Dennis Mortensen is the CEO and Founder of x.ai, whose artificial intelligence driven personal assistant lets people schedule meetings using plain English and nothing more than a CC to firstname.lastname@example.org. He’s a pioneer and expert in the analytics, optimization and big data space and has been since its inception – he is also a fully-fledged entrepreneur and successfully delivered a number of company exits. He’s an accredited Associate Analytics Instructor at the University of British Columbia, the Author of Data Driven Insights from Wiley and a frequent speaker on the subject of Analytics and Data. A native of Denmark, Mortensen currently calls New York City his home.
What do you do best?
Schedule meetings! x.ai schedules meetings, no more no less.
What makes you the best?
x.ai requires nothing more than cc’ing Amy. We’re not an app and we don’t require you to download anything. We think it is important that people distinguish between traditional App's which typically empowers the user to do a job better - and that of intelligent agents which tend to do the job in full. Amy @ x.ai works as an agent and operates over email - think of this as "invisible software". Just imagine how you would want to interact with a self driving car--it certainly can't be one of drop-downs, check-boxes and submit buttons, it almost per definition needs to be "invisible software" for where the only input is the initial request. Amy schedules meetings in very much the same way, you give her a set of orders and let her run away to work on it. She does the job in full.
How will you stay the best?
A quick look at what our users are saying gives us the confidence we’re onto something big here. We’ve made an amazing product that will only get better as more people use it and we realistically believe we could win the market. Think of the market size: 87 million knowledge workers in the US alone schedule upwards of 10 billion meetings a year. Amy could handle all of them. Even more interesting, let’s envision you and I both use x.ai to schedule meetings. That’s where the real magic happens. Amy can skip the dialogue and schedule freely within the personal preferences of both the host and guest. We call this scheduling nirvana!
What are your aspirations: business & personal?
It’s an extremely difficult challenge to bring Amy to life, ~35 propellerheads (data scientists and engineers) and I have been in the basement for the last year and a half building something for which nobody has yet to solve. A Verticalized AI which can schedule meetings. We just might be crazy, but this is what we set out to do and we are not f*cking surrendering! On a personal level; All I want is a couple of diet cokes in the fridge, a nice laptop and some hours in the sun once in a while.
What fascinates you?
Exponential technological advancement. Two decades out, where I'll still be alive, our technology is likely to be hundreds of thousands, perhaps even million times more advanced that they are today. It is so hard to understand that it seems almost unbelievable. That’s fascinating.
Never surrender! But I’m also quite fond of the x.ai pledge. It’s something we all live by and place great emphasis on in our day to day. An essential part of our hiring process.
My current and past life is a triangle between Scandinavia, Barbados and New York :-)
My work is conducted on Google Apps, Slack, Tripit and x.ai
I love the entrepreneurial struggle - and find that initial 1 to 50 people in a new startup almost romantic!