Only 15% of businesses use AI. So are the businesses not using AI going to get left behind?
In this episode we’re chatting with Matt Chick from Chick Digital. Matt and his colleagues work with companies who are not only using AI to answer questions, but who are also harnessing AI to find better questions to ask.
There is so much chatter around AI, what it might threaten and the damage it could do, that we might be in danger of missing the positive opportunities AI can offer us.
During our conversation, Matt Chick gave many real-world examples of how using AI to analyse data has helped SMEs develop new hypotheses that challenge conventional thinking, with surprising results.
Andrew: Hey, welcome to the podcast! I have a guest with me today, and I’m not going to introduce the guest. I’m not being rude, I’m just going to ask our guest to introduce themselves, so go ahead, Guest, please introduce yourself!
Matt: Well, hello, my name’s Matt. I run an agency called Chick Digital and basically, we’re a development agency and we work with mainly smaller median businesses and help them make the most out of the technical landscape. Basically, work with them to find ways that they can exploit or take advantage of all of this new technology that’s all around us all of the time.
Andrew: Excellent. So, the reason I wanted to speak to you today -you wouldn’t have it because it’s not published yet but by the time this episode goes out it will be- For the first episode, I interviewed a gentleman called Norman Sanders and he introduced computer-aided design to Boeing in the 1950s and there was some resistance and I wanted to speak to you because I know that one of your specialist topics is AI.
At the moment, in the world of SEO, everyone is wetting their knickers over AI. I can’t think of a better way to put it really, but there are lots of what I think might be unfounded fears, so because I’m not an expert on AI, I thought with the very fact that you run a dev agency that helps people get the most out of tech, you’d be a good person to speak to about it.
So, everyone has their own different definition of AI. The one that everyone in the world of SEO is panicking about at the moment is that there might be an AI where you can press a button and it will generate thousands of articles that will then wash over Google like some torrent of silage or sewage or something. But that’s not my definition at the moment. I haven’t really formed one. So, what’s your definition of Ai in the context of your working life?
Matt: Yeah, I mean that’s a really interesting question because to some extent, I just see AI as the latest evolution on the technical evolution of man, for want of a better word.
Matt: If you go back to the industrial revolution and all of these things, it ultimately all comes back to automating tasks and automating ways of working and you see the resistance at every single stage in human history.
You had the Luddites and lot of resistance to a lot of firms who didn’t know how to handle the internet or how to cope with it and a lot of businesses went out of business in the long run just because they never really got a handle on how to work differently in a digital world. So, I mean, in terms of AI and what I sort of consider it, I basically consider it anything where you are leaving the computer to make judgments for you or to get answers for you.
I mean, we’ve had things like big data for years and AI is an extension of that, whereas with big data, we were pulling information together to try to get answers. This has actually given you the answers. The example I always use is Apple, or music, more specifically, which I know is something that you like.
If you go back further, we used to have records and had tapes then we had CDs, and then along came along came Apple and allowed you to save all of your stuff onto your computer and to begin with, that was great because it was all there; you can search for it and now as it has evolved and with Spotify, it’s actually telling you what you want to be listening to and it knows better than you do what you want to be listening to and I think that’s really where the evolution basically went from being big data which is, you know, all of your files and music are available in one place to actually artificial intelligence using that information to make recommendations and to change people’s behaviours without a human sitting there driving that.
Andrew: There are several things I’d like to unpack in that. I think that you’ve covered quite a lot of ground in quite a short time there. There’s the first element about being left behind. The Luddites were the people who were smashing the mills.
Matt: Yeah, yeah, exactly.
Andrew: So, with the industrial revolution, jobs that took whole towns of people with a needle and thread could suddenly be done by large machines in mills. So, some people, the Luddites, went out and smashed it. I’m very hazy on that period of history but is that roughly the right thing?
Matt: Yeah, I’m no massive historian but broadly speaking, that’s my understanding of how it went down.
Andrew: That angle’s interesting to me because there’s a slightly cliched argument that you shouldn’t allow people to use diggers on building sites; the argument being that one digger takes away the job of twenty people with shovels.
But then, perhaps you shouldn’t use shovels on a building site; you should use teaspoons because those ten shovels take away the job of two hundred people with teaspoons now those two-hundred people with teaspoons have put a thousand people with toothpicks out of work and it’s an inevitable moving forward, you know? A tide pushing into a shoreline as technology advances.
So, that’s an interesting analogy. I mean, one of my theories on this is that this change isn’t a new thing. We didn’t look at the news in January 2023 and say “Oh my God look at this AI thing!”. It’s just that it’s almost like some brands have managed to coalesce it into a thing. They’ve branded it as much as the internet initially was very disparate until people like AoL came together and said right, we’re going to take all these elements that are sort of existing anyway and we’re going to trash it with capitalism or whatever. What’s your thought on that?
Matt: Yeah, I think there’s definitely an element of like, branding things. I always liken it to you when made the big Craft beer explosion. You’d notice that you’d go into the shop and all of a sudden, beers that have been there for years have suddenly been rebranded to make them look crafty. So, all of a sudden, now Pedigree beer suddenly looks like it’s been made by a hipster, whereas it’s exactly the same beer that people have been drinking for a hundred years.
So, I think there’s an element of that where people realize that it’s a Buzzword and when a buzzword comes around, it’s a good way of unlocking spend from people because they feel it’s something they should be doing.
So, a lot of people -it’s not so much the case now- but it always used to be easier to get money out of people if it was for something digital rather than something IT-based because people felt like it was the way to go and I think you’re right.
I think it’s true with where people have started to brand it and people have started to talk about it. You know, I think in recent lectures last year, they had a series of conversations around AI and it being one of the big aspects in human history. I think it has kind of come to the forefront because of people bringing it to the forefront, and like you say, we didn’t suddenly wake up and it’s there. It has kind of always been there; it’s just that I think it’s getting more airspace and it’s getting more bandwidth from everybody and I guess one of the interesting things with technology is that -and it comes back to your toothpick analogies to some extent- the pace of technology always outstrips our society’s ability to actually process what that technology can do and decide how to respond to it.
So, it’s like the legal frameworks are always well behind where we need to be with it, and also the kind of ethical or moral compass in terms of as a society deciding if this is something you want.
Basically, by the time our society has come to terms with old AI here, which is probably the moment we’re in at the moment, where society has got to the point where society is like “Oh, AI is actually here. It’s a real thing and we’re going to have to start thinking about what we do about it.”
The technology is so far advanced that there’s no sort of turning back the clock and it’s exactly the same with in the e-commerce days when they were talking about it killing the high street.
Well, it’s killed the high street and we still haven’t come up with a sensible response to it and I guess the advantage -to certainly come back to what you’re saying at the beginning- like the fears within something like SEO, the arbitrators that are really people like Google and Bing and the search engines, but to some extent at least you’ve got there a body that can move quicker than like a government can.
So, ultimately, the reason that Google’s successful is because it gives people the content they want. So, if they create a magic SEO button using AI to create all the content, Google are going to get wise to that and find ways, if they want to stay as a market leader, of analyzing and responding to that so the best quality results still come and I think that’s how we’ve had spam articles for forever.
You know, if we’re talking about the volume that’s now going to bring out, it obviously could increase through AI but you’ve got a better arbitrator, not necessarily morally better, but certainly they’ve got the skills and the understanding to be able to respond to the changes, whereas in other areas of society, our way of handling AI -like when you look at things like deep fake and all of this kind of stuff- We’re so far off of actually getting to grips with what we’ll likely be able to do or be to legislate about any of that.
But really, that’s where I have some apprehension around the use of AI. I think within the business context, it’s broadly right, and I think broadly we’ll have to get used to it and evolve like we have with all the other technological advances.
Andrew: Yeah, and as you mentioned the e-commerce and the high street of it. It certainly has killed the high street in a lot of places, but there are a lot of places like Bury St Edmunds near us. We’re both in Suffolk in the UK. It still has a really nice collection of shops, so does Norwich. A lot of places like Ipswich are dead and what surprises me about that is it’s the large brands that either didn’t embrace the shift to online. I mean, huge brands like Debenham’s, Finnick’s, there’s loads, but I’m not going to start listing places that don’t exist anymore. They didn’t shift fast enough but it appears to have been the smaller places that perhaps have more flexibility that embrace that technology that are still there.
I mean, I had a record shop in about 2004 and we had an online store because I’m a techy and I do SEO, so I could embrace that but I think the fact that there are more boutique shops now is a sign that when technology like this comes along, some people will just run from it and say you know I’m not changing and those people, unfortunately, tend to fall by the wayside.
There’s the people who run face-first into everything, which, I think I’m sometimes guilty of, but then because this tech has been around for a while now- I’m talking about the internet because this tech’s been around for a while now- there are people who will listen and perhaps a lot of business owners have now spotted the warning signs or the opportunities.
You know, I don’t want this to be a fully negative thing and it’s quite normal now for, for example, small boutique clothes shops to embrace Instagram or whatever and just see it as a natural part of their business. So yeah, I think smaller businesses possibly have a larger opportunity than very large businesses who have to get together a strategy team and do all these kinds of things.
So, obviously, you don’t have to give away any of your secret work that you do at Check Digital, but what’s your experience? What size of businesses do you work with when you’re doing AI-type work?
Matt: For AI-type word work, it does tend to be small businesses for exactly the reasons that you’re talking about. With any new technology I think you’ve really got 3 ways of approaching it. Well, the fourth way is to ignore it which means you end up like Debenhams or that that kind of thing, but realistically, you’ve got to use it to automate stuff.
You need to look at your business and see what adds value and what doesn’t. You can either use it strategically and you can then make the choice of either we use this technology to automate the things that don’t add value so we’ve got more time to do the things that do. You can look at the things that add value, and then look to see if the technology can help you to improve that even further or do something even more. The final option is that you can pivot completely away from it, but if you pivot completely away from it, it needs to be a strategic decision then you need to think about what you’re going to do because you not using it won’t stop other people from using it.
That’s where you get these boutique shops where their internet presence might be very small and they might be quite niche, but they’ve actually managed to build up a successful business based on the opportunities in front of them which is niche, which is a personalized service, which is having a human you can talk to…
Andrew: And that’s an angle that from speaking as an SEO person, that’s an angle that always really interests me. A lot of the research we do when we work with clients is trying to find those gaps and all the time, and this goes back 20 years, people in business will assume there’s no point in doing it because everyone else is doing it or everyone else is doing it better, and my goodness SEO proves that wrong all the time! We’re still the giant killers, and I think you can start any business and if you do SEO as a part of many, many, many other things.
You can still dominate fairly swiftly and I see the kind of AI tools you’re talking about as just being a part of that process that makes things faster. In SEO, for example, if we’re going to write an article, we’ll use various SEO tools to make sure there’s an appetite for that article.
So, can you give us a real-world example of a project you’ve done where you’ve brought extra value and a higher level of automation to a process that has helped a client move forward?
Matt: Yeah, of course, so as I mentioned, we tend to approach AI -we call it accessible AI- with the idea that at the moment, only 15% of businesses are using AI and that’s mainly because most small businesses aren’t. When you look at the large businesses, they’re spending big money on AI. It’s part of the big teams sitting around drawing up strategies and integrating it, doing all of that kind of stuff whereas I think with small businesses, they they’ve got the barriers there that stop them.
They don’t have the skills, they don’t have the money for the huge great projects and I think what we’ve tried to focus on is how you can actually use AI without it having to be this huge life-changing investment and just taking some of the technologies or getting people like us to help you with those technologies to actually help automate and understand things better.
So, one of the things we’ve really focused on because we’re kind of always quite heavy lent towards data and insight is using that kind of old AI to basically allow us to analyze text data to gain insights that we wouldn’t have been able to otherwise. So, for a couple of examples. We worked with a copywriting agency and we analyzed the entire website using AI and we used that to understand things like how easy the text to read is, the key subjects, what’s the tone of voice, what personality is coming across in that, and now if you think about that as a job in a copyrighting agency, that’s a huge to us because it’s hugely important that your text is consistent and on point and on brand.
And obviously they do loads of work around what their turning voice should be, and what we were able to do is analyze thousands of blog posts and thousands of pages within hours to actually pull out what the content was saying to people, not so much in the text, but in terms of its tone of voice and in terms of how it’s going to be perceived and how easy it is to read and that allows people to understand if are they communicating to their customers in the way they want to without having to pay somebody to read through a thousand articles.
So, I think that’s a powerful way that gives you a bit of both: you can automate a task that takes a long time but you can also quantify to some extent the quality of data so you can make better decisions.
So, we’re able to work with this agency to demonstrate that over time, their tone of voice had become more professional, more conscientious, and that was exactly what they were aiming for because they were trying to position themselves as a copywriter to law firms and a copywriter to accountants and a copywriter to big enterprises that would want somebody who’s going to be conscientious, who’s going to have a very professional tone of voice.
The last thing you want in that is to find a few blog posts that have got some really neurotic sort of overtop comments that then just completely throw doubt on if these people are the right people and if you think about the volume of content that gets created now, actually getting a handle on what your content’s saying and how it’s saying it is huge, but that was something that’s relatively accessible and relatively easy to do and relatively affordable and could be used in SEO, it could be used internally, it could even be used internally on your own like new internal comms in larger organizations without having to go through the whole cycle of making something an embedded program.
It literally can be just a case study or a research piece that’s making use of AI and I think a way that a lot of smaller firms can look to actually get involved in AI for the first time is to look at what tools out there talk to technologists or people that might be able to actually take what their challenges are and finding ways of solving them.
Andrew: You’ve hit on something there which I think I see as a real opportunity in AI and, you mentioned earlier about how AI can give answers for things faster. Whenever we’re looking at large sets of data, be it Google analytics or anything -I’m just vaguely keeping this on an SEO track- when we look at data, quite often the results we can get from data analysis are restricted by the questions that we can think to ask. So, where I see projects like the one you just discussed as being really interesting and potentially revolutionary is that instead of a data analysis project being an input/output thing, what questions are we going to input? What’s going to come out of it? I’m kind of hoping AI is going to give us the opportunity to pose questions that we might not have thought of asking. Is that hopeful or is that am I sort of roughly in a ballpark there?
Matt: No, no I think you’re right. So certainly, we’re kind of on a journey with our AI products and AI work. I think we’ve worked out that there’s a lot of stuff we can do with this and it’s finding the best applications and working with people to find those and I think one of the things we’re really keen to look at is actually if we were to take data like, whether that’s transactional data, or, in your case, looking at SEO Data or Google Analytics data is actually the bit that is involved in that is “Okay, well, this post is well. this post hasn’t done so well, this has converted more, this has converted less” and actually, the bit that that data never tells you is because of the way it’s written, is that because of the actual qualitative facts that could separate out a good SEO agency from someone churning out mindless content is actually that fact of when you write in this tone, it actually converts better.
I think I saw a really interesting talk recently and it was talking about persuasive marketing and persuasive copy and it’s all of these things about if you write in a particular way, you can get a particular result and that we don’t get that currently out of Google Analytics. We can just see that well this post did well and this post didn’t and we can look at maybe some of the factors of all the links that were coming into it, but we can’t actually look at the difference between is the reason this article does well because it’s actually a really good article and actually written nicely and actually makes the people do what you hope they’ll do.
Andrew: I think you’ve hit upon an example and I like talking about content examples because it’s one of our specialisms here at Yeseo now what I really like about that is potentially that copyrighting agency could have seen it seen AI as a threat because a large part the skill for a good copywriter is understanding tone and thinking about how to persuade and how to motivate but instead of saying “Oh no, AI is going to ruin that!” they’ve kind of taken and said okay, well how can we get better faster with the content, and I’m not really sort of arriving at a point here other than just to celebrate that, I think that’s great. It’s kind of saying what makes us unique as humans? What’s our human input to this and how can we use AI to make ourselves more efficient as humans?
You’re not taking the humans out of the whole process and I think that’s one of the threats that people misunderstand with AI is that it doesn’t tend to replace human beings for everything.
It’s like owning a dishwasher. Sometimes, yeah, you can stand there for 20 minutes of wash up or you can cram everything in the dishwasher and kick the door shut and hope for the best.
That probably gives you more of an insight into how I use dishwashers than anything else, but you know it’s saying “Right, well this one part of it that is repetitive can probably be not done by a human.”
Matt: Yeah, I think you’re right and, the scale of that effectiveness. I know it’s one of the things that we’ve looked at in our copywrite example in terms of looking to explore what happens in a big organization where you have got 6 different marketing managers, 12 different agencies working on different projects, how consistent is that across all of that?
At the moment, normally, if you get an agency here, they’ll look at what you’ve done and have a quick look around your website and do some work around how your tone of voice should be, and then moving forward, they’ll write in that way, but actually, this opens up a whole new world of possibilities about you auditing what’s there without having to pay somebody to see there having to read it all to say “Well look, we’ve analyzed all of your content for the last 10 years and there’s a weird bit in 2016/2017 where it’s completely off-base compared to what all the other content is.” So, we need to revisit that because that stuff is still out in the world changing opinions about you or as a way of validating your work to say “Well, look, we told you you need to be more professional in your copy, now we’ve been working with you for 6 months, you can see how that tone of voice has improved over that time and how that consistency happened.”
I think it’s a tool that you want to use and at the end of the day, you can choose how to make the best out of it and use it, but it comes back to you. Take the example of, do you really want to be the firm that’s known for digging with spades or do you want to use a digger for some of those bits? Because, that’s a challenge in the crossroads I guess we’re at from an AI perspective. If you’re going to keep digging with spades, you need to explain the benefits and hone in on those benefits and make sure that your clients see them and perceive them and understand them. Otherwise, they’ll just go and get a digger.
Andrew: You’ve highlighted something else here, and that’s the cross-pollination of different disciplines about data, because really good things happen in the world as a whole when people of different disciplines join together to use new technologies. I mean, we’re recording videos for this, I don’t know whether we’re going to use it or not because, I don’t know…But anyone watching the video would assume that you’ve said something there and my jaw dropped because you mentioned something in that project that for an SEO agency would be fantastically powerful.
We spend a lot of time looking at old content trying to figure out which bits of content to optimize and if we’re working with a client who has hundreds of even thousands of articles, we have certain things we can do very manually like “Let’s see which articles have dipped in ranking in the last few years.” “Let’s see which ones are on the verge of greatness?” but we can’t take tone into account. There’s loads of things you just mentioned that we can’t take into account and it still requires a human, and it’s a laborious process. We do it because it’s a really good thing to do, but there’s an example of cross pollination where you’re just telling me about this one thing over here and me, as you’re a dev and I’m an SEO…Sorry, in SEO. I never liked that ‘AN SEO’ thing..
Just in discussion for the purpose of this podcast, the cross-pollination like that I’ve gone wow, actually that’s really cool, I can see that as a really big advantage and ultimately, that could give us more time to spend looking for new opportunities. I don’t think we’re riding the crest of a wave with technology like AI. I think we’re swimming and bobbing around and occasionally, we bump into another swimmer and help each other around…That’s a weird analogy, isn’t it?
Matt: I think I know what you mean and we did a really interesting project with a fashion brand, or a fragrance brand, basically, and it was using content available online to better understand people that like particular perfumes also like this kind of perfume or fragrance. I’m not the greatest with all of the different smells, but there’s a huge subset of people…Subset sounds wrong, bu–
Andrew: It’s alright, we’re both in tech. We can break down to unemotional terms when talking about humans. Unfortunately, we have to.
Matt: Yeah, but there’s a huge subset of people who really love fragrances and can talk about them all day and have opinions and apparently, even, to me I thought there was a world where you got as high as CK1 and that was a good one, but there’s a whole level about that where you’re getting into four figures for a bottle of perfume or bottle of aftershave and it’s amazing.
You get people who buy vintage ones, but what is really interesting is one of the huge challenges if you’re a perfume brand or if you do that kind of stuff is “How can you sell something that is sensory online?” and other than price, up until now, most sensory stuff–I used to work in furniture and people buy online because it was cheaper than going into a store. As long as you go into a store and sit on a sofa and say yes, this is the sofa I want and then go home and try to find a cheaper one online.
So, it might be the case in which you smell a perfume, you like it, you find it cheaper online, but if you’re actually doing something that isn’t just trying to compete on price, how can you get people shopping online for sensory stuff?
A lot of that comes down to understanding what people are going to like and making sure that experience is right, and that’s where AI can help and with big data, this is where all the lines sort of cross, but if we know that you really like CK1, there’s a pretty good chance you’re going to like something else, and you know, there’s where opportunities are in AI for a firm that’s really all about creativity in creating fragrances.
Andrew: It’s the creativity angle of it that has always interested me. There’s a really famous person in advertising called David Ogilvy. He kind of invented the advertising game in the way we see it today. He died many, many years ago and I often think, if he can see what we’re able to do now and it would kill him…No, I’m trying to think of a good way of saying that and I realized he’s already dead.
So, his principle was learn about your audience. They had to do that in the 40s, 50s, and 60s by doing focus groups, test campaigns, and newspapers where they couldn’t get any direct feedback and then the job of the ad copywriter is to appeal to emotions and other less tangible parts of what motivates people to buy, so with your fragrance example, being able to say hey, Mr. Ogilvy, you’re going to sell a four-thousand pound bottle of aftershave because we know these people have a preference for the color purple and it could be absolutely anything, couldn’t it? I was trying to think of a really obscure example like these people could scratch their left ear with their right hand or something.
It could be almost anything, and that goes back to AI giving you the questions to ask, not just being an input/output thing to give you the answers.
Matt: Yeah, and I think also, finding correlations that you weren’t expecting and weren’t looking for, as obviously, you tend to start with a hypothesis like I think this page ranked very well because it had lots of funny jokes in there or whatever, and where AI can help is it can take out that hypothesis side of it to some extent and can find things that you weren’t expecting a tool, and that’s what we found going back to that copywriting example. We basically just chucked a whole suite of AI tools at it to see what all of them said and just focused in on the bits that were interesting.
We’ve looked at ease of read and to be honest, every single article was easy to read. So, okay, great, but we know that. We register that and move on, but when you’ve got a personality bit, that was much more interesting because you could see actually how the tone of voice was changing, but we didn’t know before we started that what our major find would be, the first one being “Hey, look, some of you write articles that are impossible to read, so there’s your big—
Andrew: That’s a good one to know if you’re a copywriting agency, isn’t it?
Matt: Yeah, so I think it’s just, you can keep on adding other checks and other things that you look at to try to understand those opportunities and you just build up this wealth of data but then the biggest challenge is finding ways of communicating that data, because it brings back to much information that, being AI, is normally numerical.
Andrew: That’s then another discipline. I know a guy, who’s actually designed the Yeseo logo. He’s a designer, but he’s a designer of data visualization. So, he takes the kind of data that your processors would create and it’s his job to make it pretty pictures. He will slam me for saying that, because that is a horrible oversimplification but it’s kind of true. It really is, it’s saying “Here’s a phenomenal amount of data. Make it something I can shout across the room and the person on the other side would understand what we’ve learned”
Matt: I think you’re right. I mean, we have designers or digital visualization people that we use, and to be fair, a lot of the input -and we’re quite good at it- but a lot of it has come with just experience from working with people who understand the business. A lot of that sort of stuff comes from the business need. So, like, one of our big clients work in the hotel industry and I guess their sort of stuff is probably the borderline between big data and AI. There’s so much data there that, although we’re not using always AI to analyze it, we do sometimes. Just that volume of it, making it readable, is kind of really leveraging the power of technology and I remember one of the very first meetings we were in and they were saying “Look, we’ve got this series of dashboards, like 20 dashboards that visualize different aspects of supplier’s performance and remembering the first meeting we had about this going back like 8 years, they were literally like “The point of this page is if I am an account manager, I can go in and I can say to somebody on tablet look at this number, I want to talk to you about this number.” and it’s kind of understanding what people are looking for and what kind of visuals people will respond you.
Like you say, it’s all really easy to say “Let’s just chuck in a chart, put into excel and do that” but the skill involved in visualizing the data is huge and—
Andrew: Getting the charts is only really the first step of the journey. There’s stuff that you guys do, and we do as well to be fair in SEO, although from very different angles. We’re only getting business owners and analysts to step one of a long journey. You know, I’ve been in and out of loads of different places over the years.
With factories, there’s one factory I went in once whose huge screens, and when you’re up close to them, it was just a lot of grass. I’d no idea what they were doing. I understood that industry well, because like you, we start working with a client in a new industry, we have a steep learning curve.
I don’t know why they were doing it. I was always thinking “Well, who’s looking at that and making decisions about what happens tomorrow or what’s gonna happen in 5 years?” Just getting the data is only the start of the journey, really.
Matt: Yeah, and I think that’s what this client that we worked with, part of what they’re offering is consultancy around utilizing data, and for that very reason, the likes of me and you can produce grass for days, but actually it’s—
Andrew: Happy to do it. That’s the fun of it.
Matt: Yeah, I’m actually working with the client to actually understand what is really important to you. That’s often the thing I see with dashboards is that problem of everyone like “Well wouldn’t it be great if I can see every single thing about my business in one page” and that’s great, but at what point do you have a sit-down and say, ”Right, today I’m gonna review my entire business”?
It doesn’t work like that. You want to be looking at it in the context of a particular challenge or a particular situation and then, like you say, the person that’s planning what’s going to be made tomorrow isn’t going to need the same data as the person who’s making sure that all of today’s tasks are completed, and that’s often what, in the consultancy side, I think it starts like that a lot of the time and it’s actually who needs to see what information and don’t necessarily flood them with other information, because then people just see a page of numbers or a page of grass and just—
Andrew: Data blindness, yeah.
Matt: Yeah, exactly right, yeah.
Andrew: Matt, it’s been really interesting. I just spotted the time and we’ve been talking for a while.
Matt: Oh sorry.
Andrew: No, no it’s an absolute pleasure. I’d like to think we’ll look back on conversations like this in five-years-time and we’ll just say “Wow, we did not see it going that way.” Or we’ll be quietly confident that it’s not how we react to new technology, it’s how we perceive technology as a whole that makes a difference. That’s my opinion; I’m not thrusting that kind of on you at all.
So, just for fun, where do you think we’ll be in 10 years with AI?
Matt: The big thing is that we overestimate what’s going to change in 10 years, but underestimate what’s going to change in five years. I think there’s still a way of having anything serious, like, you know cars that drive themselves, all of this stuff.
I think, really, what we’ll be seeing, certainly in the five-year window is just good quality personalization in large aspects of our lives. I think it’s going to be a big part of it, driven by AI. I think, also, we’ll probably get more used to some tasks being completely automated and AI becoming a way of getting things done remotely.
So, for example, I know that now they’ve started doing things like using facial recognition on your driver’s license against you to see that you are actually who you say you are and I think there will be a lot of that kind of stuff that’s probably some of the first protocol. I think that’s where we’ll see a lot of AI. Fundamentally, it’s not going to be that different; just probably an extension of more automation, more clever ways of doing things, breaking down barriers in terms of making it easier for people to spend money.
That seems to be what drives us, so that’s what I think will happen. I’m sure, like you say, we’ll look back at this in ten years and I’ll be sitting there in a hovercraft.
Andrew: Oh, we were promised hovercars many, many years ago. That documentary Back To The Future lied to us! So mad. I really enjoyed your company and it has been a fascinating chat. So, before we go, how can people find out more about your business?
Matt: So, you can find us on ChickDigital.co.uk or you can look us up on LinkedIn, so I think if you search for me, Matt Chick, or for Chick Digital on there, you should be able to find us. We’re based in Colchester, so if anyone around in Colchester in the east of England, feel free to give us a shout and we can have a coffee!
Andrew: Brilliant! So, final thing, I’m going to ask every guest this; every guest who’s a consultant or an operative: What’s your favorite type of project? What’s the project that when it comes in you think “Yes! This is gonna be great! This is my thing; this is what I love!”?
Matt: At the moment, I love anything to do with AI and data, to be honest. Anything to do with AI or data gets me really interested because it might just be the way my brain works, but I find content and stuff like that really confusing and I, kind of, got excited when I was able to turn it into numbers and say oh look–
Andrew: Now I understand it!
Matt: Yeah, that makes sense! So, anything to do with data always gets me excited because there’s so much potential in data and AI is just, to me, an extension of that in lots of ways because it helps us analyze and understand that data quicker but to me, that’s also the area where you can have the biggest impact the quickest, because so much data isn’t being used and the possibilities it opens up just by actually understanding what’s happening on a day-to-day basis, either in your business or the places you operate is just huge. So, yeah, definitely, if anyone has got any data or database projects, not only will I buy you a coffee, you might even get a cake, as well.
Andrew: Ooh! I’ve been making notes throughout this. You said so many quotable things and just there “so much data is never used” just, put it on a t-shirt, Matt! What a great quote; that’s so brilliant.
So, as you have probably gathered, listeners, I could carry on chatting to Matt all the rest of the day, but I’m not going to, because unfortunately, I’ve got to go and do other things and now I want cake. So, Matt, once again, thank you ever so much. Is there any final thoughts or would you just like to say goodbye to close the show?
Matt: No, thank you, Andrew. It’s been really good, I really enjoyed it, and looking forward to hearing from some of the other people in the series!