Daniël Reichman is the CEO and Chief Scientist of Ai-RGUS, which uses AI to help organizations protect multi-million dollar investments in security cameras and improve safety and security on premises.
Based in Las Vegas, Ai-RGUS provides a software solution which uses the latest AI to ensure security cameras are operating optimally and to alert users automatically. Ai-RGUS monitors all cameras within a security system to alert users if the image is blurred, blocked, displaced, or damaged. The software always and automatically verifies that video evidence is available and of the highest quality so organizations can rest assured they will have the video they need after an incident occurs.
Used by organizations throughout the world, Ai-RGUS is trusted across a number of industries including retail, municipalities, universities, schools, airports, gasoline stations, parking lots, jails, and hotels.
After receiving his Ph.D, Dr. Reichman founded Ai-RGUS in 2019 at the age of 27. With over 24 university publications, Dr. Reichman obtained his doctorate in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Duke University in 2017 from a program fully funded by the U.S. Army Research Office. He also successfully completed the first two actuarial exams.
What is your typical day, and how do you make it productive?
Most days are a mix of product management, then project/vendor management, analyzing customer and prospect feedback. No two days are the same, that’s for sure. Our software has a presence in all 50 states and we’re working with a ton of parties and stakeholders each and every day. So, productivity is a must for me. One of the most important things I ask myself is ‘what needs to get done right now that only I can do’? Next, I ask myself, ‘what do I need to delegate today and who is the best person for this task’? Lastly, I list out projects that are important but can wait until tomorrow.
How do you bring ideas to life?
The most important step is ensuring that working on this particular idea will move us further toward our goal. Ideas are great—but they are nothing if they don’t have a practical application when it comes to business. We evaluate customer feedback, we keep track of the functionality the customer highlighted around the time the sale closed or was lost and we monitor how they use the software to guide us on what’s important to them.
What’s one trend that excites you?
The deep learning technology that’s led to ChatGPT and other generative AI is very promising in terms of making deep learning more accurate. A lot of work is being done in making AI more scalable i.e., running the same functionality but making it more cost effective.
What is one habit that helps you be productive?
It is related to the answer from a few questions ago, but the habit of “intense focus on prioritization” makes me far more productive. It is about having a firm understanding of what are the most important tasks to accomplish for your organization and being laser-focused on getting those done. Ultimately, an intense focus on prioritization is about discipline.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I would tell my younger self a simple, yet powerful proverb: Patience is a virtue. It is easy when you’re young and starting off in a field or profession to want to go 100 mph and prove your worth. And that is a good instinct. But, you also need to be patient enough to know that there are lessons that need to be learned in your pursuit of excellence. I’ve learned that business growth is a marathon, not a sprint.
Tell us something you believe almost nobody agrees with you.
The invisible hand is a much better explanation for people’s actions than deliberate malintent.
What is the one thing you repeatedly do and recommend everyone else do?
Ask yourself why something you think is true is true. If you are always open to learning and cultivating a new or better understanding of the world, your answer to this question will both challenge you and affirm your stance on a given position.
Where did the idea for Ai-RGUS come from?
I was wrapping up my Ph.D. in electrical and computer engineering at Duke University in 2017 when the Chief Information Officer approached my lab group to create a solution to ensure that 2,000 cameras on campus functioned as they should. It seems like a simple solution would be to just manually check every camera every day. But for an institution with even hundreds of cameras, this task can be both tedious and subject to human error. So, we developed an artificial intelligence-based software solution that monitors security cameras and makes sure that they are all working according to a base/desired image.
I spun off this technology developed for Duke into a company, now known as Ai-RGUS. Since then, we’ve modified and added many components to our offering. Ai-RGUS is now a leading software solution which verifies that security cameras are operating optimally and alerts users automatically if a camera has a problem.
And Duke illustrates how impactful our software can be. The university has been using Ai-RGUS to automate their camera inspection since 2017. Now, it takes the security team on average five minutes a day to verify the performance of their system. Before using Ai-RGUS, this task would take four hours every day.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business or advance in your career?
Learning how to make decisions despite not having sufficient information. Not choosing a deliberate course of action is also a decision and when there is so much on the line you cannot afford to have months-long deliberations.
What is one failure in your career, how did you overcome it, and what lessons did you take away from it?
One of the things I realized early on in my career was that things don’t happen overnight. Rather, you need to work day-in and day-out on your goal to make it reality. You don’t code a masterpiece overnight but you work on it incrementally to build it into the product you want and your customers crave. Business is like that too and I’ve learned lessons from my experience coding that I carry into how we incrementally build our business, Ai-RGUS.
What is one business idea you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Recommendation engines are a good place to be building in the AI space right now. You can get pretty specific and tailored recommendations but there is no concept of getting it wrong. A company like Yelp, but more customized.
What is one piece of software that helps you be productive? How do you use it?
Website blockers. I’ll instinctively check my news aggregator to read some interesting stories but all I really need is to cool off for 1 minute, not 30 minutes. It’s only on my preferred browser, but that seems to be enough to do the trick.
What is the best $100 you recently spent?
Instacart+. Grocery shopping really bums me out after a long week working on our business 🙂
Do you have a favorite book or podcast from which you’ve received much value?
The Founder’s Dilemma by Noam Wasserman. This book provides an excellent framework for the vast majority of decisions you have to make when you decide that entrepreneurship for a product-based startup is the path you want to go down.
What is your favorite quote?
“If it looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it’s probably a duck.”
- Things don’t happen overnight. Rather, you need to work day-in and day-out on your goal to make it reality.
- Intense focus on prioritization is a great productivity hack: It is about having a firm understanding of what are the most important tasks to accomplish for your organization and being laser-focused on getting those done.
- Learn how to make decisions despite not having sufficient information. Not choosing a deliberate course of action is also a decision and when there is so much on the line you cannot afford to have months-long deliberations.
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.