Invisible Technologies Unveiled: A Fireside Chat at Abundance360

Published by Invisible Technologies on April 24, 2024

Featuring Benjamin Plummer and Francis Pedraza


During the recent Abundance360 Summit, a fireside chat titled “Applied AI: A Practical Approach to Harnessing the Power of AI for Your Business” took center stage. Available to a live, members-only audience and accessible via streaming, the discussion explored the integration of artificial intelligence into business practices.

Peter Diamandis, the summit's founder, welcomed Invisible Technologies' visionary founder, Francis Pedraza, and CEO, Ben Plummer, for an in-depth conversation on operational innovation through AI. The dialogue between Diamandis, Pedraza, and Plummer revealed how Invisible Technologies is leading the charge in AI advancements to revolutionize business operations.

The following blog outlines key themes and insights from their engaging exchange, highlighting AI's practical applications in transforming businesses worldwide.

A Digital Assembly Line for the Operations Innovation

Diamandis set the stage for his members-only audience of some 500 executives by asking, "So what is Invisible Technologies? Why are you here? What can you do for our membership?" 

"Invisible is a digital assembly line ... We have 2,600 people in 96 countries ... and we've integrated hundreds, 300 different AI and automation tools into our process builder," said Pedraza, “we’re going to try to break down every process in your company, automate as much as possible. But whatever can't be automated, we can plug in PhDs, masters, human specialists of any kind to do the stuff that computers still can't do. And that gives us an end-to-end operations capability, like a superpower.” 

Plummer added, "We really think about it as unlocking creativity and innovation. We saw yesterday most of the time; we spend 90% of our time focused on the process and 10% on the creativity. Imagine you could flip that and spend 90% of your time inventing and creating, spending time with your customers and leave the heavy lifting to us. And that was a lot of the idea behind Invisible is to unlock all that creativity and innovation."

The Power of Automation and Human Expertise

When asked about Invisible’s client roster, “an incredible who’s who,” Pedraza revealed that Invisible's work with leading AI innovators highlights the company's pivotal role in developing advanced technologies and sets the stage for understanding how technologies transition from theoretical models to practical tools across diverse sectors, “We have actually helped build a lot of the AIs people are hearing about today. OpenAI … Microsoft, Cohere, all of these AI model companies, their number one cost is usually compute and their number two cost is advanced AI training.” 

“AI is very much in R&D mode right now, but what matters is commercializing it, making it actually create new capabilities for a business in the furniture industry or the toy industry or private equity or what have you. That's what actually matters.”

Plummer shifted to one of his favorite operations case studies,” One that I love is … an on-demand delivery company most people know. We were partnering with them in the pandemic. And so, while they're having a huge rush of restaurants trying to load onto the platform, they had to shut their offices and basically lost all their operational capability. And so we partnered with them, mapped out their processes, automated as much of it as we can, and then used the humans on our platform to do the rest of the work. And so they were able to scale up massive capability, cut the cost of onboarding drastically, and probably most importantly, launch into new markets very quickly, add new language capabilities, add new regions. And so they've been a great partner of ours over many years.”

Looking at his audience, Diamandis asked Plummer for more details, “They had stress because of growth demands or reconfiguration, and you sat down with them and helped them map out all the operations going on?”

“That's exactly right … Companies come to us. They don't know where to start. They're asking questions around how AI can help for me and my business. And we sit down and really understand, what's your strategy? What are your goals? And start from the top and then break it down and go function by function, process by process. And usually, that sort of starts with prioritizing, where are you feeling most constrained? What's holding back the growth of your business and how can we help there? … So we break it down. We figure out what we can use AI for and then have the capabilities to supplement that where the technology might not be ready yet or is still in the early stages of development,” Plummer answered.

Diamandis approved and continued, “What I love is your business model because it's so pro-customer. It's such an advantage. I'm looking for my own companies in the room here, making sure they're hearing this.”

The Philosophy of Efficiency and Customer-Centric Pricing

Invisible's innovative business model, centered on efficiency and mutual benefit, starkly contrasts with the traditional consultancy model. Pedraza critiqued the traditional hourly billing practice while emphasizing Invisible's commitment to mutual growth and creating value through streamlined operations: "20th-century services giants … bill by the hour. Their incentive is to bill as many hours as possible without getting fired. But when you can agree on a unit price, then everyone's incentives are aligned with efficiency.”

Looking at Invisible’s pricing model as a new way to do business, Pedraza continued, “The deflationary pricing comes through like a scale plan that we come up with. And we think of it as gain sharing. So, if we can make it 10x more efficient, that creates abundance, right? You can share some of that with the client.”

Diamandis asked about upfront charges, given the proof of concept analytics-based approach, and Pedraza said there were no fees. Again, looking at his audience, clearly in awe of Invisible’s results-based pricing model, Diamandis exclaimed, “Why would everybody not do that? … Do you guys get it?” 

A Global Network of Talent and Expertise, The Human Data Loop

Understanding how research teams can get better ROI on human data operations and accelerate innovation simultaneously was the subject of a recent white paper published by Invisible, The Human Data Loop, which led Diamandis to shift to the Invisible workforce. “2,600 individuals that you tap into, Who are they? Where are they? What's their background?”

Pedraza answered, “Amazingly, we have like 250 of them in the United States, and they're PhDs and Masters. And so we have people all over the world … talent is everywhere, and we've been a remote company from day one.” 

Embracing Transformation: A Glide Path

Getting to the main topic of the fireside chat, what the audience was there to learn about was the subject of AI transformation. Diamandis began, “In the AI world, where someone's saying, okay, I really need to start utilizing AI in my business. I'm not exactly sure how I can use it or what data I have. Talk about that one more time, that on-ramp.” Plummer, the CEO who shepherded the upstart company to record-breaking growth, offered straight talk and got to the bottom line, “Don't try and wait for the perfect user. We make that partnership really easy. Come talk to us. We'll share experiences around what we're seeing in the market and then help bring you on that journey. It's a sort of glide path, where you start with one part of your business, start to learn and experience what that's like, and then we'll expand over time.” With a futurist view he concluded, “I think if we look back in a couple of years from now, it will be almost unrecognizable in terms of what we actually see.”

Looking at the opportunity cost of in-house experimentation and outsourcing to a partner who can put clients “on an exponential roadmap,” Diamandis asked his audience to imagine if, “All of a sudden, because you've gone through the individualization of all of these steps, you know this can be automated, this is machine learning, this is generative AI, this can be outsourced. And then all of those things are on their own growth curves, right? Where if you own everything internally, then you're stuck on your own growth curve. It just is not the right way to do it.”

Diamandis mentions Salim Ismail, author of Exponential Organizations, a best-selling book about teaching organizations to embrace new technologies and use disruptions to scale growth, “my dear friend … talks about the criticality of outsourcing to be an exponential organization… this is a perfect example of how to do that.” Addressing his audience, he continues, “We're blind to disruption until it comes to us from someplace else. And a lot of times, the only way you can truly get disruption is from outside forces looking at yourself and saying, well, how could we do this, right?” He asked how companies identify the right team or person to be that agent of change. Pedraza answered, “Change can come from anywhere in an organization, but it's a paradigm shift … if a company is ready to make a transformation like that and brainstorm new capabilities, we're the right partner.” To his members-only audience, Diamandis reveals, “I hope you can appreciate that. That's what we all need to be constantly thinking of. How do you disrupt yourself? And it's tough to do it in a vacuum on your own. You can have that aha moment if you're a quick start thinker, but a lot of times, what you really need is the right people around you, the right advisors.” 

Plummer added, “Keep a keen eye, be very curious, and that will stimulate the ideation process. And then use partners like Invisible. We work with all the leading model developers and they're out there every day working with companies, figuring out how to leverage and use these technologies, and we'd love to be a thought partner. “

As Francis Pedraza and company approach a deeper dive into case studies and their backgrounds, Diamandis asks, “Why did you call it Invisible?” Citing Authur C. Clark, the founder replied with a smile, “Technology is at its best when it's invisible. Any sufficiently advanced technology becomes indistinguishable from magic.” 

To watch the fireside chat presentation with Francis and Ben, click here.

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