Jeff Dyck was born in Canada, where he completed his high school education. He spent a good portion of his early life as a private investigator, with the eventual goal of becoming a police officer. However, through time and experience, he grew weary of what he calls “the injustice of the justice system.” Realizing that the justice system operates more like a business than as anything else, he left the profession to figure out what else to do with his life.

Jeff took in his surroundings and, noting the fact that he lived in a community with a very prominent car culture, he opened an auto detailing shop. He knew little about the industry going in, but he learned on the fly and focused his efforts on marketing his business. Through those efforts, he found fast success. But he also found that business dropped off quickly any time he let up on his marketing efforts, so he looked toward the loyalty industry for an answer. He found the loyalty industry as it currently exists to be flawed, and too heavily focused on large corporate interests with little regard for small businesses or for the customers they claimed to be benefitting. This revelation sparked a 15 year journey in technology, with the ultimate goal of doing something entirely different within the loyalty industry.

Tell us a little about the loyalty industry and why you chose to go into this venture?

Well, the mindset that most loyalty programs sell to their customers is “Hey, we’re doing this for you. We appreciate your business. We want you to keep shopping with us, so we’re going to incentivize you to keep coming back.” But what ends up happening is that there’s no loyalty there, because they don’t really reward us. The incentives are really small, in most cases it’s only 1% back or so. And the real business behind it often isn’t customer loyalty, but data collection. The programs are able to capture customer information—their name, address, and so on. They collect it all when the customers sign up to their loyalty card. They give the customers just a little bit, and the merchants benefit greatly from the data. But what I found is that these loyalty platforms are meant for use by large corporations, and they were never meant for small businesses. It’s far too expensive, they charge far too much money, and large businesses have a far greater ability to collect and utilize customer data. So, I saw a niche for a platform that would benefit a business and customers alike, but would focus on small businesses more than the large corporations. So, building up these platforms is what I’ve done for the last 15 years.

The idea is to financially reward people for their data. You’ll be happier because you’re profiting, I’ll be happy because I’m getting accurate data. It’s better data than free services can often get because there’s no incentive to give real info on free services like Facebook.

The biggest thing I’m working on right now is what I call a ‘social economy.’ I’m creating what I believe is the perfect social economy, where we collect 100% accurate consumer data with the consumer’s permission, and we reward them financially for it. That way, the merchants benefit because we have 100% verified data, which is what they’re paying for.

What surprised you the most when you started your career? What lessons did you learn?

The fact that it was more of a psychological game than anything else. The loyalty programs are out there and they sound great, but when you do the math it doesn’t take long to realize that the consumers get nothing because a lot of these programs have points that expire, and can only be used with one company—like an airline where the loyalty points can only be used for that specific airline. It looks to the consumers like they benefit, but when you look deeply at what’s really happening with these programs, the consumers don’t benefit. That’s what really shocked me, really pushed me to come up with something better. I believe that everyone can and should benefit, not just the corporations.

What is one piece of advice you would give someone starting in your industry?

It’s a very stressful industry. There are all these really big players, so if you plan to create a startup company, it is a David and Goliath situation. It requires a whole ton of capital. The reality is, while I’m not saying don’t start in it, you need to raise a lot of money even if you have a great idea. Because you’re dealing with such massive things, and the only way to really get to people these days is through social media, it’s a very tough industry to break into. The best advice I can give is to find a niche. Find a niche, keep it small, and build on that niche.

If you could change anything about your industry what would it be and why?

It would be corporate greed. I wish these huge corporations would take data and reward people for it accordingly. Share the wealth a bit more. Instead of only giving 1% back, give more rewards. More rewards will create more loyalty, in my opinion.

How would your colleagues describe you?

I think the word that people use the most about me is “resilient.” Absolutely nothing holds me down. I can hit 100 roadblocks, and I won’t quit. I always find a way to get around the roadblocks, or fix them, or change them, or work with them. So, “resilience” is what I hear from everybody. I’m a very persistent guy.

How do you maintain a solid work life balance?

The key for me is my kids. My son is 12, my daughter is 9, and they’re my entire world. I share them half the time with my ex-wife, so when the kids are here, I focus on them. When they’re gone, I work. I don’t do a lot of extra things outside of this, but that’s okay because I look at my work as more of a hobby. I think that helps a lot. I love what I do.

At work, I play a lot of music in the background because it makes me happy. And when I’m feeling a bit burnt out, I’ll go out. I put my work down and if my kids aren’t here, maybe I’ll go to the beach for the day, or I’ll just go out and do something else for the day to refresh my brain. I used to take in hockey games and other sporting events all the time. I like sporting events because once I’ve got tickets, it’s an obligation to get out of the house or get away from work or whatever.

What is one piece of technology that helps you the most in your daily routine?

A platform called Basecamp. Basecamp helps keep me and the team I’m working with organized, and allows us to create tasks for each other. There are reminders if we don’t do tasks or need to do tasks. It’s a way of sharing all of our documents so we can see everything. It’s an organizational tool for me and the team, and I couldn’t do without it.

What has been the hardest obstacle you’ve overcome?

The failure of my first tech company. I made a lot of mistakes—it was my first big shot. It was big, it was a monster project, and although I didn’t think so at the time, I was out of my league. My mistakes stemmed from me running the company by thinking with my heart and not my head. I had all the wrong people in my inner circle. I hired friends, not qualified people. I thought that if I hired friends that we would care about each other, and that these people would literally bend over backwards for the success of the company because we were friends.

It was actually the opposite. They were unqualified, and they didn’t put the work in. They treated it more like a friendship rather than a business. All in all, it failed because I brought in the wrong people. The company fell apart, but I learned from that. Now I have brilliant people around me—brilliant, hard-working people. I’m always searching for better people. But I’ve also created a rewards system within the company. Everyone with me has a financial incentive. So, they have a decent paycheck, but they have a financial incentive on top of that. If the company does extremely well, they will also do extremely well. And if the company doesn’t do well, neither will they. So, it’s not me that’s successful, it’s the entire team. If the company wins, we all win.

Who has been a role model to you and why?

I actually don’t think I have one role model. More so, I love movies that are made based on the successes of real people. For example, movies like The Pursuit of Happyness. Movies like that are almost like role models to me—and it’s not so much the people specifically that I find inspiring, but rather it’s the stories of success. I’ll watch as many of those sorts of movies as I can get my hands on.

What is one piece of advice you would like to leave our readers with?

Don’t quit. Break the process down into baby steps. If you’ve got a goal and a dream, figure it out by actually mapping out what you need to do to achieve it. I don’t care if it’s one step or a hundred steps or a million steps, just don’t quit. Keep focusing on that goal.

I use this example on a lot of people: Let’s say that you’re in California and you want to go to New York. Let’s say you don’t have a car, and you have to walk. There are a lot of people that’ll say “No, that’s too far, I’ll never walk it.” But the reality is, if you just take even one step a day, you’ll eventually get there. But you’ll never get there if you quit.