In the latest episode of Humanizing Technology, we spoke to Pieter Vegt about his role as Product Owner and the responsibilities in his position to drive Empathy.co’s privacy-first vision, as well as the personal responsibility he feels towards society. To create products that are honest and transparent, respecting people and their personal information.

Pieter was the perfect match for this position, bringing a creative mind with a vision to dream up great products that offer actual value to the customer. Fueling his passion, Pieter is  driven by the need to make products truly sustainable. Ones that support a protective digital environment with high ethical standards, from initial brainstorm to finished product.

Pieter talks about his first steps as a start-up founder, where he encountered big challenges in making his product ideas viable and ethical. That’s when he met Empathy’s CEO and founder Ángel Maldonado, and they quickly found they had a lot in common. 

Currently, Pieter is working a lot on Purchase History, where he translates ‘Empathy.co’s vision into product’. Practically, this means Pieter needs to bring in a lot of knowledge and experience from various sources: technical and product-development understanding, design-thinking, and the overall motivation of making a product useful and safe for the customer. Guarding customer data beyond a basic GDPR protection. 

‘One concept we are exploring now is what we call “collaborative personalisation”. Instead of having people agree on having their data used without understanding what they agree to, we are exploring ways of letting people directly see how their data influences their experience’. - Pieter

Further options of personalising shopping experiences (your shoe size, preferred colours and styles, etc.) can make it a lot easier to find the right product. But this must be done ethically, respecting customers’ privacy. Making this data available as read-only without having to store it can translate to a more trustworthy shopping experience. And ultimately, gaining loyal, happy customers. It’s just one example of a vast range of possibilities yet to be explored, as Pieter explains. And he’s excited about this opportunity to help shape the web for the better.

The conversation wraps up with the notion that not only is making ethical products the right thing to do, but offers actual competitive advantages in the market. Interested in how?

Check it out, and enjoy the show!