A.I. is taking the technology world by storm. You can’t open 3 websites without seeing some type of generative A.I. plugin.
But how do you separate the help from the hype?
We sat down with experts in the industry to dive into what you need to know to incorporate A.I. into your everyday life.
Jake and Karen also provided a few predictions on where the industry is going. (Teaser: is digital cloning a lot closer than we imagined?)
Jake Miller is the CEO of The Engineered Innovation Group, an organization focused on creating innovative, human-centric B2B SaaS products.
The Engineered Innovation Group has grown in headcount from zero to 30+ in 18 months and doubled in revenue year over year.
Jake works alongside Karen Mangia, who is the President and Chief Strategy Officer at EIG, and has worked with big brands like Salesforce, Cisco, and AT&T.
Be sure to check out these great clips from the show:
- [4:13] Architecting core values with an abundance mentality
- [8:43] The difference between convergent and divergent thinking
- [20:23] The top three transformational technologies: data science, generative AI, and blockchain, and their practical applications
- [28:00] Digital twin technology and the future of digital colleagues
- [35:01]The future of human-computer interaction
- [37:16] Skills for career acceleration in a changing landscape
In our conversation with Jake and Karen, you will learn about:
- Separating the help from the hype: Artificial intelligence is one of the most trending topics in technology today. Hear a few useful tips from industry experts.
- Transformational Technologies: Data science, generative AI, and blockchain are the top three transformational technologies to watch. We discuss the power of combining technologies like AI and blockchain to ensure the credibility of information.
- Human Digital Twinning: The future of human-computer interaction is evolving rapidly. Critical thinking, curiosity, and asking better questions are essential skills in this era of automation and emerging technologies.
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If you like this episode, please subscribe and leave us a review on Apple Podcasts. You can also follow us on Spotify. We have an incredible lineup of interviews we’ll be releasing every Wednesday here on Get IN.
Links and resources mentioned in this episode:
Companies and organizations:
- Jake Miller
- Karen Mangia
- Logan Pund
- John Larsen
- Charlene Tay
- Wayne Patrick
- Matt Hunckler
- Christopher (Toph) Day
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Matt: From the crossroads of America in the Hoosier state of Indiana. This is Get IN, the podcast focused on the unfolding stories and extraordinary innovations happening right now in the Heartland. I’m Matt Hunckler, CEO at Powderkeg, and I will be one of your hosts for today’s conversation. I’m joined in studio by co-host Christopher “Toph” Day, CEO at Elevate Ventures.
On the show today is Jake Miller, CEO at the Engineered Innovation Group or EIG and Karen Mangia, President and Chief Strategy Officer at the Engineered Innovation Group.
Jake: That has been something I’ve personally fought for a long time, trying to figure out, okay, how do I keep centered? And how do I work from this place of openness?
Matt: Jake Miller is the CEO at Engineered Innovation Group, an organization focused on creating innovative, human centric B2B SaaS products. Their company grew zero to 30 plus employees in less than 18 months, doubling revenue year over year, have worked with some impressive brands, including Powderkeg and a collaboration with Elevate Ventures.
And Jake works alongside Karen Mangia, who is the president and chief strategy officer at EIG. She has also worked with at big brands like Salesforce, Cisco, and AT&T. We’re going to cover a lot today, including how to tap into early career talent on the technical side, the state of emerging technologies like artificial intelligence, but also how to separate the help from the hype.
Jake and Karen, welcome to the show.
Jake: Thank you for having us. Super excited.
Karen: Thanks so much. Great to be here.
Toph: Did you see how he brought that pre-show back to help separate the help from the hype? That was impressive.
Karen: I know. Sometimes what happens in the green room does not stay in the green room. Word to the wise, the cameras are always rolling, right?
Matt: That is so true. Karen really helped with the show intro right before the show. So I really appreciate it. You’ve been awesome partners to work with and I’m excited to dive into A lot of what you’re seeing right now, I know you’re working with a ton of different companies of all scales from startup to big brands.
And you’re separating the help from the hype, which is super helpful. But I’d like to actually, before we dive into the technical side and all the technologies and cool innovative things happening. Jake, when you and I started working together 18 months ago, it was you.
Jake: That’s right. It was just me.
Matt: You now have more than 30 employees. You’re growing right here in Indianapolis with team members all over the place. That’s right. And I’m just curious to know a little bit more about that journey. Is this at all what you thought it was going to be when you embarked on it?
Jake: Absolutely not. I thought I would be a solopreneur for a while, do some fractional CTO work.
Maybe get a couple of developers and build some things out. But I had no clue. I would actually get the opportunity to work with folks like Karen Mangia Logan Pund and our senior executive leadership team. Yeah it’s just honestly, it’s been a dream come true. I’ve always wanted to build something like this.
The people aspect, the type of technology we get to work on. I never would have thought we’d be working on artificial intelligence projects or blockchain projects. So cool. And so now I set my sights a little bit higher too. I’m like, okay, next it’s Androids, but we’ll get to that later.
Toph: What was the catalyst?
So the year, one, two, three years leading up to starting EIG. What was the catalyst? You’re like, you know what? I think I’m gonna go do this on my own.
Jake: Yeah, I think there are a couple things there. So the first is. I have a big personality. If you haven’t noticed and one of the things shocking and one of the things that I felt a little held back by not by anyone in particular, but just generally was working at some of the companies I was.
It wasn’t. I didn’t feel like I could. I could be myself, but I couldn’t. Just put everything out there. And maybe that sounds cheesy or corny, but like the culture that I wanted to build the core values I had, I think a lot of people during COVID went through this process thinking about what do I really want out of life?
Who am I at the core? Exactly. And what matters? Yeah, exactly. What did that process look like for you? I literally took two weeks and that was my goal, so I didn’t do anything else, obviously family things, but during my work day I would sit down and just contemplate and reflect and I came up with the five core values that we have today.
A couple of being maybe a little nontraditional like abundance, how’s abundance a core value, right? But that’s the, this idea that we want to work from a place of openness, collaboration, not from the scarcity fear mentality, where we want to work from the cerebral cortex, not our hippocampus.
And that’s a real thing. Yeah. And I think that’s, frankly, that exercise is. That’s a major reason why we are where we are.
Toph: Can we dive into that real quick? The what? The corpus versus the hydrocampus?
Jake: I like hydrocampus.
Matt: That’s great.
Karen: Are those cities in Texas? It sounds like it. Yeah.
Matt: It does. Corpus Christi,
Jake: What are we doing here?
I know, right? I think we found new parts of the brain. Yeah.
Matt: The hydrocampus.
Toph: So talk to us about that though. What does that mean to you and what, how’d you start thinking about that? Yeah.
Jake: So the the fear mentality coming from the center of your brain is really the. The instinct part of the human brain, it is the fight or flight response, and many times if folks haven’t been trained, and by the way, this took me 40 years to figure out if you haven’t trained yourself or if you have a particular affinity to fall back into that part of your behavior you start acting from a place of fear, so fight or flight, and you can easily lose control of a situation.
Maybe it’s how you’re responding to others, maybe it’s the decisions that you’re making. And I, that has been something I’ve personally fought for a long time trying to figure out, okay, how do I keep centered? And how do I work from this place of openness? And I still, to this day, probably at least five, six, seven times a day say, okay, I know I’m working from a place of scarcity right now, but, and I express it, I say it, and then I say, now we’re going to think, flip that script to what does an abundance mentality look like?
And that could be things like what partnerships do we build? I don’t look at other companies out there as competition that we, That we’re afraid of. If I look at that, look at them as opportunities where we can work together, build each other up sort of thing.
Matt: What are some of the other things that help you get into that shift states?
So you mentioned saying it out loud. That’s the start let’s just get this out in the open and say, Hey, I’m feeling afraid right now. Or, Hey I’m feeling a little bit fight or flight right now. But then how do you shift into that next year? Are there certain things that you do and Karen, please feel free to chime in here because I know we all have our own struggles with staying in the right mental state when you’re working, but I’m curious what kinds of things have helped each of you.
Jake: I would love to hear Karen’s perspective on this one.
Karen: Yes, I think about our value of being insatiably curious, insatiable curiosity. And something that really helps me and that I try to work with our team on and speak into the conversation is getting curious and asking questions. So what else could this be?
What choices do we see right now? What does doing the doable look like? What could we try with five people, five dollars and five minutes? And that mentality of think big, act small helps you open up to this abundance of possibilities. Because I think when we’re afraid, when we’re feeling scared, when we’re feeling like, we only have one great client and we’ve got to do everything perfectly for them, which isn’t true, by the way, but We start to have to challenge ourselves of is that true?
Is that absolutely true? Who would we be without that story? How is that story keeping us stuck in a place where we’re only seeing limited choices or we’re only seeing one way to win? So I look in the direction of that insatiable curiosity asking questions like, what else could this be? Is that true?
How do we do the doable? What could we do in five minutes? To at least start to get unstuck a little bit. And that helps a lot with looking in that direction of abundance. And when you start brainstorming, if you and I did that activity, we could come up with a huge list of things we could try in five minutes.
Toph: A hundred percent, right? The old butt versus and. The and versus the butt, right? It takes your brain to one of those two places.
Karen: That’s right. Yes, and another one I like in that category is I wonder. Yeah. So if we just started saying, you put out a challenge and then I said, I wonder, and then you wondered back and then you wondered back, we’d suddenly have this huge list.
If we just looked in the direction of tapping into that curiosity.
Jake: Yeah. There are two other words I like to use along these lines and it’s convergence and divergence. So when you are working from a place of fear or what we’re just talking about, that’s convergent thinking. And what we want to encourage is divergent thinking.
And so that could be something like let’s just throw an idea out there that may be off the wall. And that’s okay. Then we can edit. Open up the possibilities. That’s an incredibly powerful tool.
Matt: I love that. I think the focus on language is really clear that there’s just so much power in A getting something out of your brain and saying it out loud, but then B what kinds of questions and words are you using?
Consciously to prompt that sort of unconscious shift.
Jake: Is give things a name. And that’s true not even for this sort of situation. Like even product building. Yeah. Give it a name. Give the features a name. Give the structure, build a taxonomy. Because if you don’t have a word for it, you can’t talk about
Toph: Real quick for the listeners. Can we dive into, what does EIG do? Cause there’s various types of companies and et cetera out there. So what do you do?
Karen: At EIG, we work with everyone from entrepreneurs all the way through enterprises, and we really focus in on helping them take an idea. Get some insights about that idea and then turn it into something they can implement.
And that might be a go to market pitch deck. That might be a full on B2B SaaS product. That might be a venture capital decks. They can go raise some more money for their idea, might even be a scan of the market.
Toph: She do that. You would do an entire deck, not just the screenshots of the wireframes, but the entire deck.
That’s right. Help them think through their story, their why, their vision, et cetera.
Karen: Yes. And in fact, we are working with a company right now that. We’re helping them think about how to monetize their business model, not just is this a viable venture capital backed business, but how are we going to monetize this idea and really grow the business?
So we think about this life cycle of idea through insights, through something you can implement, whether that to your point is a wireframe or a clickable prototype or a full go to market deck.
Jake: Yeah, we’re actually working with an organization based in Arkansas, they do biopsies, I’ll leave it at that. But they want all these software components.
They are taking digital transformation seriously. So how do you take something very clinical and make it accessible to patients the physicians, the clinicians, the providers and when, how would you build a platform to make that extensible? So it’s not just very internally focused. It is, wow, they want to build an ecosystem for their suppliers, their vendors.
Very cool. That’s something we have helped them. Design help take theirthey had four or five different product line ideas, and they were all very like point solution based. And we said, You know what? What if you thought about this as an ecosystem as a platform that’s extensible? And then how would you monetize that?
Some of these things you may just won’t have extensions of your product or your services. Others, you may want a white label, commercialized, licensed the data. You might have AI models, that sort of thing. And They’re not product people. They’ve not come from that world. And so you can take the startup mentality and apply it to these midsize to enterprise companies and it’s a game changer for them.
Matt: That’s really cool. I’m, you’re talking about all the different types of companies that you work with and it strikes me that it could be challenging. As a company working with so many different kinds of cultures to stay true to your own culture, as you’re engaging with different people, different companies, is that something that you’ve ever struggled with or have had to have conversations internally about how to stay true to EIG and what it is that what and how it is that you do.
And. Why you’re going after your, why
Karen: I have to say coming from a sales leadership background, especially in big companies, I’m used to, there’s no such thing as a bad deal. Money is always a good thing. So you always take a customer and we are very thoughtful about who can we serve well, and who is operating in alignment with our values.
So we do have conversations and say. Even though it’d be really tempting as a startup and scale up business to just take that money, it’s probably not the right kind of client for us.
Toph: So true. It can bury you, right?
Karen: Yeah. It can bury you. Winning can be a detriment, honestly, to your growth. And something I’ve been fortunate to do in my role is go back.
And have a one on one interview with every single prospect we pitched and did not successfully win. And every customer where we’ve completed a project, because we’ve been asking them, what do you see as the value we provide? And it’s been interesting to hear through their lens, how are they measuring success and our value?
And what is it that differentiates us? And I’m reminded of a client vellum here that came out of high alpha innovation. And. One of the aspects that was so compelling to John Larsen, the founder and CEO there was how we helped him build a fantastic minimum viable product and go to market more quickly and how we helped him launched his software team.
So he then after we built the MVP and launched it and documented everything he hired a head of engineering and he specifically called out what a seamless transition it was to hand over that product to someone else and in his words could pick up the ball and run with it
Toph: without the engineer wanting to just rebuild it all.
Jake: Exactly. That’s a real thing. That’s a real thing.
Matt: No, engineers never want to rebuild it from the scratch.
Karen: So we think about right, launching software and software teams. And that’s a differentiator. That’s more than just your, development agency sort of work.
Jake: Yeah, that’s cool.
And actually built into the original concept of the company was the idea that we would hand it off to the customer. And so we have to do a good job of building things in a way that if you do bring an engineer in, We’ve actually had a couple [00:14:00] times where we’ve used a cutting edge technology, graph database, which was the right tool for the job.
But not everyone has that skill set. It’s hard to find. And so we’ve actually stopped in some cases using those. Because when you bring on a founder that, CTO, VP of Engineering to their company, they may not have experience with that. That is very tempting for them to say, Oh, let’s go rewrite it. So we have to be very careful about that.
But the point I was going to make was, I always like pointing to the tattoo on my arm of our company logo, because who does that? But this symbol here represents transition. It’s very thoughtful of how do we build their organization and our participation in a way that as we peel people off and they put their people in, they have just a seamless transition.
They’ve got a software company through and through, not just a product. And that’s our differentiator. And I’m very proud of that. But what we’re finding now is people say no, we actually want to keep you around now. So maybe I need to change that little, it needs to be a [00:15:00] square so I can get the tattoo fixed.
Karen: This is what it means to be all in as a founder. All in. It also means we’re unlikely to rebrand, which I appreciate in the role I’m in. I feel like we’re committed to that logo.
Jake: Oh, there’s room. There’s room.
Matt: It’s like transformers, you can build on top of one. It’s a journey.
Jake: Yeah, exactly. It just needs to be an extension. Yeah.
Toph: How about cross sector? So you deal with different types of clients. We do. So how does cross sector and the need to go find domain experts in various sectors to make a given product come to life?
Jake: Yeah. So what’s important. Is the value of insatiable curiosity and people that are just very good critical thinking thinkers on our side of the house.
So when we’re working with customer, we tell them we are not going to be domain experts. You’re the domain expert, but what we’re going to do when we work with you. Is pull it all out and pull it all together. We’re gonna synthesize it for you. Which by the way, it was[00:16:00] , that’s what, that’s other synthesizing Synthes in our logo.
I like, it’s great. And for people just listening, it’s, I’m pointing to my arm again. So that’s important.
Matt: Tell me a little bit about that critical thinking skills on the team. Is that something that you think can be trained and continue to be honed or is that something you’re either born, you even either have it or you don’t?
Jake: Yeah, I’ve come to the conclusion you’re either born with it or not. Interesting. Yeah, wow.
Toph: That’s a breakthrough right there. Wow, that’s huge. I hope I have
Jake: it. Yeah. It’s a bold. Me too. Sad statement. Yeah I think so. Yeah, tell me why. I, I’m, I’ve always, one of, my Achilles heel actually.
Is potential and seeing potential in people and that sounds counterintuitive, right? I know Karen’s laughing at me.
Karen: Working with you every day, that’s a very salient observation. That was data I needed three months ago.
Jake: That’s great.
Matt: I love that.
Jake: It’s, it’s important in the hiring process to make sure you’re, when you’re giving, when you’re bringing people on board and you may be putting them in a role where it’s going to stretch their current skill set [00:17:00] to evaluate, can they actually make that leap?
And it’s even more important in a services company that’s 30 people because you feel the pain of any wink, weak link. So that’s why
Karen: I think the other aspect of what you were saying about working across industries, though, and balancing being a company, our size, 31 employees and growing is we have to have people that can play across a variety of sectors and segments.
With that said, probably about half or a little more of our business is in digital health care, and we do have. Some people that we consult with that are experts in that area and that work in healthcare that we can consult. And we really prioritize thinking about what is a common denominator across all these different industries and security is definitely top of mind.
So we just brought in someone who’s incredibly talented to be a DevSecOps manager, specifically to focus on the kind of security and compliance that we know every client, whether you’re in financial or healthcare or some other [00:18:00] adjacent business is not only going to need. But you’re also going to want to go back to your stakeholders and be able to reassure them that you’ve made the proper investments and that you’re partnering with a company that understands that, has depth of expertise, and that will help you if you need it, pass your audits and, you
Toph: Was there something that pulled you into digital health more than others?
So if half your business is digital health, is that a macro trend that you think is behind that? Or do you or what is it geographic? There’s a geographic pole. What was it that kind of pulled you that way?
Jake: I think it’s we, the folks we work with say You’ve worked in product, you’ve worked in healthcare, security and compliance.
That is hard to find. Very hard to find. And so that’s I think why the big driver. There’s also just macroeconomics. So when you look at, and you guys probably know this better than I do, when you look at where VC investment is going, so much of it is digital health tech right now. I think it’s part of it, I don’t think it’s all of it, because some of the companies that are in health tech are, like one’s [00:19:00] a.
A major healthcare system and they’re looking for ways to just break out of. The the sort of cycle that they’re in right now. Like, how do we innovate? How do we think outside the box? And not only come up with ideas, but structure an organization to do that. So we’re going back to that concept of how do you run a product company?
I don’t know. I’m I know, but the customers dont know.
Matt: Whether you’re talking about digital health or you’re talking about FinTech or any other industry. What are the top three transformational technologies today that people need to be paying attention to?
Jake: Oh, such a good question.
Karen: Jake’s dying to answer it, so we’re gonna let him. Yeah.
Matt: Top three. Let’s do a countdown Letterman style, so let’s start with three. Start with three. Number three, and we’ll work our way up to one.
Oh, man. Okay, number three, things to pay attention to. Everything’s in AI right now. We can start with one.
Yeah. But here’s the thing breaking down… AI and Data science, right? I think that’s probably the way to think about it. Cause AI being such a big umbrella term. So the [00:20:00] three to pay attention to and look, so I’m gonna say data science general, right? Just like you have a massive amount of information, how you can get insights from that, right?
That’s not necessarily new, but it still is for a lot of companies, especially big ones, how do you even use. How do you leverage that technology? So I busted that. Just getting it structured. What questions do I ask? Those things are important. The second would probably be generative AI. And we’re very much in exploration mode right now.
And I say that we as in humanity. And, some of the ways that we’re finding to use internal ways. It’s pretty awesome. They’ve just bubbled up in the last couple of weeks. Frankly, we are, I’m feeding all of my own personal notes into a model, a large language model so that at the end of the week I can start developing a synopsis and summaries for my clients specifically from Jake.
So [00:21:00] we already do weekly updates from, our project managers and such on project status. But there are a lot of things I do as a fractional CTO and just generally an advisor that’d be nice just to summarize in a five point thing, right? I take notes all week. Why am I going to sit down and write all that out again?
I’m just going to feed it through the model and have it help me, get me 80 percent of the way there. Things like we have all this information about the projects and the tickets cut, the developers are working on, design, we have Figma files. You need that through LLM, because guess what?
Now I can say, what is Victor working on this week? I don’t have to go to Victor. I can just get a, what are we doing about feature X? Have there been any problems? And we’re seeing real value from that. I’m actually, we build this stuff and I’m still dumbfounded, that it works as well if it does, right?
Yeah. Like for the rally conference, part of our demo is going to include a you can walk into our booth, stand in front of a screen. And you can interact with a digital twin human that is, knows everything about EIG, the customers we’re allowed to share [00:22:00] about, the types of projects we do, and talk and interact directly with it.
Wow. That’s awesome. Pretty freaking cool, right? And and again, like today, we just fed a bunch of data into that algorithm. You guys, I asked you this question and this is what it said. It’s amazing. So there are practical applications. That’s more of just, Hey, showing off how the technology can be used, but so that, okay, that’s number two emerging or a generative AI.
Number one, general, I’ve had to think about it. I like, where’s my white paper?
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Karen: Something that I appreciate about that topic we were talking about separating help from hype is I learned from Jake. That hype actually serves a purpose, right? So maybe talk a little bit about what the hype cycle is teaching us right now about all of these technologies and how people could do something to get started with a real project.
Jake: Project, real project.
I’m going to use generative AI again for this. Yeah. And even blockchains.
Karen: I see the next Tattoo forming
Matt: Blockchain is another transformational technology.
Jake: Yes. If you’d asked me a year ago, I would have said blockchain. Yeah.
Matt: Okay. So dig into why you would not say that today.
Jake: I think exactly what Karen’s talking about.
I think the hype cycle’s done what it’s supposed to do. So we’re [00:24:00] supposed to get super excited about it. Think about all the possibilities. And then figure out what works and doesn’t. All get disappointed. Trap of disillusionment. Exactly. And then come back and say, Okay, actually, it is valuable. And in blockchain, we’ve figured out what is actually to an extent, what is actually valuable.
And I think one of the things we see there, there are two parts to that. I think the one that’s been most successful is in the customer loyalty program realm. And there are a lot of companies here locally that are doing work there. Holder is an example. It’s really awesome and flaunt. But so now we’re normalizing.
I think there’s loyalty programs. And then the second one would just be data collaboration between organizations. And then proof of providence. So where did information come from? And actually not, at at the risk of rambling here, I think when you start looking at technologies combined, That’s where the real power starts coming in.
Like AI and blockchain.
That’s right. So think about, and I haven’t completely cracked this nut, but I will, I promise. But think about, and [00:25:00] this is the idea of like divergent thinking, right? Like how can I, how can we think big and then edit it to make it something valuable? So one of the great things about blockchain is its ability to prove the source.
So it can go. Through system to system, blockchain to blockchain, someone can buy something and sell it, but you can always know and you can verify the chain of ownership. Now think about the potential risks of generative AI and digital twin technology actually I would probably make that number one, by the way digital twin technology.
Should we come back and talk about that? Okay. But now think about news or misinformation and what if you could. And again, I haven’t figured out every mechanic behind this, but the concept would be, what if I could use blockchain to prove the source of what someone said? So there’s a way for you to verify with a public key I own that I can provide you that I actually said that.
So even if it comes out of a model and someone’s [00:26:00] duplicating my face and my voice, cloning my voice, I’m always able to go back and see. Proof that Jake actually said that or typed that or whatnot, right? That is a great example of combining two different technologies for Added value. That’s a cool idea.
Matt: Oh, and I love that you’re embracing abundance by sharing that idea freely and not being like I need to keep this a secret So no one else develops it.
You know what?
Jake: I always say there are 52 flavors of ice cream Everyone has their own one that they like. There’s no reason to not talk about ice cream.
Toph: All this stuff comes down to execution.
Jake: That’s exactly right. And that’s what it comes down to. That’s exactly right. Which is why I’m not afraid of talking about ideas that we come up with.
Matt: Well, I want you to talk about digital twinning because this sounds a little bit like dystopian blade runner 20. 2050 kind of stuff.
Karen: Yeah. And if you saw some of the earlier prototypes, he’s built of our demo. They are very alarming. Max Headroom.
Toph: Max Headroom. Wow. That’s a blast from the past.
Matt: That’s so great.
Toph: So I saw a company the other day, Digital Twin and they can take a stack of drawings, I’m talking about big industrial plant, like insane, huge facilities. And you just scan this puppy through in a few minutes. And it literally digitizes the entire industrial plant, the flow of liquids, which direction, etc.
It is amazing. In minutes, right? In minutes. It’s crazy.
Jake: And that’s what’s, I think when you start thinking about the time savings, it’s easy to forget about it. Oh that’s cool technology, but actually I’ll give you an example here. We were working with some, or we currently are working with someone.
And I suggested, maybe what we need to do is have human intervention up front as part of user experience for training your model and the rebuttal was why would I do that? If I just might as well do all my all the work myself? But the answer is but think about it. You’re training. You won’t have to teach it again, right?
That’s the beauty. It’s like the amount of it’s in. It’s an aggregate, right? You have to look at it as [00:28:00] the full. Cool. Value life cycle of value but yeah, so the time components. Impressive.
Karen: And something our data science practice lead, Charlene Tay said that really stuck with me about thinking about how to deploy some of these technologies and how to train some of these technologies to your point is think about how a human would solve this problem and think about very human questions and start there.
You don’t have to start with this sophisticated technology and understand every aspect. We’re not free from thinking just because a machine can process something for us. So start there. Building blocks. Building blocks.
Jake: And think about these.
Toph: By the way, that’s how the chief scientist I used to work with, he always used to say, okay, Toph is like Legos.
Yes. He always used to start that way.
Matt: Break it down in toy metaphor for me. Yeah. That’s great.
Jake: Component based design. Yeah. Cause then you can swap things in and out. Yeah. You don’t have as much technical debt. Anyway, that’s, I have a lot of opinions on that topic.
Matt: So the digital twin, I understand what that’s going to be at the booth at Rally with EIG and I can’t wait to try that out.
That’s going to be awesome. Shout out to listeners. Make sure you’re on the list for Rally so you get in. But.
Toph: That means we have to get this episode out in the next like 72 hours.
Matt: It’s just for next year. Oh, there you go. Yeah. A repeat episode. Yeah. What are some of the practical, not that’s impractical because that’s one less person you need to staff the booth and it’ll probably be a huge draw to the booth for people to come in and engage it, but tell me a little bit about some of the other ways you’re thinking about and why it made your list of top three transformational technologies.
Jake: Yeah. So the, and this is where, what Karen was talking about earlier about hype. Comes on right because what we’re doing at the booth is hype. Let’s be frank, right? It’s but it’s designed to get people excited and see these are the types of things you can do Like I can detect the emotion on your facial expressions, right?
But so I’m gonna start with vision then we work the way back from there, please So I believe in five years from now you will have digital colleagues That you work with and talk with just like we are here today, I firmly believe that’s going to happen. And for the reason I firmly believe that’s happens because I’m going to make it happen.
Karen: Is this me or is this my digital twin right now on your podcast? I don’t even know.
Matt: Jake is scanning this all right now.
Jake: Oh yeah.
Matt: And to be clear, listeners, it is the real Karen.
Jake: We’ve got to get that blockchain proof of
Matt: I handed her a cup of coffee a little while ago. I can confirm it is her.
Jake: Robot, robot. Oh, but I see these as additive. And so you may say, oh, that’s frivolous. Like we’ll just hire a person. Think about cost savings, right? And I’m not saying we’re replacing people’s jobs. I’m saying it’s additive. For example, if you have a software engineer and they’re trying to fix a problem that a customer’s brought up, it doesn’t really matter what it is, right?
What do they hate doing? What do software engineers hate doing? Documenting. Yep. So those are the sorts of things that are going to get replaced. So not the people, not the core parts of the jobs, not the things that we, that take the type of creativity that it takes.
Toph: Or what I love is, oh yeah, we’re documenting it, we’re documenting it, and then you get down the road about 10 years.
Karen: We also talk about the application to content creation. What this could do for marketers as well. And you’re well versed in that with your marketing cloud background. How do you create better content? Not that you’re absent of thinking about it, but if you want to differentiate your company, your brand yourself as a thought leader, Hey, this is the quickest, fastest way to scan what’s out there.
Figure out what resonates all that SEO work gets simplified. You create better content that resonates more and gets more engaged.
Toph: I wrote a book on that. Released it like three months ago.
Matt: Pillar based marketing, check it out. Yep. Toph day Ryan Brock. True story.
Jake: I need to get my copy.
Toph: I would have brought you a free one if I had known you didn’t have one.
Matt: Get you a signed copy.
Toph: I’ll bring it to Rally. In fact there’s a book signing at Rally.
Karen: Oh that’s awesome. You can stop by our booth and get a tattoo. We have water tattoos at our station. You can wear it for your book signing.
Toph: I can’t have a real one?
Jake: You can.
Karen: I can hook you right team. Jake, we’ll do it for you right there.
You just asked the digital twin. Do you do tattoos? Exactly.
Matt: I want you to get a real rally face tattoo. Face tattoo? Yes. Not even arms. No. Straight to the neck. Yes. Neck tat. That would be amazing.
Jake: Other practical example. Imagine actually this is something I use generative AI for today and I know for a fact, because I pulled our company for ways that they use it without telling them ideas.
And three other people came back and said, I use generative AI as a creative partner. I was like, what? Yeah, that’s crazy. I do too. And it’s like brainstorming, right? So it’s like being able to throw ideas out and it’s not necessarily being creative. It’s then bringing different concepts out that I may not have thought about.
So it’s helping me think of different paths to, to consider. So imagine humanizing that, right? And I think that’s why digital [00:33:00] twin is human digital twinning is so important, is it’s bringing humanization to technology. And I think it’s just going to be an expectation. It’s way more fun to interact with people.
It’s way more fun to have it’s a different, it’s a different… It’s just a different type of interaction. In fact, what I’ve been telling folks is I think we’re on the cusp of the new type of human computer action interaction where we’re not we’ll continue to use mouse and keyboards for some time.
But we’re, and actually, let me ask you guys a question. How do you
Toph: AI driven dream coding? Yes. Used to create applications based on your subconscious. A subconscious.
Jake: We just need Neuralink. And there we go. There we go. Yeah. How question I was gonna ask. How comfortable did you feel talking to Siri when Siri first came out?
Jake: Super awkward. Pretty awkward. How do you feel now?
Toph: I just talk really fast. I go blah blah blah blah. Siri, tell me this. Yeah. And we also, and this is also complicated. Everything, like a million X, exponentially, it’s even more than a million X. Exponentially, because [00:34:00] when you start searching in terms of three sentences.
It’s insane. It’s insane. That’s the first one, two, three words, 20 years ago, 15 years ago?
Matt: Yeah. That’s right.
Jake: It’s crazy. Great point. Yeah. And so thinking of, so I have Apple’s home kit in my house for several things. And I, in the middle of the night, I hear something, I go, Oh my gosh, Siri, turn on all the lights.
I don’t actually do that. But being able to interact with my house in that way but it’s one word here and there. It’s keywords. Yeah. That’s changing. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. And so how much more interesting is it to think about interacting with The things in your house as though it was another person, right?
Yeah. It’s just so much more interesting
Karen: It’s my extrovert dream come true. Not only is every person a new friend every refrigerator and household appliance could be too I love that. Love it.
Jake: Yeah. No, I’m imagining like A butler. Yeah.
Karen: It’s the AI version of Ask Jeeves. Is that what you’re going with?
Matt: Exactly right. Bring back, someone is going to reboot the brand Ask Jeeves as like an AI robot. Totally. AI robot.
Jake: It’s so true. Why not? And then I’ll get sued.
Karen: But ideas free. There’s so many ideas here. Someone’s going to come back and ask you for a check for something that we talked about on the show today.
Jake: And we’ll help you build it.
Matt: How can people prepare themselves to be able to accelerate their career in a world where things like generative AI, digital cloning data science are more commonplace and potentially taking parts of their job that they’re currently doing and just automating them? What are the kinds of skills that people need to be developing?
Karen: Think. Think, and think. What we as employers will be paying you to do is think, to think ahead, to think about the questions to ask better questions, to be more curious. So the need for critical thinkers, you will never be out of business if you can think ahead, see around corners, anticipate things and be curious and try things.
I think there will always be roles for thinkers and creators and experimenters. So start tuning yourself to ask better questions and start asking like, so what? Okay, we build this. So what? Then we do this. So what? So what? So what, right? The machine’s only gonna go as far as you program it, so I think we have to think differently.
Toph: Yeah, I love that. It’s almost like that mentality of always working yourself out of a job. Even without AI or all these modern technologies we should always be thinking about, oh, it depends what you want to do in life, right? It doesn’t mean you have to do that, but But if you want to explore in advance, do more things, like just work yourself out of a job, because if you’ve done that, you’ve probably moved somewhere else that might be more exciting.
Jake: That’s right. Yeah. Authors, and Karen is an author of four books, so I’m curious. Impressive.
Karen: Soon to be five, yeah.
Jake: Wow. Are you using generative AI to do that?
Karen: I am not using generative AI to do that. I do think about though, how I would write a book proposal differently knowing what I know now and using these technologies, because it would be so much faster to do a market scan of [00:37:00] books that exist and the experts that exist and think about how to differentiate myself.
Sure. Whereas today, you go into Amazon and you think, Oh, I have a cool title. Does that exist? I’ll look on Amazon and then. Oh, here’s my chapter outline. Did somebody else write all these already? It would speed up the creative process. And, for me as a thought leader, I think make it quicker to differentiate.
How is my point of view something different or additive or a new take on this?
Matt: That’s awesome. That’s a great point.
Jake: And the reason I brought up books was to the point of thinking of being all in is, a lot of authors will say, I don’t hold back. Like when I’m writing a book, I’m not like saying, Oh, I’m going to save that idea for this day and maybe ends up being that way, but it’s all in why?
Because they’re always going to be new ideas. And that is something I’ve held within me for a long time, which is why I’m not afraid about talking about ideas or how you can do it. One, it comes down to execution, but two, it’s like ideas are a dime a dozen. They’re going to be 20 more tomorrow. I guarantee it.
Toph: How about a story of a customer you’re working with that is a. Pick a number, not a startup, right? There may be three, five, 10, maybe 20 million. That is holy shit, I’ve got to disrupt myself. And I don’t know how to do that. What do you say to that leadership team, that CEO? What, how do they get started?
Karen: Start by looking around at either something that’s not working, or my other favorite is start tuning into what your current customers contact you about through customer service or your customer service chat, or if you’re in a retention model business, why they don’t renew, look for what they are telling you that you aren’t asking about.
These are the challenges that you have the opportunities to go solve because you can get more revenue and find some of your best ideas from your current customers because they tell you all the time.
Toph: But what if my, yes, what if my team, I don’t, they don’t, I don’t have the bandwidth. I don’t have my team loves the languages that they’re [00:39:00] using in the platforms are using and they don’t want to change and I’d have to rewrite the whole product or the whole piece of a product that would take me two years or, all the but, right?
What could I do to start moving forward with, can I use the same people? Do I have to set up a totally separate And the department skunk work department that’s only using modern technology like what do I do?
Karen: What I like about what you’re saying is you’re looking in the direction of if I have an established revenue stream and an established base, what I start to get nervous about is the senior leadership team is how to not disrupt and lose the customers I have while I go steal market share from the competition or figure out how to expand the addressable market opportunity or share of wallet I can get from a current client.
And one of the most Powerful concepts in that idea of innovation, particularly if you have an existing business and you think you know your clients and their journey fairly well, is to outsource some of that innovation to an innovation partner. Harvard Business Review did a great study about this topic, [00:40:00] about the ability to move faster in your innovation cycle when you outsource to an innovation partner, even in that short period of time.
Concept of we have a starting list of ideas. We want you to go look for some ideas and then test them out in the market. It’s a quiet way to do it with a third party. And in fact, I was just having a conversation with an entire company that’s built around this concept of a bigger company comes to them and says.
We don’t really understand emerging technologies very well, but this is the customer problem we’re trying to solve. And then this company goes and does, and by the way, we’re talking about partnering with them. They go and do a complete scan of what are all these technologies? What are all of your customer use cases?
What happens to, they use a combination of their own expertise and a network of experts on both the technologies and go to market strategy, and they go back to one of these. Often fortune 500 kinds of companies and say, all right, here’s how you do it. Do you want us to refer you to a build partner now who could go build it or someone that could test it for you?
And so I think about that being able to segment it, because at the end of the day, the [00:41:00] innovators dilemma, especially inside of a business is how much time do I spend on the business I have versus going to create the next new thing. And you can move faster when you outsource it and you don’t have the same constraints either of your existing culture.
Jake: No, and not to mention. You probably don’t, set aside, like technical abilities and whatnot, right? You don’t have the process in place to do it. And let me tell you, cause we’ve been doing it for 18 months. It’s hard to put that process into place. So when you work with a innovation partner, they’re going to have that process, hopefully built out.
So it takes away the cognitive overhead of how do I actually operationalize this as an execute on it to what are the things I actually need to focus on to differentiate. And innovate and disrupt. If that’s what you’re after. I think the other thing to think about too is it doesn’t have to be disruptive Innovation.
Incremental innovation is just as valuable and probably more accessible.
Toph: There’s a, an old concept called the power of one. . And it is, it’s just such an amazing concept, right? Because all of a sudden you’ll look up and that power of one was, it’s [00:42:00] not 365 powers of one. Yep. And so I love that.
Just like it does. Just don’t overcomplicate. Just so one simple step. Yep. Second simple step.
Matt: Yep. I could ask you a hundred more questions very easily, but we blew through that time and we’re at the end of our show. I want to save two minutes for the lightning round. Are you both down to do the lightning round?
Oh, we’re ready. Oh yeah, we’re ready. Okay, cool. I’ll go back and forth. I’ll let you start Jake on the first one. And then Karen on the second question, you can start. Sounds great. All right. And we’ll go one question at a time.
Karen: I feel like there should be a buzzer here. I can like ding.
Matt: That’s a great idea. All of our best ideas come from our guests. So you’ll see a buzz, a buzzer on a future episode. If you’re down, I’m down. The power of collaboration. Outside of the amazing entrepreneurial ecosystem, Jake, thank you. What is Indiana known for
first thing that comes to your mind?
Jake: No wrong answers. I’m not allowed to say corn
Matt: If that’s what came to your mind, you are allowed to say corn caramel is the first thing came to your mind pork tenderloin sandwiches
Jake: And let’s see agriculture, yes, probably a
Matt: nice save I said agriculture, Karen what is a hidden gem in Indiana?
Karen: A hidden gem in Indiana is the space underneath of the city market. Catacombs? The catacombs. Oh,
Matt: I’ve never been but I do too. Jake, what is a hidden gem in Indiana?
Jake: For people that aren’t in Indiana, the canal.
Matt: Yeah, the canal is awesome.
Jake: And I say that just because green space is important.
Matt: Yep. I had a Salesforce employee who was part of ExactTarget’s big growth and sale, has lived on Meridian Street their entire life, recently tell my wife, did you know that there’s a canal right there in Broad Ripple?
And my wife was like, what? You mean the one that goes right through Broad Ripple and to Butler and is through our neighborhood? So yeah, even people in Indiana don’t always know there’s a canal. All right, last question. And Jake, I’ll go to you on this one to start who is someone that we need to keep on our radar? Someone doing big things.
Matt: We’ve had a couple other guests answer with that. It’s very genuine. I love it. Self serving, but I love it.
Karen: Don’t they always say vote for yourself first? If you’re on the ballot running for something, you should always vote for yourself. So I. I deeply appreciate your answer.
Matt: You heard it here first.
Keep an eye on Jake Miller.
Karen: Absolutely. So I would say that I would watch this guy named Wayne Patrick, if you don’t know him. Yes,
Jake: Wayne is awesome.
Matt: I haven’t talked to Wayne in several years.
Karen: He’s working with some very cool businesses, doing very cool disruptive things, and you know it’s possible we’re talking with some of those businesses as well.
But what he is doing and looking at doing to use technology to also transform communities. That’d be a person to follow.
Matt: So I’ve got a cool Wayne Patrick story. I moved here, sold my company. I started in Bloomington to join the Orr Fellowship Program. Brought me to Indianapolis. Started the tech community that was formerly known as Verge.
Hackers and Founders. And I was, making or fellowship salary as making less money after college running my company in college. It’s awesome. And I was just picking up the tab because, I had just sold a company and had some money and it was like, all right, I’ll pay for beard and pizza for everybody.
He owned some Marcos pizzas or maybe was an investor in Marcos pizza. And he was just like, Hey, man, just, tell me next time we’ll make sure. And then for a year, a couple of years after that, he just covered pizza. And we’re talking like 200, 300, 400 plus person events. And it was just like, he just happened to come and was like, I got pizza.
Don’t worry. Like here’s 20 pizzas. Just talk about abundance mentality. I love that guy.
Karen: The first time I met him, someone else introduced me to him. And I sat down. We had this coffee that ended up [00:46:00] lasting two and a half hours. And he just said, Who do you want to know? What do you like to do? And so I’m saying, answering his question.
And then I say what can I do for you? And he said, no, he said, at this stage, I just like to help people build networks. And I’m like, that’s it. You talk about generous, right? This is just another example, clearly of his character, an incredibly generous person, a connector. Truly an abundance mentality.
He’s everybody can win. We, we can all do this together. Let’s do it.
Matt: Let’s see if we can get Wayne on the show. Yep. Done deal. I love it. Absolutely. Love some Marcos pizza. Oh, now I like it a lot. Karen, Jake, thank you so much for sharing some of your story here. I know there’s so much more we can do to dive deep into these topics on future episodes.
But thanks for sharing so much in such a short amount of time. Yeah. Thank you guys. Absolutely. You crushed it. Thank you. This has been Get In, a Powderkeg production in partnership with Elevate Ventures. And we want to hear from you. If you have suggestions for our guest or segment, reach out to Matt or Nate on LinkedIn or on email.
To discover top tier tech companies outside of Silicon Valley, In hubs like Indiana, check out our newsletter at powderkeg. com slash newsletter. And to apply for membership to the Powderkeg executive community, check out powderkeg.com slash premium. We’ll catch you next time and next week as we continue to help.
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