In 1M/1M, we have a wonderful company from Ahmedabad, India, the capital of the Indian state of Gujarat. The company is called The Creative Artisans, and it specializes in artisanal fabrics. Gujarat, for the uninitiated, is a region of India known for its textile industry.
Creative Artisans supplies custom fabrics to major fashion houses like Ralph Lauren, Eileen Fisher, etc. and has already crossed the $1M revenue threshold. They have artisans working with many different techniques – Indigo, Ikat, block prints, Tie n’ Dye, Khadi (Yarn and fabric crafted by hand) embroideries, etc.
In working with them, however, I also see a wonderful opportunity for apparel, accessories, and home furnishing designers to develop products and build small/medium e-commerce businesses using artisanal fabrics.
After publishing my recent article, Must-read Articles on Artificial Intelligence, in which I’ve shared my thoughts and concerns about AI, some have asked for more.
Here are my in-depth interviews with five (actually six) thought leaders who are deeply engaged in artificial intelligence development today that I hope will provide a good overall perspective on where and how AI is being applied today, where AI stands in 2016:
My deep concerns over the impact that Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Robotics, and over-automation will eventually have on society have led me to write several thought-provoking articles to help raise awareness while course correction is still possible.
Whichever way the future unfolds, we do have some time in hand. The kind of mass scale automation that may eventually come about is still 50-100 years away, most likely. Still, there is a very high probability that massive degrees of automation WILL eventually come about. Huge displacement of workers WILL take place due to such automation. Given that eventuality, are we facing Utopia or Dystopia? My prediction, unfortunately, is the latter.
Anyone involved in a corporate innovation program soon learns that it is quite complex to manage the nuances of such programs and get them to work right.
Last year I spent half a day with approximately 40 Fortune 500 Chief Innovation Officers at Xerox PARC, and discussed our experience with corporate innovation methodology through the1M/1M Incubator In A Box program. A few months later, Jim Euchner, the CIO of Goodyear, interviewed me for the Research-Technology Management journal.
If you are trying to sell B-to-B software to Indian SMBs, you know that it’s a very big market, and by and large, inaccessible.
There are hardly any mature channels through which to cater to this audience of customers profitably.
If you’ve read Vision India 2020, you may recall a project called Urja. In it, I explored the idea of creating a fusion brand with Italian designers working with Indian artisans and craftsmen specializing in different domains such as Chikkan from Lucknow, Tasar from Bengal, etc. This project, like all the Vision India 2020 projects, was designed to be a very large company, and hence the distribution and financing strategy was accordingly different.
Now I have a different lens on. I am thinking of small-scale ideas that will stimulate a thousand new brands, each focused on a specific craft, a specific style of customer, and sell through channels that are easily accessible and not very expensive.
The entrepreneurship media has a very annoying habit: they tend to only cover funding news and write about funded companies.
This puts all those companies that do not have any funding at a grave disadvantage. In many cases, entrepreneurs will need to work their way to become fundable by climbing the rungs of the credibility radar.
And during that phase, they need to get the word out there that they exist, they offer something of value, and customers ought to look at them.
Very few business writers ask the question: What is your revenue?
Most ask the question: How much funding have you raised? From whom?
Technology makes a lot of things possible that are detrimental to society. One of them is Tinder and other hook up apps.
These days, you can swipe for love.
These days, you can swipe for sex.
And people are doing it.
There’s a problem, though.