Founder's Friday Episode 07 - Jacob Hall
Updated: Oct 19
What does privacy mean to you?
In the age of information, privacy is an increasingly important issue for billions of people worldwide. And this number is growing by the day. Many large technology corporations now have access to an unprecedented quantity of user data. This has created distrust among consumers, not to mention a growing degree of control over this data at the expense of consumers. We sat down with Jacob Hall, CEO and Co-Founder of Agingo, to discuss how he is raising awareness of, and ultimately solving, this problem.
At a young age, Jacob discovered a deep passion for what has become an illustrious career: “As long as I remember, I was always into technology. ”
He always found himself reading his dad’s Popular Science and Popular Mechanics magazines and was immediately fascinated by emerging technologies and the journey to build the next big thing. His neighbor was a computer programmer, and, through him, Jacob first tried his hand at programming. Intrigued, he bought his first computer when he was 12 years old at a flea market in Georgia. He was hooked.
Like the great entrepreneurs of this and past generations, Jacob always loved to build things. Growing up he would make bread boxes and shelves and sell them off the back of his dad’s pick-up truck at the flea market. His self-starter mentality allowed him to channel his passion for computer programming. Through coding, he could effectively “build whatever [he] wanted.”
After graduating high school, Jacob went to college to study computer engineering, a natural fit. However, two years in, he found himself being taught material he had mastered years prior. His insatiable appetite for knowledge led him to drop out and pursue a career on the cutting edge of financial technology. He dropped out of school and went into banking at First Union Bank. During his tenure at the bank, Jacob worked across a variety of investment vehicles, and had success developing new technologies for the institution.
After bouncing around several financial roles at various firms, he finally had a unique opportunity to interact with entrepreneurs, and affect change on a greater scale than ever before: working as chief architect at Wachovia.
During his tenure at the bank, the company was acquired by Wells Fargo, and he enjoyed the opportunity to help entrepreneurs bring their ideas to fruition. However, cybersecurity was quickly becoming a prominent issue in society as the century came to a close. After many conversations with CEOs and founders, he realized that industry-disrupting innovation rarely happens within a large corporation.
“Companies don’t disrupt themselves.”
Instead, it’s the daring creatives, the bold entrepreneurs, who pioneer revolutionary change within their industries. In order to address the mounting concerns over data protection and security, he needed more freedom - he needed a shot at building a “Billion dollar company of [his] own.”
In December of 2009, Jacob founded Agingo. Initially, his mission was to build an alternative search algorithm based on trust.
Currently, large companies like Google and Facebook have full access to, and complete control over, the flow of user data. Agingo set out to address this, and eventually developed NOOB, or not only one blockchain technology. This technology was born out of the combination of Jacob’s experience and the technical skill set of long-term colleague Kyriakos.
By serving as a databank for individuals to deposit their personal data and have control over who can access it, the company effectively created the first scalable data exchange. This platform allows users to have complete ownership over their data, and even earn income through anonymously volunteering their personal data. Through Agingo, Jacob seized the opportunity to build a scalable platform that takes power out of the hands of large corporations and puts it into the hands of consumers.
Jacob insightfully referenced Adam Smith’s famous Wealth of Nations in saying that innovation naturally follows the path which is most efficient. “It is easy to predict what is going to happen because what is efficient is what takes off…For example, if I had a path that I liked to take to work and someone set up a bunch of cameras on that path, I am likely not going to change my direction. I will still go down that road while the cameras are watching me. But if someone gives me a faster way to get to work, I will take that every time.”
What if someone gave you the faster route, with complete control over who can view the cameras? This is precisely what Agingo aims to do with data: provide people with the most efficient way to transfer data with the comfort of knowing they alone control access to it.
Simply put, “We manage data like money.”
At the heart of Agingo lies blockchain technology, which is primarily about giving back users control of their data, and this is fundamentally what excited Jacob. Through an enhanced blockchain platform (the aforementioned NOOB technology) Jacob sees the ability to disrupt the status quo and ultimately the most valuable industry on the planet.
The Astral Consulting Group approaches every business case with a clean slate, and applies a unique framework to build workflows to suit each client's individual needs. Our founding partners come from engineering backgrounds, and understand the importance of reasoning from the ground up. As such, we combine this "first-principles" style of thinking with a holistic growth mindset to evaluate each case from both the top-down and bottom-up. This creates a comprehensive process unique to each solution we develop, and gives our clients insight into both the granular details of their business and the high-level strategy and vision to propel them forward.