Data-Driven Business Growth: Big Data & Gamification with Nicolas Babin

We discuss Big Data and Gamification and how they work together.

Nathaniel Schooler had the pleasure of discussing Big Data and Gamification with Nicolas Babin, one of the top experts in the world and Nicolas Babin shares his secrets from 30+ years within the tech industry, working with some of the top names including Sony.

Nicolas Babin is an agile senior executive with over 30 years international multilingual and multicultural experience. A strong leader with working and living experiences in North America, the UK, France Benelux Germany, Japan and China.

He has a proven track record in marketing sales, communication and digital transformation, management experience of all European Eastern West countries set up and management of international teams and start-ups, Europe, US and Japan IPO experience on the NASDAQ and on NYSE next Paris digital transformation of companies and factories worldwide. AI and robotic experience since 1996, fundraising experience more than five m&a experience international keynote speaker on innovation, e-health, digital and robotics.

Find Nicolas on Twitter @NicoChan33

Or Nicolas Babin on LinkedIn

– what is gamification
– why did you start using gamification?
– what is the purpose of gamification
– how can you use gamification
– which area is best for gamification
– what results can you see with gamification
– could gamification be misused?
– could you give us some examples of gamification you have used in the past?
– pros and cons of gamification
– could you find gamification in everyday online tools?

Data and technology:
– Are we talking on line or off line data?
– What is open data?
– what marketing techniques use data?
– how can data and technology go together?
– does AI use data?
– what is predictive analytics?
– what is big data and how can anyone use it?
– what activities use big data?
– should I be scared of data being available so widely?
– could anyone access all data, is there any type of safety involved?

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WARNING — AI Transcriptions May Cause Grammatically Correct People Serious Stress

Now let’s dig in to this exciting informative episode. Well, today it’s really nice to be joined by Nicholas Babin. Hopefully I’ve pronounce your last name correctly.

Nicolas Babin 1:33

Yes, you have brilliant.

Nathaniel Schooler 1:36

So you’re over in France, right?

Nicolas Babin 1:38

Yes, I’m in Bordeaux, France.

Nathaniel Schooler 1:40

Fantastic. So we’re going to first talk about gamification, and data and technology will be our second topic. And I’m a big gamification fan, actually, I must admit, but for all the people out there that don’t know what actually is gamification, Nicolas?

Nicolas Babin 2:01

Alright, so there’s a official, I would say definition that came from gigs. The common ago started to work on gamification early 1990s, early 2000, I would say, and he says the gamification is the process of using game thinking, and game mechanics to engage users and solve problems. So that’s the official definition. To me. We could say also, it’s the integration of the mechanics that make games fun and absorbing into non game platforms, and experience in order to improve engagement and participation, because engagement is the key about gamification. Gamification is engagement, and how can we improve engagement for people?

Nathaniel Schooler 2:47

Yeah, it’s an interesting topic. I used to run a lot of leaderboards, which require a lot of fun. But it’s it’s very interesting because some people are completely demotivated by going vacation. Others are absolutely motivated. Some people are just sort of in between at night, but it’s very difficult to actually engage the people that are just see everyone else miles ahead of them. And they get kind of stuck. And they’re like:-“Oh, look at him, I’m never going to catch him or her.”

You know, and, and I think I’ve seen that because I used to run some some leaderboards. When I used to do events using Twitter hashtag, I used to create a leaderboard. And I would, and I would promote it. And I would use the tweet out function and promote all these people and have it on my website to drive web clicks, you know, because using it in that way, it delivers a tangible return in terms of like the clicks through to your website, targeted traffic, and this sort of stuff, but, you know, I’m sure we can kind of get into that in a minute. But why did you start using gamification in the first place?

Nicolas Babin 3:59

So give me give came to me a little bit naturally, if I could say, I used to work for Sony for about 15 years. So PlayStation, I was in charge of marketing and communication. And, and I can thinking like, you know, you go into a shop, any type of shop that sells TV, for example, and you have Samsung brand, you have LG brand, you have Sony brand, you have all the different type of brands, and you’re looking at all these televisions and think I kept thinking, how could people decide to go for the Sony brand? Obviously being it’s only been employed at the time. And so it was, it was just as we were also at the same time launching PlayStation games, and realizing, you know, like, when we’re trying to games, you would could spend two hours and then at the end thinking or it’s already been two hours, how is that possible?

You know, I didn’t see time fly. And I was thinking there’s a link between the the fact that you spend two hours and just enjoy yourself and feeling the world that is just like, you know, perfect, and you’re just capable of listening to messages that come from the games or, or playing with people abroad on the other side of the world. And so I thought, how can we put the two together? So at the time was not called gamification, we’re talking about 2004. So it was really, nobody knew about the gamification.

And so my thinking was to say, well, maybe I should either engage, because the only link for from the the person’s wallet to the TV was the fact that the person will be engaged by the salesperson in the shop. So I was thinking:- “How can I engage the sales people in a way that’s fun to them.?”

And so they could just do the same thing with their customers. And that’s how we started the first gamification campaigns, I would say, quote, unquote, by engaging more and not not only talking about you know, money or which would be extrinsic motivation, but more about intrinsic motivation, which the autonomy, the logging, the mastery, the power of the fund, the love, all these very strong emotions that makes gamification work. If you’re talking more about badges, because a lot of people tell me over the years, oh, yeah, give me freakish, it’s only about badges. And you have badge, fatigues and all these, which is absolutely true. Because you get bored with extrinsic motivation.

So it was really trying to engage more into make people more like the brand. So you know, when somebody would face Sony TV was think, oh, wow, I really enjoyed the brand Sony, the latest commercials that Sony put out, they were really good. They really talked to me. And so that’s the reason why you would go for Sony TV. And that’s how I started to work on it. And as I love gaming, and I love marketing, that’s, that’s basically how I got, I got involved with gamification, right.

Nathaniel Schooler 6:53

So what’s so the actual purpose of gamification is to engage with is whomever it could be internally within the business, right? Or it could be externally to to drive a desired action. Is that a fair comment? Do you think?

Nicolas Babin 7:14

What’s the purpose of gamification was, again, gamification is all about engagement. And so ensure that any type of activity is linked with engagement, obviously, and you want people to be engaged.

I have examples of gamification campaigns that work on situations that you will not believe, for example of cancer treatments. My family’s been here with with cancer. And so I did a lot of research to see how how cancer patients could be more engaged and understand better how their treatment work, and I found these, these game that you play with the nanobots you would go around, you know, shooting cancer cells with chemo weapons, so or kids will go around doing that.

Nathaniel Schooler 8:02

So you were saying about your family? Having having some issues, unfortunately, with with cancer and how you come up with a great idea to gamify the cure, right? Well, the solution?

Nicolas Babin 8:17

Absolutely what it was not my idea, but I found the idea on the web, about learning how to cope with with the disease and learning how to cope with the, with the, with chemo going around for the disease. So this game I found was the game that was really for teenagers. And they had nanobots called Rory and Rory would go around the room and would shoot at cancer cells using chemo weapons. It really that game helped.

Well, first to to make sure that cancer was not any more taboo you know, we’ll just see, where were we were, we had the problem. So we have to deal with it. But for children, he was really to explain how chemo works, and what the impact on their body he was. And again, because it was a game, so then you could mean basically what I’m trying to say is that it was not as difficult to deal with, as if you have been, you know, any type of books that you have to read about chemo and about cancer.

But I thought the fact that you can, you know, use gamification for these type of purpose means that you can use it for pretty much everything. Because then gamification helps to engage, learn, understand, and cope with with situations that are difficult, but because they are put as a game related also to fun. And that game apparently had a lot of success. And I’m wondering why haven’t seen much more of it, because it was back in 2010, that I’ve read about it, and I’ve seen game on the web. But these are things that you could find in paediatric wards, for example. And that could help children that have to stay in hospitals that you know, then they could just minimize the impact of their disease.

Nathaniel Schooler 10:10

Wow, that’s that. Yeah, that’s, that’s really quite smart, actually, because children? are children more susceptible to gamification. Do you think then? Are the children sort of more into it?

Nicolas Babin 10:28

Well, I would say, Yes, they are, they are definitely more involved with gamification, because they play a lot, but I would say that the whole population is, is involved with gamification to get everybody place. I mean, game comes from, you know, way before, or the time of the dinosaurs. When, with so it comes before culture, because when you had a mother dinosaur, she would teach her cubs to, to play. And so at least they will learn how to to hunt.

We have examples also of it’s not a game, it’s not fun, but when Taylor in 1890, and should use the bonuses and awards in the reform factory. That’s kind of also type of gamification.

Nathaniel Schooler 11:19


Nicolas Babin 11:31

These type of rewards and, and bonuses as been as being used for quite a long time. And you always have the carrot, Mary Poppins, I mean, if I can go and have many examples, because that’s one of my passions. So But Mary Poppins was the sugar principle, you know, the sugar makes the medicine go down. That that’s type of gamification as well, because medicine is not good. It’s not fun. But if you make it fun, next week with with a spoonful of sugar, then that’s it.

That gives the command mentioned that at conference that I went to in New York, while back, and and it’s true, when you think about it, you know, we’ve all have always had that around us. So children are definitely more inclined to react better to gamification, but adults as well, even older people who say:- “Well, I never play!” Oh this is not true. You know, if you’re crosswords, that’s a play. That’s a game sorry. If so anybody will play. And anybody would be sensitive to game mechanics. It’s just what’s very important when you do a gamification campaign is to find the right mechanics, for the right people at the right time. And that’s crucial. But that’s pretty much marketing.

Nathaniel Schooler 12:40

Yes, exactly. Exactly. Yeah. So you’ve, you’ve pretty much answered how you can use it. I mean, it motivates people to do something right. Like that’s pretty much what it is, isn’t it? Yeah. And yeah, absolutely. Yeah. So in the beginning, you decide on what sorts of behaviour you want to encourage, and then you find the right game, to encourage that behaviour, right.

And that could be like social sharing within IBM, for example, or, you know, encouraging the staff, no problem. So I’ll start again. So that could be for example, working within a corporation, and actually getting getting those people to share particular content, just to wrap up, right. on that particular point, it’s really just designing the outcome you want.

Deciding on the outcome you want designing the game to encourage behaviour towards that outcome. So it’s very, very simple. It’s, it’s just marketing, right, but game of buying behaviour So it could be social sharing within a corporation encouraging internal stakeholders to share content externally. It could be it could be external influences, and encouraging them to share content externally, or anything really, right.

So which area is best for gamification?

Nicolas Babin 14:24

I would answer all of them seriously, because when I see when, with my customers, I use gamification for HR, how to motivate and get the employees more productive, and gamification for sales. And that’s one of the point as well as The big CRM tool is now has now a module with gamification inside because once the biggest challenge for CRM tools, is to ensure that all data is entered regularly. And proficiently while gamification is that, you know, you motivate salespeople to win with the leaderboard, for example, and you guys in UK have greatly the leaderboard companies, especially one as you know it.

And, so you just motivate them by creating healthy competition. And that that’s gamification, because it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s fun. It’s like:- “Well, yeah, I’m, you know, five points behind you, but I’m going to get you!”

You know, these type of attitude that you want to get. So then marketing can also use gamification, because that’s how they’re going to get the motivation from their customers, prospects, or the link between the brands and, and the user of the brand.

You’re going to use it in finance to make sure again, that, you know, finance reports of boring, I mean, I’m sorry to say, but it’s very difficult to read them. Here. With gamification, you can make them a little bit more attractive, you can make people understand them better.

So pretty much every area, I mean, that you’re talking about in factory, so for people to get motivated to be more productive, they can also you can also use, for example, big boards, in the factory where you see where you are at you’ve today, you created 20 phones, your neighbour has done 25 you know, these type of things. So there’s so many ways of motivating people in a fun way and not answer. It’s not only about money, and yet what not only the factory, but in the moral company.

Yeah, so even in factories, people can be more motivated using gamification, and you know, being in a way that they will either build faster products, or they will be more engaged, they will have a better time doing so. And so its overall company, basically, it’s not only about money, or giving more money for people to get more engaged, because this doesn’t work at the end, you’ll get tired and, and it doesn’t work was if you if you really work on the values of the company, or of the employees that you have, then gamification can be really efficient. And that that’s why we always trying to do when we do gamification campaign.

Nathaniel Schooler 17:24

Right, right. So what what results can you see with gamification?

Nicolas Babin 17:30

So the results that I have seen is basically, if not only for a marketing campaign, you see a return investment of about 10, 12%, which is extremely good. But you know, you have to spend a lot of money for that! In gamification campaign, I read, I usually see around 20- 25% of return of on the campaign.

The, because you’re going to work with the four principal, which are status, access, power, and price, which is the where’s the most sticky is basically the status, you give a status to somebody, and the status doesn’t cost much to the company. And at the end, at the end, you have the price which the prices could be a TV could be car, whatever, this is very expensive, and probably not remember six months down the line, what young campaign the person has done. So if you use this SAPP practice, which also, I think, I believe came from Gabe Zimmerman, but it’s very, it’s very good, because in marketing, it’s something that you can really follow.

And then you return investment is extremely high, because doesn’t cost much to say to somebody, your gold or silver or bronze SAPP policies, if I could say with an S with status, he was his Access, P which is the Power of the second P is the Price. So the status is what I mentioned with the gold silver or, or bronze status that you can find in any British Airways plan, you know, any type of of loyalty type of program, and that’s the status, the status, the beauty of the status is the fact doesn’t cost anything for you to make somebody become a platinum or gold member.

It’s very sticky, because the person is proud of being of having that status. And and, and they will remember the campaign that make them becomes bronze or whatever they have become. The access is again, what you can see at the airports, when you have access to a lounge, when you have access to any VIP treatment. For example, when you check in, you have the red carpet treatment, when you’re when you are gold or platinum. Again, you know, it cost a little bit more money, because these times they have to accept was something special. And if it’s have lounge, they have access to drinks and food. If it’s the red carpet, then obviously, you know, you have to have a dedicated staff for it. But it’s it’s not as expensive. As for example, the last one, which we’ll see in a minute.

The third one is the power, you give more power to people, you become golden, for example, you’ll be able to be invited to a premiere of our of our products, you’ll be able to get a prize special prices before anybody else you know this type of power that you can get to your customers or prospects. And the last one is price, which I mentioned is when you get to people say:- “Use our system user come to our to our website or whatever, do the survey, and we will give you a TV or will give you a car!”

Or:- “We will you know give a car to the first person who does it.” whatever you want to put as a mechanic. So by using this for SAPP basically doesn’t cost much if you especially if you focus on status and access. You can have a little bit of course when you you announce it and you communicate around it. But it’s it’s where you can see really the best type of results and returns on investments. Because again, it’s very it’s very powerful. It’s it’s efficient, and doesn’t cost much.

Nathaniel Schooler 21:21

Right. So you can use this in any department in any business. In. Well, marketing or any other department. Right?

Nicolas Babin 21:32

Absolutely. Any department in any company. Absolutely.

Nathaniel Schooler 21:37

Yeah. That’s, really interesting, really interesting. So could gamification be misused do you think Nicholas?

Nicolas Babin 21:48

Yes, I do believe gamification, there’s a risk, of course, the risk of people cheating, but to me the risks are, the first one is rewards not equivalent to achievements.

Meaning, you have to work really hard to get a peanut! Just as a joke, but, you know, you basically need to feel that whatever you do, you’re going to get the right the right type of achievement. And so that’s important. And number two, when you do a gamification campaign, you need to be careful that you’re not, that you don’t have a limited participation, bandwidth, right?

Meaning, you don’t have enough people playing. So like, for example, if you try to get a survey out, and you only get 10 people to participate, then it’s not relevant for you for what you’re trying to do.

I mentioned about cheating. So that’s what we mean by unintended consequences, gaming the system. And I’ve seen it, especially and sometimes you seen it in very small campaigns. Yeah. And, and people try to win. And we were very surprised, because the the price of what people could get was not that big. And so I was really surprised, but people can cheat anywhere. So you need to be very careful about that. And as I mentioned, at the beginning of this, of this Podcast, is making sure that you don’t undermine intrinsic values and interfere with social norms. Meaning, you know, you have you have social norms, and you need to be very careful that the campaign follows the norms, because it’s really important or, or else pretty much. So, yes, gamification needs, you know, not everyone can just say, I’m going to do a gamification campaign, you need to have a good marketing executive, who’s going to think about all these but not only marketing executive, also somebody who has gaming experience, and who has, you know, user experience using this, this type of mechanics.

Nathaniel Schooler 23:52

Right. Very interesting. So could you could you give us some examples of gamification that you’ve used in the past?

Nicolas Babin 24:01

Yes, sure. I’ve used gamification to acquire new customers and prospects, for example, in France with a game where pregnant ladies would go in and win a status with a brand called verbody was really interesting, because the game was about getting gathering information of about the pregnant lady, but also making our play and so you would have a pregnant lady on the on the, on the chair, and, and then the game would be to, to see what what basically insider her belly, I could say. So we had designed a medical environment, and the ladies would be able to play around and see around and see what their babies would be in terms of size, in terms of at what months.

The lady would have to enter, I’m pregnant, from what date, then the system automatically would know what size normally the baby would be, then the lady will be able to see her baby using a scan, you know, medical device that would show her what the baby would look like. So this one worked really well, because after that we could offer also, or make some suggestions about clothes for the baby, you know, the baby would come in the next two months, or maybe in two months is going to be winters and winter, you should have this type, of course, for the baby to avoid the baby to be to be cold. This type of this type of thing. So that there was one of the example I mentioned to you about the other example, I used with, with the TVs when was with Sony; there are many, many other examples.

Nathaniel Schooler 25:42

So you can you can gamify anything?

Nicolas Babin 25:45

Basically, you can have complaints about increasing traffic and communicate on products, which I did, which I did regularly can also for a brand called Mad Clothes, we did be the buyer. And again, so the clothes will be presented to you. And using augmented reality, you can see would look like in the clothes. I mean, there’s so many examples that you could use that, as I said, I could talk for hours.

Nathaniel Schooler 26:12

So what are the pros and cons of gamification.

Nicolas Babin 26:15

So the pros is really focusing on engagement, that’s, to me, the best way of engaging people, it’s extremely important for any type of activity as we as we mentioned. So it’s extremely important. The cons. Again, as we mentioned, you could have people obviously gaming the system, but I’m very concerned because I see a lot of people saying:- “Oh, gamification is only about badges and points.”

And actually, it’s extrinsic motivation, like the carrot and stick approach is not sustainable, you have the badge fatigue, it’s, it’s, it’s really will not work. So it really important that these cons, you know, our avoided and making sure that that is, you know, you focus more on the meaning of a campaign or meaning of, of a brand, the learning around the brand, what you can learn what what you need to have, you can grow with that, the self knowledge, the fun, you know, the power of the mastery, the belonging, the autonomy, all these points are extremely important to make sure that at least gamification campaign is, is is transformed into a positive experience. So, approach you have cons, but I believe that if you do it well, then the pros are definitely bigger than the cons.

Nathaniel Schooler 27:41

Yeah, it sounds like that from the return on investment.

So could you find gamification in every day online tools?

Nicolas Babin 27:49

Yes. Today, more and more companies are investing in gamification is true, more Anglo Saxon companies, then then the rest of the world. But, for example, today, I mentioned before is now using gamification. And and and you can you have a whole module based on that. And so it’s it’s part of the of the overall product. There is a company in the US called Belleville, which was then bought by SAP, not a long time ago and SAP and so badly, it was basically gamification platform company.

Nathaniel Schooler 28:29

Oh, yes!

Nicolas Babin 28:31

You’ve seen that? you have to big companies in the US Badgeville and Bunch Ball. Badgeville is now SAP and so when you think about SAP as a huge brands, and a huge company was some big product, using now gamification in pretty much all of their products as well. So it’s becoming more and more, and it’s true that because of now, what you can see with the generation, I call them the generation Gp, young kid, why not you keep it going around the year 2000.

Generation G for Google or Gamification, that is what I like to say, but this first generation, they grew up his video games, they’re getting to the positions now or entering the market, the work markets, and you know, they are replacing the baby boomers, please my generation, and for the first time, you know, as they grew up with that with video games, they’ll be making important decisions around society policies, education, and so on. And it’s not the kind of audience that we had in mind when we were talking about games. But this is the reality, these people now are going to use gamification, because they were raised with game consoles. Some of them even, were taught to read using a game console. So the game mechanic is essential to them. And that’s why gamification is going to be seen more and more with everyday tools. And that’s why, you know, today SAP, Salesforce, all the big companies are getting involved in it.

Nathaniel Schooler 30:06

Very interesting. Yeah, I’ve seen it, I use a Spanish app for learning Spanish. And it’s fantastic. They gamify that as well. And it really motivates you, I’ve had a break, because I’ve been too busy with recording content. But it’s amazing how it actually encourages you to do things. Yes.

Nicolas Babin 30:29

Education, E-health, any type of activity today, remember to use gamification, because gamification is not only, about mechanics, it’s also about adding game like getting aesthetics around around an application or something that’s off. For an older person, or even somebody like me, you will be more sensitive to something that comes in that’s easier to use, and that has great colours and thinks that that’s part of the gamification as well.

Nathaniel Schooler 30:59

Run. Fantastic. Well, that’s really, really useful. So I think we’re going to move on and talk about data and technology. So okay, it’s it’s a big, big topic right? And, you know, I’ve got a few a few questions here that we that we’ve sort of prepared.

So with data and technology, are we talking online or offline data?

Nicolas Babin 31:25

So to me, we’re talking about both online and offline, because today, data is available. Everywhere you go, for example, you go from one place to another, you have GPS that tracks us, mobile phone that tracks you, we use a connected device, you leave a trace with Internet of Things you buy online, you leave a trace, we answer an email, you have a trace.

But even if you if you move from one place to another, and you don’t use GPS or anything, and your phone is off. So a lot of if, once you arrive at the new place, you’re going to get you’re going to be able to use offline data. And it’s the combination of online and offline, that’s going to make a very powerful way of analysing all the data.

Nathaniel Schooler 32:16

Yeah, I mean, that it’s some ridiculous figure, the amount of data that’s being produced every day is like something, it’s just ridiculous, isn’t it? Like we’re drowning in this in this data. But that’s like another, that’s a whole conversation on its own. But

Massive, isn’t it but so what is open data?

Nicolas Babin 32:35

Open data is what governments are putting, are developing these days regarding administrative data being available for everyone. So for example, he wants to know how many books are in your library, your your public library, new in your town, in your town, or if you want to know how many red lights are, how many traffic lights are involved, and though I mean, how many accidents are involved around traffic lights, or whatever, whatever information that is collected today, by your government, according to European knows, at least is needs to be available

to anyone. So that’s why open data is very important, because you now have access to online, offline, open all these type of information that before nobody had a clue about. And so you can make you know, any type of new application any type of new disruptive tool, using all these data?

Nathaniel Schooler 33:39

Wow, that’s quite interesting. Yeah, I mean, it’s it’s very interesting what they’re doing over in New York. And in the city with data I heard, I heard that actually, the New York City Government, if you want to open a retail outlet, they will actually help you to choose a retail outlet based upon the data source that they have on that particular outlet.

So that store, for example, will have you know, a certain number of people going past, but they will also know who what, who those people are demographic wise. And if there’s another coffee shop, for example, that say you’re opening a coffee shop, if there’s another coffee shop within a short distance, how, you know, that might not be the right outlet for your for your business. So that’s quite interesting, I find it very interesting, and how it can actually affect business.

So what what marketing techniques use data, then, Nicholas?

Nicolas Babin 34:34

So we’re not going to go back to the gamification but obviously, gamification, use use data marketing techniques that use data is really what we call predictive analytics.

Today, you know, we’ve gone from overall marketing, which is only for for mass marketing into a personalized marketing, when you have such a big amount of data, as you mentioned before, which is absolutely unbelievable, the marketing will be able to use the past, get some artificial intelligence programs around it, and being able to then calculate what’s going to happen in, you know, in the future, or could be tomorrow, it would be the month, it could be, it could be the year.

And it’s based on everything. And this is why I wanted to mention about open data. Open data can also obviously have an impact on that, but the marketing techniques that really important and this is really is really this this predictive, which will allow companies to predict when customers will need their product, what type of product they will need, what kind of price they will need, we will be able to make a link, because open data is also about weather data. So whether that the was really rainy, and we saw that, based on the rain, and based on the fact that it was the fall season, then we were able to sell more of these trousers or more of these glasses or whatever.

So this is where marketing is going to play a role and a much bigger role than it is today. Because to the marketing, or today, until the last five years, marketing was about guessing what the market will like, what people would like.

Whereas here, we’re going to be able to be much, much more precise about market needs and about, about product development. So at least you won’t get any more issues around providing the right number of products, because that’s also a big, big problem when your factory or or when you when you try to plan ahead of what you need to older. And then so here, the marketing techniques that will basically be the most important for these, the use of data to me is predictive.

Nathaniel Schooler 37:12

Yeah, I agree. 100%, all of that all of that is, is so so interesting for businesses and and also, for the entire supply chain. When you look at the food supply chain. I mean, I think that they’re saying that the food supply chain will benefit from like a 15% reduction in costs, which is fascinating, because it means it means that they’ll be able to provide information on how much water the crop needs, which parts of the field needs, vitamins and minerals through fertilizers. And all of that adds up to the consumer benefiting and also, we will be able to, perhaps not solve the homelessness problem and and the hunger problem in the world. But we will be able to do a lot more to help the needy, you know, and that’s really good.

Nicolas Babin 38:10

And certainly we’re going to be able to optimize the resources. And that’s the key. That’s the key is this new, new data approach. Absolutely.

Nathaniel Schooler 38:19

Yeah. So we sort of talked around it, but how how can data and technology go together then?

Nicolas Babin 38:26

So technology is fed with data. So technology had to evolve, in order for data to become so important. So for example, and we’ll talk about that, just after I believe a little bit later on. But like the data and the all these type of technologies were invented, because data became so important. And people started to realize we’ve always known that data was important. But people started to realize that data has a value. But it’s much, much more than we ever thought, you know, data has value because we know how many customers we have. Well, yeah, that’s great, it’s really important to have that. But as you mentioned, you know, the optimization of resources to make making sure that at least we don’t throw away anything any more, that we don’t you know that we everything is done in a in a very professional and efficient way, you can only be done with the technology and data going together. So that’s why it is important to mention that is today. Because of all the disruption that we’ve seen with start-ups and with all the disruptive approaches that we’ve seen, we are capable of getting something that is so powerful. And on top of it, if you add the AI angle around it, artificial intelligence angle around it, and obviously, you’re going to get something much better. Yeah, that’s certain as well.

Nathaniel Schooler 39:56

So with with with AI using data, how are how, how does that kind of work?

Nicolas Babin 40:02

So basically, you will get data, which I would say is that is a fact. And what I mean by a woman, me be very clear, because I know a lot of people are scared of artificial intelligence. I’m not talking about replacing human I’m talking about human augmented. Yeah, it’s not my it’s not my sentence. It’s something that that’s out there. And it’s been out there for a while. But it’s basically being able to allow human to make better decisions. Based on a lot of data, that alone, we will not be able to to base our decisions on. I’m talking about, like, for example, a doctor or surgeon, being able to look at all the possibilities, you know, with factual data, but also with a new algorithm around it with which is artificial intelligence. And that algorithm will be able to show him all the different options. And then at the end, we always need the human to make a decision. Yeah, but at least the human will make a better decision because he will have more information. And we’ll be able to process more information. And that’s what I mean by you know, by AI using data is the more data we have, the better AI is going to be.

And it’s the same thing today, when we see with Google, when you use Gmail, anything, the more you use it, the more precise it becomes now are pretty much all my replies on Gmail, only use the the AI powered algorithm that Google offers me. So it’s, and it’s becoming so clear. And it’s, it really matches what I like to do and the words I like to use. So it’s becoming really good. And I’ve been using Gmail for years and years. But I find it now extremely powerful, and it’s helping me you know, rather than writing an email, just going to take even one minute, it takes me 10 seconds, then I can use the 50 seconds, I can do something better, or I can I can spend it in a better way.

Nathaniel Schooler 42:02

Yeah, I mean, it goes back, it goes back to what they said about the Industrial Revolution. And actually, we are in the industrial revolution. And we’re just we’re just starting to see the benefits, really, in terms of our working hours. I mean, you’re in France, and they have a 35 hour working week. I mean, wow, I’d love one of those.

Nicolas Babin 42:25

Because I used to work in the UK, so probably that’s why. But, I have never had 35 hours!

Nathaniel Schooler 42:31

But they don’t they like lock you up or something if you work more?

Think that’s brilliant. I think that’s absolutely.

But so. So really, it’s about making sure that the data that you’re collecting is, is is very good quality. And and knowing what you want that data for, and actually just and also being careful with with that data as well. I mean, security is another big topic we’re not going to go into right now.

But so what is predictive analytics then, Nicholas?

Nicolas Babin 43:07

So as I just mentioned, predictive analytics is the use of factual data that is collected through open data through anything that basically you put in any company will will collect. So talking about data coming from finance, from HR, from sales, from marketing, you know, all these companies used to have data that we’re just siloed when one area for for and not every every type of departments will basically share the data.

Here, we’re talking about getting all the data together. So that’s that’s factual data, historical data, that data that has gone through and analysing it around some very powerful algorithm to ensure that at least you predict what’s going to happen in your in your business.

So predictive analytics cannot happen for a start-up that’s just been around for six months, for example, I mean, the guess I guess, but in terms of in terms of big companies that have been around for a long time and want to transform their business, and that’s what we talked about digital transformation, is using the data that’s been available for years and years and years. And making sure that at least behind it, we put some some value, which means like, okay, I want to analyse every January, what kind of sales we’ve done, do we have a plan that makes sense, in the sense that is it pretty much every every January?

Is it pretty much always the same?

Same amount, same type of products will be sold?

What do the sales people do in January?

What the marketing people do in January?

Do we have a lot of people were sick in January?

You know, all this type of information that every company has?

I mean, even like, what time do people come in the office in January?

Because you badge. So you get all these type of information. And then you think about what you want to see next January, the following January and everything. And then you put in place based on data, a strategy saying:- “Okay, I see that every January, my staff has the flu.”

My staff has the flu every January, and I have a very high percentage of people not being around, well, then guess what, next January, I’m going to put in place a flu vaccination program,.

Nathaniel Schooler 45:29


Nicolas Babin 45:30

You see, so this type of information, I mean, obviously, this is very simple, when it just said it could go much, much further and in terms of analysis, but here’s to make sure that everybody understands that now that every single department will be sharing the data, then the CEO, the head of HR, whoever would be able to make a decision based on on on data that has been used, and that is, you know, looking forward to what, what you want.

Nathaniel Schooler 45:59

Yeah, and you can also plug in social media data, weather data, everything else, which absolutely, which is going to help you to actually understand what you know, to predict what you need to buy your resources you need to allocate to whichever department actually needs the information. And yeah, I think it’s I think it’s fantastically interesting.

Nicolas Babin 46:22

I have, I also have another example, actually have a customer that helped doing a digital transformation. in HR, we were able to analyse the data coming from social networks, like for example, mainly LinkedIn, and looking at that, we were able to tell when people would come in. So number one, you can say before the interview, what people have done in the past and what people have said about them, which company, they work for everything to make sure that is their CV, or in order.

But one person one HR director that I worked with was telling me said it’s so powerful for is that now we know before even the person knows when they’re going to get bold in their job, because we’ve analysed all their data on to LinkedIn and realize that, and I’m saying I’m sorry, it’s not the exact the truth here, but I’m just giving an example. So they say for example, in three years time, we know that this person is going to get bored. So we’re going to put a career path in for him or her saying that, you know, in the next two years, we’re going to train them to do something else.

So before even the person is bored, because you can see trends like this, you can see people, you know, they leave jobs after two years after three years of there and not only repeats itself. So with this predictive analytics, you plan ahead, and you make sure at least or even if you don’t want this person to change jobs after three years, but you start talking to them and say, you know, is there anything you would like us to change in your queue? We add some more responsibilities to you. I mean, whatever in order to make sure that at least at the person with was there will not leave the company after three years?

Nathaniel Schooler 48:04

Yeah. Yeah. Exactly. In and just tweak what’s going on to suit them? So you retain them longer?

Yeah. So what is big data? And how can anyone use it?

Nicolas Babin 48:17

So big data is a big database. Basically, it’s a little bit technology, it’s non structured data, where we call it normally new, no SQL for not only SQL, I mean, because databases, normal databases, I could call them normal, or SQL base, which is the sequences.

And the here, they are no SQL databases, which means that you can enter the information and the amount, a huge amount of data. I mean, there’s and there’s no limit to it. Well, technology is the limit, but I think it’s getting it’s getting really towards no limit.

So you’re getting a lot of data into the no SQL database. And then you structure it in order to get to get the analysis that you want. So predictive analysis, AI analysis, any type of analysis, you get it out in a form with clusters in general. And in and so you, you start doing all the big analysis like this, that’s why it’s called Big Data. It’s because the amount of data is enormous compared to what we used to be able to do.

Nathaniel Schooler 49:22

So that big data can come from any activity, so it could be from an Internet of Things sensor that pings your router that then gathers data, or it could be from your I watch that has run an ECG, I watch four does ECG so so then your iPhone knows that, you know, your heart rate is too high. And if you don’t come down that you’re going to have like a problem. So it tells you to calm down, right.

So basically, it can be from anywhere. It could be you know, the websites that you’re visiting, it could be how much time you spend on your phone, it can go even beyond that, though, can’t it can go to you being tracked as an individual in marketing. So you go to a certain shopping centre, and they know that you’re actually in the aisle looking at a pair of shoes that you looked at online, and then they can send you a voucher, right, for example.

Nicolas Babin 50:27

Potentially, yes, but today you have a you have a very strong European laws about data protection.

Nathaniel Schooler 50:35

You do, but it just depends. It depends on the company. Right and and their policies, and absolutely what you’ve what you’ve signed up for, I mean, I block a lot of stuff, collecting data on me because I don’t want that and I erase it every day, I make sure I’m very careful with that, because I don’t want loads of personalized adverts trying to persuade me to buy stuff. But other people enjoy that other people actually want that because it makes their life easier, because they don’t have to remember that they looked at a website, and they want to buy something because they got interrupted. So it all depends on the individual. Right? And absolutely. And what you want.

Nicolas Babin 51:13

That’s the beauty today with technology and data is you can do what feels right to you. Again, we are very protected in Europe. I mean, if you go to China or whatever you’re not protected at all, they have hundreds of millions of cameras around filming all the time in China, you know, and you can’t see anything, you can’t even have access to your data or anything. Us in Europe, we do have access to our data, we can say no, if you don’t want that you mentioned I every night before I go to bed, I actually go to Google my activity and I delete all my activity. Yeah. Because I don’t want other people to use it. If you’re fine with it, then obviously, the technology is there today that definitely somebody can check where you are and what you do. And they can offer you what you probably don’t even know yourself going to that shop you’re going to want.

Nathaniel Schooler 52:04

Exactly, but then, but then it’s kind of like when it can kind of mess up with your brain. It’s like, Look, you know, you we actually need to be using our brains here. So let’s kind of let’s kind of just, keep, perhaps an eye on our phone, but let’s not let it control our lives, let’s actually take the time to think ourselves instead of letting technology run our lives. And that’s it. That’s another another story as well, isn’t it Really? But can we’ve kind of talked quite a lot about how anyone can use big data,. But there are many, there are many, many ways to use it. I suppose it It starts off with what what outcome do you want? And then you decide what data you need to collect in order to make the outcome happen? More seamlessly? I mean, that’s pretty simple way of explaining it. Right?

Nicolas Babin 52:56

Huh, yeah, absolutely. Very simple way for a company to put it in place. For any individual like you and I, you know, there’s no point because you really need to get a lot of data. Yeah, but for company to use it absolutely yes.

Nathaniel Schooler 53:11

So what activities use big data then?

Nicolas Babin 53:17

Today, it’s pretty much everything. I mean, e commerce, uses big data, big time, if I could say, digital marketing, politics, they use big data, the press use big data. Insurance thinks the press is using big data. And it’s it’s pretty recent, what they do is also to ensure that they don’t have fake news.

Nathaniel Schooler 53:38


Nicolas Babin 53:38

Because then with the data, you can cross a lot of information coming from a lot of places. And for example, if you see that the source comes always from the same place, geographically, then, you know, to be very careful about the information. So the press is actually pretty recent. But insurance and banks use big data. Let’s say that you have a car accident, and, you know, the insurance can see that you you were the pub just before it’s very likely that you’ve been drinking or things like that, so that they could also get the data like this, obviously, I’m just saying that it’s potentially possible. But again, with with the the data protection rights, it will not happen today. Education uses also the data, human resources, medical, I mean, pretty much every single activity that you see on the and it’s really I don’t want people to feel that they’re scared of when they hear of the data when they hear about artificial intelligence.

It’s really to improve, and again, to to optimize resources by getting various sources around of data. And that’s why it’s important. It’s true that if it’s misused, and I think I’m going over probably to the questions after, but the it’s misused, it could be potentially very dangerous, but with the laws that we have in place, and the way we handling it, I think it’s today it’s we see more pros and cons, to be honest with you.

Nathaniel Schooler 55:11

Yeah. Well, I mean, we as consumers want things to be cheap, we want things to be easy. And that’s the only way for us to actually get what we want. So, you know, I think, you know, we could talk about this for hours. And I think we should at some stage talk about it more, but for now. I think that’s absolutely fantastic. I really appreciate all your time. And if people want to get hold of you, how would they find you, Nicholas? They can find me on Twitter, @NicoChan33, or they can find me on LinkedIn on there. There’s also an article on Wikipedia. Okay, great. Well, I will, I’ll drop a link in there. So everyone can contact you. And thank you. So that’s been has been very interesting.

Unknown 55:59

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