So You Think You Have a Kick Ass Idea for a Product
I thought I had a kick ass idea. I thought I saw the future. I believed artificial intelligence was going to become an increasingly powerful technology going towards the future. I believed artificial intelligence could be a force for good. I believed ethical, explainable and trustworthy artificial intelligence was the only way forward.
I wanted to create a platform, that would enable business domain experts to co-create scalable, trustworthy and regulatory compliant AI innovations.
I had this idea of an ethical, artificial intelligence brain in the cloud helping companies create immediately scalable, trustworthy AI solutions.
I didn’t know if it was possible to build an expert system that could reason like an ethical, trustworthy AI scientist. Ethical, explainable and trustworthy artificial intelligence was in its infancy in 2016 and 2017. In fact these concepts and techniques were predominantly still in academia.
I didn’t know where to start, but I knew this was something the world would need, even if the world did not quite know it yet.
I started by getting people into the company who could help me do research. We were researching sophisticated artificial intelligence concepts as well as researching the market. Because this was an emerging market, it was not easy to find the information we needed. We came to the conclusion we needed to influence and bring knowledge to the market ourselves.
A second very important step in the journey from idea to product was finding someone who understood my vision, and had experience turning ideas into an MVP. After 18 months of research and helping, influence, shape and mature the market by becoming leaders in ethical, explainable and trustworthy artificial intelligence I met a brilliant man, Wouter Van den Broeck, who became our CTO. We had one lunch together and our fates were sealed. He immediately understood the importance of what we were doing and how to take the cutting edge research we were doing and turn it into a product.
After taking Wouter on board, I gave him the space to build up an R&D team and create his own methodology and way forward. I trusted him implicitly. The methodology for a successful AI project is different from traditional projects. Traditional waterfall methodology does not work and AGILE methodology is not robust enough for AI. We created our own “AI project management methodology”.
Every time we had to make a decision we chose for scalability. Sometimes it was hard. Sometimes I wanted to go quicker, find the easier or cheaper solution, but Wouter had the foresight to push back and say, “let’s take the time now to go for the scalable solution. You won’t regret it later on.” He was right. Every decision we made that increased the scalability of the solution has made our life that much easier now that we are going to market.
We are now going to market with our AI platform, Justifai, so my advice to anyone with a great idea:
– Do your research! Whatever it takes, understand the market. If you are in an emerging market, get out there and influence the market yourself.
– Surround yourself with great people who share your vision and complement you. Give them the freedom to shine!
– Always choose scalability!
Next blog: Ethical entrepreneurship…talk the talk and walk the walk!