How I Became Artificially Intelligent (and how you can too)

Use artificial intelligence to get one step ahead of networking.

April 30th, 2017   |    By: Josh Rochlin    |    Tags: Technology

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I know a lot. Or rather, I know a lot more than I should naturally know.  Specifically, I know a lot about people before I meet them – not through clairvoyance, but through artificial intelligence.

There is nothing strategic in this post. Just some practical suggestions about three tools I am using – Accompany, Notion.ai, and Sende.rs. – to artificially enhance my intelligence.

As I have written about before, I spend a lot of my day networking with entrepreneurs and VCs about their ventures and prospective investments.  And sometimes I lose track. Where did I connect with this executive? or, Who asked me to speak with this founder? I no longer lose track. In fact, I am usually ahead of the curve. Here’s how:

Accompany is a tool from one of last year’s hottest startups.  By simply sharing my Gmail credentials, Accompany delivers a morning “Briefing” about each of the people I will meet that day. (Fig.1 and 2) These briefings include: their photo, current and historical positions, recent social posts, career history, and our pre-meeting correspondence.  There is also a companion app for the service that neatly lays out my calendar with links to this same information (Fig. 3) as well as a news feed similar to the information you might find on LinkedIn or by doing a news search.  While at times, I have found some of the Accompany information inaccurate (identifying history for the wrong person), the briefing contains links to report such inaccuracies, and in the 6 months I have been using Accompany, the accuracy has improved dramatically. I also appreciate the feature that sends me a briefing notification again, minutes before my meeting (Fig. 4).   Accompany has high ambitions to become “the executive’s best friend.” It is well on its way and I look forward to watching Amy Chang and her team add more AI and machine learning features.

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Notion calls itself a “communications intelligence company.”  But that makes it sound more complicated than necessary.  Notion is an easy-to-use and awesome-to-enjoy mobile email client for both iOs and Android.  Notion’s smart notifications are particularly good at pushing to the home screen only those emails that are “important.” Notion also appears to continuously learn which emails fail to rise to the level of “interesting” to me.

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But the beauty of Notion lies in its features beyond simple email.  Notion’s “Radar” and “People” functions are what inflate my intelligence and keeps me coming back.  Radar is Notion’s use of natural language processing (NLP) and intent analysis to look into my email and identify those items that I have not responded to and those questions I have posed to others that have not received a response.  Radar presents a list of whom you need to “nudge” (they call it that) and who you need to respond to.  I make time each week to review the Radar and strive to get to “Radar Zero”.

But by far my favorite Notion feature is “People”.  Here Notion assembles your most recent and frequent contacts and surfaces helpful information and useful insights such as connection strength, email volume, latest correspondence (Fig. 1) responsiveness (Fig 2), contact Information, social links (Fig 3) and how you were connected – what Notion call “Origin mapping” (Fig 4).  There is also a feature that, when activated, will display “mutual connections.”  This last option can be particularly helpful when looking for mutual points of interest or references.

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Finally, as an Amazon Echo fanboy, I particularly appreciate Notion’s early (and ambitious !) release of an Alexa Skill that allows me to ask Notion “what’s important” and have her read me my latest emails, respond, and access some of the AI elements outlined above – all through voice interactions with my Echo.  The skill is still a bit clumsy, but holds great promise.  (see video)

I am sure that the Notion team is dreaming up (and executing) on new intelligent ways to a uncover relevant and useful information from my email and social graph.

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About the Author

Josh Rochlin

As the founding CEO of Xtify, I pioneered the Mobile CRM category and built the leading engagement platform for the enterprise.

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