Narrative 101: The Future of Narrative [Video]
by Narrative, on July 30, 2019
Learn how Narrative plans to revolutionize the data economy.
This is part three of "Narrative 101," a three-part series designed to introduce you to all things Narrative: what we do, how we're being used, and where we're going. Read part one to learn about what we do, and part two to find out how companies are using Narrative to power their data strategies.
In the final installment of our "Narrative 101" series, Nick Jordan, CEO and founder of Narrative, talks about his plans for the future of Narrative and answers the following questions:
- How do you think about market size? How do compliance and regulatory issues come into play?
- What's next for Narrative?
- Are there opportunities for network effects with Narrative?
Watch the video or read the interview transcript below.
Joe Apprendi: When you think about the total addressable market, how do you think about that in terms of size of this market that you're either competing in or disrupting entirely?
Nick Jordan: The total addressable market is massive. We're a 25-person organization, so we're in the early innings of this; we're focusing on some core marketing and advertising use cases right now. But, as you expand that into financial services, and then into agriculture, and into all of these other industries—which the software is built to support from day one—the total revenue potential of companies that will buy and sell data in 2025 will probably be measured in hundreds of billions of dollars, if not in the single trillions of dollars.
Joe Apprendi: And are you talking on a global basis, or specifically in the U.S. or North American market?
Nick Jordan: Yeah, I mean a lot of the companies that are going to be doing it are going to be global companies by virtue of their scale. So that is probably a global number.
What's interesting about the data economy in different jurisdictions is that you have different laws that are coming up and different compliance frameworks. A lot of people see those as challenges, we actually see those as opportunities.
There's going to be a fragmented compliance and regulatory framework around data, but I don't think that means that people are going to stop using data and data's suddenly not going to be seen as valuable. I think that means you need the tools to be compliant, and to be diligent, and to be really smart about how you think about data, which just creates more opportunity for us.
I don't think we're a silver bullet that says, "If you use Narrative you don't have to worry about GDPR." But, if you use Narrative, you can actually do the diligence and compliance work that you should be doing, whereas if you're working with someone that creates a bunch of opacity, and is effectively a middleman, doing that diligence is nearly impossible.
Joe Apprendi: So when you think about where you're headed, from a business and product perspective, you've got the core software marketplace for the buy side and the sell side. What's next?
Nick Jordan: I don't want to give too much of the secret sauce away, but we're—
Joe Apprendi: Oh, give a little.
Nick Jordan: All right. We've got a phased approach that I alluded to earlier. We really want to expand into different industries and different types of data. I have a particular interest in agriculture technology, I think it's from my upbringing in the Midwest. But there are other markets that we want to go after also.
We have a second strategy where we'd really like to embed our marketplace and our offering everywhere. Today, people become a Narrative customer and they log in to our UI, they use our software, and it's great.
Joe Apprendi: It's more of an API-first versus a UI-first strategy.
Nick Jordan: Exactly. If you're a data scientist and you're using a Python workbook and you say, "You know, I'd really like some data to help improve my model," I'd rather you stay in that workbook, click a couple buttons, buy a couple thousand dollars worth of data, and not even know that Narrative exists.
We're powering those transactions holistically, in the same way that if you're generating data somewhere, if you're a publisher and you're already pushing data to a CDP or an analytics platform, and you wake up one day and decide you want to monetize it, there should be a nice button in that existing tool that lets you monetize it in the way that you want to. So from a channel growth perspective, that creates a lot of really interesting things.
Then, beyond that, we're pretty dogmatic about not doing anything with the data. We don't see ourselves as creating the value on top of the data. We really see ourselves as pipes in an efficiency play. But we'd really like to build an app platform on top of Narrative.
Joe Apprendi: What does that mean specifically?
Nick Jordan: I'll give you an example. We are having some conversations with some hedge funds right now. Hedge funds are really interested in geospatial data. They want to know which stores people are going to, where they're spending their time. But what they don't really want is, "This device was at this latitude and longitude at this time." They want it tied back to a ticker symbol. So if you're looking for a Tesla, and you go to a Tesla dealership, they don't care that it's the Tesla of Manhattan, they want to know it's TSLA. So creating a service that does latitude and longitude lookup to ticker symbols is something that makes complete sense for them. It's not something that we want to build at all, but if you're another firm that maybe already does that, or if you're a data scientist that thinks you can build that service, we'd like you to be able to create an app on the platform, set a price by which those hedge funds could use that app, and then let those hedge funds buy the data from the originators of the data in the platform and move it through the app that this other provider has created. That has some commercial incentive to it. Then the resulting data that goes to the hedge fund is what they want, which is the ticker symbol tied to the visitation, as opposed to the latitude and longitude.
I could come up with a thousand different use cases of how people are going to want to enrich data, or validate data, etc. If it's incumbent on us to build all thousand of those, we're in trouble. We're going to have to be a 250,000 person company and it's going to take forever. But if we can really create an ecosystem—not unlike what Apple did with the App Store—not only does that create better outcomes for all of our customers, but it also creates a true platform, whereas when most people talk about a platform, they're really just talking about a product.
Joe Apprendi: One of the things that Revel really loved about Narrative—outside of our operating heritage, coming from a martech perspective—was that you kind of fit in terms of our overall thesis of product-led growth companies.
We've coined this term the REV factor: Repeatable, Evergreen, Viral. Repeatable meaning easy-to-implement, replicable way of onboarding clients. Evergreen, meaning mission-critical. Then, lastly, viral; given your platform, given the connectivity between the buy side and the sell side, it seems like a lot of opportunity for a network effect for your product, and that should really ignite growth versus your kind of customary enterprise application.
Nick Jordan: One hundred percent. I actually got the question yesterday from someone, they said, "Oftentimes, marketplaces are winner-take-all, just by virtue of them." The question was, "Do you think Narrative is a winner-take-all market?"
My initial response to them was, "Data is a hard place to have a winner-take-all model because you can sell the same data a thousand times in a thousand different places. Exclusivity is hard to get with data marketplaces." That's actually why we feel the SaaS platform that sits around it is so important, because as people are using us as their platform of record, we already have buyers that get approached by sellers and they say, "Hey, we'd love to sell you some data." And the buyer says, "Great, but you have to do it through Narrative because they make my life easy." We're starting to see some sellers that are saying, "Okay, we're just going to push all of our opportunities through you, because you make my life easy." I do think it becomes a winner-takes-all market if you have the stickiness of the SaaS and then the network effects of the marketplace.
If you want to learn how Narrative's solutions can help your company simplify their data acquisition and monetization strategy, send us a message—we'd love to chat.
Want to learn more? Read part one of Narrative 101 to learn what Narrative does and how it's changing the way data is transacted, and part two to discover how companies are using Narrative to power their data strategies.