Today our interviewee is Olivier Amar, CEO and Co-Founder of the startup MyPermissions. They empower users to monitor and control the access to their personal information on mobile devices and online, monitoring all connected applications across social networking sites including Facebook, Twitter, Google, Dropbox and more.
New issues related to information security and online privacy arise everyday and although many regulations related to the subject have been issued recently in the US and in Europe, the end user seems still out of the "big debate". Meanwhile, the startup MyPermissions entered the market with the mission of giving more control over the personal information to end users, also helping them to be more aware online privacy and information security matters.
Check out this very interesting interview:
Where did the idea for MyPermissions come from?
Olivier: MyPermissions was founded in 2012 and came out of the Lool Ventures incubation program. The problem identified was simple. That privacy today starts with one question. Who has access to your personal information. In todays world, people connect to websites using Facebook connect, Google, Twitter etc.. they also install applications that all request personal information that is very important to us. The problem is that after so many websites registered to and so many applications installed and uninstalled, people have lost track of who can access what information. Moreover, most of the time, they don't know they are giving consent to accessing the information in the first place.
What do you most like about the information security sector?
Olivier: It's a world that's not being properly addressed. Something will have to change there and we are leading the way to regaining control of your personal information.
How do you get feedback from your clients? How do you know if the product is solving their needs?
Olivier: Apart from reading and replying to reviews in the different stores, all our products have easy to reach contact links. We listen closely. We also run lots of user testing before product launches to make sure that our intuitions are correct and that we're addressing the right problem.
What were the most difficult choices you had to do in the beginning of the startup? Why?
Olivier: The most difficult parts have to do with understanding what an MVP is. You need to launch the most basic product possible that will address the need to understand your users and see how they interact and respond. As a founder, you really want everything to be perfect and as complete as possible, but with a startup, early on, it's all about moving fast and breaking things until you get it right. It's counter intuitive to everything we've been taught in the education system, where it's all about getting 100%. In startups you have to build us with lots of iterations and releases.
Did you think about giving up at any time? If yes, why?
Olivier: There are moments in every startup where you ask yourself if the sacrifices (family, social life, financial security etc..) are worth it. It's tough, but Iv'e never been in a workplace where 3 years in, I am still dying to get to work and take on the day.
What do you most like in your daily routine?
Olivier: That there is no routine. Every day brings in new challenges and lessons.
What is the future of online privacy in your opinion?
Olivier: Something will have to give there when it comes to regulations. The EU and the USA will have to stop releasing guidelines and force the online and mobile industries to abide by strict regulations or face harsh penalties. We're already seeing a shift with the Safe Harbor regulations being thrown out which will force companies transferring data to apply for the right to do so with every European company individually.
How do you imagine yourself in 10 years?
Olivier: Wow. That would put me at 51. I can't think that far ;-)
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Luiza S. Rezende
Corporate Lawyer specialized in Startups