For those who have been reading my blog for a while now you probably remember a weekly post I used to do called weekend musings. Every week I would take a break from talking about the normal topics I cover on my blog and would instead share a bit more about me and my life. This is MorganLinton.com, heck it’s a personal blog, and I’ll be honest, I miss getting a little personal every now and then and getting the chance to just journal my life.
Of course, this could end up being really boring so feel free to ignore my Monday posts if you aren’t really interested in hearing about me and my life. If it turns out that this series bombs then maybe I’ll just keep a personal journal but I thought, why not bring it back but on Monday’s instead of the weekend and we’ll see how it goes.
So here we go.
Last week was incredibly busy at Bold Metrics as we prepared to go live with a new client, EXPRESS. Our engineering team has done an amazing job getting ready for this launch and it has been great working the team there as well. I’m always amazed at how many people a multi-billion dollar retailer has involved in orchestrating a launch like this.
For those who don’t quite know what we do at Bold Metrics, I might as well explain since it will definitely be the focus of my Monday posts since, well, it is the focus of my life and has been for the last six years. Quick sidenot – when we started the company we thought we’d never let it take over our lives but I can tell you, that really is impossible. Startups are a huge amount of work and require mornings, nights, and often weekends (but not every weekend) with very little accolades or congratulations along the way.
Still, for us, we wanted to change the world in our own way and I do feel like we are doing that. We have build an machine learning solution that predicts body measurements, I like to think of us as an API for the human body. Our belief is that years from now our technology will be built-into chips on your phone, in your car, etc. This means that many of the experiences that you have to manually personalize today, will adjust and adapt to your body automagically in the future.
Our core market right now is apparel and as many people know, it’s hard to find clothes that fit. Most people know one to two brands that fit and stick to those. But beyond that, there’s something much bigger that we’re disrupting – the way clothes are made. For over 100 years clothes have been made using something called a “fit model” – a real living, breathing human that a brand uses to make their clothes.
The process goes something like this. A brand takes an educated guess at who typically buys a size medium, let’s say in a shirt. They then hire a fit model that they think would be the person who wears a size medium and design their size medium for that person. The small, large, extra large, etc. are then simply graded (i.e. adjustments made based on the original) based on this single pattern.
The big problem with this process is that a brand does have to guess who is actually buying their size medium. All other sizes are then based on this guess. Our technology predicts body measurements very accurately by asking customers some really simple questions – things like height, weight, age, etc. We can actually ask someone 4 – 6 questions and predict over 90 body measurements, and the predictions are more accurate than if you were to measure yourself.
We’ve spent millions of dollars building this technology and building up one of the largest data warehouses of human body measurements for our machine learning algorithms to make their predictions. Given that the process for making clothes hasn’t changed in over 100 years, it’s ripe for disruption and we’re giving brands the data they need to actually know who is buying their clothes so they can stop guessing and start using real data to make their clothes.
Of course, with this data brands can also recommend sizes to shoppers in-store and online, plug this data into their inventory management process, and even use it to improve ad targeting and marketing. This is the market we’re disrupting now, but like I said a bit earlier, there are a lot more markets to disrupt.
I see a world ten years from now where you get in your car and it knows your body measurements and adjusts the seat, steering wheel, mirrors, air vents, and safety system based on your body measurements, powered by Bold Metrics. We’ve also started working with some really interesting AR/VR companies and when you create your own avatar in the future, our tech should be at the core of this experience as well.
The Discovery Channel did a pretty fun segment on the things we’re doing in the AR/VR space last year, if you haven’t seen it yet you can get a little preview here, note it’s not the full segment:
I also talked about this on NPR around the same time last year, you can listen to that here if you really want to geek out. As you can probably guess by now, I’m a big believer in AR and VR, I think it’s going to change our world and get rid of all these screens that we know and love today. Yup, I think your cellphone screen, laptop screen, and TV screen aren’t just going to get thinner and thinner over time…I think they’re going away for good. I had the chance to talk about this at TEDx in Rome last year, if you haven’t seen that video yet, you can check it out here:
Okay, phew – guess I got a little carried away there, oh well – feels like if I’m going to talk about myself, the best place to start is what I do for a living so there ya’ go!
Now onto something not work related…and for those still reading, wow, you’ve read over 1,000 words so far and you’re still here, thanks for that!
One of my other passions in life is adventuring in the great outdoors. We live in San Francisco which is one of the best places on the planet for hiking and backpacking and that’s typically how I like to unplug. This past weekend we went to Point Reyes…which a lot of people confuse for a town in Northern California but it’s actually a breathtaking beautiful nature area with amazing hiking and backpacking that weaves through forest and onto pristine seemingly undiscovered ocean.
You will essentially go from hiking through something that looks like this:
and after a couple of miles, you’ll end up here:
Like I said, Point Reyes isn’t a city or town itself but there are four pretty cool little towns nestled in the nature. The four towns are: Point Reyes Station, Olema, Inverness, and Bolinas. Each of them are different, they’re all tiny having only one or two places to eat or grab a drink, and they’re pretty darn charming and well off the beaten path for most tourists.
After hiking on Sunday we stopped in Bolinas for lunch at the Coast Cafe, which happened to be the only restaurant opened at that point in time.
The funny thing about Bolinas is that it’s not actually very tourist-friendly. Instead the locals have fought hard to stop development and make sure it is well off the beaten trail.
About 50 years ago, hard-core Bolinas locals started stealing the town’s highway sign and they never stopped. The goal, conceived in back-to-the-land idealism, was to build a nature-friendly community without the distractions and economic distortions of tourism. (Source – LA Times)
It takes about an hour to get from San Francisco to Bolinas so it’s not too far and geographically it’s located in a pretty interesting location at the bottom tip of the Point Reyes National Seashore. Here’s a quick look at where it is on a map:
Last weekend we scoped out a number of different backpacking spots in Point Reyes and this weekend our plan is to enjoy 24-hours off the grid backpacking. It will be a pretty interesting juxtaposition as next Monday I’m heading to New York City for meetings which is just about as close as you could get to the exact opposite of backpacking in Point Reyes.
Okay, well it’s 10:00PM, somehow I’ve been able to write almost 1,500 words and if you’ve made it this far, heck just write a comment letting me know you made it. Oh and let me know if you want me to keep writing posts like these or if they’re just going to bore you to tears every week.
That being said, I hope you enjoyed a little break in the action from my normal daily posts and a look into my life. Either way, loved it, hated it, I want to hear from you – comment and let your voice be heard!