We had the good fortune of connecting with Arran Javed and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Arran, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
I wanted a change from my previous role at a corporate juggernaut of the media world, and decided to make the leap to a brand new job, with much more of a start-up vibe just weeks before the pandemic took full flight! Who knew back then it would have been that crazy a year. Having handed in my notice at said juggernaut, and having had to take a delay to the start of my new role, I was left with some time on my hands… I have spent the bulk of my career in advertising, working in Media buying, specifically, Out of Home advertising (Billboards), and I knew the limitations of understanding how consumers moved around day-to-day. With my co-founders, we soon realised that that hole in the knowledge we have around real-time movement data was not only something that is needed right now but something that we could solve. Being able to have alerts sent to you when your venue or store is over capacity, or about to be over capacity so you can act accordingly, or even being able to predict when the peak footfall might be based upon external conditions was something the world would need. It needed a way to better understand real-time footfall and given our experience, in building systems from scratch, and our deep understanding of the audience movement data available, we set about creating Data Jam and dove deep into our experience of audience movement, technology and data. The idea came to us when the governments were announcing lockdowns all around the world, and restricting people’s movements. The one thing that always proved to be the real challenge in understanding real-time movement was privacy and the lack of people wanting to part with their data. Rightly so, the misuse of data has been well documented, and we wanted to create something that would infer volumes of cars and people at any given location in real-time, in the most privacy-compliant way. We managed to do so in the downtime we had from the lockdowns, and we’ve built Data Jam’s offering up to what it is today.
What should our readers know about your business?
We built Data Jam to solve a problem. I’ve always been one who loves challenging the norms, finding new ways of doing things, and most of all, creating and finding efficiencies. Be that in life, from harnessing tech as soon as it comes out – remember the Pebble Watch (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pebble_(watch))? I use to roll around with that thing like I just took over the world, having waited over a year for it after backing it on Kickstarter for $90! I loved it. Right through to the phablet(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sony_Xperia_Z_Ultra) which wouldn’t fit in my pocket and I had to carry around everywhere for a year taking a constant stream of abuse from people or in business, looking to solve the problem of inefficient spending when it came to advertising budgets buy building tech, and driving new ways of buying and selling the space. The thing that has always driven me is a want for change. Never accepting “it is what it is” and looking for another way. there is not always a better way that must be said, but there is always another way. What we have done with Data Jam is something that has been done before, but never in the way that we are doing it. We’re taking that pain of the current solutions away, which is the cost of the hardware, and giving it away for free. The cost only kicks in when you see the value of the data we’re able to provide, and that data is positioned to you in exactly the way you want to see it. Real-time footfall counters have been out there for some time, but not accepting the way it was currently being done and pushing every piece of tech we could lay our hands on to the max we were able to solve the problem. We even bought a 3D printer and built out prototypes from scratch at the very beginning in the pursuit of our solution. We knew the importance of keeping things simple, Real Data, Real-Time. Our mantra. And we never deviate from that mantra, clarity of direction and passion are the two key ingredients in our eyes when it comes to making this business a real success and we’re pushing as hard as we can with that clarity, drive, and passion. Having built the prototypes, the firmware, and the software to visualize the data, we stress-tested them, and they have been live for coming up to a year now! Still busy collecting devices in and around my parent’s place in London, all the way through to Venice CA. Once they had been live for a month we realized we were on to something special, and starting talking to manufactures to help build the product at the lowest possible cost so we could solve the problem of cost. We soon did, and then started work on machine learning, and intelligence to really change the game, with prediction. Once our device has been live for a period of 3 months, we can start to predict the volumes of devices in the near future that fall within the catchment area of one of our Jam Boxes. Could be based upon tax rebate time, or even a world event, Football or Baseball results!? imagine that! We’re pushing the boundaries of what we think can do be done currently at the moment with Data Jam, and it all stems from one thing; The belief that there is always another way!
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Straight from the airport, we’re going to Encino up in the valley to play some golf at Encino Balboa Course. My first ever game of golf in LA was there for a friends bachelor party and it holds great memories for me. I love that place, and despite the sometimes slow play, it’s such a fun Golf course. You can shoot the score of your life there, or if you’re playing like I do most days, you can spray the ball any which way, and still finish the round without losing the ball. Definitely pick up a cup of tuna on the way around, and have a couple of Bud lights on the way around. Then to the digs. As it’s my best friend, I think we’d have to rent a place on the beach in Venice for the week, a massive rooftop, and a deck for the BBQ. Who needs a pool with the Ocean right there, right?! The first beer consumed in LA was in Venice in a place called the James Beach, quirky, usually pretty busy vibe with some awesome bar staff. Couple cocktails there (Moscow Mules) and then to HillStone in Santa Monica on 3rd and Wiltshire for a killer Chicken Sandwich before popping into Ye Old Kings Head for a laugh and a Guniess (friend is a fellow Brit!). At some point in the week, we’d have to check our Hotel Bel-Air, my favourite spot in town, and head up into the hills for a hike, we’re spoilt for choice here in LA with so many beautiful hikes to chose from. Then a quick trip to the east side to get some photo’s done by the wonderful Johnny Lavallee, have a coffee and admire the view at his place, followed by dinner at Lula’s on Main St on the way back to Venice, crazy Marg’s there and some awesome Mexican food! Last day, a trip up to Rustic Canyon in Ventura County or the farewell round of golf, and to the airport Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My wonderful partner for putting up with my relationship with my laptop/phone/watch and for my being hidden in the back of the house buried in a laptop all day and night, (sometimes I think she wonders if the tech is more precious than to me than her – Darling, I promise you it is not!). I’d have to say a book, the New New Thing but Micahel Lewis really inspired this chapter of my life. My ever-patient friends and within that there is one person who has pushed, and driven me without ever needed to call it ou specifically, my man Charlie Smith – the guy who’s always positive, always smiling, and always with the solution to any problem. I salute you, sir, you are an inspiration to us all my friend.