[quote style=”boxed”]Exceptional customer service at all times. Never forget who you work for.[/quote]
Dennis is the CEO and Founder of x.ai, whose artificial intelligence driven personal assistant lets people schedule meetings using plain English and nothing more than a CC to [email protected]. He’s a pioneer and expert in the analytics, optimization and big data space and has been since its inception – he is also a fully-fledged entrepreneur and successfully delivered a number of company exits. He’s an accredited Associate Analytics Instructor at the University of British Columbia, the Author of Data Driven Insights from Wiley and a frequent speaker on the subject of Analytics and Data. A native of Denmark, Mortensen currently calls New York City his home.
Where did the idea for x.ai come from?
I came up with the idea for x.ai after I went through the enormous pain of personally scheduling 1019 meetings in 2012. About ~670 of those had updates and or were rescheduled at least once. Anybody who goes through that amount of pain will try to find a way to remove it.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
My day is one part x.ai product, one part x.ai team and one part x.ai stakeholders! I stay productive through elimination, whether that be basic removal of computer notifications and other distractions or choice of which strategic items to spend time on. This provides the opportunity to focus on one task at a time, whether that be a product feature or hanging out with my daughters.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I try not to think of ideas, but take note of all the pain around me instead. For every pain a solution should exist. My specific system is one of writing down every one of those pains in a DOC and then revisit the list, years later, upon exit of a venture. I never work two ideas at the same time, so I want them out of my head immediately!
What’s one trend that really excites you?
Technology products that progressed to the point that they doesn’t need to look like technology anymore. Think self-driving cars or Artificial personal assistants.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?
I’ve done 4 ventures in 20 years since College! I had nothing but fun!
If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
Add more risk earlier in my career (even though I had a wonderful early tech exit in April 2000).
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Talk to your customers! No Dashboard will ever beat that tactic.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.
Exceptional customer service at all times. Never forget who you work for.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
We did an OpenTable/Seamless play for Europe a good decade ago. We went bust! and it turned into a rather expensive “MBA”, if I may say so. I moved to the Caribbean for a while. That solves most problems in life 🙂
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Retail Store Front Window Analytics. Think of it as a landing page and go from there. And with facial recognition and eye tracking a VIEW is interestingly enough a view not currently registered as you pass that Louis Vuitton store on 5th Avenue.
Tell us something about you that very few people know?
I live with three girls.
What software and web services do you use? What do you love about them?
My number one is Amy, of course. She saves me hours out of my day. I am also a fan of RDIO (music), Tripit (Travel) and HipChat (team communication) and Microsoft Excel. I might actually be able to run a company on those 😉
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
For truly hardcore entrepreneurs “The narrow road” by Felix Dennis is the bible. It is not for the weak though.
What people have influenced your thinking and might be of interest to others?
Felix Dennis in particular, but also Nassim Nicholas Taleb, and Peter Linck (from back home) because they are truly brave.
AP Møller (from back home) because he inspires company and employee decency above and beyond what one can reasonably expect.
Dennis Mortensen on Twitter: @DennisMortensen
x.ai on LinkedIn:
Mario Schulzke is the Founder of ideamensch, which he started a decade ago to learn from entrepreneurs and give them a platform for their ideas.