Better Data | Rob Delf

Better Data

with Rob Delf


About today’s guest:

Rob Delf is the CEO of Meta Data Systems, a cloud platform that allows customers to manage editorial, technical and other metadata about TV shows, movies, documentaries, games and more. His previous work includes CEO of Righstline, VP of Media & Entertainment at The Revere Group, as well as work at Deloitte, IBM and other great institutions.

As always, May I Have Your Attention is brought to you by, which turns your podcast into three months of social media content, you can find out more at

Time Stamps:

Better data [0:42]

Pulling out information using AI [2:47]

How to get attention [4:49]

Social media helps build your company’s culture [6:25]

Do you have enough resources? [8:28]

80% of the events can be done remotely [13:05]

Selected Resources:


Justin Nassiri  00:04

Welcome back to May I have your attention, a show about slicing through the noise online. I’m Justin Nassiri. And each week I chat with industry leaders about how to get keep and monetize attention online. May I have your attention is brought to you by, which turns your webinar or podcast into three months of social media content? Find out [email protected] Let’s get started with today’s episode. Joining me today in Los Angeles, California, my guest is Rob Delf. Welcome to May I have your attention.


Rob Delf  00:39

Great. Thanks for having me, Justin.


Justin Nassiri  00:42

So for listeners, here’s a very abbreviated background on Rob. He is currently the CEO of meta data systems at Cloud port platform that allows customers to manage editorial technical and other metadata about TV shows, movies, documentaries, games, and more. His previous work includes CEO of rights line VP of media and entertainment at the reviewer group, as well as work at Deloitte, IBM and other great institutions. So Rob, I want to get context before we dive in, because I’m hoping that your company is solving something that I complain about all the time. Could you share a little bit more about metadata systems and what you do?


Rob Delf  01:19

Yeah, no problem. So really what we do it’s SAS platform that manages title master data. So if you think of all the stuff you see on the various streaming services, in terms of synopsises, and genres, and recommendations, all of that data comes from Studio systems. And MATA is really an aggregator of all that data to power those apps that you watch all your favorite TV shows on.


Justin Nassiri  01:45

And, and the you know, as I was reading more, it feels like one of the problems you’re trying to solve is, is how, how poorly a lot of platforms do when I’m trying to figure out what I’m going to binge next at recommending, what I’m actually going to like is that is that kind of the core problem.


Rob Delf  02:04

I mean, so the core problem, stuff step before that, which, you know, for the longest time, the way the industry has worked is, there hasn’t necessarily been a good control or grasp of your own data about the show. So when you when you feed that into, say recommendation engine, so like, this is what Justin has watched before, so he might want to watch this. If you don’t start with a rich enough information sources, a baseline, it’s gonna give you poor recommendations out the other side. It’s really that simple. So what meta does is really established the foundation of data upon which all the services then make the recommendations. So if they’re off in the beginning, then you’re not going to get what you want to see.


Justin Nassiri  02:47

Is is there for scale here? Is this interpreting this the wrong way? Is there like a number of metadata items that might be associated with a title before you’re involved? And it’s increased? I’m guessing it’s some sort of order of magnitude more like, what’s that sense of like? How many they typically have versus how many you? Bull?


Rob Delf  03:10

Yeah, exactly. So I mean, I think there’s, you know, if we break it down into a couple of kind of common problems, you can look at a title and you can you can establish genres to it, obviously, that’s maybe the most simple right? So, you know, this show is Action, Adventure, Comedy, you know, rated X, that’s, that’s kind of your baseline, right? From there, what we can do is pull out a lot of information using, say, AI or scripting tools to get, you know, the emotional context of the content itself, as well as, you know, kind of look at look at similar context matches. So, you know, like, if this is a similar program to another thing.


Justin Nassiri  03:55

That’s pretty incredible how I mean, you’re able to determine the emotional, I mean, how does that even work? That’s, that’s extraordinary.


Rob Delf  04:05

You know, this is one of those areas where, you know, it’s not something that we have necessarily developed, but what we’re doing is taking a base set of information, pulling in all of the other data sources. So there’s lots of public services out there, like let’s say, an IMDB or a grace note service, and we enrich these titles with as much data as possible by crawling the web, right? And then from there, we then you know, what our application does leverages the AI and machine learning tools that exist in cloud services, like Amazon Web Services, and those services then can take that information and actually pull out this additional sort of qualified content tags around the titles themselves.


Justin Nassiri  04:49

Well, and and one of the things I always like to ask about is, is you know how, how for great technologies for companies that are growing, like how do you get into front of the right people and like how do you get attention? I’m guessing that there is a very limited, relatively limited number of companies you would want to work with is that is that fair?


Rob Delf  05:14

It’s fair, certainly, if you look at our products, it’s geared towards the film and television industry. And it’s also geared towards those companies that have OTT platforms. And that term is really it stands for over the top, but it basically means streaming platforms and applications. So the same as you know, Paramount plus, would fall into that category, HBO, Max, etc. So if you look at that world, in the US, it’s relatively small. But as you go internationally, it actually expands quite dramatically. So each regional market has their own players that are, you know, in the streaming space alongside of the giants like Amazon Prime and Netflix as well, in terms of, you know, getting in front of the right people, it’s, you know, it’s always it’s always a challenge, I think that you know, my background in the in the rights management space. So that was with Rightline really informs who in those ecosystems have the right people to approach and target. Also, knowing that, you know, the history of the industry, there’s not a lot of like, really core sort of enterprise software as a service applications that fill this, this need specifically today.


Justin Nassiri  06:25

How do you think about it? Because I think it’s interesting, I have theories on what you’re doing. But I’m just curious, when you when you zoom out on the impact you want to have and the people you want to get in front of? does social media play a role in that in what you’re doing? Or is it just so far down the food chain, that you just want to focus more on sales effort, or business development or partnerships? Like what what role does something like social media play?


Rob Delf  06:50

You know, I think what we’ve found is social media, in, in our worlds really contributes to help helping build the business from a cultural standpoint. So like from a recruiting people and talent standpoint, and maybe not necessarily from building the base of our end state customers. We use other tools in that world, like targeted marketing, advertising platforms, to target the right organizations. But from a social media perspective, the probably the most, you know, influential is something like a LinkedIn where I know that the target audience is within my, you know, expertise, sort of domain sphere, where I’m capturing the eyeballs of people who actually struggling with this problem.


Justin Nassiri  07:37

That’s great. I mean, it’s a good reminder, too, that, you know, social media can be a tool for hiring, it doesn’t have to be for customer acquisition. And I love the deliberateness of knowing that because it changes your voice, your messaging, your approach everything on that.


Rob Delf  07:52

Well, yeah, I mean, it’s definitely one of those funny things where, you know, I have in the past posted some business things on Facebook, but really, my parents and my parents, friends don’t really care about that. And, and in addition, none of my professional contacts are going to be looking at social media in order to, you know, source and acquire a new business system. So it is exactly that it’s it’s the old marketing adage of know your audience and know where they live. Right. And mine doesn’t live on most of the, you know, tiktoks not going to do much for for Matt, as a business.


Justin Nassiri  08:28

As you look back on rights line, and that the impact you had there? How much how much do you feel like is like a similar play or like applying what you learned there and doing this versus having to learn completely new skills, having to learn completely new tools to use and technologies to use to scale what you’re doing from a from an acquisition standpoint of customers?


Rob Delf  08:53

Interesting question. I think there are a lot of similarities in that the buyer is relatively the same buyer. In the right sphere, you kind of had a legal component, which isn’t so much in Mata, it’s more in operations. But a lot of the a lot of the skills and experience that I went through there really applies, but but I think would apply to any kind of growth stage technology startup. You know, my, my entire background and career has been spent in technology and you’re sort of you, you basically face the same set of challenges which are around, you know, sort of capacity of resources. So, you know, do you have enough developers? Do you have enough salespeople? how best to manage that and what’s the what’s sort of the scale know you’ve got a finite resource set and a finite budgets that, you know, how do you get to the greatest outcome and I think that those are, you know, if you can take a step back, which is probably, you know, one of the largest challenges here if you can, you know, on a daily, certainly, you know, if not weekly standpoint, take a step back and make Make sure that you are taking the appropriate steps with the resources you have in order to lie in order to get to your end state goal. And those those experiences are the ones that are really, you know, helping me along, you know, taking matter from where it is to where it’s going to go.


Justin Nassiri  10:16

I have so that brings up for me a question. And maybe I’ll try to be succinct. But there’s two parts to it. Because I’m curious how you stay abreast of what are new potential best practices for sales and marketing, acquiring new customers? So like how you learn about new things, but just as importantly, how do you strengthen that muscle of saying no to things like you mentioned, tick tock like, that’s one of those things that a lot of clients that I work with, it’s like, well, tick tock exists, therefore, we need to be on there. And that might be the right answer. But I have a lot of respect for businesses that just say, hey, that’s, that’s not us, I get that there’s value there. But that’s not core to what we’re doing. And we’re going to say no to that, which can be hard to do. And things get so much hype about the next big thing that you need to be doing.


Rob Delf  11:06

Yeah, for sure. You know, I think it’s I think it’s about taking a healthy dose of pragmatism to things like that, where I love tic tock, personally, don’t get me wrong, I can, I can spend some, some real hours just you know, flicking through awesome, impossible shots or, or whatever my you know, but But realistically, you know, who my audience is, in terms of making buying decisions, or even becoming, you know, aware there’s a solution to this problem. That audience isn’t there. So, what what I’ve, what I’ve found interesting in the last two years is, you know, primarily with with REITs line, and the the playbook with meta was really around kind of industry conferences, right. So you you go to these conferences, you have speaking engagements, a lot of it’s in person, so you set up lots of these meetings. Right, so what do you do when all of that’s cancelled? Right. And so, your question, you know, started out kind of like, how do you stay abreast of this? I think there, I think it certainly takes a little bit of innovation to say, okay, great. So my audience isn’t on tick tock, but where are they? And how can I reach them? Right. And so you look to things like LinkedIn, you looked at, you look at things like, you know, targeted advertising, so services that that can allow you to connect into display networks, but maybe on a cookie basis for enterprise domain names, right. So you’re not just blowing out a budget on keywords with Google ads, right? Maybe you’re going after, you know, specific domain company names that, you know, are in, you know, specifically in the industry, and you can even go down to the named user level, which is, which is pretty crazy, right? So and how that’s done, it’s just a lot of research, right? It’s okay, I know, I need to get to here, I know, I need to reach these people, I can’t meet them in person, so I’m gonna have to meet them on their computer. You know, using the new ad, you know, marchek technologies that exist.


Justin Nassiri  13:05

I, one thing I love about that is one, you know, I feel like tradeshows conferences kind of get derided as, as archaic. When, in fact, like, for the majority of the world’s population, it’s still such a great vehicle. But then also, you’re touching on the unexpected of a quarantine, and how that kind of throws into disarray, the kind of tried and true patterns and so that need to adapt on on the fly. Oh, good.


Rob Delf  13:36

You know, I was gonna say, you know, that’s, I think what it’s done is, you know, certainly my experiences in the past have involved a ton of travel, right? Traveling to this going and meet meeting customers face to face, I think this has given us the pandemics given us this opportunity to realize, you know, what’s required and what’s not. And I think that it’s sort of, like 80% of that wasn’t required, because now, you know, we can do this remotely, I can have zoom meetings with anyone in the world remotely, we’ve been able to do so much on a remote basis, that the times and a trade show, which is this, like, you know, it is kind of archaic, but at the same time, you know, it’s a way to meet a lot of people at once. And so maybe that’s a once a year thing now, right. And then the rest of it has to be supplemented by these additional touch points and, and ways of getting in front of your target audience without being in person. And I think that’s going to be better for all of our mental collective mental health will also allow us to target more specifically the events that we want to attend, and make sure that they’re relevant enough, because I think, you know, hindsight is 2020. But if we go back, or if I were to go back, I suspect, you know, could have skipped sort of 50 to 80% of the events that we used to go to, in in favor of a more streamlined, targeted approach, which is well, you know, which is really the But medicine today.


Justin Nassiri  15:02

That’s great. And that brings me to my final questions what’s ahead for you and metadata systems in the year ahead.


Rob Delf  15:10

I think it’s a look, it’s it’s going to be an exciting year for us, we have a lot of traction in the market. And really, it’s, you know, we’ve been on since June when I got when I became involved in, you know, acquired Mata, we have really been building out this awareness phase, so letting the market know who we are. And as a result of that, you know, our our customer growth is expanding pretty dramatically. So the next 12 months are going to be, you know, rolling out to those customers, and then the introduction of some new and innovative services around how our customers can better leverage the data that they have. So it’s pretty, it’s pretty exciting to be honest.


Justin Nassiri  15:51

That’s awesome. Well, I always like to leave last question open ended. Is there anything we didn’t cover that you want to make sure listeners know, before we wrap up?


Rob Delf  16:00

I, you know, I don’t think so. I think I think we did a or you did a great job talking us all through it. So I appreciate the time.


Justin Nassiri  16:07

Awesome. Well for our [email protected] You’ll find show notes with links in this. Links in the resources to metadata systems to rob Delph on LinkedIn to their social channels where you can learn more. Rob, thank you so much for your time today.


Rob Delf  16:22

All right. Thank you, Jason.


Justin Nassiri  16:27

Thank you for listening to me, I have your attention. Each episode I meet with top marketers thought leaders and experts to find out how individuals and brands can get keep and make money with attention. You can subscribe to me I have your attention on Apple podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts, show notes are provided for each episode.

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