If you listen to or watch TARTLEcast you have may have wondered what that sound is at the beginning and end of every show. No, we didn’t rip it off from the trailer for Inception. It’s the sound made when you blow into a didgeridoo, one of the oldest musical instruments in the world. Made simply by taking a branch, burying it for a while so the termites can do their work, and then hollowing it out later it’s an important part of Aboriginal culture. Its unique sound is like a signature and evidence of the creativity of the original people who invented it untold centuries ago. If you hear it or something like it (say, in a movie trailer) you can trace its origin to the wilds of Australia.

All human activity is like that. Each artist has a certain style, a way of stroking a brush or a pencil that marks the work as a Van Gogh or a Picasso. A symphony has a certain pattern of notes that make it identifiable as Bach or Beethoven. Even fighting styles are said to be unique and traceable to a particular school or master.

Your data is, or should be similar. Unfortunately, rather than treating your data as a unique signature, a mark you leave behind, it is broken up into tiny little atomized pieces and scattered over the digital landscape. This is how you lose control of it. TARTLE is here to help you regain control. To grab hold of those little pieces of your digital self that are currently scattered across servers all over the world until they once again reflect you, until they bear your signature once again is why we exist.

Those bits and pieces of your data are the product of your choices, your work and together have real value. Even separated, they are treated as commodities owned by self-interested third parties. Yet, they lack so much value when separated like this. It’s like taking Beethoven’s 9th and breaking it up into its component notes. Separately, they are just notes and are only useful as bits to build into something else. But together, together those notes make something of incredibly beauty and immeasurable value, and something that bears the unique mark of their creator.

When you use TARTLE, you are taking all notes of your digital life and putting them back into the symphony you have created, one that is unique to you. This makes it much easier to see as something that reflects and belongs to an individual, something that reflects the context behind the data points. And being that this digital symphony is the product of your labor, we believe you should get paid for it. That is an unusual model in this day and age but it accurately reflects the real value of your data, rather than the value of tiny bits of it.

Sadly, most companies don’t do that. It just isn’t in their business model because they are beholden not to their customers but to their stockholders, to focus is entirely different. That’s why TARTLE is continuing to pursue legal recognition as a public benefit organization, you, the people who sign up with us are our first concern. Growing TARTLE doesn’t primarily mean growing our bottom line, it means growing individual control over their own data. As we grow, more people are able to put their digital signature back together.

In this way, we help people to control their privacy, gain independence from the mega corporations and get financially rewarded for any of their data they do decide to share. Once again, individuals will be in control of their product of their work, all while helping to paint a more complete picture of their lives, a picture that is of far greater value than any of its individual brush strokes.

What’s you data worth?