A cocktail of flexibility and Stubbornness – By Rand Hindi
As an Indian, his name had my attention, but it was when he started describing artificial intelligence, life as a CEO of a start-up and how to keep going, that we all had our sights fixed.
I am a dual-degree student at ESCP, Paris (The world’s first business school). There, among many other courses, I am a student in the course of ‘Strategy’. To facilitate the understanding of how the conventional aspects of business strategy are being challenged, redesigned and used in unconventional manners in the current environment of entrepreneurship, we have been provided by an excellent opportunity to have the agents of this change come and speak to us. Their stories, the challenges they have faced and how they dealt with failures are things that make you stand up and take notice. It is, as part of this wonderful initiative from our Professor, Martin Kupp, that we have been fortunate to have the interaction with Dr. Rand. This is one big USP of ESCP – These opportunities are there in numbers, it is up to you how you make the most out of it.
About Rand Hindi
This is common knowledge on the internet, but for those who are hearing about his name for the first time (Like most of my Indian friends), here is an introduction from about.me (https://about.me/rand.hindi):
Dr. Rand Hindi (@randhindi) is an entrepreneur and data scientist. He is the founder and CEO of Snips, who builds an Artificial Intelligence to make technology disappear.
Rand started coding at the age of 10, founded his first startup at 14 and created a web development agency at 15 before starting his PhD at the age of 21.
He has been elected as a TR35 by the MIT Technology Review, as a “30 under 30” by Forbes, as a Rising Star by Founders Forum, and received the Excellence Française award.
The lecture began on the grounds of understanding how Artificial Intelligence is impacting our lives on a day to day basis.
The tangible technologies apart, AI, as told by Dr. Rand, is at the heart of the digital revolutions shaping our lives and behaviors on a day to day basis – Couple of examples being Google’s search algorithm and Facebook’s (If this doesn’t have your attention, then – Maybe Google what will have)
We were then told about http://snips.ai and how the work they are doing will help us manage our ‘Connected’ devices with less strain on the head (And hopefully, less hair loss!)
It was the graphs which really had me hooked on! The description regarding how the number of connected devices is going to boom in the coming decade was par-excellence! It made it so easy to understand what the team at Snips is working on and how it will be integrated with our lives. I guess once people understand that bit, the product has that little extra!
The issues about privacy were beautifully addressed. Dr. Rand explained how by taking care of user privacy, a competitive advantage had been created and that is what will make Snips different!
But then, the best part of the lecture was in the following bullets (I love bullets and hence bear with me on these):
- Don’t get stuck – Be flexible to let go of an idea when it seems to be going nowhere after a specific time.
- But then find a balance between Flexibility and being stubborn – Don’t let people tell you down easily. Nothing is an overnight success. Perseverance is the key here but with a pragmatic outlook – That is the balance.
“Build and Kill, then rebuild!”
- Never ever believe in the notion of overnight successes – No company ever is.
On the topic of success, there were some beautiful lessons:
- Understand at the onset what success means to you, because as is with classical management – It depends!
- Everything is an experiment. Define your hypothesis and do the tests
- Most important of all, keep measuring! Measure and measure, make things specific. Have KPIs and evaluate yourself on a routine!
Patents are important. Not so that you can keep the big players out, but because you don’t want to be kept out by the big players.
Understand that what is being addressed is more important than how it is being addressed. Know that people love stories of the small player winning! (Leicester city is an example if you follow EPL). Until you are not a Google, you are up against Google. Keep your vision clear, and always remember – Be flexible, yet stubborn.
The summary may not do justice to the lecture and its impact – It is not always easy to summarize such events. But I would like you to focus on the key takeaways and see where you can use them in your life. On this note, I will like to thank Dr. Rand Hindi for an extremely enriching lecture and my professor, Mr. Martin Kupp for providing such an opportunity.
With love, from Paris