Interview with Kaufman Chang, Co-Founder & CEO of simplyBrand

2019-01-22 16:53:34

1. Hi Kaufman! Can you please introduce yourself to the simplyBrand community?

My name is Kaufman, and I’m from Hong Kong. I have over 15 years experience in cyber security and brand intelligence, and I have an MBA from the University of Chicago. I have founded multiple startups, including ventures in cloud computing software, big data security software and biotech. I’ve drawn on my background to unite blockchain and AI to assist digital commerce sites to protect themselves against counterfeiting.

2. For those who are not familiar with simplyBrand, what is simplyBrand’s vision and plan in your own words?

My vision is to marry technology with business to help add value to clients. I was previously working in cloud computing and big data in Beijing trying to help enterprises to leverage the value of the latest technology to gain a competitive edge or keep up to speed.

It was during this time that I learned that these industries are not easy — not easy to understand how to use, nor easy to bring about results, and so on. That’s why I believe it’s important for complicated technology to be made simple enough for brands to properly leverage. Hence, I called the company “simplyBrand.”

3. What do you think makes simplyBrand stand out from other blockchain projects?

Unlike many other blockchain projects that have yet to release a working product nor have a small to non-existent client base, simplyBrand has an actual working product with real, paying clients. Furthermore, we are the world’s first distribution channel blockchain solution that is very different from the many supply chain blockchain projects out there.

4. There are already many solutions that have been proposed to help prevent and respond to counterfeiting. Why do you believe simplyBrand’s integration of blockchain, AI, and crowdsourcing will succeed over all other solutions?

We have been using AI for a few years already, and we believe that AI can only go so far by itself — we still need a human layer to ensure it continually improves. It was blockchain technology that helped us realize this. At the same time, an immutable blockchain can help us to build a credit system (blacklist) that can restore the trust for people to shop online. You can take a read of our whitepaper to learn more.

5. The growth of the counterfeit industry has substantial implications for companies, customers, and factory workers. However, many people do not believe counterfeiting is a problem that is worth fighting. What would you say to such people?

I was one of them actually, until one day I saw more fake products than real ones. The turning point was when my wife bought fake fresh milk and was about to feed it to my 18-month-old daughter. It was then I realized that counterfeit products are a real big problem.

Nowadays, the counterfeit industry is super sophisticated — it even has both supply chain and R&D capabilities. Consequently, it is really hurting human innovation. It is now very easy to make fake products and steal other people’s research, designs, innovative thinking, and marketing efforts. In effect, less people will be willing to innovate as they believe that their efforts will not well protected.

We at simplyBrand don’t want to see that. So, we need to protect those people who making great, original products in the world.

6. Businesses that have been affected by counterfeiting often do not know what recourse to take. Can you explain how simplyBrand endeavours to help such businesses?

There are many legal actions businesses can take, actually. Counterfeiting, after all, is a problem that has existed for long time, even before the birth of e-commerce and the internet.

However, mobile internet and e-commerce technology has made it much efficient and inexpensive for people to do business online — including the business of counterfeiting.

In part, this is due to the accessibility of e-commerce platforms like Amazon and Alibaba. The consequence is that there are now so many fake products online, and these super efficient distribution channels online help a lot.

With such a huge volume of fake product online, there is only so much humans can do by themselves to tackle the problem. We need to also draw on the power of artificial intelligence and humans if we are to ever see a decrease in online fakes. And that’s exactly why simplyBrand will use advanced technologies to achieve its aim of halting counterfeit products online.

7. How has your past experience as a founder of multiple startup companies guided you to establish strong foundations for simplyBrand as a company?

I have learned that a good vision and good people are at the core of any successful startup. Some other important lessons my past experiences have taught me include the importance of learning from your past mistakes, and that hard work and sacrifice come hand-in-hand. In terms of strategy, I’ve learned how essential it is to understand the market and your customers and always remain nimble and adaptive to them.

8. You have a background in both cyber security and brand protection. In what ways has your background helped to inform simplyBrand’s overall strategy and direction?

Cyber security and brand protection are about fighting fraud and preventing something or someone from damaging your property. This understanding I have developed of counterfeiters’ mindset has helped simplyBrand to develop products and solutions to solve the problems counterfeits present.

Our strategy is to reduce instances of consumers unknowingly buying fake products. We believe it has to be easy for consumers to identify and verify fakes. However, it also has to be efficient and cost-effective for brands to fight counterfeiters.

9. What do you love most about working for simplyBrand?

One of the things I love about working for simplyBrand is the passion of our team, and seeing them working hard to solve real problems that benefit humankind. Another thing I love is the satisfaction I get at the end of the day knowing that more fakes are being removed from the online marketplace.

Moreover, coming to work always involves learning new things. We often talk about new technology and how counterfeiters are coming up with new, innovative, creative, or “enticing” ways to “cheat” consumers. Finally, the appreciation I get from the clients we are helping to eliminate counterfeits makes all of the work we do worthwhile.

10. What exciting developments can people expect from simplyBrand by the end of 2019?

In 2018, we completed what we set up to do, that is the DApp MVP, POC 1 and POC2.

By the end of 2019, we would have completed our ICO in March. We will announce more strategic partners and customers in the coming months. Our pre-sale tokens is going live now at COBINHOOD’s coin offering platform and we are offering very attractive bonuses for early participants. For more information, you can refer to our roadmap.

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