Today’s guest, Gary Saarenvirta, has been thinking deeply about AI long before the current hype. Having worked in the AI space for over 25 years, Gary was shocked at how little math and science was used in big business, and founded Daisy Intelligence to fill this glaring gap. Daisy is a SaaS AI-powered platform that helps retailers and insurers achieve higher profits by helping them make smarter operating decisions. In this episode, Gary sheds light on some of Daisy’s product offerings and the specific ways they increase profitability. As someone with an engineering background, Gary always focused on the technical side of things, but with the growth of the business, he has become increasingly aware of the value of people and culture. We talk about various ways that Daisy looks after their team, including flexible remote working options during COVID and mentoring programs. Gary himself has seen the value of having a coach, and he shares how this has helped him grow as a leader. Along with this, we discuss why Daisy’s technology is uniquely differentiated and how they use optimal control thinking to ensure their software stands out. Gary believes that by making businesses more efficient, through autonomous enterprise, it will not only reduce product costs but decrease the cost of living generally. We wrap the show up by hearing some of Gary’s must read books as well as why being a small company that has productized AI has helped them attract top talent. Don't miss out!
TIME-STAMPED SHOW NOTES:
- [00:21] Before we jump into today’s interview, please rate, review, and subscribe to the Leveling Up Podcast!
- [00:45] Learn more about Gary and his background, and his company, Daisy Intelligence.
- [01:48] Some of Daisy Intelligence’s current clients including, Walmart Canada and Allianz.
- [02:08] How Gary walked into the idea for Daisy after a stint in the corporate world.
- [03:48] Hear about how Daisy makes money as a SaaS platform and their pricing structure.
- [05:19] Some numbers related to Daisy, including employees, growth rates, and more.
- [06:49] What Gary has learned about the importance of culture as Daisy has grown.
- [07:43] Specific tools and resources Gary has used to build company culture.
- [08:56] The ways that Daisy has taken care of their employees.
- [10:22] How coaches have helped Gary grow as a leader and what’s been effective for him.
- [11:22] What optimal control is and how it’s helped Daisy to their $5.5 million ARR.
- [13:06] Why making companies more efficient is one of Gary’s main motivators.
- [13:43] The time it took for Daisy to reach product-market fit.
- [16:30] How Daisy stayed afloat for 12 years before getting VC finance in 2015.
- [17:59] Gary’s favorite business tools and why he enjoys looking at cashflow.
- [18:42] Must read books that Gary recommends and other resources he consumes.
- [20:06] Bonus question: How Daisy manages to recruit such high-talent people.
Resources From The Interview:
Gary Saarenvirta on LinkedIn IBM Patrick Lencioni Ideal Team Player TensorFlow
Leave Some Feedback:
- What should I talk about next? Who should I interview? Please let me know on Twitter or in the comments below.
- Did you enjoy this episode? If so, please leave a short review here
- Subscribe to Leveling Up on iTunes
- Get the non-iTunes RSS Feed
Connect with Eric Siu: