June 16, 2023

Andreessen Horowitz on AI

Great article by Marc Andreessen, of Andreessen Horowitz. 

I've argued pretty much for the same ideas, a few months ago, in conference articles (see my website) and on this blog.

A summary is below.

<< what AI is: The application of mathematics and software code to teach computers how to understand, synthesize, and generate knowledge in ways similar to how people do it. AI is a computer program like any other – it runs, takes input, processes, and generates output. AI’s output is useful across a wide range of fields, ranging from coding to medicine to law to the creative arts. It is owned by people and controlled by people, like any other technology.

what AI isn’t: Killer software and robots that will spring to life and decide to murder the human race or otherwise ruin everything, like you see in the movies.

what AI could be: A way to make everything we care about better ...

What AI offers us is the opportunity to profoundly augment human intelligence

AI augmentation of human intelligence has already started – AI is already around us in the form of computer control systems of many kinds, is now rapidly escalating with AI Large Language Models like ChatGPT, and will accelerate very quickly from here – if we let it

Historically, every new technology that matters, from electric lighting to automobiles to radio to the Internet, has sparked a moral panic.

[N.b. I prefer to give the example of Gutenberg printing press. Lots of people were terrified of it, obviously]

AI doesn’t want, it doesn’t have goals, it doesn’t want to kill you, because it’s not alive. And AI is a machine – is not going to come alive any more than your toaster will.

..., some of the Baptists are actually Bootleggers. There is a whole profession of “AI safety expert”, “AI ethicist”, “AI risk researcher”. They are paid to be doomers, and their statements should be processed appropriately.

the slippery slope is not a fallacy, it’s an inevitability

AI is not some esoteric physical material that is hard to come by, like plutonium. It’s the opposite, it’s the easiest material in the world to come by – math and code

The single greatest risk of AI is that China wins global AI dominance and we – the United States and the West – do not.

companies should be allowed to build AI as fast and aggressively as they can >>

April 24, 2023

Hermix - public sector sales analytics, B2G software

Hermix is the first analytics platform for public sector sales. 

We help companies understand & win public sector projects, with tender monitoring and market intelligence.

How we started, more than a year ago? We looked at our personal, direct experience, of more than 20 years, in doing sales for the public sector; mostly tenders to EU institutions and the European Commission, but also to national authorities. The Business-to-Government B2G sector is great, and it worked very well for us: stable market, lots of money, and lots of information - if you know where to look and how to read.

We asked ourselves: What worked, How, and Why it worked for us? And we noticed that data analysis and market intelligence are key success factors, and yet completely under-exploited. Everything is done manually: tender monitoring, market research, forms, papers, CVs, technical proposals, prices. 

We also made this astounding observation: public sector sales doesn't use big data analytics. Information is managed manually in emails and Excel files.

But in B2C/B2B, retail and consumer, data is king! Marketers rely heavily on billions of data points and on hundreds of tools: Google Analytics, Facebook Analytics, LinkedIn Sales Navigator, Plausible, Indicative, etc etc.

So we started to automate B2G, providing services such as:

* Tender monitoring, smart market watch, notifications.

* Big data analytics, deep market intelligence, actionable insights: where is the money, who buys & sells, what, where, how.

We've gone a long way since we started out in 2022.

We gathered a great team. We developed the technical platform. We launched Hermix.com. We tested, validated and evaluated the concept and tools.

We had ~350 meetings. We enrolled 217 users.

We signed quite a few contracts with serious, solid customers. We have reliable partners, such as Amazon, Tremend, Zetta, Westpole, Brayton, Hubspot. We received in kind contributions and support.

We won the EU Datathon award from the European Commission, and a prize of 25k. We received the Deloitte Impact Star. We signed a 250k regional R&D grant.

We listen to our customers and partners, every week. We get their feedback and requirements. We aim to understand their real needs. We focus on ergonomics, usability and on key user scenarios: Which are the daily pains of the sales managers and commercial directors, of bid managers and presales architects?

And then we design crucial pain-killers for these needs.

We improve our data algorithms continuously. We analyzed millions of historical government contracts, tenders and payments, hundreds of thousands of authorities and contractors. We import and clean new data daily.

We release 2-3 new major features per month. We use the most modern & fancy technology out there, but we remain function-driven.

We make sense of public sector sales.

Contact me for your test drive.

April 07, 2023

Norming and standardization of language and tools

 The reason for standardization is efficiency.

We norm everything: forms, tools, habits, customs, religions, law, houses, screws, pipes, measures, science, math.

All groups and societies go through the famous cycle: storming, forming, norming, performing.

Norming reduces innovation, but increases efficiency.

The reason for norming language and speech is efficiency in communication.

All societies norm communication. Strong centralized states enforce strong centralized rules faster, sometimes violently. They enforce uniform taxation, d├ęclarations, addresses, names, jobs, qualifications, language, writing. They kill dialects and local freedoms.

Very centralized organizations have huge bureaucratic overheads. Sometimes, the bureaucratic overheads are controlled by political pressure, elections or shareholders. 

Sometimes bureaucracies are destroyed violently, through bankruptcy, revolution or war.

Then, society resets. And the cycle starts over: storming, forming, norming and performing.

Hermix interview @ ZF IT Generation

Interview for Ziarul Financiar - ZF IT Generation about Hermix - public sector sales analytics.