Rob Cairns talks to Jorge Casals about Datapocket.
- What is Datapocket?
- Features of Datapocket.
- Roadmap for Datapocket.
Hey, everybody, Rob Cairns here. Good morning. And today I’m here with my. Good friend Jorge Cassals of Data Pocket. How are you today?
Good. Thank you and thank you for the intro.
Ah, you’re welcome. Such a pleasure. It’s funny if one sits in the charm sometimes three times. Is the charm is, you know, and you are.
Coming to us from the bright country. Of Spain this morning, are you not or?
Yep, right from the capital. From Madrid.
From Madrid and how is how is life in Madrid and going in at this time?
Well, it’s, it’s busy. I mean, I mean it’s that the weather has changed from all of a sudden used to be 30°. Now we are on 15 or 10, yeah. And but it’s looking good work. Madrid, which is one of the biggest in Spain, is coming next week so pretty exciting. And I just came back from work. I’m Sevilla, which is I think it’s. If I’m not mistaken, it’s one of the very first work camps ever created.
Yeah, it’s got a long legacy in history and the was it. Well attended or this year?
It was. It was. Really fun, to be honest. Like their organizing team was really fun. Nilo Nilo is very known. He’s he’s usually the photographer in most work camps and he was organizing so he was real. Really good. Really.
Yeah. Good. I’m glad you had a. Good time this year has been kind of a crazy year. I haven’t been able to get to any of the North American word camps in the Toronto, Upstate New York area, there’s been both Rochester and before and just the way it’s followed, I didn’t even get to where campus. I’ve had stuff going on like every weekend, so. Next year, but. If you can’t get to a work. Camp, both of. Us would probably encourage you get out to one and meet some people and have some fun and and do all that good.
Thank you, Michael.
Stuff, right? Yeah. What we’re talking about work. Camp was going to save this, but you have been on the organizing committee for work Camp Europe and you were last year in Athens and you will. Next year in Torino, which actually might get me there as well as my spring trip. Yeah, but. How do you find being a word camp organizer?
Yeah, it’s a good question. People ask me if I was an organizer before because usually people are organizing local meet ups, like on your own town or city. But I went straight into work in Europe to be honest, and it was such a good experience. It’s true that it’s very tough because you. Work for nine months, so it’s like having a baby and you work on work on Europe for nine months and then you get into the event and you work extra hard on those three days. As we as we were talking before you, you do enjoy the the event, but not as much as if you were. An attendant so.
Let’s see how next year is organized and hopefully I can get to meet more sponsors or meet more people around. Let let’s see what happens here in Torino.
Yeah. What I what I would say is we’re kind of talking before we went to record the the big thing about being an organizer of any big event is a. You see everything nobody else sees because you’re so dialed in and the the whole key I always say is when people look at me and say nothing went wrong and I’m thinking in my head. Ohh I can think of 30 things that should have happened, but as long as the people going didn’t see them, it’s not right and and then and then it’s.
Hard. It’s hard to enjoy that event because you’re running around making sure it runs and you know, I think that’s some way days of running some big. Events of a couple. 1000 people in Toronto in the community. And I somebody said to me once blocking out of an event, did you see that great talk? And I said honestly, I’ll watch the recording later. I probably saw too it’s it’s it’s the way it works, right we give of our time until officially to make other people have a great time and that’s you should recommend.
Exactly how you.
Yeah, you should be commended for donating your time that way. Well done. Anybody who does should be appreciated. So much appreciated. Yeah, yeah. So let’s jump into a product that you run called data Pocket. Do you? Want to tell us a little bit about the product?
Yeah, data pocket was originally born thanks to our collaboration with Canva. Canva invited us to a kind of like a private program called Alpha API program. It was launched in April 2022.
And they the agreement was to help them with the new API and SDK and in return they let us develop a new app. So we have to come with a new idea. And data pocket was. Was, yeah, it was created because of canvas opportunity really. So with our expertise on e-commerce connections, images, pricing etcetera, we develop data pocket which basically is the connector between the e-commerce world. And the design platform. So what we are doing is we’re allowing users across the world, for example WooCommerce, Shopify and WordPress even. To connect all. Their information, so images, titles, descriptions and prices to Canva, Figma and Adobe in real time. So we are letting them. We’re kind of like the bridge in. Between but people get confused. Here we are the bridge in between. But one way only. So we leave you on the design platform. Then what do you do with the design is really your responsibility and up to you. We we are not kind of like cross-platform. So we don’t really want to interfere with your own privacy inside of your WooCommerce or inside of your. That’s really up to you. It’s more like a marketing tool.
Yeah. Now you mentioned you support both Luke Commerce and Shopify. Do you have more Shopify users? Do you have more woo users? Are you kind of split down the middle on that one?
It’s a good question. So we have, we even connect more E commerces, but it’s true that the focus is on Shopify and WooCommerce. These are the biggest players and if I’m honest with you, we have almost 5050.
I should be fine on WooCommerce there’s there’s a. Real fight in there.
Yeah. Now on Shopify, do you have to go to one? I assume you have to go to one of the premium Shopify plans to use data pocket, not just the basic plan typically.
Yeah, that’s a we have a small issue here with Shopify and it’s they requested us for some privacy. Kind of like. Agreements. So the way forward with Shopify is? More complicated than WooCommerce to be honest. You have to download your CSV from your shop and you have to upload it into our platform and. Then you have all the information WooCommerce. The good thing is that it’s 24/7 synchronized. Without doing anything, so you. Just connect one connected forever.
I think I think.
You know from a a person who’s done e-commerce and we’re talking about I’m in the process of building a large e-commerce stores. We speak, I much prefer the whole platform. For that reason. I think I think he can’t ignore Shopify. They’re big player. They’re also Canadian. I think you know that they’re based out of Ottawa ON and they, but that all said I think because it’s a closed platform, I don’t think the flexibility is there and sometimes the rules are more stringent, so things like. Having to download the CSV and importing. Yeah, I just know a lot of shop owners aren’t gonna do that. It’s just extra work. And and their job, truthfully, is to run an e-commerce store. Not to worry. About all this. Other stuff they don’t. Want to worry about downloading this? Moving this here. Doing that they want it all to be. Done seamless so I. You know, Yep. It would be nice if you could get.
Not that that’s.
Yeah, it would be nice. Go ahead.
In fact. Sorry, sorry. In fact, I think that on the long term. I was talking. About this with side brown ones on the long term WooCommerce I think it’s better than Shopify in terms of cost. The architecture of your shop, the security, the privacy. And especially as I mentioned, the first thing I mentioned costs. Shopify seems to be free at the begin. But then there is many costs behind the plans and the platform.
Yeah, I I would agree. With you. So they give some kind of idea. I’m building out a large jewelry store site. I can share that publicly. So that’s not a problem. And I’m using, this one’s going on GoDaddy managed WooCommerce hosting. So we’re not talking the typical. $5 a month to go and buy your shared hosting, and then let’s watch where the dice fall. Please don’t do that even for a regular site, it’s not a good. Yeah. And you know, at that cost, that includes all a whole suite of plugins, A Bluehost does the same with the Yes suite which we were talking about, they have, they’ve managed and now they’re doing smart things like incorporating AI into all of this stuff as well. And then. And then you’re talking like for hosting with the plug in switch, you’re probably talking typically like? $30.00 a month, give or take, and that’s Canadian. That’s not even US. So we’re talking like really reasonable where your cost is on who is your upfront cost, your development cost and there whereas with platforms like Shopify, a lot of your costing is on the back end and then you lose. Flexibility. It’s just an interesting model when you think about it, right?
Yeah. Nice. It’s just a splendid, very uh, very nicely. It’s just like that.
Yeah. So it’s just like that. So I think that’s what people need to kind of think about. And if you want control your data, I think personally I think who’s the way to go because then you have your data in your platform, not on somebody else’s platform. But that’s you know. Where are you planning on going with the department? How are you planning on expanding it?
Yeah. So UM, we have a few options now. There was some good news one week ago, Adobe send us an e-mail very randomly, like hey, I’ve seen Avicii, Avicii is kind of like the our company that then builds all these SAS products. I’ve seen that you developed filters which is our first SaaS and you have data pocket. I can see you work with Canva Sigma. I can also see that you work with Adobe Photoshop. Would you like to be in Adobe Express? And we were like, no. Yes, yes, of course. I mean it’s it’s another, it’s another integration. Adobe is betting on this is they’re putting so much effort into Adobe Express because what they really want to do here is above is still kind of like the pixel perfect. Canva on the other hand is for non designers which are trying to become as good as Adobe, if that makes sense. But Adobe express, what it’s going to do here is kind of overlap Canva. It’s going to be as easy as Canva, but then you will be able to share these designs with your colleagues. From Photoshop, after effects illustrator. Later. So there’s gonna be some really interesting things going on with Adobe on the next year, and data pocket is going to be there as well if possible, yeah. So that that’s one.
And I will.
Of them, yes.
I would also say Adobe he’s jumping into the AI space too in a big, big way right now. I mean, the last big.
I’m very lazy.
The last Big Buy was a bite. Canva for those who don’t know, Canva is an Adobe product. Now. I mean, and I I know there was some concern when they made that buy, but as a canvas user and the Photoshop user, I haven’t seen much change there. The big changes, all the AI stuff that’s coming in and. All the enhancements coming in, I mean because if, let’s be honest, if you’re charging like $30.00 US a month for a pro suite, you better have tools in there that benefit you towards what you’re paying, right. And and Adobe is known as not being a cheap product on the market, frankly.
No, it’s never been cheap and Adobe Firefly, which is the name of the AI, it’s really powerful as you mentioned. So it’s a, it’s their own AI. So that’s very good. They’re not playing with third parties and that’s kind of one of the way forward for data. The other thing. As we were talking before, is that we are evaluating the idea of having partners specialized on WooCommerce. And to play. With data pocket and being kind of like. Responsible of selling the plug in.
That that’s probably a really good way to go. As we say, we’ve seen it with GoDaddy. We’ve seen it with with new fold with new host and some of their offerings they they have a big AI and. And offering coming down and Speaking of boost, they have their big Creator Awards coming up. I think you’re on the jury for that as well. If I recall right. So so so so.
Yes, we we we want that.
Yeah, so so am I. So I’ll give boost a bit of a push. They’re doing some nice stuff in the community and. And I think. Actually, I’ve done a better job in the community in the last year than I had before that I’ll I’ll say that very frankly. So kudos to those guys for what they’re doing and. We’re seeing more. And more, I mean we know WP engine has bought a couple companies along the way than hence their options, so I think. I think like for companies like yours partnering with a hosting company is. Probably the way. You’d like to go if you could. Maybe I’m wrong, but I think that makes more sense than another plug-in company.
Yeah. Yeah, especially a company that has already clients, happy clients, if that makes sense, yeah. For current users, so they always think of the brand that they’re using. So let’s say GoDaddy, so Oh yeah, my hosting is and GoDaddy, my website or my domain and stuff. Yeah, data could be kind of like another player inside of someone that is bigger than us. So as you mentioned, that’s probably one of the way forward for data pocketing.
Yeah. How long ago did? You. You. How long ago was state of pocket? Found it. Like. How long have you been in operation? A couple years. Right. Pretty well.
UM, so I mean data pocket working 100%.
Yeah, pretty well.
On the market, June 2023.
Yeah. So it’s been a busy year and a big.
Year is it’s very recent and I mean The thing is that there was a lot of development because of Canva. They wouldn’t let us. Launch it until they had. Well, we even had to go to San Francisco to present data pocket with them. So imagine they had to prepare an event. They were waiting for more apps to come, so even though it was finished, no one knew that it exist. So since it’s been very recent and we already have more than 4000 users, so I think it’s doing well. But again, I feel like someone bigger needs to push the product to make it. Make sure.
Well, the problem is the problem is if you want to scale, you’ve either got a gotta get involved with somebody bigger who’s already got that market. It’s easier. And then because they already have user base or you have to mark it yourself and come up with the user base, or somehow you’ve got to go viral on social which. Honestly, in this day and age it’s almost impossible. Like I have clients come to me all the time and say as a marketer saying could you make this go viral? And I’m like, I can’t promise you that. I mean, you could try, but it’s so hard to go viral in this day and age. I think aiming there is a bit of a mistake, don’t you?
Yeah, there’s, there’s. Too much content going on and especially I mean every single second as we are talking, there’s people creating content like crazy. So again as you said the probabilities and the chance to become viral or very popular from all of a sudden are very.
Low with. Data pocket. And you guys are based in EU. Did you have any big restrictions with privacy in the EU you had to worry about? Because we all know. Being in the EU, I personally think the EU is good for business like I really do. I wish Canada would go that route in some respects to the cause complications.
UM, that’s a good question. Uh, people think that data pocket could have any privacy or privacy issues because we are kind of like grieving your shop or your product page. But the good thing about data Pocket really is that.
We we don’t go that deep. We only read what’s publicly available. Meaning that for example, if you have a store with again as you mentioned before 2000 products. We’re going to read all those products, but we are not going to read anything from your shop, your payments, your orders, your customers, there’s no data. And the good thing about data bucket is that we when we say we synchronize what we really do is that we first do a scan of the. Not. And we only surf the image or surf the text when you are inside the design platform and you press click. Uh, the way we do it is kind of like the magic portion of the data pocket. The way we do it is that we ask the servers so kind of like we have a very complex cloud service. Well, what we do is we ask for the picture on that very moment on the click. So what you’re seeing really when you’re inside your platform is only the image of your product.
But when you. First want to put your image on Canva. That’s when we read the only at that very moment, so we don’t really store anything at any point, so we kind of like jump the privacy and security problems.
That that’s an interesting way of doing it. So you’re not really storing any data per se. So so there’s not a, not a. Privacy issue there at all.
And there’s no costs for us.
No, that’s good. Yeah, not to answer, but are you kind of is the back end based in a data center or is it S3 based or can you?
Yeah, I see, right.
Share it on it. Accessory business and household reliability of lately.
How’s the reliability of sleeping lately?
Ohh it’s. I mean we’ve never had any problems. It’s true that for example, the other day there was this Shopify store coming in with 70,000. I don’t want to be running here, but more than 70,000 pictures images. Our servers had to overlap and so we usually have kind of like I don’t know how you say this in English correctly now kind of like a. Security measures in case our servers are full, so we have to go almost like three times the usual. So only synchronizing that shop was super expensive because we were not expecting kind of like that. Kind of shops coming in. So it was a good thing for us to try the servers and to see how a huge shop could come in at anytime.
So that that’s really good to know. S3 is usually pretty stable too, so that you know they they don’t have a lot of ups and downs. I mean the reality of working in the web world is you’re going to get some ups and downs no matter who you go with. It doesn’t matter we’ve seen it. Yeah. Have you? Had any issues with security on the SAS side of the product or is things? You get there.
I I mean it’s not because I love my team, but it’s true that we have. I’m he’s specialized in systems. And we always call him the hacker because he’s he’s kind of like the hacker by he will be the one hacking others. And so he knows how to protect us from from security breaches or anything. And to be honest, I we rely on him completely. And we’ve never had any issues with security.
I I think that’s the big thing is find somebody’s good at what they do and and trust what they do. That’s the key. Like security is all based on trust. I would, I would argue and and just keep an eye out there. The Wild’s getting pretty scary right now. I mean, every time you you turn the paper in North America, some companies been hacked somewhere, some government. Agency some retailers, some. Even I’ve had my credit card compromised. Believe it or not, three times in the last 18 months and had my bank account hacked. So there you. Well, that and that happened about four years ago, so I’ve been through the mail on that one. So and for me, security is a big issue. It’s a big part of what I do on the website. So it’s. A question I always like to ask because it’s it’s just interesting. Yeah. And we could go down that rabbit hole for hours if we had to. That’s that’s.
Not really important reading that.
A whole new.
Ball game besides data pocket and woo, what else do you have? You got yourself into these days or other little? Projects are.
Yeah. So we have another sales project which is in legacy, which probably in a few months we’ll come back with another name and kind of like changing the. UX a bit. But if I can explain it in two sentences, it’s a video video marketing tool for e-commerce, so people can so people can really start creating videos or MP fours or even HTML videos from their websites. With WooCommerce connected in real time, so kind of like the the template grabs the information images, text prices. And the template is built automatically and then you can share it on your website. On HTML you can share it on the shape of blocks as well like whatever. Or you can export it for social media in MP4.
That’s really cool. So you would you call this almost an AI based tool? It sounds like it, right? It’s a little bit of.
That’s the trick here. There’s no AI. And there’s a lot.
Behind is the mixture between Lodi files. I don’t know if you know Loti loti file.
I do. I do.
And I could see this being successful because people video marketing, especially with the younger generation, has become even more key like quick video shorts of 15 or 30 seconds, that kind of thing. I think that’s really important and that’s why platforms like Tick Tock and even Instagram with reels and stuff like that. Have taken off more and more. I think it’s because of video marketing, right? So. Good luck with that one.
Video format? Yeah, video format still king in social media and.
Any ideas? Any idea when you’re looking at a full launch date when you get back to reorganizing this? Or is it just kind of a project that’s there and then as time permits?
So the idea here is that when our developing developing team has more hands on this project, the idea is to change again name probably and an interface. And relaunch it as a new product, but there’s no date probably sometime in 2020. Four for sure.
Yeah, it sounds really exciting. I wish you well with that in terms of your development team, is most of it contracted or is it most of it employees of the company or have you guys gone to kind of 1/2 and half? Model where where have you gone with that? Running a remote company?
That’s a very good question because that’s our not biggest issue, but sometimes something that maybe can help others. Our company was not really growing fast. But then we got this very big client that demanded so much that then we were like, OK, we really want to take this project, but we don’t have. The team for this. So we had to hands on on hiring people because we believe that having people in house is better for things like security and trust as you. Said, feeling like home. But it’s true that, for example, in terms of front end, we have a contractor. So it’s someone that we ask him for projects and he comes with a. We are really happy with this person because he’s not a freelancer. He’s kind of like working for someone else. That is hiring him and then putting him into projects.
Makes sense. So it’s kind of like a. Freelancer, but not really.
Yeah, yeah, he’s walking through somebody, yeah.
So and then we’re hiring. A few people now we have 3 new develop. And there is another one in Monday, Monday, starting so next week.
That’s good, yeah.
The hardest part with. The hardest part with hiring new staff, whether it’s contract or internally, is onboarding and then getting them up to speed on how you guys do things. Because every company does things a little bit differently. Everybody manages the projects a little differently. What do you guys use to manage your projects?
Where? Where do we manage our products?
Yeah. What are you using? What SAS product you’re using for?
We use that. Lesson that lesson suit we use JIRA software mainly and confluence for kind of like the documents and and making sure everything is there so we can revisit the product. But yeah General software is our way forward. We work with the sprints we work with. Refinement is is a refinement. I’m sorry. Sometimes with my English, I forget about words. But kind of like feedback all the time on on the sprints and making sure that our team is always aligned. So that’s the way we work. With the developers.
The key is to decide on your software stack that you needs to manage and stick with it. Don’t don’t do what a lot of people do in our business. They like to try every new tool, every day. You know where it’s going with that. The shiny tool syndrome and they wonder why they don’t get any work done in, in terms of stuff. But I think you gotta.
Kind of sit down and figure it out, and then once you get with it, stick with it. I think the process is more important than the tools sometimes, but you know it’s.
No. Yeah, 100%. I think there’s people that try too many things and there’s no time for that. It’s like having too many meetings in a day. It’s like, no, we need some work done. Yeah. But yeah, I think being the agile methodology and this crime is very important to us in, in our team, for example.
As long as the. Listener stays away from Microsoft Office. I’ll be have our Microsoft project, I’ll be happy. And I I come from before I I built my agency. I come from an enterprise healthcare background and they all like default to Ms. Project and Ms. Project is the worst to manage projects. You spend more time managing the Ms. project than you do managing the project itself. It’s it’s kind of hard. From that, from that perspective and and at the time we had a CTO who used to like his projects plans to look exactly the way they should look. So the day before project plans were due, all the project managers would huddle in their offices, changing their project. Ones for submission, so they’d have one that they used to track everything, and then one that worked pretty to get past the management. Yeah, well, waste of time. Actually. At the end of the day, cause what did it, achy.
And yeah, things have changed so much.
Ohh I know I don’t, I don’t. This business is a changing business. Whether you’re doing what are you doing web development, what are? What are you doing any marketing? It used to be things changed every year and now we’re changing like every week and every day it’s gotten it’s gotten pretty. It can be hard at times too. It’s challenging, but it can be hard.
I think just turning in, yeah.
Yeah, I would agree. Thanks for the conversation this morning. Much appreciated. If somebody wants to get ahold of you, talk about data. Pocket work camp PU. Or anything else. How’s the best way?
I’m very active on LinkedIn and Twitter or ex as we I don’t know how we call it anymore, but I’m I’m.
On this Twitter.
I’m very active on LinkedIn mainly, but also you can send me a message or follow each other on on Twitter and then. We can have a chat.
Thanks Jorge. You have an awesome day and enjoy the rest of your week.
Thank you for your time, Rob.