Building our Partner Portal for Local Businesses

Munchtime is an application that brings people together within their own neighborhoods, but a part of that journey also includes empowering local businesses to facilitate those meetings and grow with their communities. We're not just excited to be building out a product for restaurants that allows them to learn more about their patrons, but are also humbled to have young start-ups join our team and spearhead that vision.

Collin Jones, a current undergraduate at Loyola University, is helping build our dashboard product for restaurants from scratch. He is passionate about how emerging tech can create more responsible products that protect personal data and provides users with better, more reliable experiences through social networking applications.

Tell us about yourself! What is your role at Munchtime and how will you be contributing?

My name is Collin Jones. I am a senior studying Computer Science minoring in computer crime and forensics at Loyola University, Chicago. In my free time, I like to explore technologies that have privacy and security at the forefront of their products. This mainly consists of free and open source software where I can look into the source code and learn different techniques and protocols that I can implement into my own projects. My favorite book is The Hitchhiker's Guide to The Galaxy. I believe that Internet privacy is a right shared by all. A person should be able to see all data a company collects on them and have a say in where it is shared/how it is used.

I work at Munchtime as a software engineer intern. My main project Is leading development on our dashboard made exclusively for restaurants to view the metrics of their top foods, words associated with them, and others. I will also be contributing to background development of other products in the company. Making sure everything is scalable and nothing is broken when using continuous integration.

How can we make the idea of strangers meeting safer and easier for everyone? Either through privacy or otherwise.

We can make strangers meeting each other safer by choosing restaurants that both the users agree to. That way, users are always in public spaces and can plan their day in advance. In regards to privacy, people are usually unaware of the amount of sensitive data that is collected on them by companies just to use their services. At Munchtime, we are building products that take the security of our user in mind. We make sure sensitive data is not shown publicly with users around them. With local businesses, we anonymize user data so it cannot be traced back to a specific user while still being actionable.

What are some cool technologies you look forward to implementing at Munchtime?

A cool technology I would like to incorporate into my work at Munchtime is Multi-factor authentication. A big reason people have their accounts compromised is due to using the same email and password they use for many accounts. With using Multi-factor authentication and following common authentication guidelines, something you know (password) and something you have (2 factor authentication code), we will be able to fight off the majority of account breaches. As social engineering becomes a more common way to steal user credentials in the world, having multiple ways to authenticate a user will be key in protecting user accounts and their data.

Do you have examples of how you or someone you know might benefit from using Munchtime?

I can benefit from Munchtime by meeting people like me. I'm usually nervous to connect with people online as you can never be sure they are who they say they are. Munchtime will give me recommendations of people who have had similar experiences to me through the app. Using past experiences for recommendations means that I can find someone with my interests quickly and easily. Munchtime also benefits me by not selling my data to the first person that bids a dollar on it. Google is involved in every level of real-time bidding, a process that involves auctioning ad space on a website or platform. In doing so, Google trades sensitive user data and delivers intrusive ad experiences. Munchtime respects your privacy and won't let other companies bid on you like a prized farm animal.

How do you see Munchtime helping you on your career path and in achieving your professional goals?

I see Munchtime helping me in developing my leadership skills. In my previous work experience, I rarely was given the responsibility of leading a project. At Munchtime, I am given the flexibility I need to develop my own ideas because they see me for who I am. They understand that effort plays as important of a role as my success does. In the future, I believe this experience will prepare me for leadership roles where design choices and creativity are just as important as hitting milestones with my team.

What's your Linkedin or portfolio so people can connect with you?

You can find me on linkedin at https://www.linkedin.com/in/the-real-collin-jones/

You can find my personal website at collinjones.xyz

About Munchtime:

Munchtime brings the world closer together one meal at a time. We are a platform for enhancing human connection through better social discovery. We believe in a future fueled by collaboration and storytelling, and we’re at the forefront of providing the tools to make that happen - all while uplifting local economies. Our technical and business advisors represent Fortune 500 companies in ad-tech, hospitality and retail. Our growing team, local government and restaurant partners reflect our diverse approach and grassroots model for sustainable growth. We’re located in Naperville, IL. To lean more, visit us at www.munchtime.co.