be, or whether it's going to be a company like Spotify that tries to do TV and video, or whether it's a company like Netflix. Or I think my prediction has been that the two will merge. No comments that's even more interesting than saying something comments. But to go back to your comment about watching, you know, some of these bands on twitch, what I'm really excited about that blip er is we're talking about working with bands on artists such that you can actually see them playing in your living room, and so it would look as if they're right there with you on DSO really personalized the music experience in A Are so in many ways development from Spotify Thio. As you said to see artists play live on twitch to actually seeing them appear like

the right there with you, whether that's in in your in your living room or in your in your den or in your garden, Going back to Blip er I think those are the sorts of experiences I think we need to see happen, but at a level where it is intuitive, whether it's through glasses or through another device that we don't know yet or through our phone. So I hope that happens soon, not of an age where we're voraciously users off snap, but Gen Z population are already using a our day in on day out and stairs a really big business. So, uh, you know, technology adoption often happens by finding its first home and often within technology savvy youngsters. I think that's probably where we are, but where we will see in the next year or so, As I said, bands and music, especially in this situation where we find ourselves now where we can't

necessarily go out and enjoy concerts altogether. Where the concept will come to you, Would you be able to enjoy it where you are? Let me just say Thank you so much for your time before I go look, just remind everyone how they can get hold of Flipper. Where do they go? What's the website? Sure, Come to www dot blip blip dot com Download Blip builder, which is our content authoring, authoring tool. Or you could look at some of the fun experiences that we've already created by going to our channel on YouTube. Brilliant. Now, e know, you've got an exciting summer coming up. I would love to talk to you again after you've made those big announcements. So good luck in the meantime on thanks so much for your time. Thanks and see you soon. Hopefully, indeed. Thank you, Sam. That show was amazing. Don't forget to visit Sand talks, Doc Technology to discover Mawr Great shows. See you next week

. Same time, same place

Faisal Galaria talks about the rebirth of Blippar and the future of augmented reality.
Faisal Galaria talks about the rebirth of Blippar and the future of augmented reality.
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