MotivBase has created the world’s only Artificial Intelligence powered Anthropologist that can predict trends that will shape consumer behaviour. In this episode we sit down with cofounder Ujwal Arkalgud and learn about the early foundation stages of this successful yet boot-strapped venture as well as how context informs trends in unique ways online.
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Qasim Virjee 0:23
All right, welcome back to another episode of the start, well podcast, I am your host with the most or something, the only host on this podcast. So I do have the most it’s Qasim Virjee. Back again the CEO and founder of start well, for those of you just tuning in for the first time, this is the 18th episode. So do go to iTunes or wherever you’re listening to this on and and scroll back through all of our episodes, It’s tons of fun listening with entrepreneurs, and creatives alike, based mainly in Toronto circulating either in or around, start well, which is a wonderful incubator accelerator co working space, mashup spread between two heritage buildings come visit us, if you get the chance, drop it for a cappuccino, we’ve got a complimentary Cafe, and we’re right on King Street West in downtown Toronto. So for this time around, I’m going to have a very interesting conversation, I’m quite sure, because I know the man in front of me, and we always do His names as well. And he’s gonna tell us about his company, which is called motive base. There we go. It sounds like a hip hop group from the 90s. I love that name. Well,
Ujwal Arkalgud 1:34
for a long time, we jokingly would tell people that we spoke to that. It’s got the hipster spelling, there’s no E in motive, pretty cool. But it was because there was no domain there’s no domain, as usual. So yeah, thanks for having me. I’m basically a cultural anthropologist. It started this company three and a half years ago, along with my business partner, Jason. And we have built basically what we call an AI anthropologist, we use a machine in order to study consumer culture and help our clients, which ranges from Fortune 500, to two really interesting, well funded startups that can afford us to basically identify track demand spaces so that they can make the right research development bets, innovation bets at the right time.
Qasim Virjee 2:26
So walk me through that, because there’s a lot there for me to digest. I’m sure our listeners also are kind of unpacking that right now. Maybe the best way to unpack that is you said an AI anthropologist. So I guess the first side of it is telling me about anthropology, your understanding of it as its applique applied to the problem that your solution solves. Yeah. And then maybe we could talk about like, how it does it or a couple of case studies, what the client experience kind of is.
Ujwal Arkalgud 2:52
Yeah, the type of anthropology obviously, that I’m referring to is cultural anthropology. So the study of, of sort of modes, rituals, habits of groups of consumers, groups of people, obviously, we’re focused on consumer culture in particular. But really, what we’ve done is built a machine that can do a form of research that, at least nowadays is very, is a very popular form of research for innovation purposes, which is ethnography. So what we’ve really done is built a technology that can conduct an ethnography, so a machine that can do that, by examining the natural conversations that people have language processing, language processing, and I should qualify for listeners who may not know what ethnography is, really, it is the art and science of observing people in their natural setting, in order to understand three really important things, cultural, economic, and social practices. So in essence, understanding not just what people say, but how they say it, and then why they say those things. And the why part really is about understanding where people come from, you know, what are their social, political? What is their social political background, their upbringing, right? What has landed them to this particular situation? I’ll give you a classic example. One of the first jobs I had out of school when I was living in India was to follow around a group of amateur wildlife photographers. By the way, a couple of them ended up getting published on National Geographic and our are our big time photographers and videographers, which is quite cool. But back then, I was following these guys around, going from one ecotourism resort to another. And I was doing it for a major camera manufacturer. But the purpose of it was to understand the things that we will never understand if we ask them questions. Hmm. So people have different norms, different rituals. So for example, when they get into a Jeep, and they’re driving into the forest, and in this particular case is photographers hunting for Bengal tigers, and it’s very hard to find them in a rural part of India, and you may spot one in a month. So you’re just constantly on the, on the lookout, and there are these rituals that they go through in setting up their camera, they do it for a particular reason. And different photographers have different rituals. And their rituals are driven by not just where they’ve, what photography school they went to. But it’s also driven by where they grew up, where they came from, how they value that piece of technology, and what kinds of values and beliefs drive them at the end of the day. And that was a huge learning experience for me. I mean, back then I was an apprentice to a real anthropologist back then who taught me everything I know today, but, but it’s those kinds of experiences. And really, what we’ve done is said, okay, in today’s world, we don’t necessarily need to be in the physical world spending back then I spent nine months doing this project. We don’t need to be in the physical world doing that, because people are baring their souls online, every second, and you can scrape millions of these conversations. It’s a crime to train.
Qasim Virjee 6:21
Okay, yeah, continue on that I’ve got a couple questions about this digitized, you know, yeah. So, so
Ujwal Arkalgud 6:27
really came down to training a machine to do the kind of observational, immersive research work that a trained cultural anthropologist would do. Right in field.
Qasim Virjee 6:37
Right. So okay, here’s my big question is really, you know, being someone who has worked in myriads of different kind of interface design applications over the last decade and half the question of how the context colors, the conversation is definitely, you know, omnipresent, I think online. Yeah. So how do you as a professional cultural anthropologist, and then we talked about motivation, your solution, but like, how do you afford for that? Or, you know, create or calculate the bias, kind of, or extract it out of your dataset?
Ujwal Arkalgud 7:16
Yeah, it’s, it’s, it’s a, it’s a really, really important point, context is so crucial. There’s a reason why I think immersive ethnography is so powerful is that you are in the context of the user. So, you know, going back to that earlier example, the reason I was following these photographers around was because I wanted to just be a fly on the wall, I pretended to be a photographer, just hanging out with them, getting to know them, being friends with them.
Qasim Virjee 7:42
And one day, they just discovered, there’s no film in your camera. Who are you? Why are you here? Exactly.
Ujwal Arkalgud 7:49
But the purpose of that was to get an unadulterated look into some of the idiosyncrasies and then to be able to ask the right questions, so that you can link somebody’s beliefs, to their behaviors. So I’ll give you a really funny example. And this is, this is very, very true in the United States. If you meet a man in the US, who’s wearing leather shoes with tassels on them, yeah, there’s a 90% chance that he is a Republican. So this is a linkage between political values and political beliefs, and how you action on what you buy, what you wear, how you appear. And this linkage, this type of linkage exists right down to the brand of water we choose to buy. Yeah. And, and so being in context allows us to a understand what’s going on in that context, and then be asked the right questions in order to get at the background behind it, right. And that’s, of course, the challenge that obviously in the online world we had to solve for, because we can’t really ask those questions. And we didn’t want to, we wanted it to be sort of unadulterated. So that, you know, we could learn about everything from erectile dysfunction through to, you know, what, what kind of flavoring the people put into their water to make it more interesting,
Qasim Virjee 9:18
right. So the idea is, like, I guess today, you’re probably liberated from just analyzing text, because anything can be transcribed with fair amounts of accuracy. Yeah. Typically, what are the forms of data that you put into your machine?
Ujwal Arkalgud 9:33
Yeah, we actually still very much focus on text, but in particular focus on what we call long form or quality texts. So we focus on platforms that enable people to have longer form discussions where they can actually bear their souls. And generally, we find I mean, we’ve done a decade of social sciences research around this, but generally, we find if people hide behind a pseudonym, there’s a much better chance of getting to the real stuff, the rich stuff Yeah, they’ll
Qasim Virjee 10:00
express themselves more openly.
Ujwal Arkalgud 10:02
Exactly. And I was using the EDI example for a reason because you don’t need to go there. If you don’t know guys gonna be on Facebook and say, Hey, I have EDI, can you recommend some solutions? Or I think I have.
Qasim Virjee 10:13
Yeah, my friend has EDI. And I know this because we’re really good friends.
Ujwal Arkalgud 10:18
Right? Exactly. So and So we rely on on these platforms where a people have these long form discussions, be, it’s easier to actually understand context. So for example, let’s say I start a conversation about eating clean. Yep. And somebody else says, What do you mean, what is clean? And there’s another response. And, you know, there’s this, I don’t know, 400 responses in a thread about clean eating, we had to train our technology to do what an anthropologist would do in our scenario, which is to say, even though out of these 400 responses, only 300 of them actually mentioned the word clean, the other 100 Don’t even mention the word clean. They all still are in the same context. It’s as if these 400 people have sat around the dinner table and had a conversation about clean eating. Yeah. And then they all creating meaning, right? They’re giving meaning to what clean means and culture. Our machine needs to tap into that. Yep. And understand it. And that was the most challenging part about building this. How long did it take to build this machine? For me, personally, this has been a decade long journey. Yeah. But in particular, the last four years is really where we accelerated development. Yeah, the company actually launched just under four years ago, and the technology launched finally, June of 2018. Okay, so it and we’re really now now we’re in 2019, we’re entering a phase where the technology is doing exactly what we needed it to do, it took some iterations. And, you know, obviously, it took some patient clients, but now we’re at a stage where, you know, it’s plug and play, and we can do a lot of problem solving for people in hours that normally would have taken them months. And
Qasim Virjee 12:04
so it’s this sort of thing that can like, you know, I dump a call log into it, even in I know, that’s shitty data, or it’s, it’s good data,
Ujwal Arkalgud 12:12
you know, it’s it’s funny, so are out of the box. Software, just looks and scrapes the internet. Okay. But you can also put custom data into it. So that’s a great example where we’ve had clients do everything from asking us to link people’s motivations between call center data, call logs, data from, you know, e commerce platforms of past purchases, things people have searched for on a website, right down to content that they’ve read, write. And it’s amazing to see the linkages. You know, this is, this is a classic example. But are you a big prime user? Amazon Prime user?
Qasim Virjee 12:52
A very big? Yeah.
Ujwal Arkalgud 12:53
Same here. How good do you think like a personally how, how effective is their recommendation engine
Qasim Virjee 12:59
for you? Oh, that’s interesting. Because their recommendation, their recommendations are delivered in a few different ways. Yeah. So on the email front, not as good as the live responses on products based on if I keep drilling down, like, let’s say there’s a list of 50 things. Yeah. And I look at four of those 50 things. Yeah. What I have noticed is on the results that are given to me underneath each thing, the more I look at similar things, it is getting better. Yeah. And the best thing is on the bundling, I think like they’ve done a great job of looking at, especially for generic products, or mass appeal products, as opposed to niche products. Yeah, niche products is still seems to be a bit weird, like for electronics, music items, have taken a look at all sorts of like, just when I’m for interest sake, kind of browsing, as opposed to when I need to buy something. Yeah. You know, and the purchase decision when the easier the purchase decision is, the more relevant the results will be.
Ujwal Arkalgud 13:59
Yeah, so what you’re describing is, is a really great example, because in essence, what Amazon has done really well. And they’re clearly the leader in this is applied, you know, an AI and machine learning based algorithm. Yeah, but ultimately, it is logic and math based, right? So what it does is it says Okay, so this is how Kasem is browsing. This is what he’s bought in the past. And and here other users that have bought similar things. And based on that I’m going to generate a series of recommendations. And the reason why and I noticed this to live, the results are better than after. So for example, after I check out it says, How about also these products? Yeah, I’ve rarely ever bought anything or found anything that’s matching for it. And the reason is that it’s easier to do it live because it’s tracking what you’re searching for. It can see where your clicks are going. So the math and the logic works better there than it does after the fact or before the fact Yeah, and that’s just because there’s one aspect missing which is pretty people’s beliefs. And this is where social sciences comes into play and where big data can play such a huge role. What we’ve learned as a company, and as a team is people’s beliefs link, product A and Category A to product B in Category B, there’s not all logic and despite all logic, so I’ll give you a classic example. And this is, you know, actual analysis from one of the major retail clients that we have, where we know that, you know, if a user buys liners for reusable diapers, that, logically that would mean that they’re environmentally conscious. These are adult diapers or Child Child diapers, I should have clarified. Logically, that would mean that case anyone’s wondering, right? And this is a parent that is environmentally conscious. Yep. So likely will also buy environmentally conscious cleaning products. Sure, sure. Guess what? They buy the hardcore, chemical crap, chemical stuff. I can’t say crap, because many of my clients, I can say crap, yeah, I can say shit. But they can buy. And they will buy the hardcore cleaning products in order to make sure the stuff is cleaned. Now the reason why we identified that is because the belief linkage between the two is actually not about environmentalism. Yeah, it’s actually one of health and safety for the child, right. And health and safety in their mind is on one hand, there’s a certain really bad chemical in a diaper that I want to avoid. But on the other hand, I need to clean the stuff because I’m using cloth diapers, and it better be cleaned properly and sanitized properly. And that, you know, this is where there’s a missing element to and this is just, I’m using an E commerce example. But the entire business world has this largely missing element of the social sciences. So of course, and it’s only now because of people like Simon Sinek, who don’t, by the way, don’t even talk about social sciences. But they, what they’ve helped people like me in our industry do is help organizations realize that human beings cannot be generalized in math equations. Yeah. And that their idiosyncrasies are actually not idiosyncrasies. There’s logic to them. But the logic is driven by the social sciences by an understanding of, you know, people’s psychology and their beliefs rather than just, you know, life stage or income, or, you know, gender or what have you. I think that’s the most fascinating part. It is this industry.
Qasim Virjee 17:42
And then I mean, so I know it’s young, but the motive base AI, yeah, well, firstly, does it have a name? It doesn’t. It’s not like Alfred or something.
Ujwal Arkalgud 17:53
No, we haven’t tried to give it a name or anything like that. And it’s certainly not. What was that really annoying a gap? Oh, Clippy Clippy the really annoying one that Microsoft had back in the day.
Qasim Virjee 18:05
You know, someone wants after hearing a talk that I gave at a conference around open source content management systems. Yeah. They were inspired by what I had said about automating context. Yeah. And offering users contextual interfaces. Yeah. They went back they thought about the problem after I gave the talk, and they created a Clippy for Drupal. And they called Qassam costumey or something like that. It was an ode to my talk. Yeah, that’s actually amazing. Kind of a weird anecdote there. Well, yeah, you’re famous. I was I mean, the royalty open source. Oh, awesome. But yeah, like so Clippy. Yes. You don’t want to name it, Clippy. No, we
Ujwal Arkalgud 18:50
don’t want anything like Clippy Vikram,
Qasim Virjee 18:52
I think you should call it Vikram would be great. Let’s just for the purpose of this discussion calling Vikram. So okay. I have a question about. Yeah. So you said there is a turnkey kind of solution that you offer? There’s a plug and play kind of thing. Yeah. And there’s two sides to the optionality or there’s an optionality of the data input. It could be on demand data, whatever you want to put into it, and then what it’s called the web Yeah. So if you’re constantly crawling the web of victims out there scouring the internet all the time yeah, looking for the juice? Yeah, um, there’s got to be insights that Vikram is deriving from what he’s finding Yeah, he or she Vikram? I’m not gonna put a gender on Vikram. Yeah. Because I’m not that guy, man.
Ujwal Arkalgud 19:37
Although it is a pretty masculine name in India. Sure. Vikram the girl
Qasim Virjee 19:44
the Grammy Yeah, so he she finds this you know, all sorts of stuff. How are you? If at all, packaging those insights making them available? Is this also another offering of motive base? Do you sell kind of industry report type stuff?
Ujwal Arkalgud 20:00
Yeah, the reason we’ve just stayed away from it is because we’re actually trying to get away from the static mindset that the industry has. Primarily because we find, I mean, coming back to the whole context question, right, that you started with, right? I’ll give you an example. You know, client is looking at clean eating, but looks at it in the context of sugar and impact on sugar client be wants to look at clean eating, but in the context of processing and the level of processing that goes into packaged food, the results are so different, right? Because, you know, consumers are all of us as human beings are, are complex beings. And, you know, I have candy on day one in context day, but will not touch candy in context be and, and I think that’s really what we’re trying to help our clients understand. And, and the reason why we’ve created the technology is so clients can either just quickly use it themselves and run these searches, contextual searches, or they can rely on what we call our PhD concierge. Okay. My business partner wanted to call it our team of PhD Butler’s but but as I was getting my meaning, as you can you imagine our doctors were very disappointed and upset about that name. And so PhD concierge, it is, but but really, that’s, that’s really the function of our our research team is, you know, for, for the 100 Odd clients that we have, more than half of them now are using our support in order to basically help them track an ongoing mandate so that they can identify what they consider to be demand spaces, either early enough or understand a shift in a demand space. Yeah. You know, a classic example is if I look at the probiotic landscape, Okay, last year, probiotics was all about supplementation. This year, it has become also about fermentation. But it’s not just about fermentation, what that’s teaching us is that what the consumer is realizing is they actually need to change their dietary habits, right? That’s what they’ve become open to. Supplementation is easy, I can pop a pill in the morning, I can drink a bottle of kombucha off of the store. But fermentation or creating or making or introducing fermented foods into your diet, or baking or whatever it is that you’re doing is effort planning. That’s a huge shift in the mindset of the consumer. It’s a huge shift for the industry, around gut health itself, to be able to track that understand what specifically about that as a value to be able to quantify it. That’s really where we shine. So that’s why we work a lot on the Front End of Innovation.
Qasim Virjee 22:41
So let’s take a step back and talk about the company. Yeah. What is the history of the company? It said, within four years, I guess you
Ujwal Arkalgud 22:48
said, yeah, just under four, we we complete four in June.
Qasim Virjee 22:52
And what what has been I guess it tell me a little bit about you in a nutshell. Yeah. What the growth of the company has looked like in terms of anything in terms of Yeah, teaming up in terms of staffing up? What was the motivation behind the kind of like forming it? Yeah, just to have you partners or who owns it? Yeah.
Ujwal Arkalgud 23:10
I mean, obviously, we do have a number of shareholders. But But yeah, my business partner, Jason and I started this just around four years ago. And we started it because we had both kind of quit our jobs. And we were trying to figure out what’s next. And I had been brewing this in my head for a long time. And I remember we met with somebody in the industry. We come from advertising somebody in the advertising industry, and, and they said, you just go do it on your own man, what are you waiting for? And we kind of walked away and grabbed a beer and said, Okay, we’re doing it. And so that was really the start of it. And our goal from day one was to not go the traditional startup route. We thought, you know, to hell with trying to go raise money from angels, and VCs and seed and series A and all that. Instead, we said, you know, if this has value, you should be able to sell a packaged product. Yes, we don’t have the back end yet. We’re going to manually do the work, but we should be able to sell it first. So let’s validate the IP. First, we had the IP, we went into market and we sold and in year one, we did a pretty decent seven figure revenue. And we said, oh, wow, we have something on our hands here. Because not only have we done some really fascinating projects, but we’ve actually also now started working with some really massive fortune 500 companies that are relying on us on for really interesting and powerful initiatives that they have going on. And you know, the more revenue we brought in the the more we were able to obviously, invest in building Technology. So the back end of the technology was always in our heads in spreadsheets slowly translated into code and right, you know, built up. But the result is that we were able to bootstrap the company. And we were profitable in the first three months now. That’s phenomenal. Yeah. And it just, it just created a different mindset and different approach. We didn’t, we never had to. And this is something that, you know, I have great debates with my startup friends on this, I just don’t agree with the with the traditional startup model, which is undervalue yourself just to get in the door, right? And then figure out how to make more money along the way. And because you have and then you’re reliant on funding, because there’s no way you can be profitable if you’re undervaluing and, you know, it’s just, it’s your sort of self fulfilling prophecy, if you will. And one of the books that really changed, changed our minds was a book by Oren Klaff, called Pitch Anything, okay? Where he basically talks about how the worst thing you can do for yourself is put yourself in what he describes as a beta position. And a beta position is really nothing other than saying don’t undervalue yourself, right. If you believe what you’re doing is a value, go sell it at what it’s valued at. Because if you undervalue it’s, it’s next to impossible to then crawl your way back out of
Qasim Virjee 26:27
that. Yeah, because Val, exactly. Yeah, you can’t change the perception of your customer. Yeah. So easily and at whim has to now improve the next quarter’s, you know, results immediately, you have to go get more customers, and again, no scale problem, which changes what your product can actually even grow into. Yeah, exactly.
Ujwal Arkalgud 26:45
And so, so it’s been I mean, I’m not saying this to say that our model is is the right model, I’m just saying it’s an alternative. And it’s a really viable alternative, because we’re now seeing many other startups Follow. Follow this model, and do really,
Qasim Virjee 27:01
really well. I look, I totally agree with you, because I think the start well itself, you know, it comes not only is this company born out of the same motivation, right, you know, and with the same kind of value for operational freedoms as well, that, you know, bootstrapping gives you. But it’s something that we also kind of generally teach, or I teach here, with some of the startups that I’m mentoring. The idea is for me about capital. Yeah. Right. And it’s not about financial capital, it’s about capital in general, any venture needs to understand what its capital inputs are? Yeah. And how quickly that capital turns, revenue, profit, and creates value. And it’s funny, because people really get hung up on the financial side of things, right. But I don’t know, like, I mean, I started saying how your name of their company sounds like a 1990s hip hop group. But it’s like that old, you know, EPMD ethos, right? You know, you hit the studio, and you get paid in full man, and that’s the money, you got your handful of dollars to go home with, you know, where can you get that money, it’s that the hustle is the beginning of the validation story, which people can can then grow, but it’s, it’s really kind of heartening to hear the success of the early success of your company.
Ujwal Arkalgud 28:22
Yeah, I know. And, of course, you know, we are, you know, every company needs help, at some point. Sure. And we have had, and we continue to have really amazing advisors who have come from the industry who know this stuff. You know, and, and at the right time, we’re probably going to have investment or partnerships, and we do have some really interesting partnerships already in place that allows us to grow. So you know, not to say that you don’t need help, it’s just, it just puts you in a different position, especially when you’re negotiating or, you know, even if you’re trying to raise funds, it’s different when you have a viable business model that’s proven that, you know, to your point, you know, what you need to spend in order to make Yeah, and it’s just a different ballgame and a different situation than being pre profit.
Qasim Virjee 29:12
Being in business is very different than being a business plan. Yeah, that’s a great point. And like, yeah, when you’re in business, and you’re operationalized, your headspace is completely different as an operator, you’re operating, you know, so the mechanics of the business is more clearly in front of you. Yeah. And it’s funny because like, I mean, I always rail on this kind of like Silicon Valley, or nouveau Silicon Valley kind of ethos that’s corrupting the whole world and, you know, based in the fallacy of the open market and all this bullshit, but like, this get rich, quick scheme. Yeah, mentality that people have. Yeah. Gets them away from operating a lot of the time. It’s actually you know, you have to keep shoveling coal in the engine. You If you’re in the funding cycle, kind of conventional SAS business model, right, until you’re at a series D pre IPO, sure, and at some point the markets gonna collapse, you know, I don’t know, or whatever anyway, so I Yeah, huge values for sustainable business practice. Yeah, that comes with, with being able to stand on your own two feet. Absolutely.
Ujwal Arkalgud 30:19
Yeah. And I think it also teaches you sales. And I think that’s, that’s the hardest part. I think that’s the part that we’ve had to really learn, shirk do because neither, neither my business partner or I are born salesman, we’ve had to learn how to how to sell and, you know, at the same time, we’ve had to learn how to how to understand and identify people who we want to work with, who are the right fit, and not say yes to everything, and
Qasim Virjee 30:48
any tips for people listening on that note? Any tips for the self taught salesperson?
Ujwal Arkalgud 30:57
I think the hardest part, honestly, the hardest part is not wanting to please everybody. And I do think you know, I know, everybody will scoff when I say it’s a Canadian thing, but it is a very Canadian thing.
Qasim Virjee 31:07
Did you hear our last podcast episode? No, I didn’t took a huge listen. Yeah, we rail on this whole, like, Canadian apologetic behavior, right? It is
Ujwal Arkalgud 31:16
it is true, though. Because the moment we stop trying to please everybody, and or even trying to please the person who’s buying because I just the thing that I think really changed our mindset is that the person who’s buying from you, needs you just as much as you need them.
Qasim Virjee 31:36
There’s a relationship, there shouldn’t be a one way fit,
Ujwal Arkalgud 31:38
right? So really, your job and their job is to figure out if this is a fit. If this is a fit, then guess what they will find the money. And guess what, you will be very happy working with them. And you’ll give them incredible value and the rest is history. But how do you? How do you know if this is the right fit? And if it’s not the right fit? How do you become super comfortable with just saying, this is just not the right fit? Thank you. Yeah, but we’re gonna walk away. And that’s the hardest part because it just saves so much time and effort. And then you know, your numbers start looking better, your close ratio is better your cost, you know, for acquisition is lower, because you just don’t waste time. Alright, people who are never going to buy in the first place.
Qasim Virjee 32:21
Yeah. And ideally, I mean, at any point, everyone thinks of it, the way I look at it, for the most part, no matter what you’re selling, if you’re new to sales, especially, you start looking at things from day one as almost like, How can I articulate the value of what I’m selling to a customer X? Yeah. And the funny thing is that articulation when it doesn’t almost need to be done. Yeah, is when you’re hitting your stride. Yeah, and customer X may not be your customer, right, and customer y could fit a profile. That’s more akin to not just your pitch, but your product. And sales is really about aligning that value, the way I look at it. The people that really need to use this, as opposed to should want to write are completely
Ujwal Arkalgud 33:10
different. Yeah, absolutely. And I mean, you know, it’s easier, I guess, when you’re selling something for 300 bucks a month, it’s difficult when you’re selling an initiative for $100,000 or $500,000. So it just obviously, depends on, on who you’re selling to, and what value and how long the safe sales cycle is, usually, but, but I do find that that makes a huge difference.
Qasim Virjee 33:34
What’s coming up in the next I don’t know, let’s call the rest of this year for motive base.
Ujwal Arkalgud 33:40
Yeah, we are about to launch our follow up product to our existing product, Vikram 2.0, Vikram 2.0, it’s actually called the motive base evolve, okay, and our existing product will get rebranded into motive base explore, just add to the complication. Just because we’ve basically built technology that can I specifically identify pain points that come out of product reviews. And as you know, people talk about all kinds of pain points. And in the innovation industry, people love to use this framework that a Harvard professor created called jobs to be done. So this really aligns with that framework. And it allows people to identify pain points in a matter of minutes. quantify them, prioritize them, as opposed to, you know, again, spending hundreds of 1000s of dollars trying to do a project for it and getting people into a co creation session and all of that stuff. So again, it’s just continues with our mantra of trying to simplify, give these teams agility around this form of research, but also not compromising the quality of the insights we’re getting back and in fact, improve it because of big data. We’re actually quantifying a lot of these data points that otherwise is important. To Do,
Qasim Virjee 35:00
Do you have a particular type of customer you’re looking for now? Is it just anyone with massive datasets that are looking for creative kind of ways to analyze that data or
Ujwal Arkalgud 35:10
not necessarily, it’s just anybody who is in an innovation or innovation related research related role. And their mandate is to either build new products or improve on existing products, or build new brands. And so we end up working with a lot of obviously, a lot of fortune 500 companies, but we also work with a lot of really interesting startups, for example, out of this out of the valley, that already have a really innovative position, but either need to defend it or need to fight against it. You know, a great example is there a lot of companies that will launch a new product, and you know, one of the big five competitors will go copy it, or acquire, you know, another company that does what they do. And suddenly, you will have five, so called fakes five followers in the market right now, at that point, how does the startup sit there and go, How do I now show the world that my brand can stand the test of time? Can and my product development can always be one step ahead of all these other companies? It’s a really interesting challenge. Because you
Qasim Virjee 36:23
challenge Absolutely, yeah. I mean, this is the thing is like, I don’t know, the conventional kind of approach. The 100 year ago business approach is really different than today. Yeah, it seems like it’s less about the way I look at things anyway, trying to old school it right is like, why are you in business? What kind of relationship do you have with your customers? And how do you express that want to have them in your life? And vice versa? As opposed to kind of my technology does this? Yeah. Because it’s so easy these days for anyone to copycat technology and be better marketers than the original source. Yeah. So if you can, if you can sell your product without marketing it? Yeah. There’s something there. Yeah, there’s something there that you will have confidence about? Yeah. But of course, there’s many, many, many people still dealing with this idea of product differentiation in saturated or rapidly saturating markets.
Ujwal Arkalgud 37:17
Yeah. And it’s seems to be the reality in pretty much every industry now. So
Qasim Virjee 37:21
So you guys provide that little kind of like, a little bit of edge through data?
Ujwal Arkalgud 37:27
Yeah, I mean, at the edge for us really is focused on on product development that meets those unmet needs. We call them demand spaces for a reason. It’s basically nothing but the consumer is telling us that they need something, it doesn’t exist. So are you going to solve it? Or is one of your competitors going to eventually?
Qasim Virjee 37:46
I love that idea. I mean, you guys should just publish this as like, once a month, you know, do these five things? Is it? Is it your Entrepreneurship Challenge? We should work together?
Ujwal Arkalgud 37:56
We were funded by university. But no, will charge for
Qasim Virjee 38:01
PhDs cost too much. Okay, anything that you want to shout out to our listeners? We’re gonna keep this one short. I think I want to put you on a panel with some some other AI people. Sure. But, but until then, yeah. Anything you want to shout out anything you guys are looking for, as an organization from from people in terms of new stuff, anything like that talent?
Ujwal Arkalgud 38:21
Yeah, I mean, hiring is always an ongoing challenge, in particular PhDs who don’t want to go into academia, and want to find a job that is just as challenging, maybe even more challenging, and just as intellectually stimulating, but without the BS of academics. And, and hiring. Yes. And then of course, you know, partnerships, we’re, you know, Toronto is one place that we haven’t done anything with a Canadian company, we have partnerships with American company, interesting. We just haven’t done anything. And it’s not for lack of trying. It’s just nothing goes anywhere. We just have these meetings. And after a while, my business partner has just said, we’re just going to stop wasting time. If people want to get shit done, let’s get shit done. Otherwise, let’s just tell each other that this is not going to work, right? There’s no fit here. So we would love to have and I know there’s a lot of symbiotic relationships to be had in the Toronto market. There’s some amazing companies out here. Just haven’t figured it out yet.
Qasim Virjee 39:25
What’s the type of company that you’d partner with just in case anyone listening?
Ujwal Arkalgud 39:30
So we partner with both analytics and research companies as well as agencies. So advertising agencies, digital agencies, we do a lot of work with agencies in the US nothing here.
Qasim Virjee 39:45
Excellent. So that’s a little challenge to people a little challenge listening out there. Yeah. Awesome. Any other shout outs I guess where can people find more information out about what you guys do and do you publish anything regularly or
Ujwal Arkalgud 39:56
we do and they can go to motivate comm mot IV Ba se.com. And they can follow me on on LinkedIn, add me on LinkedIn, it’s while our call good, a RK LGD. And other than that, just a shout out to your space. Look, we love this space. It’s it’s inspiring for us and not just being around other people who are also doing interesting things, of course, sort of seems like the cliche thing to say but but but it’s also there’s something about good spaces. Right, right. Good natural light. spaces that just feel like there’s an energy here. I don’t know how else to describe it feels like there’s an energy here. We love that. Excellent. And yeah, people should come work here.
Qasim Virjee 40:42
I’m so glad that this is like, Yeah, I’m so glad you guys are enjoying it. And also just for anyone listening. Their team is typically how many people would come in when you guys do your weekly meetings. There’s a for people that come to meet regularly
Ujwal Arkalgud 40:54
for and sometimes another four will join us depending on Yeah.
Qasim Virjee 40:59
So it’s kind of interesting, because you’re one of our teams. We don’t have too many of that size. Yeah, that meet regularly. But that do flex. I mean, yeah. For anyone listening that does need a flexible architecture for space where your team can kind of come together, but they live across the city and you don’t need the optics of carrying an office space. These guys do it right and meet between our seven meeting rooms. And our what would we have? I don’t know over 10,000 square feet of common space or something. Yeah. So it’s a fun place to hang out and get get your done apparently.
Ujwal Arkalgud 41:31
Yeah. And we deliberately do it on Thursdays so we can then have a beer after.
Qasim Virjee 41:35
Yeah, that’s coming up. Are you right on me? Oh is on me. Excellent, was a pleasure. And for our listeners looking for more information. We’re going to do more stuff this year into artificial intelligence and we’ll we’ll dig into a victim’s brain a little bit more. Sounds good. Okay. It was a pleasure. Thanks, man. Cheers.