Plain Sight

A Socratic dialogue with Invisible partners and allies, where we discuss and challenge our values and principles and have honest discussions about the world. We hope that by doing so, we can see things outside of our Plain Sight with 2020 vision.

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Tuesday Sep 12, 2023

Introduction: Tooba Faroki, an expert in Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and Artificial Intelligence (AI), shares her journey from graduating in Pakistan to her role at Invisible, a leading company in the automation space.
Understanding Automation and AI:
Automation vs. AI: Automation focuses on making repetitive tasks self-executing through predefined scripts or bots. In contrast, AI mimics human cognitive functions like learning and problem-solving.
A couple of years ago, RPA was limited. It primarily required structured inputs and outputs. With advancements like Machine Learning (ML) and NLP models, there's a shift from structured to unstructured processing.
Integrated Robotic Process Automation (IRPA) has been gaining traction. It marries the traditional automation with AI capabilities.
Tooba’s Personal Journey:
Tooba kickstarted her career post-graduation by working at a local company in Pakistan. This foundational experience positioned her as an RPA expert by 2018.
Her skills and expertise led her to IBM, where she implemented numerous RPA solutions.
While ChatGPT was not present during her early career days, RPA's philosophy was clear: "set it and forget it."
About Invisible:
Unlike traditional BPOs, Invisible is an outsourcing company that understands client processes and refines them for better Return on Investment (ROI). They aim to deliver solutions faster, cheaper, and more efficiently by removing bottlenecks.
They rely on both AI and humans for certain tasks. For example, while AI can generate content, humans are essential for quality assurance.
At Invisible, there's a synergy between tech and operations. Communication is pivotal. Tooba, as a solution architect, ensures this smooth flow.
Real-world AI Implementation:
A Fortune 500 company, referred to as SQU, approached Invisible. Their sales weren't meeting expectations. Invisible stepped in to enhance the product's quality. Initially, the process was manual. Over time, they introduced automation and AI for better efficiency and results.
The overarching message Tooba conveys is that while AI can be a game-changer, it's essentially about making statistical predictions. Therefore, understanding its potential and limitations is crucial for businesses.
Incorporating AI in Business:
Companies looking to integrate AI should shift their mindset. While AI can enhance operations, it's essentially about predictions. There's always room for error. However, the aim should be to leverage AI for betterment.
Tooba’s Insights and Learnings:
One of the most intriguing lessons Tooba learned at Invisible is the importance of diversity. Interacting with a diverse range of people has enriched her understanding of human knowledge.
There's a stark difference between professional expectations in Pakistan and at Invisible. In Pakistan, a job usually aligns with a fixed role and function. At Invisible, there's room for creativity and leadership. Every individual is encouraged to be the CEO of their department, driving innovation.
Closing Remarks: Tooba's journey from Pakistan to Invisible is testament to her determination and expertise. As AI and automation continue to evolve, her insights provide a lens to understand their real-world applications better.

Wednesday Sep 06, 2023

In this episode of Plain Sight, we had an enlightening discussion with Francis Pedraza, diving deep into company growth, innovation dilemmas, and the future trajectory of businesses.
The Growth Journey:
At the start of 2022, the company had a run rate of 10 million.
By the end of 2022, this surged to a 25 million run rate.
Come the second half of 2023, there's a projected path to end the year with a 100 million run rate. This implies a 10X journey from January 2024 working back to January 2022, assuming the company reaches the projected 100 million run rate.
Understanding the Innovator's Dilemma:
Francis brought up "The Innovator's Dilemma," a book that sheds light on why big companies often struggle with innovation.
The book suggests a dynamic as potent as physics: big companies, in their quest for scaling and focusing on proven models, often overlook opportunities that seem small at first but could be the next big thing.
An example provided was the sales team. If they're accustomed to 1 million deals and suddenly a 10 million dollar deal comes up, the sales team will forget about doing 1 million dollar deals because they dont represent immediate value (but could hide massive value down the line)
Scaling and New Business Units:
Francis shared the company's diversification into 6 new business units, all of which currently have run rates below 1 million.
Although a million-dollar deal might be cause for celebration for these fledgling units, from a broader perspective, these deals barely move the needle.
The inherent challenge is the tendency of businesses that are scaling successfully to allocate resources away from newer, smaller opportunities which can represent exponential value
The Dynamics of Innovation and Expansion:
Francis delved into the conundrum faced by major companies when attempting to innovate. Often, their size and existing commitments act as constraints.
Big companies undoubtedly possess significant advantages, especially in terms of resources. However, the challenge lies in providing genuine executive support to small, innovative ideas.
The company has recently been focusing on spinning out these business ideas, ensuring they have their own resources, and not just relying on the parent company.
Discussion on Company Structure and Strategy:
He touched upon how the company's future seems intertwined with entities that might serve as both customers and providers. For instance, one unit within the company might end up being a customer to another.
An interesting point raised was the "conglomerate discount problem" – how conglomerates often get valued less than the sum of their parts.
Francis mentioned companies like Google and how they benefit by being a part of a bigger entity, Alphabet, highlighting the importance of structuring a company correctly to facilitate innovation.
Closing Thoughts:
The interview concluded with thoughts on diversifying within the knowledge work domain. Francis emphasized the need for diversification by industry and use case, as well as strengthening barriers to entry.
The vision is to deepen R&D initiatives that further fortify the company's barriers to entry.
Francis's visionary leadership combined with a thorough understanding of the dynamics of business growth and innovation promises a bright future for the company.

Friday Aug 04, 2023

Show Notes: Plain Sight Podcast
Ugur Kaner: A founder helping other founders at Collective, former positions at Udemy, and MBX(YCW14). Follow him on Twitter and on Linkedin
Intellectual curiosity and dealing with information overload.
Mindful and purposeful lifestyle.
The influence of age on achievement and wisdom.
Building and maintaining wealth.
Coping with the information age and ideological influences.
Personal and societal effects of AI.
Balancing productivity and spirituality.
Detailed Notes:
Managing Information Overload: Ugur discusses the struggle with information overload and the need to separate signal from noise. He maintain a lean approach, following fewer than five people and subscribing to select email lists. News consumption is purposeful and mindful.
Age and Wisdom: In their 20s and 30s, Ugur felt infinite energy, but as he has aged, he's learned to channel their energy wisely and focus on meaningful endeavors. Fulfillment now comes from purposeful activities.
Wealth Creation: Ugur encourages critical thinking about motives, both conscious and subconscious, in wealth creation.
Ideological Influence: Ugur discusses the human tendency to group together based on shared ideologies, a behavior traced back to finding safety in groups. Ugur urges discernment to separate ideological noise from valuable insights. Meditation is mentioned as a tool to help this process.
Language and Communication: As a non-native English speaker, Ugur emphasizes the importance of understanding the essence of communication, particularly in business relationships. They have leveraged AI to assist in communication, saving them significant time.
AI Influence: Ugur shares thoughts on AI's capabilities and potential, including its role as a non-judgmental agent. They speculate on the future of AI, especially its role in productivity vs spirituality, and the different approaches the East and West might take.
Spirituality: Ugur discusses spirituality as a non-material, survival strategy that human beings have relied on for generations. They emphasize understanding over technique, and caution against seeking material or objectified representations of spirituality.
The Future: Ugur speculates on the future, discussing potential saturation of AI, the cyclical nature of technology, and the rapid pace of innovation. They also consider the cost of these advancements, including the overuse of resources and potentially shortened lifespan.
People Mentioned:
Cody Willard
Morgan Housel
Dereck Sivers

Friday Jul 28, 2023

Guest: Fritz Hinrichs, an experienced educator (check out his website) who has brought the teachings of great books to homeschooled kids for 30 years. He was also one of the early educators of Francis and recently joined Invisible as an advisor.
Key Discussion Points:
Examination of Plato's Phaedrus:
Discussed Plato's transition from a playwright to a philosopher, drawn in by Socrates' philosophy.
Analyzed various aspects of Plato's dialogue "Phaedrus," from the beginning that deals with love to the unity of theme and logical progression of ideas.
Discussed Plato's ideas on writing and conversation, placing higher value on the act of 'writing on souls' (dialogue) over 'writing on paper'.
Introduced the idea of a 'divine madness' from Plato's Phaedrus, wherein love is seen as giving wings and being close to the love of God.
Discussion on Technology and Human Interaction:
Touched on the evolution of technology, drawing a contrast between a friend who loves technology and Fritz's preference for a life firmly rooted to the earth, similar to a hobbit hole.
Discussed the challenges of not having a physical campus at Invisible and how to maintain the value of face-to-face conversation and closeness in the age of virtual meetings.
Great Books Program and Reading Habits:
Spoke about the importance of discussing different perspectives on important issues and understanding how people see life differently.
Talked about the Great Books Program that begins with children aged 12-14, emphasizing on the importance of varied reading to avoid falling into 'reading ruts'.
Introduced the concept of 'thinking radically' and the importance of investigating the meaning of words.
Technology and Humanity:
Questioned the role of machine intelligence and its comparison to human intelligence, citing the example of ChatGPT writing a poem in Shakespearean form.
Explored how technology like AI can be seen as a tool to aid humans rather than replace them, drawing parallels with the use of calculators.
Work, Leisure, and Purpose:
Looked at the relationship between work and leisure through the perspectives of different philosophers and religious beliefs.
Discussed the importance of doing good work, ordering our work life so that the concept of retirement becomes obsolete, and understanding the purpose of work from a Christian perspective.
Role of Reason and Power:
Explored the role of reason and its limits, drawing upon the cautionary tale of the Tower of Babel where human beings tried to become gods.
Discussed the importance of understanding what a good life looks like and our relationship to a potential higher power.

Wednesday Jul 19, 2023

Show Notes
Welcome to another episode of Invisible's Plain Sight Podcast. In this compelling conversation, we journey alongside Mikkel Steen, the entrepreneur behind Everest, as he navigates the intersections of AI, humanity, and the future of work.
Mikkel Steen, an entrepreneur and software engineer, began his tech journey at the tender age of 16. He introduces himself and sets the tone for an enlightening conversation on the delicate balance between technology and humanity.
The Early Journey
Mikkel shares his early experience with AI in a previous startup, providing real-life context to his perspectives on machine learning and technology's role in businesses.
The Human-Machine Symbiosis
As we delve deeper, Mikkel contemplates the intriguing dynamic between humans and machines. He highlights the limitations of the human brain, the inevitable merger of physical and digital worlds, and the challenges that this rapid evolution presents.
The Digital Tools & The Internet Era
Mikkel shares his thoughts on the growing reliance on digital tools and the internet. He paints a vivid picture of how technology is expanding at an exponential pace and the transformative role of computers as the "calculator for the mind".
The Energy Debate & Paradigm Shift
We shift gears to a thought-provoking discussion on the energy consumption of AI models, the paradox of nuclear power, and what Mikkel envisions as the next paradigm of human evolution.
Tech Implementation & Human Enhancement
As we enter the core of the conversation, Mikkel brings to light the complexities of technology implementation. He argues for a nuanced approach that enhances humans rather than displaces them, offering insights into productivity and automation.
The Future of Work
Delving into the future of work, Mikkel elaborates on the importance of respecting the distinct roles of humans and machines in a business context. He also addresses the pressing issue of disinformation and celebrates the unique traits and flaws of human beings that machines can't replicate.
Reflecting on Invisible & The Luddite Fallacy
Mikkel shares his first impressions of Invisible and how its ethos resonated with him. The discussion broadens to encompass societal perceptions of technology, the Luddite fallacy, and the need to balance macro and micro perspectives on productivity.
Universal Basic Income & The Dream of More Time
Mikkel discusses Universal Basic Income (UBI) and the 'starving artist' phenomenon, leading to reflections on the dissonance between productivity and well-being. He shares his dream of a future where we have more free time and are more aligned with our passions.
The Regulatory Landscape & World Transformation
Navigating through the regulatory landscape, Mikkel discusses the implications of EU legislation on technology and its potential to mitigate electoral interference. He considers the transformation of the world into a startup and introduces the concept of 'product-market fit' for joy/happiness.
The Potential of AI & Open Source
Mikkel explores the potential of AI, emphasizing the importance of open-source initiatives in a decentralized world. He shares his hope for a world where lifelong learning is the norm, empowered by UBI and technology.
Breaking Processes & Dealing with Information Overload
In the final stretch of the conversation, Mikkel shares his approach to breaking down processes, managing information overload, and fostering a conducive work environment. He touches on flat organizational structures, work-life balance, and the importance of clear communication channels.
Conclusion & Future Outlook
As we wrap up, Mikkel introduces the idea of a potential partnership between his project 'Everest' and 'Cosmos.' He discusses how these platforms could optimize organizational functionality and sets an optimistic tone for the future.
Join us for this compelling journey with Mikkel Steen, as he navigates the intricate pathways between technology, humanity, and the future of work. This is one conversation you won't want to miss.

Wednesday Jun 28, 2023

Welcome to the latest episode of the Invisible Plain Sight podcast. In this episode, we are thrilled to have Laszlo Mari, the Founder of ⟁ Dakai, a cutting-edge firm operating in the crypto and AI space. You can connect with Laszlo via Twitter using this link.
Our engaging conversation with Laszlo covered a wide range of topics. Here are some of the key discussion points:
The dynamics of managing an early-stage startup and the importance of short sprints to drive production development.
The growth of crypto and AI in the Middle East and the challenges in the US due to the recent crash.
The role of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the struggles they face in obtaining a comprehensive understanding of the crypto industry.
The Internal Revenue Service's (IRS) increasing focus on crypto.
The slow and challenging process of updating accounting software to cater to the needs of the crypto industry.
The gradual adoption of crypto by the 'big four' accounting firms and their emerging ability to distinguish between good and bad actors in the industry.
The international evolution of crypto, with a particular focus on the Caribbean and Ireland's potential as a crypto haven.
The unique challenges of management in Hungary and how they relate to crowd management.
The hurdles entrepreneurs face in communist countries, drawing from Laszlo’s personal experiences with his father.
The impact of societal and educational structures on the ability of young people to think outside the box.
The transformation of conventional engineers into startup innovators.
The interplay between crypto and AI, and how this changing dynamic impacts both junior and senior engineers.
The effects of a management brain drain to Dubai in the crypto industry.
Laszlo’s perspective on AI as the translation of code to humans, negating the need for intermediate applications.
The competition for computational resources between AI and crypto companies.
The possibility of using antminers for AI computing and the percentage of compute resources that could be used for both crypto and AI.
The potential of pro-crypto individuals winning local elections in the US.
Insights into the 'AI compute gold rush' and the ease of engineers switching between blockchain and AI.
The evolution of the cost dynamics of AI in terms of computational resources.
Laszlo’s thoughts on large language models (LLMs), particularly focusing on the embedding layer and how it serves as a database on the database layer.
The push towards private large language models being driven by DAKAI.
Stay tuned for more insightful episodes and don't forget to follow us on your favorite podcast platform to stay updated.

Wednesday Jun 21, 2023

Plain Sight Podcast Show Notes
Host: Invisible Technologies
Guest: Grace Matelich, Senior Operations Manager at Invisible Technologies
Episode Highlights
Organizing Knowledge: The podcast begins with a discussion on the ease of organizing knowledge that isn't being managed and how this can be achieved swiftly with the aid of software.
Onboarding GPT: Grace elaborates on Invisible Technologies' plan to onboard GPT, focusing on the drive to boost internal GPT use.
Longevity Science and Health Metrics: The conversation moves towards longevity science and the use of the Oura Ring to measure sleep scores. Grace talks about the predictive capacity of well-being based on these metrics, particularly in relation to stress levels.
Health Journey and Wellness Plans: Grace shares thoughts on the perfect health and how health and wellness plans should be personalized for each individual. She emphasizes the importance of understanding one's baseline health literacy and navigating the journey with curiosity to find the root of any health issue.
AI and Operations: How AI will change operations is a key topic of this episode. The discussion centers around the adaptation and phased integration of AI at the company level, with an emphasis on encouraging participation.
Dealing with Unknown Unknowns: Grace talks about how to handle unknown unknowns, highlighting the importance of trust, faith, and resilience. She shares insights from her personal experiences that have shaped her approach to these issues.
Scarcity vs Abundance: This section delves into problems related to scarcity and abundance, with a specific focus on managing capacity and health in an environment of abundance.
Work-Life Balance and Communication: Grace discusses the importance of clear communication and how it can be improved. She also shares her approach to managing work and personal time, emphasizing the importance of maintaining balance and structure.
AI, Ethics, and the Future: The podcast ends with a thought-provoking discussion on the implications of AI having long-term memory and how it may change our relationships with others. The conversation touches on whether AI can be considered a being and how it might impact hard skills. Grace also shares her hopeful vision for the future, where AI assists in tasks we'd rather not do.
Websites Mentioned A scheduling automation app that finds the best time for your meetings, tasks, habits, and breaks. It's designed for any busy team and can help to defend No-Meeting Days and maintain Focus Time​1​.

Tuesday Jun 13, 2023

Welcome to Plain Sight, the podcast where we unveil the hidden stories behind remarkable companies and their visionary leaders. In this episode, we delve into the world of Invisible Technologies, a groundbreaking company revolutionizing the outsourcing and consulting landscape. Join our hosts, Stewart Alsop and Francis Pedraza, as they navigate through a wealth of insights, strategies, and thought-provoking ideas shared by the Invisible team.
Discover how Invisible Technologies tackles complex business challenges by leveraging innovative approaches such as hiring as a service and strategy as a service. Gain a deeper understanding of their unique business model, which combines operations expertise with long-term strategy, defensibility, and value creation. Explore the fascinating concept of "Ascendency," where strategy consultants tap into their extensive networks to offer holistic solutions to clients.
Dive into the world of Ultimate Bank, a financial ecosystem designed to empower Invisible's vast agent network and unlock opportunities for wealth creation and financial education. Explore the company's mission to build cornered resources and provide agents with access to better securities, returns, and savings products.
Through engaging conversations and thought-provoking discussions, this episode reveals Invisible Technologies' journey to becoming a transformative force in the industry. Join us as we unveil the strategies, insights, and experiences that have shaped this extraordinary company and its visionary leaders.
Tune in to Plain Sight and get ready to uncover the extraordinary stories that lie just beneath the surface of remarkable companies like Invisible Technologies.
Notes from the show:
Introduction to Invisible's background and ownership structure.
Exploring the concept of disruptive outsourcing and the role of automation.
Invisible's unique position in the industry and potential for commercialization.
Highlighting the success of the internal hiring function and the idea of "hiring as a service."
The significance of equity, profitability, and capital allocation in Invisible's growth.
Long-term goals, profitability, and financial physics of the business.
Exploring Key Concepts:
Segmentation and coordination costs in scaling businesses.
Allocation strategies and insights from successful companies.
The importance of defensibility and barriers in building great businesses.
Visionary Ventures as a new approach to venture capital.
How Ascendency offers strategy as a service and aligns with Invisible's operations.
Potential for creating a cultural complex and changing the venture industry.
Ascendency: Strategy as a Service:
Unique approach to strategy consulting and the failures of traditional firms.
Contrasting short-term, highly scoped models with long-term, holistic strategies.
Aligning consultants with equity compensation and underwriting over time.
The potential for Ascendency to become a trillion-dollar company and reshape the industry.
Leveraging networks, thought partnerships, and cultural critique in strategy consulting.
Ultimate Bank and Financial Services:
Introduction to Invisible's agent network and plans for expansion.
Overview of Ultimate Bank's mission to provide better financial services to agents.
Offering inflation-hedged deposit accounts and investment products.
Building trust, education, and a virtuous cycle of savings and investment.
Potential partnerships with existing financial institutions.
Financial Strategies and Cornered Resources:
Shifting cash flows and optimizing the income statement and balance sheet.
Labor costs as a significant factor and considerations for agent compensation.
Building a cornered resource for agents through financial services, community, and education.
Exploring the treasury, wealth-building, and financial literacy for partners.
The importance of baselining against Vanguard and creating a worldwide financial network.

Thursday May 11, 2023

Aki is an advisor to Invisible focusing on Artificial Intelligence and helping Invisible to do market validation. Find Aki here on Twitter:
Show Notes
How will AI change the peer review process?
The pyramid of ideas evolves from knowledge to wisdom.
The internet has significantly opened up access to data.
Ideas are networks that are supported by data.
Advanced AI is capable of processing and analyzing large amounts of data.
AI can extract useful information from data, but it's still humans who synthesize wisdom from it.
The individual is knowledgeable about the peer review system.
There's a high level of analysis involved in the process.
The scientific publishing sector was greatly impacted by the emergence of open-source journals.
Why is the integration of AI in certain fields still a distant prospect?
In marketing content, there's a technical component. However, the essential need is for relevant content.
AI is creating a different game in various sectors.
AI has the potential to replace unskilled labor and augment our base capabilities.
AI could help lower the costs of education.
Chegg's earnings have significantly dropped.
If the technology for self-driving cars works well, it could revolutionize transport.
AI developed and used within legal frameworks is safer.
The developing world could greatly benefit from educational AI.
OpenAI recently published an epilogue.
The human brain functions like a parallel system, capable of data analysis and creativity.
Aki Balogh got into AI due to his interest in data analysis, his computer science and business degrees, and his experience in management consulting.
The emergence of Hadoop has enabled the handling of very large data sets.
The challenge now is figuring out what we can do with all this data.
Generative AI and tools like Spark are revolutionizing data analysis.
The introduction of AI in education may lead to inevitable job losses. Education is the only solution to this problem.
In 2009, I was working in Abu Dhabi under tough conditions. Someone gave me a computer and suggested I use Khan Academy, which is free.
The use of AI, like GPT-4, can empower even non-technical individuals.
The challenge of integrating new technologies into a system remains.
The enemy is wasted human potential. If we apply ourselves, we can figure out everything.
The idea of writing as a cyborg brings into question the limitations of data.
The omnipresent force of technology can sometimes overwhelm our nervous systems. We need better strategies to consume this tech.
Market Muse attempted to diagram the whole channel to map the entire value chain of a product.
The goal of AGI (Artificial General Intelligence) is a contentious topic.
Every person has multiple talents that can be utilized.
AI safety is a critical concern as we develop more sophisticated AI.
AI safety can be likened to raising a child, with an emphasis on preventing an "Oedipus complex."
The singularity concept involves humans and AI merging, much like a Borg.
AI can significantly contribute to reducing waste and improving efficiency.
AI might help us reach our capacity for progress faster.
The role of VCs is crucial in the growth of new tech companies.
Values come from wisdom, which we hope to instill in our children.
It's not the strongest who survive, but the most adaptable.
The potential for building infrastructure on Bitcoin is being explored.

Wednesday May 03, 2023

This a special episode where Francis, President of Invisible Technologies will walk us through the past, present and future of Invisible Technologies in his own creative language.


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