Say Cheeze with Simon Hudson
All right hey everybody welcome back to another edition of the convergence today we are literally connecting the four corners of the globe with, Simon Hudson who is currently in Dubai right right we're Arizona to Dubai we've got the two desert connections Simon it's great to have you on the show and I'm really excited to hear about cheese because we've talked on this show multiple times about nft isn't about the nft artwork and how you know artists like Justin Pierce who I'm a art collector and I collect a lot of Justin's work how he's transitioned over into into the nft space but I don't think we've had anybody that's talked about photography m i will be honest as a sort of premise you know my wife and I collect our we have over 100 pieces hanging in our home right now I think we only have about four pieces of Photography and a lot of that is just because we're like original things we don't we don't there's nothing in this house that's been mass-produced and the challenge is when it comes to photography for the most part, it's there's no way to really know if its original so when I saw what you were doing with cheese I got excited because I thought well this is a way to actually verify that through blockchain and the to you know to created an mft that maybe even as if they've been associated with a physical object. That you know can provide that sort of guarantee and verification so I don't want to get too far off on a tangent but thank you for joining me Simon welcome to the show and tell me a little bit about cheese where did you come up with this idea and what is the premise in the thought process behind it. Yeah well firstly thank you for having me it's great to connect and you're like I say four corners of the world according to buy cheese was actually born out of a need back in 2017 when my daughter was born. The first version of the product was trying to solve an issue where people families across the globe are sharing photos of children loved ones and, tend to use messaging apps like iMessage WhatsApp they became very busy very noisy is very difficult to make organization so the version 1 of cheese came around where we were organizing photography for friends and family, imagine like a slack for photography.
This was the product up until 2020 when obviously the world went into lockdown we saw a big decline in usage because people were not really going anywhere or taking any photos. And then we stumbled across then ft's and blockchain mid-2020s. All the infrastructure was there The Branding obviously cheese comes from the name we say cheese before taking a photo the majority of the world still use that today.
So we ended up making a pivot to moving the business into the direction of becoming a photo Centric nft platform. What we wanted to do was really look at how the history of the photo has evolved from the negative to the JPEG and what's next for the Journey of a photo. We found that there was an opportunity there and ft world was still very new I think that we were one of the very first companies that were joint join the flow blockchain which is who were built on. So we wanted to just really understand what the problems with photography were like you just said before about having something that's mass-produced how can nft and blockchain Technology solve that. And we're aiming to become the number one go-to place for photography on the blockchain.
Nice and is that you know from a commercial is that more from a commercial perspective or is this for everybody right where they can they can go and create their own ftes and I open seeing some of these other environments I think what they've unfortunately become sort of you know bogged down with is a bunch of low quality clipart you know there's somebody produced on Fiverr and they're trying to make a quick Buck on this I think it's a little bit different with photography because the skill is very obvious and apparent did you know in a photograph how do you see that sort of working that balance between the two or is their balances or side that one that you're falling more than the other. I mean it's a good question surrounding the competitors like open sea and wearable in the different marketplaces and I think that our USP in the photography Focus only is that we can really build features in iterations that are really dedicated to photography. Platforms like Open Sea won't have properties such as aperture ISO where the geolocation of the photo was taken the camera it was taken on, you've ever taken a photo on your iPhone and you press the information button you can see a map of where you took it what camera it was taken on what I so what size what resolution. None of that is transitioning from camera to chain when you're using platforms like opencl rarer. So the plan is is that we focus purely on photography to be able to understand using a. Private network of photographers who have been working with see what they actually want to do and I think that.
When you've got a different category of photographers from the instagramer to the professional Getty Images photographer. There's a huge gap of how that is used as a camera from a digital SLR huge megapixel to an iPhone 14 Promax with all of the Bells and the whistles. What we wanted to do is understand and see how each photographer used the device whether it be a DSLR or phone. What we found was that if you are company like Open Sea you have a board ape you have a.
Azuki you have a doodle and then you have a photo by Drifter shoots who where my Vans go and there alongside each other. The features and the properties that are listed for the artwork. He's not really the same for the photograph and the photograph basically doesn't have all of the. Luxury of showcasing the metadata for that photo and the metadata of a photo is really what's the power behind the photo you as a photographer. Dig deep in and you look and see what the iso was of a photographer that you follow what aperture they used what f-stop they used all of the really the navigation of the camera, and that change the photo entirely so we focus very heavily on actually building a platform dedicated to the photographer to help them understand what they're wanting wanting to do and bring images on chain.
That makes a lot of sense and I think when you think about even the collectors of Art and those people that collect photography versus art, usually those studios are not the same we rarely do you find a photography studio in an art studio in the same space it's a different collector it's a different mindset, it's a different way of approaching the collecting it's a different way of display we there it is it's a very varied I can't imagine you know you know I have all these different lights in this in the studio here that lights up all these different pieces of artwork you don't really do it with photography and I even think the original photography we have hanging in our house, it sort of speaks for its own whereas in this instance the artist actually said to me let's throw a little bit of red light on this little bit of blue light here a little bit of gold over in this area so it is really a different a different format and for that I think it does require a completely different approach I also tend to find that folks that collect photography tend to be amateur photographers themselves so they are very interested in that metadata where to me I'm looking at my Kool-Aid man here and I'm going I don't know paint on canvas I don't know I don't really care if it's Sharpie or pain or what it is I'm buying it for the what it says to me and what it represents we're photography may be a little bit different and I can see that that makes that makes a lot of sense. So what tell me when we go out the business model how do you is this really about becoming sort of the Open Sea of Photography or where do you sort of see cheese. So ready cheese is built for the Creator economy where we wanting to work with photographers and people to understand where this is heading I think you know coming back to what you just said about putting different colored lights on the artwork on the wall. Yes we don't see that if a photograph is hung on our wall then we don't really light up photographs artwork we do but if you look at photographs in the digital aspect, Instagram became Instagram because of filters filters yeah essentially the digital lighting and the appearance that you have changes they have. So many different filters out now and.
If you look and Instagram as well there's a lot of apps that are promoting the different features and functionalities how can you manipulate a photo how can you make it 3D, so it's really taking a photo a becoming a piece of art. So from us and the business model we have a number of verticals the first is the marketplace which is really a as you would see a standard Marketplace for people to sell collections. Photographers can list their photos they can put them in additions they can put them into collection sizes and do everything you would expect. But the thing that people tend to forget is that when you talk about NF teasing you talk about photos people immediately think of photo collection. By everything we have around us that we purchase is starting off with a photo. From buying an Apple Watch and iPhone a house or a car you go onto the website and you look at the property and you see it first and foremost as a photo.
Even if you want to go and buy a Tesla you look on Tesla.com when you see the car as a photo so our, mindset is not just to build a product that people are thinking right now in today's mindset of this is a Marketplace of for photographers who can make collections of Landscapes or animals. This is about looking to see how does this Eeveelution of technology and photography dovetail together. By doing that what we've done is we've actually taken a step back in time and look at how the jpeg came about. It's the jpeg stands for joint photography expert Group which is a group of Brands and a group of companies in 92 93.
Came together to try and figure out how they can take it from a physical - into a digital reproduction of that photo. Obviously once that was achieved they would then know that the transportation of a photo from A to B or the replication of a photo from ABC today, it was a lot easier if you think of how that used to be from a negative perspective you had to reprint reprint reprint and you only had the physical negative. If we look at where we are now you don't say to me hey Simon please send me a JPEG you just like hey send me a photo the term jpeg has gone it's been lost. I think that the term .n ft is really an extension like .jpg in the next two or three years.
It will be like hey send me a photo and you'll be like oh do you want that to be on chain or off chain is not really going to be as an mft. The unchain aspect of it really gives it a feeling of. Provenance and authenticity and I think that if you're selling a house you've got us house for sale here in a house for sale here this is off chain and this is on chain. You automatically as time goes on and people understand the security of chain you would much prefer to buy a house from a website that showcasing photos of a house that are on chain.
Because the crew is provenance and so for us our business model is really having the standards in place such as the marketplace and the way that you would expect to make fees from commissions and fees per sale but also look at, what is coming and what is not there yet and how can we innovate using the technology in the platform you have. On the photography industry as it transitions from a .jpg to a do 10ft. It's really the transition even from analog to digital I keep thinking about to right you know where and I'm old enough to remember when when there wasn't digital photography and I don't think many people today remember that but it was a very different world and it was a big transition and now today I think trying to even buy, Colonel can you still buy 35 mm film I'm sure you can but but it's become really itchy yeah nothing is is that you know photographers that shoots on 35 mm film actually charge a lot more because it's a lot more retro and a lot more kind of creative than, snapping on your iPhone so I think that we are going to see that transition but yet the from the technology if you look at the phone companies promoting new devices. The main thing they all talk about is how powerful the new cameras that's a great point and I don't take a lot of you know photographs that I would that I would say are instagram-worthy so to me even even the last couple updates of the iPhone I'm like well you know early on when I was a big Tech adopter I was always have to get the latest and greatest now I'm like why do I need the only main difference anymore is the camera it's like you know what am I taking pictures of my dog playing in the backyard you know for me it's not a big deal but I can see how that makes sense we're do you see this Market Place going I'm so glad to hear that you're here in the web three space because I think, you know, like we talked about so much on the show it is about utility if you were looking at things in the web three space and they don't have a utility they don't have a purpose a business case you don't have a reason for existing you probably are looking at a meme right but. But here you've got a real purpose and you can see I think anybody can see how this can change the whole world around photography where do you see the future I you know I guess it's that what's The Five-Year Plan where do you see this Market Place going and I know and I've teased right now or have a little bit of a negative connotation around them but but I think it's like the.com crash read that wasn't the end of the.com that was actually the beginning of the.com and I think a lot of that is what comes out of the ashes in this so what are you Simon where do you see the market heading when it comes to n ftes and 13.
I think that the way we're positioning it right now then FTS there are so many people that have made a lot of money and a lot of people that have lost a lot of money that the word nft is got a bad name. Really simply put nft is just a compression of ownership it reduces the steps from transferring assets a. From person a to person B it just it doesn't mean that we have to go through a number of loopholes and steps to. Transaction done so the term nft really if you remove that it's just an improvement of Technology like I said a JPEG has gone from the manual to the digital.
And I think for us especially for photography I think it any device that you look at around your home if you don't use your TV for five minutes you get an Apple screensaver come on that is moving images or photos then you know iPhone now has the lock screen where you can customize the lock screen again photos when we do Zoom calls most people use a backdrop again photos when you use AR and VR and you're going to be putting on the quest goggles or the Apple glass. You're going to have digital assets around you so I think that, for us to become a library of Photography that people can actually represent and showcase what they have and what they own. He's going to be something that is quite powerful but also as well looking at how traditional models work like if you take AMEX as an example, you have the black the gold to Silver and the century and credit card if you pull out your black American Express card it flexes well fit Flex as you have money and it flexes that you have a titanium card.
Well nobody uses cards anymore they all using Apple pay so when you double tap to Showcase your card. There is a digital screen in front of you and the AmEx can partner with photography companies to display for photographs to display pieces of art except for so I think that for us being able to. Integrate what we have from a photography aspect and help users bring their images on chain and make them digital assets and digital collectibles.
Then opens up doors to how we then can showcase these whether they're in lock screens whether they're in Zoom backgrounds whether they're in credit card covers or whatever that modal like so. We just think that the nft word is a bit of a. Wrong way to approach this thing it's more that this is a new way of transferring a digital photo or an asset from person A to B and see what the options go out later.
It's a great point and I hadn't really thought of you know the three pieces of work that are hanging here right behind me I purchased those because I saw a photograph of them exactly so that's the interesting thing is it really it really goes through the entire you know cycle where photography is the start of so much and I think you're right when the physical assets like you're I have friends that have black cards lots of friends that have Platinum cards I'm a platinum card you use that's the only card I carry is that platinum card because it actually has a benefit to it has a utility to it I can present that at the airport and go into the lounge and eat and drink for free so there's there's benefits to that but they're associated with the physical asset not yet, totally with the digital I can't I don't know maybe next time I go to the Centurion Lounge I'll present my Apple wallet and see what they say I don't think they're gonna let me in I think they're going to require the physical asset, I think what's interesting I'd as a sound based in Dubai but I do do a lot of a lot of traveling I'll only ever carry my phone. From in real my airline ticket from getting into different lounges again accessing through my phone using Toro to lat. Locker because hotel rooms again Keys using Marriott so. Everything is really on one device now it's on the watch I think that when you were saying about hanging at the pieces of Art and the photographs again it's about proving the fact that what you're buying is real so if you to see that picture of, the red part in the background and it was on sale on a website was on sale on a web three website which had blockchain certificates. You're going to have a lot more confidence that that is real and that is coming from a real Source again yours a photo but you're buying a physical.
When you start to think about how that can transition into. Proving real life problems where we're seeing a lot of issues now with the dating app such as Tinder and Bumble and hinge and all of those where people are now saying. If you wanting to use them you need to have a video interview or video face to have approval to actually prove that you're not somebody that's going and trying to pretend to be somebody else. You can put your photos on chain and have them proved by other people and having an l.f.t.s at saying hey, hi on this this is me I've already gone through the authenticity and that kind of kyc if you like four people. Now that is in my wallet and I can use that on any social media and I don't need to go through that kyc and that approval again so, that's kind of some where we're heading towards yeah no I came absolutely see that and it actually brings up a sort of interesting instance here at our home we have a couple of pieces of original art from an artist and when we collected them from her she was not.
No she was a starving artist I mean I think she actually emailed us and said I'm actually buying. You know from the money and buying gifts for my kids for Christmas like you made Christmas and then about a year ago she reached out and said hey I've become a little bit you know I'm getting a good following and I have a publisher that wants to do prints of my work and would it be possible to do Prince of the the pieces that you own and we thought about it we were like actually it's good for us right because we own the original and she's going to now start selling prints. But she didn't have to do that I mean you know there's no there's no posterity to that there's no real relationship for the most part between art and you know what happens for the print side of things she just happened to do it because she knew us right but but that brings up that same sort of you know idea of of this licensing of assets piece that right now can be done very easily behind the scenes but if you brought blockchain into the equation it couldn't be done you could understand the posterity that document you could prove ownership we can show that that was an original piece of artwork that was sold to us without reprint rights you know all of those kind of things come into the equation. Interesting stuff so the future of cheese and where were you at as far as launch and you've been out in the marketplace for a bit of time under a little bit of a different model but now of converted over into this is this is, is the process with cheese of uploading digital photography to the platform to turn it into and FTS or is there something maybe a little. Yeah so as with any kind of business and any company we have a road map, some of the roads we follow some that we don't depending on how things now I think that one of the people who sits on our board is Mark Randolph who's the co-founder of. Yeah he he's a fantastic person to ask ideas and questions from and you know one of the things that he says is that, you just have to keep trying things in a good entrepreneur is one of those it is willing to admit defeat and then willing to admit they made mistakes and I think that that's something that we're.
Very good at cheese we build products and we build features we test them and see what works and what doesn't. I think that for us when we went to Market at the beginning of the year to roll out the initial Market Place. Crypto is in a very different place Heath was about 4K and Bitcoin was just below 50. Don't remind me yeah and I think across the really the trust in this space became very negative and I think we all agree if you're in this space we're now coming out the other end, the for us we've built the marketplace we've been working on the you I and how we can actually. On board the masses you know people like my mom my parents how they going to go on if there's a picture of Princess Diana or the queen and they want to purchase that how can they simply go and do that and understand the process and, maybe they don't even care it's an nft they just loved the photo and want to have a limited edition run of one of the Queen Elizabeth photos.
So we're trying to work out how we can avoid the masses and also as well payments we've partnered with all crypto providers u.s. DC from any chain credit card we can accept all major credit cards. So for us we've built the marketplace and that's live. Next steps are rolling at our own token we're bringing our lens token to Market which will be reward-based token for people who snap and in photos. Basically get paid for taking photos then we've got an update to our mobile app and a couple of other things but really it's about learning from what the market is wanting.
And actually then changing the model based upon how the market adapts and adopts what we're bringing to the bring to the Forefront of what they're seeing. Yeah Simon this was really interesting thanks so much for being on the show tell us a little bit about how they can get a hold of you and find out more about cheese. Cause I'm at Hudson on Twitter just my surname we're actually he's on all social handles cheese.com, head over to any of those reach out to me personally my DMs are open I'm going to be speaking a number of events over the next few months so yeah if you find me an event please come and say hi.
Absolutely thanks so much for being here I really appreciate it and thank you all for tuning in to this episode of the convergence, that was great thank you Simon I'm so you know I love the fact too that you have professional sound and video equipment it looks and sounds so good I'm like I just want to keep talking to this guy just because everything is going to be so great on camera and on audio half the time I get I have the guy who he is actually the head of crypto for MasterCard he's like 65 years old he's an expert fessor and he has been involved in the blockchain space get this since the 1960s. Okay I didn't even know there was a but he actually said no there was a rigidly a document in 1948 that was written that was the establishment of blockchain and he is a great great guy to have, but he insists on doing it on his phone he insists on walking around it's like you know it's like you see the cat in the background and he's like talking to his you know his dog and I'm just like I love you he's amazing guest, but shit he can't you it's looks like shit when it's done but thanks so much this was, really helpful and please let's keep in touch to I'll connect with you on LinkedIn and if you've got any big announcements or anything or even if you come across anything you know actually a lot of the great guests that we've had on the show have come from other guests that are like you know in the space and are going hey this is a cool thing you should check it out we really do want to be on The Cutting Edge and you know like I said the main undercurrent for us as utility what what is the utility of of this and how does it change in inter industry that probably already exists you know something like photography. Is a number of people are quite close to a lot of people so there's a number of people I hear about and projects so if I hear of anything I'll definitely connect you for sure. Please do that Simon it was great to get to know you and enjoy the rest of your evening yeah likewise I'm a great day Derek speech you need to buy.