Mike Malatesta

Entrepreneur | Author | Coach

Mike Malatesta

Entrepreneur | Author | Coach

Evan Ryan, Why You Need To Make AI Your Business Growth Teammate (#250)

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Evan Ryan is the founder of Teammate AI, a company that uses artificial intelligence to help entrepreneurs scale their businesses. Teammate AI has launched and fueled companies like Lede AI and ContentX, which employ artificial intelligence to write, edit, and publish content without the need for human intervention. Over the last five years, Teammate has helped hundreds of companies save millions of hours by implementing artificial intelligence in everything from simple tasks to multi-day operations. Evan spends most of his time teaching entrepreneurs how to save time using AI and designing solutions that enable teams to move away from being human computers and toward providing more significant, more dynamic value.

Evan Ryan comes from a family of entrepreneurs, which instilled in him early in life the values of integrity and independence, two of the most important values an entrepreneur can have. While searching for himself, Evan attended a technology conference back in 2016 that exposed him to AI’s power. Jeremy Howard – former #1 AI researcher in the world – spoke at this conference about AI implementation. For example, Google was using AI to take pictures of street addresses for Google Streetview, but what sparked Evan’s interest the most was that the speaker had created an AI that could diagnose cancer by looking at MRIs & CT scans. It was doing so more accurately than a team of board-certified doctors.

Building an AI Business

During the same Singularity University conference, Peter H. Diamandis spoke on stage and said that “The best way to make a billion dollars is to make a positive impact on a billion people’s lives.” It was the first time Evan got exposed to AI and its potential, but he was hooked. He decided to create his business around AI and use it to help people enhance their lives.

When it comes to using AI in businesses, Evan and his team at Teammate AI focus on freeing up people’s time from tasks that could be done by an AI so that the team can focus on what only humans can do. Applying this concept to a company can have a dramatic positive change, for example, by removing tedious tasks and putting people in their genius zone, where they can make the most significant difference.

Implementing Artificial Intelligence (AI) in a business can make it scale much more quickly and effectively, and you can learn more about it from Evan Ryan’s book, AI as Your Teammate: Electrify Growth without Increasing Payroll.

And now here’s Evan Ryan.

Show Notes

[3:36] How’d it happen for Evan?
[7:29] Starting his business
[12:28] A background of his entrepreneurial family
[13:26] Taking behavioral neuroscience
[16:55] The dedication on his book
[18:00] What is AI?
[23:08] Why should people embrace and/or be scared of AI?
[25:43] How should someone go about getting started with automation?
[33:25] Automation and cyber security
[35:19] SOPs in automation
[39:07] Copyrighting
[48:26] Saving time with automation
[53:59] Growth for employees
[56:38] Evan’s excursion
[1:01:35] Where to find Evan
[1:02:09] Outro

Full transcript below

Video With Evan Ryan on Why You Need To Make AI Your Business Growth Teammate

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Podcast with Evan Ryan. Why You Need To Make AI Your Business Growth Teammate.

SUMMARY KEYWORDS
ai, zapier, people, write, book, tasks, thinking, question, entrepreneurs, computer, podcast, evan, business, automate, big, automation, talk, minutes, team, released
SPEAKERS
Evan Ryan, Mike Malatesta

Mike Malatesta 00:07
3Hey, everybody, welcome back to the How’d It Happen Podcast. I am so excited to have you, as I am with every episode, and I’ve got a very special success story to share with you today. Evan Ryan joins me on the show. Evan, welcome to the podcast.

Evan Ryan 00:26
Thank you for having me. I’m really excited to be here.

Mike Malatesta 00:28
Well, we are going to, I’m going to tell you a little bit about Evan, but we’re gonna get into something besides him that I think you’ll find either really, really exciting or potentially very scary, and that is artificial intelligence, or AI, we’re going to talk a lot about artificial intelligence because Ryan has our Evan I’m sorry, I am always gonna confuse that avenue Ryan, because they’re both sort of first name. So don’t worry about it at all. It

Evan Ryan 00:55
happens like 15 times a day. Okay,

Mike Malatesta 00:57
so I’m not the only one. It’s no, of

Evan Ryan 00:59
course not.

Mike Malatesta 01:00
Your brain is programmed certain ways. And it’s hard to anyway, Evan wrote the book “AI as Your Teammate,” which is a phenomenal book, we’re going to talk about this book. Interestingly, his book, and my book, republished on the exact same day, November 30, of 2021. And I believe we worked with the same organization, Scribe Media, to help with the book, is that right?

Evan Ryan 01:28
We did, I was delighted when I saw your book, on the little bestseller graphic right next to my book.

Mike Malatesta 01:34
Yeah, yeah. So we’re both bestsellers on Amazon as well. So enough applause for us. Thank you. Now I’m going to tell you a little bit about Evan and we’re gonna get started. So besides writing the book, Evan Ryan is the founder of teammate AI. He helps entrepreneurs scale their businesses using artificial intelligence teammate has launched empowered businesses such as lead AI, is that how you say that lead AI? Yeah, L E, D, AI, and content x, which use AI to write, edit, and publish content, all without human intervention, which is fabulous technology that I want to talk a lot about, because it reminds me of like GPT, three, and some others that are really changing the way that you can scale content writing, blogs, articles, papers, probably annual reports for shareholders and a whole bunch of other things. It’s really, really, really cool stuff. Over the past five years, teammate has helped hundreds of businesses save millions of hours, by using AI in everything from small tasks to complex multi-day processes. Evan spends most of his time showing entrepreneurs, how to save time with AI, and designing solutions that help teams stop being human computers, and start creating bigger, more dynamic value. You can learn more about Evan and what he’s up to at teammate Tamm a tai.com. So, Evan, I get everybody started on the same path with with the same question and that is, how did it happen for you?

Evan Ryan 03:18
Well, first, thanks again, for having me. I’m really excited to be here. Really excited to spend this time with you. It happened to me very organically, my I come from a family of entrepreneurs. Many, many members of my family are entrepreneurs, or are very entrepreneurial in their careers. And I think one of the core values inside of our family. Besides of course, integrity is really independence. And it’s finding yourself and for us, I think entrepreneurism and being an entrepreneur is really just an experience and growing an experience and helping other people and finding yourself. So it was part of our culture from the moment I was born. But what really drew me to AI was I was at a technology conference back in 2016, where they had the previous number one AI researcher in the world, and they actually rank. His name is Jeremy Howard, that he was speaking about what AI could do back in 2016. And what was really staggering to me was that Google was using AI to take pictures of street addresses for Google Streetview. And then there are cataloging that for Google Maps. I thought, wow, fascinating. That would be such a pain, you know, in order to have a human doing all of that for all of the addresses in the entire world. And so I was really intrigued as I was listening to his talk, and then he said something that just put me on the floor. He said, Actually, my company has created an AI that can look at pictures of I believe it was lung cancer, can look at MRIs and CT scans of lung cancer. And it can actually diagnose The Cancer better than a team of board-certified doctors thought, oh my goodness, this is this is the place to be, I wonder what else you can you can do with AI. And as I started exploring it more as I started kind of looking into it and and talking to other people about, you know, where could you use AI? What are you thinking about AI? What are your fears? What are the opportunities? What are the dangers with AI, I also was starting my business, I was a one-person business. And I had a lot of stuff to do as a one-person business owner. But one of the things that’s, I think, a little unique to me, but not really that unique, because I don’t really like doing the same thing twice. So I would get bored doing these routine tasks over and over again, these these tasks that I had to do in order to keep the lights on in my business for the first few years. But they weren’t fascinating for me, they weren’t motivating for me. And in you know, they weren’t really pushing the ball forward as it pertained to growing our business. And I fell in love with using AI for business process automation. And now that’s that exact same scenario where I was bored, I didn’t really want to do a lot of the stuff that I was doing, I was working way too hard. I was working at 100 hours a week, but most of it was not on creative, really sort of driving tasks, most of it was on just you know, the mundane stuff that you just have to do. And I fell in love with doing that with other people as well. And

Mike Malatesta 06:27
2016 just to give everybody a frame of reference, you’re a junior at Ohio State in 2016. Is that right?

Evan Ryan 06:37
I was just entering my senior year at Ohio State.

Mike Malatesta 06:39
Okay. And I forgot to ask you at the beginning, I wanted to ask you to introduce yourself, like all the high state athletes to when they’re, you know, when they do that, like? Never. So would you introduce yourself like they do.

Evan Ryan 06:52
Evan Ryan, AI entrepreneur, is the Ohio State University,

Mike Malatesta 06:57
you gotta say it right, v.

Evan Ryan 06:58
v. Ohio State University.

Mike Malatesta 07:02
So in 2016, you’re entering your senior year at The Ohio State University. And you’re seeing you said a couple things there. One you’re seeing, maybe for the first time that the potential power of AI and then you’re acting on it almost immediately by starting a business Tell us how that what was the business? What did you do? And was it because of what you saw? Jeremy talking about? Or was it something you’d already had, in your mind or already started before you got that sort of additional catalyst from him?

Evan Ryan 07:38
I had a small feeling that I was going to start a business straight out of college. But I wish I could say that was this like glorious conference was the catalyst. It wasn’t, I could not get a job for the life of me, I interviewed with 19 Different hiring managers I received no job offers. But I did have some consulting clients, where I was building mobile applications for them. And we were using AI inside of the mobile applications. And I would get to these interviews with the hiring managers. And they’d say, where do you see yourself in five years? I said, Well, probably I’ll be running my own company. And it turns out that I don’t think hiring managers really enjoy hearing that. And so one day, I was thinking, maybe the problem is me. And I said, Well, I’ll just accelerate the five years to now. But I did have some consulting clients, some people that I knew that really wanted to head into the technology space, they already had businesses, they wanted to make it a little bit more digital, and we added some AI into into the sum of the products that they had, in order to get started and get our footing.

Mike Malatesta 08:41
And do you remember, when when was the first time that you became acquainted with with AI? Like when when just to give people and me a sense of the acceleration here? Because you tell some stories of, you know, early AI in the book, deep blue and and some other things, but it but um, but but as you’re entering college, are you thinking about, you know, making a career out of AI? Are you thinking about studying AI? Or is this something that comes along and, you know, a very, very rapid time, time period, becomes what you are committed to?

Evan Ryan 09:18
Well, hindsight is 2020. I remember the first time I was really interested in how powerful software was when my best friend who I think we were like seven or eight years old at the time, was sending out like three or 400 invitations to a fourth of July party, and he mail merged all of these invitations. I remember thinking, Boy, that was fast. You know, I didn’t know anything about computers at the time and technology the time and I remember thinking, you know, I wonder what else it can do. But in college, I was actually not focused on technology at all. I was focused on not for profits. I helped run an organization at Ohio State that raised money for Nationwide Children’s Hospital, which is the Children’s Hospital in Columbus. Ohio. And I was really excited about that. And I didn’t really think about AI until that conference. It did help my my undergraduate major was in behavioral neuroscience. And it did help that the way that we treat AI right now is like a digital version of the brain. So I already had a little bit of knowledge heading in. But I became so attracted to the idea of using technology to help people and to really enhance people’s lives, that my course changed almost immediately. And in fact, that conference was a Singularity University conference. And I would say the shining moment of that conference was when Peter Diamandis, who I didn’t know existed, got on stage for the original keynote, or the first keynote of the conference. And he said, The best way to make a billion dollars is to make a positive impact on a billion people’s lives. I thought, this is exactly what we’re going to do. We’re going to use technology to help a lot of people and so far, that’s, that’s what we’ve been able to do.

Mike Malatesta 11:03
Okay. And for those of you who don’t know, Peter Diamandis, I’ve mentioned many times on the podcast, he is one of the founders of Singularity University, I believe. He’s also the founder of abundance. 360. And many, many, many companies, like too many companies to even mention, or even remember, he’s just a, he’s an extraordinary guy, who he’s gonna die. He’s got a doctor. I mean, he’s a, he’s a physician, as well as, like a, you know, genius in tech, and, but everything else from MIT. And who knows, but anyway, he’s a he’s a, he’s a, he’s a game changer. And I pay attention to everything that Peter does, even when I don’t understand what the hell he

Evan Ryan 11:56
most of the time, I think happens

Mike Malatesta 11:57
frequently. Evan, you mentioned that you came from a family of entrepreneurs, what, what was, can you give us some some more insight into what that look like?

Evan Ryan 12:11
Both my grandfather’s were entrepreneurs. One grandfather was a serial entrepreneur, he had all sorts of different businesses. The other one had a few businesses, but one of them which got really big was alcohol breath test units. And two of my uncles are entrepreneurs. One of my aunts is an entrepreneur, in copier dealers, and in mindfulness and wellness, in airplane parts, just all sorts of different businesses. And, you know, I think for for them, it was always just an opportunity for them to grow, it was an opportunity for them to have freedom. But that’s just what I seem to gravitate towards, was was people who were looking to grow, and, and really people who were looking to make a difference in the world.

Mike Malatesta 12:58
And you mentioned, what you were thinking about when you went into college? By by behavioural neuroscience. So I want to first ask you to explain what that is so that people know what behavioral neurosciences because I’m thinking, it’s, it’s, you know, this study of how your brain impacts how you behave. But I don’t know I could be way off there. So I want to start start with that. And then the second question I have for you is, you know, between the time that your friend mailmerge, this, this birthday party lists at age seven, and you deciding, you know, to 10, or college with that major, what happened in between what was there? Was there dreams that you had that you thought, Oh, this is where I’m going, you know, whatever be maybe be a star athlete or something, and then you changed or whatever. So I started to combine two questions, but I do that a lot. So

Evan Ryan 13:54
no worries. So in between, it was actually that’s actually relatively simple answer. I never really thought that I was going to be a star athlete. Although I liked sports. I entered college knowing that I wanted to help people. And so I entered college, just thinking I was going to be a doctor. The funny story about that was I was right, just about to graduate in submitting the documents required in order to graduate through Ohio State. And I took a look at my guidance meetings, my guide my notes with my guidance counselor. And the day before my first day of classes in my first year, my guidance counselor had taken a note that said Evan does not want to be a doctor anymore. But it took me about three and a half years in order to figure out exactly what was going to happen in between then. And I chose behavioral neuroscience actually, because I thought it would be a really smart thing just for business in general, if I did decide to go into business. And you’re actually exactly right. It’s the study of how your body works through the lens of the brain. So what are the behaviors that your brain exhibits in order to you know, make you feel Certain things make you do certain things in terms of your hormones and your neural near neurotransmitters and why do breakups feel so bad? Right? Or what is schizophrenia? Really? What’s happening when when somebody has ADHD? And what are the different parts of the brain that make up how you actually live in work in your day to day?

Mike Malatesta 15:20
And does it get into things like what, you know, addiction triggers and habit triggers and those kinds of things as well or

Evan Ryan 15:31
a little bit, it focuses a little more on the outcomes of the addictions and of the habits, you know, so what is the amount of dopamine that was released in your brain? Because? Because somebody did a certain action, or somebody fulfilled that addiction, or what is the amount of serotonin that is going into your brain when somebody takes an SSRI, or when somebody does a drug that releases a lot of serotonin? Or like, how does nicotine impact the brain? So it doesn’t really go as much into the social aspect of the why that’s more of a psychology question. But it goes a little bit more into the how,

Mike Malatesta 16:08
okay. Okay, so it’s a, it’s a, I don’t know, like a lab thing.

Evan Ryan 16:15
It’s much more of a biology class than it is a sociology class.

Mike Malatesta 16:19
Okay. Yeah, thank you. I haven’t been in college for a while. So it’s hard for me to remember where to what buckets to put all that stuff into. It. This is a this is an in the weeds question. And probably nobody cares about it. But I do. So in the dedication to your book, you have your mom and dad. And then you have Anna Marie and Carl and I so having written a book and done a dedication, I’m always curious as to why you know, how people choose who they choose. So how did you choose? I get I think I get the mom and dad, but don’t I don’t want to presume anything. But the Ann Marie and Carl, I don’t know who they are.

Evan Ryan 16:54
Anna Marie, and Carla, my aunt and uncle. They’re both entrepreneurs. And they sort of took me under their wing as as I was going out and helped guide me a step especially steering me towards, towards good decisions, in some cases and away from bad decisions in other cases. But Carl was the individual that I was with one, it all started back at Singularity University. And he and I are now you know, he and Anna Marie and I now are best friends. We talk almost daily. But they’re also mentors to me.

Mike Malatesta 17:26
Okay, Super, thanks for entertaining that question. Let’s some let’s get into AI. So I think what I like about you the subtitle of your book, which is like electrify growth without increasing payroll, that immediately gets the attention of business owners at least right? So because I’ve, like I said at the beginning, you can either be excited about AI, or you can be scared of it. Or you can I guess I should add, you could be confused about it. Because the term gets used pretty ubiquitously, ubiquitously now. But I still don’t think a lot of people know really what it means. Even if you go around saying AI, machine learning all these other things. And in in your book, I think you you break it down really well, so that anybody, like, even somebody like me can can understand what it is and then begin to understand its power. So can you help demystify artificial intelligence for everyone?

Evan Ryan 18:27
Yeah, I think the biggest the biggest source of confusion that most people have, is that it’s really clear how Facebook and Google and Tesla and Amazon use AI. But it’s not really clear how an accounting firm uses AI, or how a waste management service, for example, uses AI. And so the way that we define AI, is, really it’s just data with a task. So what if a computer could do a job for you? Or what if your data could do a job for you, and your data can be anything from a zoom recording, to a an Excel file to a database to a series of images, to the programs that you use on your computer to get stuff done? And so really, where we focus is not as much on the difference between deep learning and machine learning in general intelligence and all this different stuff. Just how much stuff could we free up from your existing team? How many tasks are your are your team members doing right now that we could give to a computer so that your team members can do the stuff that only humans can do?

Mike Malatesta 19:40
Okay, so that thank you for that that that? I think that makes it clear to me and and I think it makes it clear to everyone because now you start thinking about it and you actually go through this in your book really well. Now you start thinking about okay, let’s look at every job and let’s look at things that you’re doing repetitively over and over and over again, that a human can get good at. But the reality is that most humans, even though there’s a unique ability, you know, and that you can always find someone who loves doing any kind of work, the reality is, there aren’t a lot of people who want to do that task over and over and over and over again. But it’s a necessary, it’s a necessary task, right? It’s either sending bills to people or sending proposals to people, or there’s tons of other stuff, it’s totally necessary for the business. But it’s, you know, you even feel bad as a business owner having to hire someone to do that kind of work. And I think that’s where you kind of, that’s where your book is. So I think kind of, you know, for the everyday business owner for the everyday entrepreneur, because or manager for that matter, because it really breaks down it into something simple. Like, let’s look at everything we do. And let’s look at the things that that we haven’t automated because we have a person doing it. Right. So as opposed to what are the things that we can automate it so that we don’t have a person doing it? That’s exactly

Evan Ryan 21:18
right. That’s exactly right. When I find when, when I delegate a task, and I think to myself better than than me, I should probably be automating it. Because the chances are, they don’t really like it either. I don’t think that people wake up on on Monday morning, thinking, Boy, I can’t wait to do the same thing that I’ve done for the last six years. I think people wake up on Monday morning thinking that they want to do something that’s creative and fulfilling, and provides a lot of meaning and purpose, and mundane tasks that can be done by a computer, I don’t think are those things?

Mike Malatesta 21:58
And how, and that’s, that’s interesting, because I think if you asked a lot of older people, they might not be able to connect. And I put myself in that group, by the way, older people. So I’m not disparaging anyone, but they might not be able to connect that because they would see. Well, they would always they would, they would tend to have some type of little nuance that special the way they do it, and you can’t get a computer to do that. So there’s that sort of thinking. And then the other sort of thinking might be, well, if a computer is going to do this, what am I going to do? Yeah, so So why should? In your opinion, why should people embrace and or be scared of AI. And I mean, everybody, like

Evan Ryan 22:54
the things that I’m scared of when it comes to AI, are AI being used by bad actors to do bad things. The difficult thing, I think, with AI is, when a person does a bad thing, you can put them in jail. And then, in theory, they stopped doing that bad thing, because they no longer can. But when an AI does a bad thing, you can spin up another server. And you can do it again. So when I think about ai, ai, that’s, that’s what I think about. I don’t really think about, quote unquote, job loss as a negative thing. Because I simply don’t think that it’s going to happen. Imagine if I went back to the 1950s. And I said that a software developer was going to be one of the biggest, one of the, like, biggest fields in the United States economy. But in exchange, every single person who was a telephone switchboard operator would lose their jobs. Right. And so I don’t think that job loss when it comes to AI is going to be as big of a deal as some people think it is. Also, we have 315,000 boomers retiring every single day, we’re in a massive labor shortage. So I feel like the job has to get done somehow. The thing that that I fears is just simply bad actors. I more it’s not about the AI as much as it is about the bad people. And when it comes to embracing AI, I think there’s so much that can be embraced it It’s another tool to help people do more things that they love. And it’s another tool to help people do things better and easier and faster and cheaper. I think everybody that I know at least has a list of all the things that they would do if they had time. Well, what if you could use some API’s and you could free up some of that time. And so I think it’s a real tool to be used to help enhance people’s lives and to help make people’s businesses a little bit more systematized.

Mike Malatesta 25:03
And you. Okay, so I want to go on one direction, but I think I want to go in this direction. First. They you do this in the book several times. And I, and I think it would probably be helpful here as an example, we just sort of talked about, okay thing that a computer can do. How does how does somebody think about, say someone who has no AI? Right? They’re they’re using, they may have, you know, an enterprise software, whatever, but they’re not using AI themselves, you know, for business process or for systemization? Because they don’t know how, right, so how does somebody how should somebody think about what things they might get started with? And how would they actually get started with, with something? Yeah,

Evan Ryan 25:54
the first thing, the first thing in using any AI and using any automation is knowing what to automate. And people do so many tasks in a day that, that even when I do an activity log, so an activity log, which is where I recommend starting is you just simply write down everything that you do in a day. And you write down how long it takes. And you write down how much you like it, on a scale of one to five, if it’s a five, you absolutely love it. And if it’s a one, you hate it and you hope that you never do it again. Even when I do an activity log, which is about once a quarter, I still find so many tasks that I had no idea that I was doing, I was just mindlessly doing it. And starting there allows you to see Wow, there are just so many things that take me two minutes here, or three minutes there. But I hate them. Or I don’t even I don’t like them, they just kind of like exist. And the place to go with that, in my opinion, most of the time is a tool called Zapier zap, I er I’m not affiliated with the company, I just use it and love it. And what Zapier does is connects little pieces of software together. So for example, I made an automation yesterday a couple of friends and I have released a new podcast. And we wanted to get an update from our podcast team when new episodes were released. So if I was to write down in the activity log what I wanted, I would say, typed an email to the podcast team asking when is the next episode going to be released, including the link in the episode description. It took me five minutes, which isn’t that much time, except that when I went to Zapier, what I was able to do was I was able to take the podcast feed, which existed of consisted of clicking one button and getting the URL for the podcast feed. And every time something gets updated. It’ll send me an email with all of the information that I need. So now instead of spending that five minutes typing out the email, oh, and by the way, the task switching penalty of going from another task to this task, and then the task switching penalty of figuring out, oh, well, what am I going to do next? Next, so probably a total of 789 minutes. Now it’s just going to happen automatically, the email from me will hit my inbox. And now we’re off to the races doing other stuff. But I recommend everybody start by just writing down what you do in a day. I think one of the big one of the big confusion points for AI is thinking that it requires that you uproot your life. And you change the way that you do everything in order to be able to use it, it’s just not the case, you can automate the tasks that you do right now, that way, you don’t have to change all of your processes, you don’t have to change the way that you work. And the AI works for you instead of you’re working for the AI.

Mike Malatesta 28:50
And the task switching penalty is time

Evan Ryan 28:53
is that yes, most of the time, it’s time sometimes it’s energy, though, especially if I’m going from from one task to another. And they’re very different. So if I’m, you know, writing code, which I don’t do much anymore, but if I’m writing code, and then I head into a sales meeting, for example, that’s a very energy intensive. That’s a very energy intensive period. And so what if I could automate some of those tasks to eliminate that energy drain?

Mike Malatesta 29:19
And I thought it was interesting the way you talked about the activity log and the time and how much you like it, because I think, at least in my mind, and I think maybe a lot of people listening as soon as they hear artificial intelligence, they think I need to be able to code something, I need to be able to, you know, so and so I can’t do it. But you’re saying well, before you do any coding at all, or before you actually go down the path start with a simple, really, really manual list of this activity log and identify time. So identify time or energy. And once you quantify that, you you know you think you qualify by that you have enough time or energy, then you would take the next step and find someone who could help you. You know, if you are able to use Zapier yourself or if you find someone that can help you is that that?

Evan Ryan 30:14
Absolutely. And the automation that I just talked about that I built yesterday, took me about six minutes to build. So of course, it took me a little bit longer to build than it would have taken me to write the email the first time, but now I’ll never have to do it again. Rome wasn’t built in a day. And so it’s not necessary to try to pick off the single biggest project on your task list or, or the one big, audacious goal that you have, when really five minutes here and 10 minutes there oftentimes create such a cascading impact that it becomes almost addictive to continue to automate tasks. And then yes, you can use Zapier, which is what I use for the automation yesterday, I wrote no code for it, I just clicked a couple of buttons and I was done. Or you can hire somebody on Upwork to do the automation for you. Upwork has tons of people that are looking to do Zapier style automations, and you can pay him 20 bucks here, 50 bucks there, and they’ll take care of all of it for you.

Mike Malatesta 31:18
So you’re talking about really something like what you just saw, which is a problem that I have with my own podcasts. It’s like, okay, I’ve got different people doing things. And we use monday.com as sort of our board, but it’ll it only, they won’t automatically send you things unless well, it will automatically send you some things, but it doesn’t really connect Monday with some other pieces of software that say the the Podcast Producer is using to you know, integrate and send me something. So that’s what it sounds like what you’re saying Zapier does it. Yeah. So

Evan Ryan 31:57
what if your Podcast Producer, who I’m going to for the sake of this example, I’m going to assume your Podcast Producer is the person who actually releases the show on the internet? Yeah. What if your Podcast Producer released a show on the internet, which then automatically updated the tasks and monday.com to complete for released the episode. And then it sent you a Slack message saying, hey, the new episode was released. It was this title with this guest with this description. Here’s the link, feel free to post it on Instagram. Zapier could do something like that all without any code. In fact, I can show you after the show, if you’d like yeah, Zapier could do something like that with all without any code. So the only thing that happens is that that happens from a person is that your Podcast Producer uploads and releases the show. After that everything is taken care of by a computer.

Mike Malatesta 32:57
Okay, so what happens in big companies that are well, not not just big companies, but companies that are hyper concerned about cybersecurity, they’re hyper concerned about, you know, all of their software being pure, you know, like companies that just get they like you. They don’t even want you using your phone for stuff, you know, how to how do they how do they deal with something like Zapier because if you went if you said, Oh, I heard this great thing on I can, you know, here’s this task, I could save an hour a week that I or hour week, our day, whatever. And all I need to do is, you know, use Zapier and I can actually do it myself, because I listened to Evan and I took notes and I know how to do it, I can do it myself, and they go, Huh, now I can’t use that. Is that a concern?

Evan Ryan 33:55
What we’re finding is that the highly regulated industries are forming centralized sort of AI and automation teams. Okay. But software like Zapier programs, like Zapier and and the programs that Zapier connects together, all have their own individual it and cybersecurity teams along with them. So what we found is that there’s absolutely state of the art security taking place between between Zapier and the other services that are connected. In fact, Zapier doesn’t even save the credentials. And so we haven’t seen any issues. But I would if you’re in a regulated industry, if you’re in one where you have to change your cell phone passcode every 30 days or every 60 days, because of your IT team, I would recommend calling the helpdesk first. Because they might send out a team to do that automation for you.

Mike Malatesta 34:51
Okay. And then, as you were explaining all that I was thinking from a use case standpoint As a business owner, I, I get the saving time, right? So it’s like a, it’s like a unique method that would that’s something strategic coach would call, like, actually writing out how a job gets done. So that’s like a unique method or SOP, or j, so are some of the other things that that companies use. So that’s basically what this activity log, it’s like when you get into the detail of it. And then it’s like, okay, can I, you know, move these things out to save time or energy, but I’m thinking about those positions, and where you’re really, really scared of these positions, because you haven’t automated them. And they fallen to a person who is basically operating off of years of experience and tribal knowledge. And you feel, sometimes you feel like you’re kind of held hostage, because you just, you just you’re all you’re looking at, what if this person were to eat what? Why I can’t fire this person. But what if they were to leave? What do I do? It seems like that’s a perfect use case for at least some portion of AI right to demystify what can because a lot of those jobs, that tribal knowledge, it’s not really a mystery, it’s just nobody else knows it. It’s right. What’s your what, what have you

Evan Ryan 36:27
that is one of the single biggest change management challenges that we see. What what we’ve found, is the most elegant solution is to introduce a component of cross training, along with SOP documentation. So that individual, either if they’re really difficult, but you absolutely can’t lose them, they great get some sort of an incentive for writing their SOP. But then also included in that as cross training. And the other people that they cross train, also write the write their own SOP for the job. And then you can start to kind of aggregate all of that data together, it might not get the corner cases. So there still might be some things where you’re going back to ask more questions or, or if that individual does leave, there’s a little bit of knowledge loss. But at least it’s a good starting place in order to be able to add technology to make that person’s life better. The other thing is, we find a lot that selling, selling the idea of automation as an opportunity to grow. And as an opportunity for that individual, for example, to get another week’s worth of time away, oftentimes is a really smart incentive to allow them to kind of do that knowledge dump that you’re looking for, in order to be able to even if you don’t use a I’ll be able to train the next person in the role.

Mike Malatesta 37:56
Yeah, cuz I guess the other side of that danger is that the person who is dependent upon from experience tribal knowledge or whatever, there’s a lot of pressure on that person to write that’s have to be available all the time, or a lot of the time, because if they’re not nobody else can do the job.

Evan Ryan 38:14
Well, and a lot of times for those individuals, it makes them feel very important. Whereas our challenge to our clients and to our prospects is always how can you make them feel more important? Yeah, while also making them a little bit more replaceable?

Mike Malatesta 38:30
That’s a nice flip. Yeah. Hmm, what? Lost my train of thought on that one. So I’m going to go back to the copywriting. We talked about a little bit about GPT. Three at the beginning. And you know, how AI is becoming very, very, it’s, I mean, I’d say it’s widespread use, it’s widely used in the creation of articles and stories and even newspaper stuff and there’s all kinds of things I probably don’t even know about. And you you spend some time in your book talking about that. And it may be from an SEO standpoint, like right you know, writing you know, posts and stuff. I can’t remember exactly, but you mentioned copy smith.ai and copy.ai. What, how people understand what what AI is doing in in the copywriting world.

Evan Ryan 39:33
So there are sort of two different ways to think about AI for copywriting. The first is AI for copywriting for creative writing. And the second is AI for copywriting for information. So for creative writing open AI, which is a not for profit founded by Elon Musk is this they have this algorithm called GPT three GPT three is an algorithm that just understands language, I believe they trained it based off of having it read all of Wikipedia. And essentially what happens with GPT three is you give it a little bit of starter text. And then you press go, and it will kind of fill in the rest. So it’s creating based off of the starter text that that you gave it. The rest of the story. A lot of people this a few years ago, there were some memes going around that were like I had an A I read all seven Harry Potter books. Here’s the first chapter of the eighth book. Right? Yeah, yeah. Or I had an AI watch a movie. And then here’s, here’s what it it gave out as a script. So with those types of AI’s, and with those types of use cases, which it’s being used for blog writing, for copywriting, for landing page writing, for SEO optimization for all sorts of different things, I use those services from time to time. The AI really is fairly surface level. So don’t confuse surface level with simple. It’s an incredibly complex AI. But the AI doesn’t actually know what it’s writing. So if you took the AI’s output, for example, and you said Why? Why did you say this? It would have no idea. Okay, yeah. So with those with that type of creative writing, the AI is really, really useful for catching some blind spots. And where we find it being the most useful is in the version one drafts, for marketing copy for social media copy for SEO for blog posts for whatever FAQ documentation, Amazon product listings, whatever it might be. We think that it’s really, really useful for first drafts. And it’s really, really useful for ideation and inspiration. So it’s saving, it’s not replacing the copywriter. But it’s just drastically shortening the amount of time are reducing the amount of time the copywriter spends trying to figure out what they’re going to write?

Mike Malatesta 42:11
Yeah. Okay, so it’s give me something to start with? Yes,

Evan Ryan 42:15
that’s exactly it. And then the information based AI, which is, or the information based copywriting, which is where we sit with our company, lead AI, this is where newspapers are using AI, they’re using AI, we use it for sports articles, they’re using it for financial reports, or they buy our sports articles, or real estate transactions, things that’s very information based, where what you don’t want to do is you don’t want to get wrong what happened. Because now journalistic integrity is being taken into account. Regardless of your feelings of the media, they do try to get things right. And so with those types of AI’s, the AI is a little bit more sophisticated underneath, but there’s actually no AI that’s creating the words, the words are being taken out of a bank. And, and that way, we never have the the white dilemma. Why did you write this? We always know exactly why

Mike Malatesta 43:15
out of a bank. What does that mean?

Evan Ryan 43:17
So basically, a human will write the words first. Okay, and then the AI figures out, what words should we write? So out of the 1000 different listings that we could write about, or out of the 1000 different sentences that we could write? Why should we write this one? Okay, it’s what the AI figures out.

Mike Malatesta 43:35
So I’m thinking, as you’re saying that I’m thinking, I don’t know if this is right or not. But if if I were, you know, taking notes like voice notes of something that I wanted to write, well, I talk differently than I’m going to write an article in a newspaper, right? I just don’t You don’t talk the way you would write a newspaper article typically. So I could do that. Give that to the AI. And the AI could put that into what it thinks is from pattern recognition, or bank or whatever, a new newspaper article of that should look like. And then you could take it from there as a reporter and finish it up.

Evan Ryan 44:13
So I’ll give you an example a little bit a little bit. I’ll give you an example of how I wrote the book actually. So how I wrote the book was I had five or six different people interview me over zoom, we recorded the Zoom meeting. And then we used AI to transcribe the recorded Zoom meeting and turn that audio into text. Okay. And then I took that text and I copied it over into a Word document, where that became the first draft of the book.

Mike Malatesta 44:39
So it was just just your interviews with these on these five occasions, transcribed, take it put it into a Word document. That’s draft one.

Evan Ryan 44:53
Yes, I was the author of the book, but I was not the title of the book. And of course, I edited it and I made it sound like it was written versus I was just speaking casually to a friend or to a family member. But ultimately, the ideas were mine.

Mike Malatesta 45:08
And so you spoke them, it’s the same as typing them. Yes, same.

Evan Ryan 45:14
So, in the example that you gave, what would probably happen is a journalist would do a voice recording, they would use audio to transcribe that voice recording. And then probably, they would just take a couple of minutes and and just edit it down into what they wanted it how they wanted it to read versus how they wanted it. Yes. That’s typically where we see where we see that kind of that kind of stuff happening. In the examples for AI in the news, right now, most of those times, most of the time, those articles are being written, edited, and published, all without any human interaction whatsoever. So it’s not being used as sort of an editing tool for humans. It’s being used as a supplement to humans.

Mike Malatesta 45:59
Where does the information about the game come from? How does how does.

Evan Ryan 46:05
So we named

Mike Malatesta 46:06
you need scores you need, you know, you need all this stuff, where’s it come from?

Evan Ryan 46:11
So it depends on the level. So for we’ll use college and professional sports as the primary example. We we use gambling data, sports betting data, oftentimes, it’s the best, it’s the best data source out there. And so we’re able to actually take that data in a very structured manner. And then we can write around it in order to talk about, you know, what happened to the game, who was the key player for soccer, the man or the woman of the match those types of things. But with all the examples that that are taking place, inside of news, right now, real estate, sports, financial transactions, whether it’s all coming from structured data that already exist, and then the computer is able to write around it. versus, versus having a computer try to write an article about the local not for profit, that started a new camp. Really where the computers are, where the computers are helping newsrooms is by writing about the things that computers can write about, so that journalists can write about the things that only journalists can write about.

Mike Malatesta 47:14
Okay, so basically the same thing that you’ve been talking about for every second activity log exercise, really,

Evan Ryan 47:20
it really is. And to me, to me, I asked the question, when we get pushback from the news industry, I always asked the question, you know, why would you have a reporter breaking a story about, about corruption inside of the mayor’s office in the morning, and then writing a story about the weather in the afternoon? It doesn’t make any sense, right? A human, a human doesn’t need to write a story about the weather. But a computer cannot ask the questions that a human can ask in order to be able to write the stories that need to be written.

Mike Malatesta 47:58
Okay, make sense? Now, I remember what I was going to ask you about before, and that was this, we talked about, you know, using AI to save time and energy, but you have a really unique take on, you know, in your book is like, first of all, you want to, you know, grow without increasing cost, or payroll. And I can see that that benefit, but you have this other thing about using the time that you’re saving to really create more value for your company. And I think that’s something I want to explore a little bit more, because I think most people can get the cut part, like, Oh, good, I’m going to be able to cut, you know, five hours, maybe, maybe their mind immediately goes to if I can cut five hours, you know, with 25 people or something I can eliminate, you know, this many jobs and something but your take is different. Your your take is like, no, no, no, don’t think of it that way. Think of it as if I can get AI to do to take lazy data and make it effective without the need for human intervention. Those people can then begin to work on something that, you know, like, I think you might have said it before, like, you know, we don’t have time to do or we don’t even have time to investigate or whatever. But something that meaningfully impacts the business grows its capabilities, increases sales, that type of thing. So I want to understand where you What are you telling people when you’re saying hey, let’s take let’s let’s let’s fix this, even like you’re podcasting, let’s, let’s say five minutes here, let’s save three hours here, let’s say, you know, but let’s then put that to work. So it’s like it’s like an investment on time as opposed to a cutting of people like a consolidation.

Evan Ryan 49:59
Yeah. When you had advanced waste, how many people did you have in your back office?

Mike Malatesta 50:05
Probably Wani 2025.

Evan Ryan 50:10
So what if each one of those 20 or 25, people had an extra 500 hours per year? Which would be a quarter? Right? Would you have fired? Five or 10 of those people? Or would you have used those people a little bit differently for some of the other strategic projects that you had?

Mike Malatesta 50:28
Well, I like to think that I would have, first of all, I like, first of all, I’d like to think that I had a good a good enough and excited enough team that if they were to save the time, they wouldn’t stretch out everything else to to make up the time they save. Because, yeah, that could happen. But yeah, I’d like to think that I was I was, I’d like to think that I would take that and say, Yeah, let’s let’s use it. I’m not exactly. That’s a lot of time, like, so I’m trying to figure out. And I know, it’s just an example that I’m trying to think like, what would we do, but But yeah, so I’d like to, I’d like to think that I would take that time and start talking about what else we could do with it.

Evan Ryan 51:15
Like either other acquisitions, or we could grow and not add, yeah, ways. You could do a new ERP implementation, for example, or all sorts of all sorts of different projects where you know that there’s like a small fire burning over in the corner, or you have this little idea that keeps itching at you. But you don’t take action on it, because you’re too busy in the day to day. What we’ve seen and this is one of the reasons why I added this into the book I talk about it a lot now is every single client that we’ve had, where we’ve installed, AI, has added people. Because now they have this whole new world of opportunities, they can either serve their clients better they can do, they can sit down and really reimagine their client onboarding process, for example. And now they can serve their clients better. Or they can create a reoccurring revenue component, or they can stretch into a different industry, or they can use the AI that they have right now, which this happens all the time. They can use the AI that they have right now that’s really helping their business. And they can actually license that AI out to AI out to their competitors.

Mike Malatesta 52:26
So one of the things intellectual capital, you just use it in your business and start selling it to others. Yeah, okay

Evan Ryan 52:32
to everybody else, because they’re not necessarily taking your market share. But it’s all profit for you now. So there are all sorts of different opportunities that that our clients see, once they’ve experienced the magic. And it almost never includes firing people. There are situations where there’s a wrong fit team member in a role and that wrong fit. And everybody knows that that team member is wrong fit including that team member, oftentimes, that individual quits. Right, because things just aren’t the same or whatever reason there might be. But looking 1224 months after it after we put AI in every single time the companies had a higher employee count than they did when we started. And so our sort of mentality around it is the people who know your business best. And the people who know exactly how your business can grow the fastest are the ones who are already there.

Mike Malatesta 53:32
Yeah, good point. And you mentioned before, and I think it bears repeating that, you know, humans, while they can do boring, repetitive work, they don’t get energy, typically from doing boring, repetitive work. And they’re not, then they don’t have the opportunity to use creativity because they’re doing the boring repetitive work that that as I said at the beginning, it’s necessary for the business, it has to be done. But But I really like how you how you, in you mentioned in the book, too, you know, if people continue to do boring, repetitive work, and I think you use the Amazon example for this, where people are writing descriptions of products, they, they quit, because they just don’t want to do that. They don’t mind doing it for a while. But after a while, you either get someone who, that’s all they ever wanted to do, which is maybe not the person you want, because they’re not looking to move up not using looking to use their creativity. But but the good ones are like, well, I don’t want to do this the rest of my life and they don’t see a path to you know, being more valuable and becoming more valuable to the company unto themselves.

Evan Ryan 54:41
So many people are desperate to grow. Yeah. And I really think of AI and have growth oriented teams as just a catalyst for their growth, if I don’t really think of it as as a catalyst for the growth of the entrepreneur of the city. of the C suite. It’s not really a tool for them. But it’s a tool for their teams that allows their teams to be able to do more fascinating motivating, and purpose filled work that ultimately drives that bottom line impact in the AI drives impact on the bottom line almost immediately. But where the 10x 20x 30x growth without increasing payroll or only by moderately increasing payroll comes is when you really free up your team to start doing, what they’re uniquely good at, and what they really enjoy doing. I think when I talk to entrepreneurs a lot, you know, one of the things that is common among all successful entrepreneurs, is what looks like work on the outside feels like play to them. What if it could be that way for your employees as well?

Mike Malatesta 56:00
That’s a great question. That’s a great question. I love that perspective. Thank you for sharing that. That’s a great way to like, just put an exclamation point on this whole, this whole thing. But before we do I want to talk about this. It’s not really a sabbatical you’re going on. Tell it tell you we were talking before the first time we met about this excursion, maybe that that Evans going on with his girlfriend.

Evan Ryan 56:32
Yeah, my lovely girlfriend and I. So she’s a freelance graphic designer. She has clients and customers all across the United States. She and I, next year will be traveling the world, we have no end date. So I say next, or next year, actually, it’s this year now starting this beginning in two months, beginning in two months, we’re going to be traveling the world, my company is 100% remote, everything that we do is remote and over zoom, and then her company is 100% remote. So we will be traveling to all sorts of different countries, we’re going to hit every single continent over at least the next 18 months. And we’re going to be living in Airbnbs. But continuing to run our businesses. For for both of us, we use little automations that help us out. But even more. So just being able to work 100% remote and use Zoom as our primary communication mechanism is going to be just incredible. And then, on top of that, when we’re over in Southeast Asia, this is the most common question we get. So I’ll just address it now. How are you going to handle a 12 hour time difference? When we’re in Southeast Asia, for example, and it’s a 12 hour time difference, instead of using zoom, we’ll be using a service called loom loom allows you to do a synchronous video recording. So I could record a five minute video, get a quick link, send it off to my team or our clients or our collaborators. And then when whenever they get to it, they can watch that video, send back their questions, their comments, their thoughts, and we can continue to make progress.

Mike Malatesta 58:07
Mm hmm. I’ve got I’ve got loom on my phone. I don’t use it. But that’s interesting. I didn’t know I forget why I put it on there. I think it was for a social media purpose. But that’s okay. So you work during the work day, and then you’re able to fire stuff off and when people get up or whatever. It’s like having a zoom call with you sort of. Yep,

Evan Ryan 58:29
yep. Except it’s a more efficient zoom call. Because we don’t have 10 minutes of pleasantries, and how is it where you are right now. And oh, and by the way, the Wi Fi is not great here and all sorts of different stuff. Instead, hey, this is what we’re looking to do Bum Bum, bum bum bum. And tell me what you think. One of the other questions that I get to about about this work style is, you know, how do you build a really strong team camaraderie? Yeah, admittedly, I do. I do get on Zoom calls to spend time with my team members and and hear about how they’re doing. But I don’t do it every day. I don’t do it every week. And what we found is that our team doesn’t really want that either. They want to be able to focus on the things that they’re really excited about. And trust that I’ll give them the time back that we would have spent making small talk so that they can spend that time with their family and with their friends.

Mike Malatesta 59:23
And is your team. Are they direct employees or are they freelancers that you use in and out or how does that work?

Evan Ryan 59:31
Both. So we have employees and we have an army of freelancers that we use for on a project by project basis. But most of the time, what we do is we hire freelancers to build us AI

Mike Malatesta 59:47
All right, Evan, this has been so phenomenal to learn about AI appreciate the way you explained it. And I appreciate the way sort of the ways we got into the little you know, wrap It holds of the things that are going through my mind. And I think a lot of the people that at least in my, you know, are sort of in my circles the way they think about AI as being something, I think they think of it as being something more grand than perhaps it is in terms of getting started. And so as a result, like anything that’s too big, you just say, I can’t even take the first step where, and you broke it down to that activity logs like, Well, anybody can do that you’re already doing that. When you’re creating training manuals for employees, for example, you’ve already you’ve already documented how to do this, you just haven’t said, Oh, this sucks. This part sucks. I could have a computer do that instead of training people. And I could take that out of here and just put AI. So I do appreciate that as well. Thank you for the book, AI as your teammate, pick it up like I did. It’s wonderful. It’s short, written by an AI first draft, first book that I may have read that was written by AI. But with all of Evans thoughts. And before we leave, how do people you know, I mentioned the teamate ai.com website at the beginning, but how do people connect with with you?

Evan Ryan 1:01:13
Yeah, so you can take a look at our site at teammate ai.com. You can get the book AI as your teammate, anywhere where you buy books, and you can email me directly Evan at teammate ai.com If you have a question, comment or concern. Don’t worry, my inbox doesn’t get overloaded. I also use AI’s to filter it out.

Mike Malatesta 1:01:34
Oh, you do? Oh my god, is that a Zapier thing? You’re gonna tell me about two. That would be nice. I’m happy to Yeah. All right, Evan. It’s been great. Thanks so much for being on the show. Thanks, Mike. Really

Evan Ryan 1:01:43
appreciate it. You’re a fantastic question. Asker. Oh, like truly, those some of those rabbit holes that we went down

Mike Malatesta

Mike Malatesta

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