It’s Not Too Late to Get Into Data Privacy – In Conversation With Robert Baugh

In this episode of the PrivacyPros Academy podcast, we are joined by Robert Baugh, International Data Privacy Lawyer turned Privacy SaaS Entrepreneur. He shares why right now is the best time for you to make that move into Data Privacy. Robert shares with you what inspired him to create Keepabl, his Secrets to Success and how you too can launch, progress and excel your career as a Privacy Pro. If you want to make it as a successful Privacy Pro and take your career to a new level – you can’t afford to miss out on this episode! 

Connect with Jamal on LinkedIn here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kmjahmed/

Apply to Join the PrivacyPros Academy Facebook Group here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/privacypro

 

Video Excerpt

 
Transcript

Jamilla 0:55
Hi, everyone, and welcome to the Kazient Privacy Pros Academy podcast. My name is Jamilla and I’m a data privacy analyst at Kazient Privacy Experts. I’m primarily responsible for conducting research on current and upcoming legislation, as well as key developments by supervisory authorities. Today I have with me Robert Baugh. He is the founder and CEO of Keepabl which is an award-winning privacy SAS based in London. Before founding Keepabl, he was General Counsel of growth tech companies for over a decade. And before that, he was a private practice technology lawyer in city firms in London, Hong Kong and Melbourne. Welcome, Robert. Thank you for being here today.

Robert 1:34
Well, thank you very much for having me. I’m excited to be here.

Jamilla 1:37
And also with me today is my co-host Jamal Ahmed, who is the CEO of Kazient Privacy Experts. Jamal Ahmed is an established and comprehensively qualified Privacy Professional with a demonstrable track record. He is a Certified Information Privacy Manager, Certified Information Privacy Professional, Certified EU GDPR Practitioner, Master NLP practitioner, Prince II practitioner and he holds a Bachelor of Arts in Business with Law. Welcome, Jamal.

Jamilla 2:05
So welcome to both of you. So just to start off as we start all Privacy Pros Podcasts, we start off with an icebreaker. If you had to create a slogan for your life, what would it be?

Robert 2:17
I’ve been dreading this? I heard this in other interviews. It’s such a toughy. I think it would be live with passion,

Jamilla 2:26
live with passion.

Robert 2:27
What does that mean to you Robert?

Robert 2:30
Well, I think that comes across all parts of life in terms of how you deal with other people, how you deal with your own life, how you deal with yourself, instead of remembering, we’re all human. But also, I remember when I was a young lawyer as a trainee, getting a review, and they were the person I was sitting with said, when he’s doing something that he’s interested in, he’s very enthusiastic, he’s he works 24/7 he’s really into it. And when it’s something he’s not that interested in, it’s quite hard to push him, push him up that hill. And I think you know, part of that is, you know, when you’re passionate about something, everything flows really easily. And I think finding that passion and being true to that passion. And I do think that has been also compassionate to other people and compassionate with yourself.

Jamilla 3:14
Kind of reminds me of that saying if you find a job you love, you never have to work a day in your life. So if you’re passionate about it won’t feel quite as tiresome as work, I guess.

Robert 3:24
Yeah, I like that phrase. Although I do think there’s a dark side. You could end up at three in the morning sitting there and you understand something not going out the door and you make sure that you’re always, always sort of have a balance in life. But I totally agree that if you do something you’re passionate about, it’s not at all the same as doing something you’re not passionate about. And I’ve been in both situations. Absolutely agree.

Jamilla 3:45
Thank you. So let’s start off with our nitty-gritty questions. Let’s get down to it. Why do you think data privacy is the industry to get into right now? I guess it’s a topic on everyone’s lips, especially with GDPR. So why do you think it’s kind of the place to be right now?

Robert 4:04
You’ve nailed it, because so I started in a law firm in 1993 and qualified in 1995. So even before the 95 directive, and people’s view on privacy and data protection back then was really lip service to it at best, and hardly anyone really cared. And I think with the groundswell of movement across in regulators, but also in general public when GDPR came through. And I had friends saying to me, you know, you do GDPR don’t you? I go yeah, yeah. I can’t believe it was in the pub, and we were all talking about GDPR This is crazy, what’s going on, it was just in everyday life, people suddenly know GDPR.

Robert 4:39
And it’s as a data protection lawyer, it’s just one default because suddenly this light had been shown on this really important area. And so I think there was an IAPP statistic about how many DPOS would be needed and they weren’t there. And one of the things was because people didn’t take data protection particularly seriously before GDPR there was only quite a limited pool of people who really knew what they were talking about on data protection.

Robert 5:03
And then after GDPR, suddenly, every single business was going, I need to know about this. And it’s, it was a bit of the Wild West, and lots of people saying, you know, I’m from IT, I’m from security, I’m a lawyer. So I must know, even though I didn’t do data protection, and so they all proclaim themselves experts. And there’s a lot of a very wild west sort of attitude there. And I think being in this industry, at the moment, being someone with integrity and quality in the industry, is a very rewarding place to be in this growth industry. It’s only just started,

Jamilla 5:31
I remember, May 2018, suddenly getting loads of emails from companies is saying GDPR is coming, please opt-in to receive communications. And suddenly it was everywhere. And people were quite concerned about what was happening to our data.

Robert 5:46
Absolutely. And that was a great case in point because a load of those emails didn’t need to go and a load of people who should have sent them didn’t, and they were done in the wrong way. And it was just, it was a very interesting time. But absolutely, that email flurry is what most people remember about that period. Absolutely.

Robert 6:02
I remember back then. And it was a bit like the blind leading the blind. And I remember, especially the faith-based charity sector, it was around the time of the Islamic month of Ramadan. And a lot of faith-based charities, especially in the Muslim sector, they were sending out these consent emails, getting no response, it was really damaging for them. I’m glad that two years later, now there are better consultants out there, there are more informed people out there. And there are great people like you offering some great solutions to help some of those charities manage their privacy risks for the clients that we work with. Specifically in that sector. I know that we use the software programme that you’ve put together, Keepabl, Keepabl can you tell us a little bit more about Keepabl?

Robert 6:40
For sure.

Robert 6:41
So Keepabl is privacy management, SAS. And thank you for your very kind words there. And we do have, obviously a not for profit, a charitable dream where we do discounted rates for for certain charities, and we have a pro bono bit as well for particularly deserving cases. So what Keepabl is, is it’s a software as a service solution that allows you to easily do the very fundamental step of knowing where are you on GDPR. So there’s a nice traffic light system on your readiness, very easy to generate very easy to see where the gaps are. And then the next fundamental step is well, where is all our personal data, what’s the personal data and inventry, no matter what law you’re subject to around the world, you can’t comply with it if you don’t know where your personal data is, and who you’re sharing it with, and all that sort of thing. So we make that creating that data map, super simple.

Robert 7:28
And then for GDPR, UK and EU GDPR, we instantly create loads of different records that you need and reports on processes and an article 30’s and all that sort of stuff. And we draw out all your processes, you can see why you’re using processes and there’s great process management, and you can record breaches again, this is pretty well wherever you are, you need to record breaches as an ongoing thing. So you can record breaches easy in the system and get email alerts out and have a nice breach log. And we’re doing the same for data subject rights, we’re just going through what we call a roadmap of discussions at the moment, where we’re asking people for their feedback and what they love and hate most about the DSR management process.

Robert 8:02
And the idea is Simon Sinek as consultants I’m sure you’re aware of is the start with the why. And the reason I’m doing Keepabl my start with the why is to joyfully use tech to solve people’s headaches and make them feel happier. And I don’t make any apologies if that sounds a bit sappy, but I’ve been the customer in a in an organisation with very limited resource, you got tonnes of different stuff going on, you know, until you’re about in an organisation over about 5000 people, you know, if you’re dealing with GDPR, you’re probably a professional in something else like IT or Security or Legal Ops or Compliance, and you’ve been thrown GDPR because it’s most aligned with what you’re doing. And you don’t really know anything about it. And why should you if it’s not your area, you’ve got to sort of get up to speed. So you’re looking for things to make that job easier. But that’s where Keepabl comes in.

Jamal 8:47
Fantastic. I know it’s certainly made my life so much easier when I’m working with multiple clients. And there’ll be people listening who would like to make their life easier when they’re working with their organisations or if they’re consulting for other businesses. How can they learn more about Keepabl Robert?

Robert 9:02
For sure, thank

Robert 9:02
you very much. So we have obviously the Keepabl.com. You can find us there on Keepabl.com, you can always contact us at [email protected] And also you can see more of me on a channel we call Privacy Kitchen because we realised I was General Counsel, as you said for sort of over a decade of different growth companies tech companies and so in sales calls people when people find that out if suddenly it goes into go into like a two hour agony aunts session of so how should I do this? What about this and should we be doing this this way?

Robert 9:28
And so basically trying to leverage that experience and putting that into a free Youtube Video Channel. And we post them relatively on LinkedIn to about various different bits that on privacy in plain language, short bite sized pieces, and then longer interviews with your good self has been on as a fantastic one about the Blackbaud breach. And so that’s had fantastic feedback. So that’s how they can find us is Keepabl.com [email protected] You can look at LinkedIn on on Keepabl and Robert Baugh. We’re on Twitter as well. But really it’s the website Hello at Keepabl.com and Privacy Kitchen.

Jamal 10:00
And of course, Robert, you’re also a member of the Privacy Pros Community. So members a proud member, yes. Anyone that joins the Privacy Pros Academy, of course, they have the benefit of being able to tap into your mind there as well. So why don’t you tell us a little bit more about your experience of joining the community and the Academy, and what’s been your observation so far.

Robert 10:21
So I think first off, we’ve been, as you say, working together and associate good for a few years now. And so I’ve got a high level of respect and trust for your good self. And so anything that you start is very interesting to me, and Privacy Pros Community, I think is a really wonderful way to give back as well and into the community and to also help people coming into the industry.

Robert 10:42
And I really admire what you’ve done there. So I really enjoy that aspect. I’ve just joined so but already I’ve seen it’s very, very welcoming, the sort of questions and sort of posts internationally, a fantastic, it’s a very respectful community. There’s some some amazing minds in there around the world that you’ll recognise from LinkedIn and other places. And there’s also people starting off, so it’s a great mix, and a very warm, interactive mix as well.

Jamilla 11:09
Robert, we’ve heard a lot about, you know, data privacy now, about Keepabl and Privacy Pros Academy, but how did you get involved in data privacy in the beginning? We spoke a little bit you were a lawyer? And how did data privacy come about and what kind of piqued your interest in the sector?

Robert 11:26
Sure. So

Robert 11:26
So I started off by studying engineering, Economics and Management before qualifying as a lawyer. So when I qualified as a lawyer, I naturally sort of gravitated to the sort of technology and marketing part of it, which is really intellectual property, and data protection back then we had the 84 Act and then the 95 Directive came out. And so that really, that really piqued my interest as well, because it was very much connected. I’m very interested in crossovers. So intellectual property is a crossover sort of marketing strategy in business and law. Whereas data protection is really the crossover of that marketing aspect as well and technology with human rights and strategy as well.

Robert 12:02
So so it was a there’s a very aligned area. So it came into my field. And I sort of saw it became very interested very early. And then basically, this could date me very much. But, but then e-commerce wasn’t really around when I started in the law firm. We had a system called Wang, which was this old dub word processing system, no one has ever heard of, and, and then we got email and what have you. And so I was there when the e-commerce started, and e-commerce, basically, privacy was all over that, you know, data protection. And actually, one deal I did blank, one of the things that were great about the time was it was all blank piece of paper drafting.

Robert 12:37
When I was in Hong Kong, we did this deal where a marketing agency was building the Chinese national football teams, website and community and wanted to own all the data, protect all the personal data. So that was an interesting deal to craft from a blank piece of it. And that was the sort of stuff that was going on. So it was really interesting, exciting stuff. And you can really relate to it. Because it’s personal data. It’s about personal, it’s about you as well.

Jamilla 12:59
Pretty interesting. Thank you. How did you kind of then decide that yes, data privacy was definitely the career for you.

Robert 13:07
So I suppose I see it as a theme in my career in terms of AI as an as a private practice lawyer and then an in house lawyer, it was one of the key aspects I had to be experts on, along with intellectual property and e-commerce. And then as a general counsel, yeah, need a bit more on sort of employment and corporate and this sort of stuff. I’ve always been drawn to. And I’ve always been in industries where data protection and intellectual property are a really core, then I was actually looking at leaving one of the startups I exited after a Series C round, and I was looking at an industry called managed service providers. And it’s small, IT companies that have 8 to 10 people, they look after the IT of other small companies.

Robert 13:51
And my plan was to start one or buy a small one and put a privacy and security compliance wrapper around it, and then do a roll-up strategy in the UK. It’s a really exciting, it was really exciting idea, but I just thought, am I gonna bounce out of bed for this? And when I was researching that industry, they were all saying, What’s this GDPR? Because, you know, customers, our customers are saying to us, you know, who we use as processors, you know, where our data lives? You know about all our security? Can you tell us about GDPR? And msps? were like, No, we really, we don’t want to we don’t know about it. It’s really risky, we’re very scared about and I thought, why aren’t they using SAS on this because it’s a perfect delivery platform, all my career, I’ve taken very complex areas, and made them very simple for people to adopt. Because people are already doing complex everywhere else. They don’t need another straw on the camel’s back.

Robert 14:37
But at the same time, you want to be able to take that hard work and very few people in compliance and I’d say in privacy, and I count privacy within compliance. But do this is taking that good, hard work they’ve done and flip it so that you can actually get the benefit and reap the rewards of it. And so I thought why weren’t they using a good SAS platform? I looked at the ones that are out there at the times that of late 17. I just felt they were so complex, and you had to be a real Privacy Pro or Tech Pro to be able to work your way around them. And I thought this isn’t helping the vast majority of businesses, the people that, you know, I was in before. And so that’s why I started Keepabl, as I say, to joyfully use tech to solve people’s headaches and make them feel happier around privacy, compliance and security compliance.

Robert 15:17
We’ll be bringing security, which, as you all know, is fundamental to data protection, you can’t have data protection without good security. But like a Venn diagram, there’s a sort of crossover in the middle. So that’s where really, I’ve sort of been devoted myself to the privacy aspect, because we launched privacy first. And it’s, it’s been incredibly rewarding the last few years, and it will bring in security at the right time. But we got a long way to go on privacy yet. It’s great fun.

Robert 15:43
I really love that Robert. And I think that’s probably one of the reasons why we worked well together, is because we’re always trying to deliver data privacy in a language everyone can understand. Using Keepabl has really helped us with that. And I think that’s probably where the synergy comes from. I’m going to take over from Jamilla, for a minute and ask you the next question.

Jamal 16:03
What has really helped you to succeed in your career?

Robert 16:06
Within yourself, you need resilience. And I think outside of yourself, you need either a really good mentor, and that mentor can change over time. And there can be a couple of different mentors, it can be as formal or informal as what have you could just be people you look up to, but I think looking to see, is there someone five that five years down the track 10 years down the track on this track that inspires me that I think, yes, I’d like that lifestyle, I’d like that person, I think you know, and I’m going to make all my fellow lawyers hate me, I remember, that when I was in a city firm. And I was and I was looking at the people who were city firm partners. And I just thought, you know, I just don’t really feel that any of those lives or sort of what the job does to people over that period of time and away and the lifestyle, I just didn’t really feel that was for me.

Robert 16:52
And I know lots I’ve got lots of great friends in city firms who are very happy. But for me, it just wasn’t. And I think that’s one of the key things with that resilience is to be able to say, this may work for you but it doesn’t for me, and it’s not a weakness, and I think resilience, but it’s important, because in city law, and it is hard to sort of really think about it, but in the early mid-90s it’s very institutionalised, most partners at a law firm hadn’t either trained at that law firm, they hadn’t moved. So back then it was, well, you don’t move law firm, you know, you only move law firm, if you’re a failure, you don’t go in house, you only go in house if you’re a second rate.

Robert 17:26
City firms wouldn’t take people from regional firms, because they’re clearly second rate lawyers, because they haven’t gone to a city firm. And there were all these horrible, horrible prejudices. And, you know, there’s a sort of this thing of why you can’t make it, you can’t stick it or this sort of thing. And you’re like, well, no, I think this is just not the life for me. You know, I’ve worked harder now than I did as a City Lawyer, which is saying something but, but I, you know, I love it. And so, I think that’s where the resilience is multifaceted, in terms of what we talked about, about passion at the beginning. And being true to yourself. There’s nothing worse than trying to plug away at something that doesn’t feed your soul. And then having people who, who inspire you. And I’ve had, I’ve been fortunate to have various different people who they may not know it, but they’ve they’ve been a mentor to me and inspired me and shown me show me the way,

Robert 18:11
One of the things that I recognised is the kind of, I’ve been able to do quite well, in quite a short space of time. I’m most grateful for that. But I think having a mentor has been really instrumental in that. And that’s one of the things that we’re looking to replicate with the Privacy Pros Academy, on our signature Privacy Pro Accelerator Programme.

Jamal 18:28
I actually mentor students for around 12 weeks, and they come in with very little or no previous knowledge on data privacy. And we go through the 12 weeks, and we look at five different areas. They have me as a mentor throughout that process and beyond, to really help them to give them the best chances of success. So what we look at at the beginning is we look at their mindset, whether they have a growth mindset or a fixed mindset, and really help them to develop the mindset of a World-Class Privacy Professional.

Jamal 18:53
And then we look at giving them the theory, all of the theoretical knowledge, and we have all of the masterclasses, and then we put them through the IAPP Certified Information Privacy Professional certification to benchmark that they have got that basic theory.

Jamal 19:07
And then we have Privacy Master Classes where we take that theory and we say, Okay, what does this actually mean in practice? Yes, you know, the theory, but when you’re going out working and looking after clients, what does that actually mean when it comes to practice? And how do you make sure you have these principles. And then we take them on a journey where we actually give them practical assignments with some of our clients. And if they’re fortunate, they’ll get to work with Keepabl software, and really master that. And then finally, after that, they’ve got the mindset, they’ve got the theory, they’ve got the certification, they’ve got the practical experience. What we do is help them with a personal branding to wrap all of that together, they can go on to get a successful, rewarding career as a Highly Paid Privacy Professional.

Robert 19:47
I think that’s just great because I think that the bit that really shines for me is the practical aspect. So if you look at say, the legal qualification, I did two years of law school then I did two years of training contract and then which is around different parts, and the firm is very structured and all that sort of stuff and then qualified. You know, you look at sort of the medical aspect, or the accountants aspect, and all of them have an academic side to the training, and then a practical side to the training.

Robert 20:17
And I think that the IAPP exams are very good, as you said, they give, they give you confidence that the person at least knows you know, they know what a processor is, they know what the jargons are, they know what the dog jargon is, they know what the principles of GDPR are, they know what the principles of privacy management, if they’ve done the cipm, it’s a very good baseline, I would put it as a very good baseline what it does it for me, it certifies a baseline, and then it’s it’s a big signal of quality to external recruiters, it is a baseline.

Robert 20:46
And so you need that transference of which can only really come from experience of, you know, talking to people, like you said, Your good self, during work projects and actually seeing it happen. So, for example, you know, in the legal sphere, I can sort of, you know, you can learn everything about litigation from a, from a textbook, but until you actually, you know, sitting there doing it, it’s a completely different matter.

Robert 21:08
And the same with, you know, data subject rights, for example, you can learn about data subject rights, but once you actually sit back and you go, Oh, actually, I didn’t realise how to do this, or it’s only by doing it that you come across those bits of judging, it’s we did a Privacy Kitchen Webinar with someone who deals with a lot of data subject rights. And they said, you know, they’ve got lots of different customers, you go, well, it’s still quite varied. So some Top Fortune 500 or Fortune 100 companies, what have you three different lots or with your totally lawyered up and compliance person up and everything and they said, on the emails, do you redact the whole email? Do you redact the first part of the email? What do you what do you do with and they said they’ve all had different positions. One of the things I think with, with this is you, you need to roll your sleeves up, get in at the coalface and have some experience on that and make those decisions. And that’s where the real learning comes from. To make those decisions. You need to know what the parameters are. And that’s where the things like the IAPP and CIPP comes in.

Jamilla 22:02
Thank you. And Jamal mentioned a lot of the training that’s involved in the Privacy Pros Academy. Why do you think it’s so important that people go undergo this training rather than just trying to pass the exam rather than just buying the book and reading through that by themselves?

Robert 22:19
So first, I think I think we’d all agree, you know, reading and I mean, I listened to some of the other of your podcasts, you know, there’s a lot of self-training you can do with good reading of books or blogs or people on LinkedIn that you like, or reading the E or the EDPB guidance and the Article 29 guidance, this sort of thing. These guidelines are very, very, very well, well put together. So there’s, that’s one part of it.

Robert 22:44
So I’ve had some very interesting questions from people who have got CIPP after their name in the IAPP Privacy List. And sometimes I’m like, how can you ask that question? If you’ve got CIPP after your name, like, you know, come on that, that how you know, so. So I think that you only get that sort of extra knowledge when you’re chatting about stuff with people who know the answers, and when. So, again, going back to the legal bit, when you’re a trainee, you sit with someone senior who was responsible for training you.

Robert 23:11
So what I really liked about the Academy was, you know, you have people with of Jamal’s calibre and experience imparting that, and it’s a period of 12 weeks that you mentioned, it’s not like a 30-hour exam job done, I can go and do brain surgery, it’s like, you actually have a it’s like an apprenticeship. And it’s very formatted with experienced people imparting advice, but also going out and getting hands-on advice, experience yourself.

Robert 23:34
And I think one of the things that people the hubris of people to think they can just do a 30-hour exam and pop out as an expert on data protection is remarkable. And I think, really, you want a good experience, say, you know, when people come out the Academy, they’re fresh, they’re into the industry, they’re enthusiastic, they’ve got a really great start, but they’re going to keep learning. We always, you know, the last sort of few months, the number of 50-page documents that have come out of all these different regulators, you know, you never stop learning.

Robert 24:00
I spoke to a consultant the other day, said, he when he hit 40, he thought I should really specialise in something. So he specialised in he was sort of technology and security. He said, I chose GDPR as a specialism, he goes oh my god, it was almost the opposite. Like this is so broad, you know, and I think that’s one of the exciting things about the area as well. You want to keep being pushed and keep being able to sort of keep learning.

Jamilla 24:21
other than being part of the privacy pros Academy and joining the programme. What advice what three pieces of advice would you give for up and coming Privacy Professionals?

Robert 24:32
So I would say, read as much as you can on the subject. Try not to read turgid textbooks, try and read plain language stuff like the UK ICOs guidance, follow people you like on LinkedIn, see the sort of comments they’re doing. And try and get experience. Try and just you know, just beg, borrow, steal any sort of experience of going and following someone or just sort of observing for free. If you’re working get paid for it, but you know, trying to get entry-level roles just on an even on a short term basis just to try and get that experience. I think you can you can do a lot with that. And obviously, what, listen, listen to this podcast and Privacy Kitchen and similar.

Jamilla 25:12
What would you say is the one thing you’re most proud of in your career so far?

Robert 25:17
Wow, that’s another huge question. I think actually Keepabl. I had a go at a startup when I was in Aus, it was a privacy-based startup, again, back in 2001. I’ve always wanted to have my own business and always for it to have meaning. I’m very happy and proud at having started up Keepabl and delivering hope that we deliver benefits to our stakeholders, including all the consultants and customers who use this. So I think that would that’s what I would say,

Jamilla 25:44
I’ve been working in the third sector, and I definitely think Keepabl was something that could really kind of revolutionise GDPR. And yes, I’ll be I’ll be recommending it to some of my colleagues, I think,

Robert 25:56
Thank you very much. Thank you very much.

Jamilla 25:58
What would you say throughout your career have been the greatest challenges that you faced? And how did you overcome them?

Robert 26:05
I think the greatest challenges have probably been internal in terms of, there’s always that question, you know, what should you be doing with your life? Is this the right thing to be doing? And you get different breakpoints in your career when you hit those questions more. And so I think those have been the biggest challenges.

Robert 26:25
And what I, what I, what I’m happy about is that I, I addressed them, and I took some quite bold movements. So for example, when I was in a fantastic city law firm, it’s called Ashurst. And that’s where I trained, and I was there for just under five years and it was a fantastic firm, still is, but it just wasn’t the life for me to stay there and pursue a full career in the law firm. And I applaud people who do but it just wasn’t it wasn’t for me. And I recognise that and decided I wanted to prep for doing my long term goal of having my own career and my own business. And actually, I was sitting there and I saw my death of Law Society, because that was turned over on my desk. And on the back page, it had a picture of a junk in Hong Kong harbour, and I went Hong Kong, that’s a low tax, I’ll get some money into the war chest to start a business and sort of a bit like the army sort of go into boy, Commander, man, I thought this is gonna be great. I’ve never been there.

Robert 27:16
So I applied for a job just before handover in 97. And went out just after handover. High degrees of uncertainty all around. But it was, I’m really happy I did. That was a very bold move. It built up the war chest, it made me much more commercial. It proved to me that I could make big leaps like that. And, you know, beforehand, I was thinking, Oh, my God, I know nothing about Hong Kong. Well, what am I doing? I’m gonna do this. But actually, lots of other people do this. And so it’s possible. So if other people can do it, then I can do it. And, and it ended up being one of the best periods of my life. It was really, really, really great. So yeah, I think what some of the greatest challenges that come from those, those moments really, and sort of being able to stand up to it and go for it.

Robert 27:55
I really love that Robert. It’s so inspiring. And a lot of people sometimes they get stuck thinking, can I do this? Should I do this, I may start thinking about all of the worst things that could happen. But I love how you were just like, other people have done this, you focused on what was great about it. And it’s like, how great could my life be? If I go there, well you know what, I could go and build a war chest, you went out there, you made it happen. And now you’re living the dream, you have your own business, and you’re making privacy fun and easy for people. So I really love that.

Robert 28:22
Thank you very much. That means a lot. Thank you.

Jamilla 28:25
I think a lot of people are scared to make changes, especially if they’re, you know, a bit later on in their careers, they might be a little bit frightened of doing a career change. So, so late in life, but I think

Robert 28:39
I think so the there’s an interesting stat about startups that the most successful founders are 45 when they start their business, now, there could be a whole load of different reasons for that, you know, there may be multiple startups beforehand. And so they’re very experienced in new startups. But and there’s also an aspect of, you know, I think startup could be a young person’s game in terms of its, its highly demanding. And so if you’ve got, if you don’t have kids, for example, another half, then it can be a lot easier to devote all of that time and attention to it.

Robert 29:08
So I started Keepabl, when I was in my late 40s. So, you know, I think, why not, you know, just keep and I think now also, what we’re finding is, there’s a lot of, you know, when I was a boy, there were you know, people were sort of, you know, retire at 50,55 60, or what have you, and now that people are living longer anyway, but retirement age has gone up. But, you know, I’m not expecting to start you know, keep going, keep going. And so why, you know, you’ve got to keep having a fulfilling life. And so if something’s not fulfilling you, and you can see something that will, i don’t think, I don’t think age, I don’t think age comes into it.

Jamilla 29:42
No, no, I completely agree. I mean, my grandparents were in their 70s and still working every day. I think if you find something you love, doesn’t feel like work and you can stick with it until your 70s, 80s might be pushing it but

Robert 29:56
well, there are some great fund managers and their ages I think, I think they’re people working in the care community, you know, society has to is getting better at it. But it’s still quite hard if you’re over 50 finding a job. And I think it’s a lot harder than if you’re under 50. And I think society needs to change this, because it’s there’s a lot of people with a huge amount of experience and skills and flexibility. And I think you should just keep on, you know, keep on obviously, age discrimination is legal, but you should keep on going. And yeah, there’s no, there’s no, no age is just a number.

Jamilla 30:26
I mean, the leader of the free world, the American president is in his 70s. He’s the president. So I guess, ages is just a number in that respect. The final question to Robert, if you could go back 10 to 15 years and give your younger self some advice? What would it be?

Robert 30:44
So other than join the Privacy Pros Academy? What would it be? I think I’d have to go back a little bit further, I think I’d go back. If I went back 25 years ago, in the sort of the economy was very different. I mean, now, you know, that means the idea of startups even wasn’t even really there. Mobile companies were just starting. But I think what I would say is, is go for it.

Robert 31:07
If you if you’re in something where you don’t feel it’s quite right, and you think something else could be right, sometimes you’ve got to take both hands off the side of the swimming pool, and then take a swim out before you know what’s out there. And I think that’s what I would say. Have confidence in your resilience, confidence in your ability to innovate and creatively address what comes forward and find the right thing. And I think that’s it.

Robert 31:31
There’s a lot of pressure put on, I see it now with different friend’s children who are older than mine, but there’s a lot of pressure put on on all of us at such a young age to set our path. And I don’t think that’s the right way to start off in life. And so I think, you know, recognising that there’s a lot, there’s a hopefully, one’s life is a long track. And there’s lots of different things you can do. And take that view at the beginning that, you know, nothing’s forever. And the worst thing is, when I talk to someone who’s in their sort of 20s, and they feel they’re boxed into a corner, I’m like, you have no idea. Just how much opportunity is there. If you can, it’s very easy to get boxed into it. So I would say that there’s a long answer, get both hands off the side of the swimming pool and take a swim.

Jamilla 32:14
And I think it’s great for whatever sector anyone’s coming from.

Robert 32:18
I think that ties in really nicely with what you said at the beginning, about living with passion. If you’re living with passion, there should be no fear because you’re living with passion, give it a go and see what happens and make the most of it.

Robert 32:28
Absolutely. Absolutely.

Jamilla 32:30
Thank you so much for your time today. Robert, we’ve loved having you on the podcast today.

Robert 32:35
It’s been a real delight. Thank you very much.

Jamal 32:37
Thank you, Jamilla and Robert for your lovely input so much value to people listening and thinking about how they can start, grow and excel in their career as a Privacy Pro.