Auren Hoffman - A Deep Dive on Data - [Invest Like the Best, EP.320]
My guest this week is Auren Hoffman. Auren is the CEO of Safegraph, which curates data on physical locations. He also founded LiveRamp, a public data connectivity business. Auren knows more about data businesses than almost anyone I know and that is the topic of today’s discussion. We look at the business of data from every angle and finish with a fun masterclass on how to host a dinner party. Please enjoy my conversation with Auren Hoffman.
For the full show notes, transcript, and links to mentioned content, check out the episode page here.
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[00:03:16 ] - [First question] - His 2x2 matrix for categorizing different types of data businesses
[00:04:59 ] - An example of what he calls a religion company in his matrix
[00:07:03 ] - His notion of data currency
[00:08:23 ] - His definition of a great business
[00:09:46 ] - An example of a so-called application religion company in his proverbial matrix
[00:11:24 ] - Co-op and non-profit business models within and outside of the data sphere
[00:13:35 ] - The truth application quadrant of his matrix
[00:16:18 ] - How data has exploded in prevalence for the business world as a whole
[00:18:57 ] - How to think about the end market for data and its demand
[00:21:09 ] - Characteristics of a good data set and how to identify it
[00:23:14 ] - Other factors that impact the usability of a data set
[00:24:30 ] - Optimizing data collection itself
[00:26:30 ] - The slow growth that’s typical of early-stage data companies
[00:27:27 ] - Market share considerations for data businesses
[00:30:03 ] - Common struggles for data entrepreneurs
[00:37:08 ] - The power of self-maintained and user-maintained databases
[00:40:16 ] - Typical customers and use cases for SafeGraph’s data
[00:41:08 ] - How SafeGraph and other companies protect against data theft
[00:42:12 ] - Frequency of change as a proxy for the value of a given data set
[00:45:32 ] - Categorizing inbound data based on the most important criteria
[00:47:07 ] - The founder personalities he finds in the data industry
[00:49:53 ] - Why he feels the data truth quadrant of his matrix is underdeveloped
[00:50:30 ] - Bloomberg as an important data company to study
[00:51:42 ] - The importance of transparency in business and in data distribution
[00:53:07 ] - Failure modes that he sees most commonly in data-based startups
[00:53:53 ] - Data businesses becoming application businesses and vice-versa
[00:57:35 ] - The great dinner parties he’s known for
[00:59:50 ] - How he makes the dinner parties appeal to introverts
[01:03:11 ] - Dead people he would most like to have as dinner guests
[01:04:09 ] - Questions he would ask the most influential religious figures
[01:06:20 ] - The kindest thing anyone has ever done for him