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Know your customer first, worry about AI second

Not a week goes by when a customer or partner asks us to really get into the vast topic of Artificial Intelligence.  In the wave of change that's washing humanity at the moment, we have a lot to attribute to AI driven business models.

I came across this very interesting article by Quentin Hardy (Google Cloud) on what approaches companies are taking to build their business around AI, namely 1) Finding valuable data 2) Taking a systemic view and finding data adjacencies 3) Packaging AI for Customer Experience.

It's true that in all industries AI will have a sizeable impact.  However I'd like to remind everybody that whilst we live in the age of AI, the age of the Customer isn't going away. If anything, delighting your customer is now a bigger priority than ever before. 

A friend of mine put forward a thought recently about how it is our human nature to describe groups of people as either "us" or "them".  We even describe our customers as "them". "What do they require?", "What do we know about them", "How long will they stay with us", "How much did we make from them".   So the challenge to us all is to figure out a way where we bring the customer inside of our organisations. They become us.

So how might we do this?

I don't have all the answers for you in your business, however somethings we're trying actively at Rush to change this paradigm.

1) We work with humans and not for companies. We are motivated by helping individuals that we work with.  They just happen to work for company X or organisation Y.  

2) We open up, let humans into our world. We strive to be transparent. Humans we work with often co-locate at our offices, see our processes in detail, have a direct line into all of our people.  

3) We expect to hold the pen, together. If things go well we all get the credit.  If they don't we learn together. 

My challenge to you would be yes, worry about AI. It is here to stay and will only get crazy, however old fashioned knowing your customer's needs, wants, ambitions will serve you well, even in the age of AI.

No single tool, even one as powerful as AI, determines the fate of a business. As much as the world changes, deep truths — around unearthing customer knowledge, capturing scarce goods, and finding profitable adjacencies — will matter greatly. As ever, the technology works to the extent that its owners know what it can do, and know their market.

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