The B2B Revenue Executive Experience
The B2B Revenue Executive Experience

Episode · 4 years ago

The Impact of AI on Sales and Marketing with Justin Williams


Artificial Intelligence or AI is a hot topic in sales and marketing today, but few in the field have the experience or exposure to provide a great deal of clarity.  We went outside of sales and marketing to speak with Justin Williams, founder of Tinman Kinetics, who is competing for the IBM Watson A.I. Xprize, to get a fresh perspective.

From the history of AI to the current state to discussions around what B2B sales will look like in the future, the discussion starts to paint a slightly different picture than we are seeing today.

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Tinman Kinetics:

IBM Watson A.I. Xprize:

Today on the B Tob Revenue ExecutiveExperience, we're talking artificial intelligence. I'm your host, Chad Sanders, andit today we're going to talk to Justin Williams from Tinman Kinnectics, a companythat's going after IBM Watson's Aix Prize, to find out what his perspectives onartificial intelligence are and how it's going to affect sales and marketing. You're listeningto the BDB revenue executive experience, a podcast dedicated to helping the executives traintheir sales and marketing teams to optimize growth. Whether you're looking for techniques and strategiesor tools and resources, you've come to the right place. Let's accelerateyour growth in three, two, one. All right, just reminder for everybody. We want to buy you a cup of coffee. In order todo that, all you have to do is go to our website. BETO BE REV exaccom, click on the link for the feedback form, fillthat out and as a thank you for your time and insights, we willshoot you a gift card for a cup of coffee on us. Please takea second to do that. The information is extremely valuable to us. Wewant to make sure the show is providing value you guys want, and I'llthank you in advance for your time. Today we're going to be talking artificialintelligence. This isn't something that is just affecting sales and marketing. It's aglobal concern. There are huge amounts of naysayers, Elon Musk, Stephen Hawking, Bill Gates, a lot of people debating what is Ai, what couldit become? What should it become? How should we limit it? Howwill it affect the jobs that we all have? In our outlook on theworld and sales and marketing, it's a little bit fuzzier right now. We'restill not sure how it's going to affect, you be to be complex, sales, how it's going to affect marketing, even though we're starting to see productskind of creep into the landscape today. What I wanted to do is somethinga little bit different. Rather than talk about somebody who thinks about aifrom a sales perspective, I wanted to talk to somebody who lives in breezeai on a daily basis outside of sales. Some of the could probably explain ita little bit better for us, help us get a clear picture ofwhat the future may hold. So we're going to speak with Justin Williams.He formed a company called Tin Man Kinetics and they're going after the IBM WatsonAix Prize. Should be an interesting conversation. Hope you enjoy it. Welcome tothe show, Justin. Is Good to have you. Thanks for takingthe time. Thank you. Excited to have you on the show today talksome artificial intelligence, extremely hot topic today across a lot of industries, notjust mine, and looking forward to hearing about how you guys are going afterthe the IBM Watson Ai Prize and all that and shared some of these insightswith the customers. So I'm thinking the first place to start is let's juststart with your background and and how did you get into ai? Sure,long background in computer science and Technology in general. Starting my career we backwin in one thousand nine hundred and ninety six and it was a very strongintrovert at the time, so I wanted to make sure that I was stayingaway from people as much as possible, so I got into embedded systems programming, typical types of developers at first. Who likes to stay away from peoplein dark rooms. You know, it's classic, right, it's my people. Life had some different plans for me, though. Slowly but surely I gotaway from Microprocessors and assembly code into Server Technology, and server technology ledto Front End Development and and pretty soon I was spending the majority of mytime talking to people, which which turns out it was all right. Soit's been quite the quite the path. I really I really got into softwarebecause it was way to impact people and impact people in a big, broad, important way and again at the time without having to talk to them.But but it turns out there's a lot of ways to scratch that particular motivationand so I've led teams. We work together at a little agency way backin the day, and and and and...

...then artificial intelligence really hit the scenein a big way. There was kind of there's always been an interest,obviously by a lot of people, including me, for a long time kindof watching it and they're sort of hit a milestone where the data got bigenough that the artificial intelligence got really good. And when I say artificial intelligence,we're still a long ways from, you know, an android that thatis human like, right, but but there's there's this suite of tools thatkind of broadly we talked about as being early Ai, that that is reallycool, but unfortunately there's also a lot of negativity around that. There's alot of snake oil out there. There's some doomsayers, pretty pretty famously,Eon Elon musk, founder of SPACEX and open Ai, as recently said thatAi will be the cause of world war three and it should be a muchgreater concern to Americans the North Korea well, and then Putin comes out and sayswhoever you know, whoever master's AI, will rule the world. So you'reright. You know, definitely a lot of naysayers. I mean Helon'snot alone. Yeah, so the IBM Watson artificial intelligence x prize came outand when I saw that I thought that it really spoke to me about puttingthe positive spin on ai, because I think the pioneers of ai are reallythe ones that are going to define what this reality is like down the roadand I wanted to be a part of that. So let's take a second. So our audience is largely sales and marketing people and there's the huge topicof AI in sales. But I but I want to make sure we setsome context for our audience. First, I you and I've had we've hadmultiple conversations about this. We both keeck out on this topic. But Iwould love let's start with kind of the overview from your perspective of what doesartificial intelligence really mean? Where are we today versus the the snake oil peoplethat are that are out there, and what's kind of the next step?What's the next evolution? Sure, great, great question, very broad question.Yeah, probabably should have been a little more specific, but I'm justgoing to let you roll with that one. Well, you know, you reallycan't be more specific because, you know, this thing kind of cameout of left field and it is broad. It's not one thing, it's kindof a whole industry that's coming to together, which is fascinating to see. So there's, you know, the data science aspects of this that youknow a lot of people think that they were working in statistics and doing someof these things for a long time, but now it's it's just become machineassisted and something a little bit beyond that. And there's all the personalization engines andthings that marketers and sales folks, I'm sure, are very familiar withthat try to target individuals based on their own activity and some ethnographic guesses aboutwhat they might be like and how they compared to their peers and so forth. There's the chat bots that are coming to more prominence. IBM Watson fairlyfamously used a chat bought and a knowledge engine to beat jeopardy contestants not longago. But wasn't that just like a big super powered search engine with some, you know, some linguistic recognition software on the front end, or what'sexamplor was there more secret sauce to it? Well, I mean, ultimately thatkind of is what we're talking about, right, is I kind of thinkof computer sciences as branching into traditional physics, if you'll bear with meon this analogy for a minute, and quantum physics. Quantum physics is allabout the statistics and traditional standard physics is all about the the direct equations,right, the direct modeling and a lot of machine learning is about the statisticsand traditional software is it is about those...

...equations that the directly inputted from acomputer programmer. This is what you're going to do. But when you kindof hand it over to the statistics, to the data to tell the computerwhat to do. Sometimes you get unexpected results and it can become a blackbox that a lot of people don't necessarily know how it's coming up with theanswers it is. And nobody specifically programmed Watson to figure out how to answerthose questions. Based on wikipedia entries. It just they just fed that informationin and, statistically speaking, it kind of figured it out for itself withsome variety of learning techniques. So I mean from that's that right. Thereis where it gets a little scary, right, it figured it out.If you figured it out, so you got you basically take Siri, andI'm oversimplifying, except just to the audience knows I have, I've I'm dangerouswhen it comes to these topics, so I'll oversimplify. But so you haveSiri basically plugged into the Internet and they call it Watson, and somehow Ifigured out, when a question was asked, where and how to go find thatinformation and spit it back out. But the where and how it figuredthat out? What's what? How did that happen? What's that? What'sthat secret sauce of there? Because to me that's the that's the mystery.To the layman, that's the mystery of it if a programmer didn't tell Watson. Okay, when you hear a question and you can tell it's a questionbased on, you know, the the liquistic structure of the words that you'rehearing, you know it's a question and you didn't tell it to go look. How how did it figure that out? That language really speaks to one ofmy great passions for artificial intelligence in general and that that's a really greatexample and as and look at something like Siri. So way back in theday a lot of very very smart programmers and very very smart linguists came togetherand tried to build some really complex rules just around the English language to beable to understand and parse and English sentence and be able to know what isthe subject, what is the verb, not even what that means, justwhat are the components of a particular sentence. And those models really kind of sucked. It just English. It's moving very fast, there's there's just alot of complexity the rules and very few people use the rules perfectly when they'reusing English. So then came along machine learning and we took a huge amountof of text that came from books, that came from newspaper articles, differentthings like that, and we said, statistically speaking, you figure it outcomputer. Here's some examples of things that we've hand parst so you can kindof learn from what we're what we've hand crafted here. But then you figureout the rest and see how people are actually using language and the next thingyou know you're born with Sirie or all of these different natural language processing pieces. And again, they don't have meaning behind it necessarily, but the understandhow people are using that language and and again. And when you get downto the the root of it, it is a series of weighted learning andwhen I say learning I mean statistics, right. So it said did thiswork? Yes, then it gives that a stronger weight. This not work, than it lowers that weight and it just does that, rinse and repeatover enough data and it becomes really smart. So then it really comes down toprocessing power. How fast can you run those the statistical analysis to figureout the right path? Yeah, and we haven't even had that kind ofpower to do this again, except in the last, you know, decade, if you're going to be generous. So this, this really is anexciting beginning of a whole new industry even if you've been in sales for decades, new technology, new buyers and new dynamics create challenges your team may notbe ready for. Value Prime solutions enables... to focus on sales, onthe prospects and customers, not the noise, and the sales framework you implement withthem is simple, scalable and proven. CHECK OUT VALUE PRIME SOLUTIONSCOM and askhow they can help you beat your target. All right, we gota basis for it for ai, and then kind of the history of itwhere we're at today. So how did where did ten man kinetics come from? And what are you guys aiming to do with the IBM Watson Ai Prize? Yeah, so this, this prize is a lot different than a lotof other ex prizes. If anybody's familiar with those, Ex prize was asa foundation that launch such things as the space x prize that launched companies likespacex. Most X prize competitions have very few teams. This one was alittle bit broader in what it would accept, and so there was a lot ofinterest. A hundred forty seven teams were accepted in the initial round.Were part of that and and the goal is to answer humanities grand challenges.It's as simple as that. is to put a positive impact on artificial intelligencefor the benefit of humanity. So Tin Man was the an original robot thatwas actually created before the term robot was ever coined, famous for wanting heartand kind of having more heart all along than anybody else, and so wewanted to have technology with heart and we wanted to get rid of the thekind of the black box around Ai, make it a little bit more approachable, make it accessible to a broader audience, not just the the fortune one hundredthat have the money today to be able to invest in it, butmedium, even small business can take advantage of this as we start seeing thisexplosion of artificial intelligence capabilities and platforms. Excellent base, YEA, and youguy, you guys have you have a unique, I thought when we weretalking about it, kind of a unique take on what you're trying to accomplishwith storytelling. Can you can help our audience understand that? Yeah, sothere's a lot of ways that you can go with that general mission. Right. So our particular x prize entry is is just trying to capture legacy andbe able to share that with future generations is kind of the short version ofthis. The invention of paper made the ability to share knowledge easier. Theinvention of Internet and email arguably made it easier, but you also have alittle bit of information overload if your in book talks with Slan anything like mine. Yeah, and and the next evolution of that is going to be toofold you. We want to be able to let people record their stories,but we also want people to be able to to access those stories. Iknow my kids aren't ready for a lot of the stories from my family,from my own life. My father was a cop for a while. Youcan imagine he's got some some interesting stories. I had a grandmother that, inthe era of World War Two, survived a fire that burn ninety percentof her body and she had to learn to paint with her toes while sherecovered in the hospital with with pig skin covering her and losing fingers and stuff, and went on to have five kids, including my mother. Well, youknow, there's there's a lot of powerful stories and I've got my youngestis just about to turn to and she's not really ready for grandma stories yet. Yeah, but what what a source of strength and inspiration and some ofthe darker sides of this. To write. There's there's some family history that wecan learn from that isn't always positive, and I want to be able tocapture that and, when she's ready, to be able to have her havenatural language conversation stations that that let...

...her explore these stories and let thosestories remix in a way that's specific to her. And so that's that's theroot of our competition project is to be able to to take Siri that understandslanguage pretty well, improve that and then also dramatically improve the the natural languagegeneration or the the talking back part of of Ai and and have some meaningand cultural stories and preservation as a heart of that. And so correct meif I'm wrong. Is I think through this it's it's almost like, youknow, a paper was invented. Now you can share the knowledge, youcan capture it. Internet comes along and, like said, information overload and aquite frankly, let's be honest, so much crap and and this seemsto me like a return almost to the oral tradition, but in a muchmore interactive manner that isn't constrained by the life cycle of the storyteller. Yes, exactly that's exactly right. I think there's a lot to get from moreof the oral tradition in the digital age and there's not really been a wayto do that until artificial intelligence. Excellent. Okay. So now, when wethink about I mean storytelling is obviously a big topic in sales and marketingto people are trying to understand the power of stories. Right, especially thisaudience should understand you're much better off, when you're doing a complex sale,telling a story rather than say hey, my product does x, Y andC and go into features and benefits. But we're seeing a I pop upin really odd maybe not odd, maybe it's just the first places as popit up, but everybody's talking about ai in sales and you see it sometimes. In the latest example I saw as there's a new software product, Ithink it just came out over it's in Beta, called Balto software, andessentially, they say, and I don't know how it works, you probablycan decide for this, but essentially, if if I'm on a call likewith you, this program is running into background and it's actually giving me visualcues on my screen as I am talking to you and it's telling me,okay, they just put you on Meute or based on that response, they'renot paying attention, they're not getting it or you're talking too fast right.And that to me doesn't seem to fulfill the whole promise of Ai. Butit's a very unique application in sales that may not get in the way ofthe actual sales process. Right. The concern becomes some of these AI tools, I think, have the risk of becoming far too invasive in the salesprocess and delaying the human connection. So I'm kind of curious. Maybe thatgoes back to the doomsayer stuff with Elon Musk, but but I'm curious ifyou think about you know, sales is people buy from people, at leasttoday, people buy from people and they want to trust. Can you seeother scenarios where you think ai will be a great application in in complex salesand marketing situations? Yeah, I actually really like that example. It I'mnot sure the execution is ideal, but but I like that it's people buyingfrom people still, because I think one of the core goals that we haveis that we think the technology should empower people, it should supercharge people withartificial intelligence. It's not something that should replace people when I look at thefuture of jeopardy, I see a bunch of contestants, each of them withtheir own version of Watson and their own transparent version that they understand how Watsonis is coming up with helpful strategies for them and competing with each other atsort of level that humans never could and the machines couldn't without people. Theyalready see this with some chess competitions out there. Actually is have a bunchof people assisted by AI, but still it's a it's a partnership, it'snot a replacement. And so that idea of artificial intelligence helping you along theway and evaluate a situation, especially when it may be difficult to especially like, for instance, over a phone call...

...where you don't have body language tosort of give you back that body language, sounds like a really good application tome, because I don't think that that anytime soon we're really looking atuseful techniques that replay least people outright, even down at the lowest levels,at the grunt stuff. You see some of the some of the fast foodchain stores replacing people with automated kiosks. Right. You know, where's yourwhere's your management going to come from. If you cut the bottom out ofthe bottom rung of the ladder out from your workforce, you know, isthere a way to maybe make those people more efficient, more accurate, youknow, super charge them, make them be able to do more with less, without replacing them out right and really harming yourself in the look not toodistant long term, as we're already seeing actually, and that balance is interestingright. I was I was talking to Gable Arsenis the VP of inside sales. of We were talking about kind of house sales has swung from you know, there was, you know, people that did every did everything right backin the day. Then technology comes in and now we've kind of overspecialized insales. So you have stre who sets appointments and then in a account managerwho actually talks to them. And you know, it's gotten to the pointwhere specialization, and there's some debate on this, but specialization may actually begetting in the way. And he uses analogy of tech being able to createthe kind of that iron man salesperson, like you have a Jarvis that you'reworking with. That Jarvis in and of itself is cool, but there isa power in that, in that partnership between the two. That makes bowwith parties better. Now the question becomes you throw in the millennials, right, and we've got in sales. There's a whole nother challenge with millennials.These are these are people that have grown up with technology, right. They'reused to looking at their phones. I'm at you and I used to talkabout the stats. Like people literally millennials will roll over and pick up theirphone before their to touch their significant other. So they're very they're very used tothis technology. And then I can see that, I can see itbecoming very powerful when they partner with it. But my concern would become does itrun the risk of making and maybe this is broader than to sales,but does it run the risk of making salespeople or just people in general,Lazier at being human? HMM. Well, I think if there's not a lotof work to be done, then there runs at risk. From myperspective, I never have enough hours in the day, so I don't knowabout that. But but I think one one interesting point to kind of emphasizehere is the next phase of AI, which is a huge focus of ourproject for x prize, is semantic Ai. That's the meaning behind, you knowwords, the meaning behind the actions and so forth. It's kind oftaking that black box and making it transparent. And it's also is varied, asthere are meanings to to to doing any kind given tasks. So toback that up a little bit, you know, ask three people the meaningof life, you know, get six answers right. There's no one,there's no mathematical right answer to meaning and that's why it's such a difficult problemand artificial intelligence. So when we are talking about storytelling, it's a littlebit easier because we can put some some confines and some personalization and we cansay what that meaning of that story is supposed to be. But what you'llsee is that as artificial intelligence gets better and starts partnering with people more,it's going to reflect the person it's working with more and that means that you'llhave very different results from that millennial versus the season sales professional. Even thoughthe millennial will be assisted in superpowered and incredible ways, their approach will bedifferent and the artificial intelligence that semantics behind...

...that, if this is done well, is going to reflect that. And there's there's an infinite number of combinationsof people and AI assisted approaches out there, that that's just going to paint theuniverse and all kinds of interesting colors. Well and that and it gets closeto I mean not this may say more about me than the audience wantsto know, but to me it almost sounds like the a I would haveborderline personality disorder. And yes, everybody, that is a that is a DSMqualification. Don't ask how I know that or why. Interesting childhood,but anyway, I mean if the AI starts to take on or augment,like if you and I were given the same set of ai and it's exposureto us as people kind of shapes itself, then there isn't maybe that reduces thefear that there's one cognitive Skynet, right, that everybody as a Terminator, reference guys for the young ones, skynet kind of thing, where there'sthis one consciousness, digital consciousness, and I think that's what and maybe I'mwrong, but I think that's what scares the crap out of people, isthat it gets to the point where, you know, all the doomsayers sayhumanity is a virus and let's, you know, launch the bombs. Ifyou incorporate and Meld the humanity into the AI and they they amplify each other. I think am I wrong in thinking that the probably there's some reduction ofrisk associated with that approach? I think that's absolutely true. That was thegoal of Elan usks Musk's open aie initiative. It is to make ai kind offor everybody and and honestly, it's just the natural progression. You know, we had mainframe computers back in the day and then we had personal computersand personal devices and sure there's a lot of cloud computing, but that personalization, no matter where it lives and exists, is going to be just the naturalcourse that this is going to run. We're going to all have multiple agentsthat are acting on our behalves, that are more like us than theyare our friends who have their own agents. Excellent, excellent. Well does that? I've really enjoy this conversation and I you and I could talk aboutthis for hours. If, if there's people listening that want to get moreinformation on to me and kinetics or connected you, what's the best way todo that? Sure, just shoot us an email. Hello at Tin ManDie Ioh is a good way to do it and happy to talk more.Really appreciate the time today Justin this has been great. Can't thank you enoughfor coming on the show and wish you guys the best luck with the prizeas possible. Thank you very much. All right, that doesn't for thisepisode of the B Tob Revenue Executive Experience. I am your host, chat sinners, and want to thank you for taking the time to listen to thisepisode. Please go to the website, click on the link, fill outthe feedback form. BE TO BE REV exactcom click on that feedback form andwe'll shoot you five dollar gift card for a cup of coffee on us ifyou've got feedback for us on the show or would like to get in touchwith us, linkedin obviously for myself, or just shoot us an email ataccelerate at value prime solutionscom. Share the podcast out with friends, family andCO workers. Let people know it's out there and, if you get achance, please write US review on itunes. We greatly appreciate that. Until nexttime, we have value prime solutions. Wish you and yours nothing but thegreatest success. You've been listening to the BB Revenue Executive Experience to ensurethat you never miss an episode, subscribe to the show and Itunes for yourfavorite podcast player. Thank you so much for listening, until next time,.

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