My AI Passion

AI has become a hot focus for entrepreneurs. Their challenge is figuring out how to turn AI into a viable business for their respective industries. Getting started can be as easy as bringing together a “crack” team with a visionary leading the charge, a back-end (mad) data scientist, an accomplished front-end web developer, and an AI researcher with credentials. Enter Steve, Vahan, Colin and yours truly!

My path started with 20 years in academia in economics and psychology. I was always enamored with cognitive science and neural networks/machine learning and became intrigued with the notion of turning my passion into useful business applications.

Ironically, despite being allergic to social networking, my first step was facilitated by LinkedIn. In fact, my much better half, (Nadine Jeserich, also a Ph.D. Economist) was initially recruited by’s parent company ROI Research on Investment. We were working in Europe at the time, and she was invited down for a private chat to Cannes, France. Admittedly, I wasn’t in love with the idea of having my wife travel to a French resort town to meet a stranger that reached out to her online. But I am so happy she went, because the meeting was a smashing success and Nadine was promptly offered a job.

Once she began working at the company, Nadine quickly found out that new developments in the firm were evolving around the use of AI/Machine learning in the economic development and business attraction context. As good luck would have it, I had done half of my Ph.D. in Psychology  and completed a post-doctoral research program in Cognitive Science applying AI methods to understand human decision making. I published several papers in this area, primarily in Psychology journals. Back then, the reactions from my economics colleague on the applications of AI ranged from indifference to outright resistance.

When Nadine mentioned to Steve, that I had been working in the field of AI since 1993, published several papers and have papers applying AI to many contexts, the stage was set.

After starting as an external consultant and developing the theory and code to apply AI to forecast corporate growth and expansion we were off to the races with our first two prototypes!

A year later, it became clear that my career in academia would serve as a great stepping stone to shine the light on what could be accomplished in the private sector. With a great sense of gratitude and a lifetime of wonderful memories, I said goodbye to the world of higher learning and hello to life in a tech start-up… it was Go time!

Coming next is the story of how went from prototype to the next, state-of-the-art stage. Stay tuned!

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