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Equation of Excellence

EP007: Michael True | CEO & Co-Founder | Prescient AI

Join us in this episode of Equation of Excellence as we explore the entrepreneurial journey of Michael True, CEO and Co-Founder of Prescient AI. Michael shares his transition from challenging sales roles at ADP and IBM to pioneering AI-driven solutions in the e-commerce sector. He discusses the strategic pivots that reshaped Prescient AI, particularly the shift from the music industry to e-commerce during the COVID-19 pandemic. Emphasizing the importance of discipline and a positive company culture, Michael provides valuable insights on leadership, innovation, and the impact of a motivated and dedicated team.

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In the latest episode of Equation of Excellence, we had the pleasure of hosting Michael True, CEO and Co-Founder of Prescient AI. Michael, also known as Mikey T, shared his fascinating journey from sales and corporate roles to leading a cutting-edge AI company. Here are the key takeaways from our conversation.

Michael's Equation of Excellence

Michael believes that excellence is directly correlated with discipline. Both personal and professional discipline are crucial drivers of success. Moreover, he emphasizes that company culture plays a significant role in achieving excellence. A positive and supportive work environment is essential because happy people build great products. By fostering a culture where employees are motivated and engaged, companies can achieve higher levels of productivity and innovation.

Background and Journey

Michael True's career began with challenging roles at ADP and IBM. At ADP, he pounded the pavement in a tough sales environment, learning the ropes of persistence and resilience. This experience was invaluable, teaching him the importance of discipline and the reality of high-pressure sales. Later, at IBM, Michael was part of the Watson School, gaining early exposure to AI and data science, which would become crucial in his entrepreneurial journey.

His transition to entrepreneurship started with a venture in the music industry, where he developed a data science model to predict tour schedules for record labels. This model aimed to optimize tour locations and schedules, providing valuable insights to artists and their management teams. However, the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted this venture, as live touring came to a halt. This setback prompted Michael to pivot his focus toward the e-commerce sector, where he saw an opportunity to apply his expertise in data science and AI.

Prescient AI's Evolution

Prescient AI originally focused on the music industry, building a model to predict successful tour schedules. When the pandemic hit, Michael and his team recognized the need to pivot. They shifted their focus to solving attribution problems in e-commerce. The AI model they developed aimed to predict the success of marketing campaigns and optimize advertising strategies, providing businesses with actionable insights to enhance their performance.

This transition was not without challenges. Michael's co-founder, a highly skilled engineer, spent years refining the AI model. The dedication paid off, as the model became a highly accurate tool for predicting and optimizing e-commerce performance. This pivot not only saved the company but also positioned it as a leader in AI-driven e-commerce solutions.

Challenges and Strategic Decisions

Michael's journey involved significant challenges, including intense travel and the need for a strategic pivot during the pandemic. In his last year of corporate life, Michael took 134 flights, which underscored the demanding nature of his role. Despite these challenges, he remained focused on his goal of combining data science and software transactions to create impactful solutions.

The decision to pivot to e-commerce AI solutions was crucial. Michael and his team built a robust model, secured investor support, and navigated the complexities of developing a sophisticated AI tool. This strategic move allowed Prescient AI to address a real market need and establish itself as a key player in the industry.

Technical Innovations and Team Dynamics

The technical innovation at Prescient AI involved building a sophisticated AI model with the help of skilled engineers and data scientists. The model focused on accurate prediction and optimization of e-commerce campaigns, providing businesses with insights to improve their marketing efforts. This innovation was driven by a dedicated team, including a co-founder who spent years refining the model.

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