Working at - changing lives with AI

Do you ever feel like something is missing?

You are working hard, achieving success in the form of promotions and recognition, delivering a lot of impact for your organization - but you are still struggling to truly feel fulfilled at work.

I know that I found myself in this position before founding I was lucky at the time to be working with some of the best and brightest colleagues, on the most innovative new technology solutions that were being used by billions of people around the world - but I still felt like something was missing.

I remain very grateful for that experience as it taught me a lot about the challenges and thrills of growing from a startup to one of the largest companies in the world and helped shape my definition of excellence at work. However, in reflection, I found that most of my energy came from the times where I was able to work with a small cross-functional team on a project that had inspiring real world impact.

As a multi-time startup founder & CEO, I missed the startup environment where I had to roll up my sleeves and work as a team to accomplish improbable goals. In order for me to feel totally fulfilled and energized, I also realized that I needed to be pursuing a truly inspiring mission that had a demonstrable real world impact on people.

In founding, I believed that it was inevitable that AI would be the biggest technology opportunity of my lifetime, but it was less inevitable that that would be a good thing for most people. This debate has only intensified since I founded the company, but only reinforces the need to be intentional and purpose-driven when building with this powerful technology.

AI has the potential to be life changing for billions of people - from more accurate diagnosis and treatment of rare diseases that affect more than 300 million people around the world, to acceleration of drug discovery and clinical trials that could be life changing for billions of people and their families, to more equitable financial products for the estimated 2 billion unbanked and underbanked people around the world, to better mental health identification and intervention to curb the rapid rise in depression, suicide, and anxiety - and many more critical real world applications.

Applying AI in these areas is hard. Seeing it through to real world impact is even harder. These use cases all involve incredibly sensitive data and any application of AI needs to factor in privacy, security, responsible use, ethics, and work within a dynamic global regulatory environment of more than 120 current and tabled legislations that define the contours of an acceptable solution. All of this to say that work in this area is not for the faint of heart and you have to really care about it to dedicate your time and energy to it.

We have a saying at that “we do hard things”. We call this out specifically because we want to help organizations integrate AI to solve the world’s most important problems, without compromising the world’s most sensitive data. If you were to make a list of AI use cases from easy to hard, we are working on the conditions to enable them from the bottom up. That said, if you make that same list from highest impact to lowest, we are certainly starting at the top. This requires new approaches to AI enablement, especially in highly regulated industries and highly sensitive data. We need to move away from the age old approach of breaking down data silos, to a world where we can quickly activate them safely for AI collaboration.

We have an impact goal of changing 1 million lives in 1,000 days through our platform - a safe data collaboration platform enabling AI and analytics across data silos, without moving data. We see this as an important and pragmatic first step on our journey to changing 1 billion lives next!

We have started tracking our progress in a quarterly report to make sure we hold ourselves accountable to measuring our impact in lives extended, enhanced, and saved. This is not always an exact science since we enable a community of developers, researchers and data scientists that are building and deploying these new AI systems, but it is a meaningful endeavour that unites our team. It ensures we are tracking the use of our platform through the successful enablement of new AI-powered use cases in industries like healthcare and financial services, to the impact those use cases have on real people and their quality of life.

This is almost never a straight line and progress at times can be frustratingly slow, but each person whose life is extended, enhanced or saved (even in small part) because exists is priceless. It is not just another number on a company scoreboard or dollar in our bank account, it is a family that gets more time with a loved one, or a child that gets a chance to grow up, or a person that avoids a predatory financial product and can build a better future for themselves and their family.

As an enabling technology platform, it is also about the dedicated researcher, clinician, business leader, data scientist, developer, or data collaborator that has been working tirelessly on these problems for years and can use our platform to unblock their projects and realize the full impact of their work in the form of breakthrough new solutions, cures, drugs, products, and research.

As JFK said in his famous 1969 speech:

“We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard; because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one we intend to win, and the others, too.“ [11]

We have built from the ground up to be a company with soul. To have an inspiring mission and a set of values and beliefs that unite us and drive purpose into our lives and careers. We also know that working in a startup is hard. We often hit our heads against the wall, we fail, we make mistakes, we pivot, we iterate, and we have to work really hard to be successful. But when our story is ultimately written, we hope it is one that starts and ends with the impact we had on people - perhaps even people in our families, friend groups or communities - that were made meaningfully better because existed.

Our mission and values continue to help us assemble a world-class team with incredible skill, curiosity, integrity and passion. It also creates the conditions to build meaningful relationships and do our best work.

As we expand our team it is critical that we add highly skilled people who share our passion, our purpose, and our values.

We are really early in a massive AI movement and even earlier in seeing its full potential in important areas like our health, financial security, and well being. We need to be intentional about the future we choose to create and we need builders who care enough about this purpose-driven AI future to help us enable it.

If this post resonates with you and you are ready to do hard (but very fulfilling) things, I would encourage you to check out our open roles and we would love to hear from you. If not as a member of our team (now), maybe as a partner, a collaborator, an advocate, a research partner, or a customer.

We are going to need a lot of people to come together under this mission to build a better future. We would love to have you join us on this journey.

Onwards and Upwards!

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