On a blisteringly hot Friday afternoon at No. 42 Coffee Junction near Old Street, Haggerston Times met Yann Beuzit, a digital entrepreneur with a bold business strategy, and some genuinely disruptive uses for big data backed Tech.
Through his start-up YB & ASSOC, Yann fronts a network of accomplished freelancers whom he has forged relationships with over the best part of a decade. He has managed global digital marketing and SEA campaigns for leading digital media agencies as well as Internet giants such as Amazon.com, lastminute.com, Microsoft, Xbox.
He holds a Postgraduate Diploma in Business Administration, a Postgraduate Certificate in Business Administration, a Professional Certificate in Management and he`s currently completing an MBA. During the course of his career he has worked with some top talent, and he’s proud to be able to call on them each time he wins a new project.
I ask Yann if he thinks he is going out on a limb for the freelancers he represents, what if he wins a contract and they declare themselves unavailable. He shrugs, it doesn’t happen. “There is trust there. They can rely on me and I can rely on them. Besides, we love working together.”
There are many reasons why an agency might outsource, some of them are listed on the YB & ASSOC website, but the main one has to be a shift in the dynamic of the work-life balance. Many of the most creative talent end up freelancing, because it provides them with a unique and challenging pipeline of work, and a flexibility that appeals to those whose reputation allows them to pick and choose their projects.
YB & ASSOC offers consultancy across a range of Digital Marketing Services, including SEO, PPC Services, Social Media, Branding & Web-design, and Online Business Consultancy focusing on strategy and analysis using concepts such as SWOT analysis, Porter’s five forces and McKinsey’s 7 S’s.
With such a diverse offering the onus falls to Yann to co-ordinate project timelines, inform stakeholders and ensure that projects run smoothly, and he does so with aplomb. He has obtained repeat business form Microsoft and media agencies amongst others, but he has also found time to develop his own, rather nifty, projects.
He shows me a video promo for The Drink Exchange, a dazzling platform which allows bars and restaurants to alter their drinks prices in real time according to demand. A stock exchange for drinkers. Hold Jack Daniels, buy beer, wait for the arbitrage opportunity on G&T’s. A dangerous idea maybe, but a fun one, with a genuine economic benefit.
The Drink Exchange uses big data to help determine price strategy, and push certain products, Yann believes that proprietors could benefit from a 30% uplift in sales. The software is straightforward with an algorithm orchestrating the changing prices to the point of sale system. Prices can be reduced and increased incrementally, and a large trader style screen displays the market for all the punters to see. The product has recently been launched in the US, made for those who like to work and play hard. Early reports suggest drinkers were stirred, but not shaken!
Another project seeks to leverage the success of Airbnb style short-term home lettings sites. Again, data-driven pricing is the key, YB & ASSOC has recently launched Airbnb Management Services. There are obvious seasonal pricing opportunities when it comes to short-term lettings, but if we are honest, which of us has time to study the markets and make the necessary adjustments? Outsource to Yann and his company will manage it for you, and again he believes premiums of 30% are achievable.
Big data is essentially the key to most of Yann’s consultancy work and businesses. He has the tools to exploit any opportunity where there is sufficient market data, and if he can’t optimise a business himself, chances are he knows somebody who can. He has explained all of this to me over the course of a single cappuccino, and I’ve agreed to contribute my copywriting skills to his projects if needs be. A nice civilised way to do business.
YB & ASSOC are based at Techspace, in Underwood Street 10 minutes from Old St station, so we go to have a look. Its home to 30 or so mainly tech start-ups, has a boardroom anyone can use, “wiff waff” table, lots of natural light, funky furniture and a studious but friendly atmosphere. If it wasn’t original it would be a cliché, the kind of place you dreamed about bringing your start-up to.
Techspace, YB & ASSOC, this is the sharp end of the Silicon Roundabout. Where things happen. It’s an intersection of the old Shoreditch culture, cerebral and forward thinking, and the influx of opportunity that has arrived now that the government has jumped on the bandwagon and realised Tech is the future. There was never any shortage of talent, but work spaces like this one allow for the leveraging of opportunity and with investor cash chasing SEIS deals and, of course, the next Facebook, Coffee Junction, Techspace, YB & ASSOC and the rest are set to get hotter still. It’s a good thing the drinks prices will soon be keeping pace with the change!