An AI Expert's Key to Success? Get in Over Your Head.
By Anne Daly | April 05, 2018
Aftercode co-founder and AI expert Josh Cutler lives by words from T.S. Eliot.
“If you aren't in over your head, how do you know how tall you are?”, the writer famously asked.
“People are too ‘trepidatious’ about living,” Cutler says. “All of us are more capable than we think, [but] many of us don’t test the boundaries of what we’re capable of.”
So, Cutler uses T.S. Eliot’s words to remind himself that risks are necessary for progress.
Embracing risk has led to some interesting career moves, Cutler admits. It’s meant leaving ostensibly “good” jobs, where the paycheck wasn’t enough to satisfy his entrepreneurial spirit. It’s meant leaving graduate school to pursue a career that would allow him to answer interesting technological questions while providing value for his clients.
And it’s meant jumping onboard a number of startups that were far from a sure thing. The risks are big, Cutler admits. But so are the rewards.
Aftercode: Inventing the Sales Phone
Cutler’s latest endeavor? Co-founding a Minneapolis-based technology startup called Aftercode.
Their specialty? “We’re inventing the sales phone,” Cutler says.
“Despite all of the crazy things that have happened” in smartphone technology, Cutler explains, “phones are basically unchanged. You put in a number and dial - it’s like a rotary phone.” For sales organizations, phone calls are a “black hole,” with no scalable process for evaluating calls.
So, the Aftercode team decided to try artificial intelligence as an efficient, scalable way to screen, analyze, and optimize sales calls. Their product, Rambl, can listen for verbal commitments, schedule meetings, and create smart tasks that appear directly in your sale’s rep’s CRM.
"If a human could listen to it and reasonably infer what should happen,” Cutler says, “that’s what we want to do [with Rambl].”
Rambl is currently in private beta, and it will be a few months before statistically significant data starts to roll in. However, the feedback from current users has been overwhelmingly positive. Sales representatives say that calls with Rambl “feel quite a bit more effective.” With the help of AI, it’s harder for one call to blur into the next, and “there’s a general reduction in anxiety that you’re forgetting things.”
The goal for Rambl? “We want to be the go-to resource for anyone with an outbound sales team,” Cutler tells says. “That’s our five year plan … if we do our jobs.”
The Future of AI: Hype and Reality
What does the future of AI hold, beyond an intelligent sales phone?
It’s impossible to know for sure.
But any predictions, Cutler says, need to be based in understanding how AI works. AI, he says, is like a person concentrated on one task, with unlimited time and resources. “It’s also worth noting,” Cutler says, that “there are very few examples of AI doing things different than people.” Fundamentally, AI is about using “mundane techniques” to “solve cool problems.”
What problems will AI help solve in the next five years? The next ten?
How Could AI Revolutionize Marketing?
If you’re in marketing, consider how much time your team spends discovering keywords; planning blog post topics; writing, optimizing, personalizing and automating content; testing landing pages; scheduling social shares; reviewing analytics and defining content strategies.
Now imagine if a machine performed the majority of those activities and a marketer’s primary role was to enhance rather than create.
Are You Ready for The Future of AI?
Join us on May 17 from 2-6 pm at Surly Brewing for DenamiCON III, where we’ll be discussing Marketing in the Machine Age: The Path to a More (Artificially) Intelligent Future. Learn about the present and future potential of artificial intelligence, and discover AI-powered technologies that can drive marketing performance. Attendees will walk away with valuable, implementable takeaways to transform their online presence and the way they're connecting with prospects online.
Ready to leverage AI for your business? Register for DenamiCON today and get the tools you need to succeed!