Why chatbots will never completely replace humans

Over the past year, artificial intelligence has made big headlines for everything from Siri’s new capabilities to smart assistants. Although A.I. technologies like self-driving cars may be more thrilling, there is one innovation that hits close to home for all of us: chatbots.

Chatbots provide companies with a novel way of engaging with customers, one that is as imminently promising as it is potentially harmful to the customer experience. As more companies begin to incorporate A.I. and autonomous systems into their operations, we are about to see a massive uptick in the usage of these types of bots. In fact, we already are. So how do we find the right mix of bot and human in order to maintain the highest level of customer service?

Customer service benefits

Continue reading “Why chatbots will never completely replace humans”

Why chatbots will never completely replace humans

Don’t build a product if you can’t have a Sales Development rep explaining it

I met a founder this morning with a bright idea and a great technology. Without exposing too much, his team is building a self learning algorithm that will allow enterprises to find abnormalities across teams.

The idea sounded great but  I couldn’t think of the specific buyer for it: is it the CEO? CFO? CIO? Who is the one person that you can make more successful in a company with this product?

This is your number one rule in enterprise product development: can you identify an exec or a C level buyer that you can help becoming more successful with your product? Box solves a problem for the CIO.Talkdesk allows the VP of customer service to provide better service and achieve higher customer satisfaction. Both specific to an exec that can be more successful if they use these products.  Continue reading “Don’t build a product if you can’t have a Sales Development rep explaining it”

Don’t build a product if you can’t have a Sales Development rep explaining it

Talkdesk Year in Review 2015

At a startup, every year is transformative. There’s the year you come up with the idea. The year you get funded and quit your day job. The year you launch. Each one of these events moves your company to a new, distinct phase. For Talkdesk, 2015 wasn’t the year we launched, the year we quit our day jobs or the year we got funding, but it was transformative all the same. Looking back, the Talkdesk of January 2015 is unrecognizable compared to the Talkdesk of December 2015.

From our incredible founding at a hackathon in 2011 up to this year, we bootstrapped our company. We paid rent, payroll and servers out of our initial revenue, borrowing office space and sometimes living space, just to get by. In 2015, all that changed. Continue reading “Talkdesk Year in Review 2015”

Talkdesk Year in Review 2015

Five mistakes executives should not make when interviewing for a startup role

The new year is a time where many people start thinking about their career. For executives, this is time when bonuses are paid, old plans are completed, and new plans are being developed, and for some, it is time for a new job. During 20 years in tech, I have hired many dozens of executives and was interviewed and hired (or not) many times over. As you are thinking of what’s next, here is some practical advice that will help you find the next great fit, without stepping on the same landmines so many have stepped on before.

Focus on the company, not the title

Many people come to interviews with titles in mind. They have to be the CXO, they have to be a VP. Continue reading “Five mistakes executives should not make when interviewing for a startup role”

Five mistakes executives should not make when interviewing for a startup role

8 Things I Learned After Joining a Hyper-Growth SaaS Startup

Little over 3 months ago I joined Talkdesk, a call center SaaS company as a COO. Talkdesk is an amazing success story: it got to $1M in ARR with almost no capital investment, 5 employees in Portugal, 1 CEO in San Diego and no sales people to speak of. Between its seed round in August and the time I joined in January, it grew over 3X in revenue and 5X in people.

I had a really good view into the company before I joined: I knew Jason Lemkin (first institutional investor) and several team members. Tiago Paiva, the co founder/CEO, was very transparent and shared full financials, board decks and challenges. I was ready. Or at least this is what I thought. Continue reading “8 Things I Learned After Joining a Hyper-Growth SaaS Startup”

8 Things I Learned After Joining a Hyper-Growth SaaS Startup

LinkedIn’s Vulnerability: Its Future Success as a Sales Platform

Stop! What are you doing on LinkedIn right now? Why do you spend time on this site? For most of us the answer has to do with our career. We want to find a new job, get promoted, or make connections who can help us with our current job (like partners, clients, and investors). We are on LinkedIn because we think, right or wrong, that it can help our career and our professional life.

For years, LinkedIn thought the same. It encouraged us to come back, update our profiles, add skills, and recommend our colleagues. It monetized our data by creating tools for recruiters and headhunters and we were fine with that: if LinkedIn makes money and helps our careers at the same time, we all win.

But LinkedIn wants more. People change jobs only every so often but they need to buy stuff all the time. The next big opportunity for LinkedIn is in the sales tools area. Current products like Sales Navigator are only the beginning. LinkedIn’s sales tools help salespeople find relevant leads. The tools provide more information about these prospective customers and help sales professionals easily get in touch with leads.

But there’s one problem: the lead is you. Continue reading “LinkedIn’s Vulnerability: Its Future Success as a Sales Platform”

LinkedIn’s Vulnerability: Its Future Success as a Sales Platform

SnapCash: Not all brand extensions make sense

Back in school, in marketing 101 class (or maybe it was 202 or 303) we learned about brand extension: a TV brand like Oprah Winfrey, launches a magazine, to extend the TV show success. Other known examples are CAT, extending its tractor brand to “worker like” fashion. Successful brand extensions are the ones that makes sense to the consumer: CAT has a “hardy” and outdoors image: if you are this type of person, or want to look like this kind of person, you will buy their shoes.

The ones that failed are the ones that didn’t make sense: Zippo for example, is a “manly” lighter. Their attempt to extend their brand to perfumes was not a huge win.

Why do I write about brand extensions? Because SnapChat just came up with a payment system, which in any marketing term, is a brand extension. If you follow the logic above, you can assume it will fail. SnapChat is known as a tool for sending indecent photos, not a reliable and trusted payment network. It is not perceived as “serious” enough to handle money and while some will try using it, I find it hard to believe it will become a significant business.

Time will tell if I am wrong or right, but the odds are against this brand extension.

UPDATE:

Pando is bringing up an interesting point and a use case: snapcash for porn. People (mainly young people) might exchange nude pictures for cash. As disgusting as it sounds, this is a perfectly reasonable brand extension and a way to monetize the service.

SnapCash: Not all brand extensions make sense