The 50th episode of the ScaleUp Heroes podcast dives into a discussion of the future of AI with Dennis Mortensen, the CEO of x.ai. With his expertise in scaling up an AI product, Mortensen presented us with the ‘two mindsets’ for planning a product that’s scalable.
Foresight is a necessary tool for building a product that will remain relevant in the future. While producing something that solves a current pain point may build short-term success, companies have to recognize that the pain will still exist in the years to come — if they hope to scale up.
Our own Miguel Dias, CEO at ScaleUp Valley, was the moderator of this week’s episode with Ryan Foland, Managing Partner at Build Your Influence, taking his role as moderator. Looking to the future of the product, Mortensen suggested we separate and direct our thinking into two distinct channels.
Getting the future of your product right
Before we deep dive into the two mindsets of product planning, as laid out by Mortensen, let’s get to know his process with x.ai. To give a concrete example of their product in practice, Mortensen laid out their pain point of wanting to schedule a meet up.
While we all know how to set-up a meeting, it’s not necessarily something that we enjoy doing (a lot of time is wasted on the ‘time negotiation dance’). The actual meeting is the goal, but arranging the meeting is a chore.
So x.ai developed an AI product that makes scheduling meetings painless. Recognizing that the need for meetings will continue to be a human necessity in some capacity, they can presume that their pain point will always exist — keeping the relevance of x.ai at the forefront of their AI technology.
This kind of product planning takes into consideration the future of the industry. Additionally, it fits into Mortensen’s formula for a successful company: maximum simplicity for people to use and understand with maximum complexity on your in-house engineers. Meaning not every team out their can achieve it, but all people have an understanding of how it would fit into their lives.
So what’s the best way to develop a product that fits into this mold?
The ‘two mindsets’ of product planning
According to Mortensen, you need to have two voices (or mindsets) in your company that are taking into consideration your product planning.
The first is about anticipating the future using strategic thinking. The people in this mindset need to be moving forward with a visualization for how the future of your sector will be (though you’ll always get it a little wrong), in order to understand if your product will still be relevant.
The second mindset is being able to execute the planning. This side of thinking is about practical and tactical planning, which helps keep the product grounded in reality. There are tons more to learn about these two mindsets, so check out the full recording of our 50th episode of the ScaleUp Heroes podcast.