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Episode 89

Web3, AI & ML: The Strategic Value Of Technology

Alani Kuye
Chief Growth Officer at Mande Network
Join Tessa Burg as she talks with technology investor and advisor Alani Kuye.

On this episode of the Leader Generation Podcast, Tessa and Alani explore the strategic significance of the current technology wave. They focus on the evolution from Web2 to Web3 and the importance of decentralized infrastructure.

Alani emphasizes the importance of bridging old and new technologies for a seamless transition in the tech industry. They also discuss the critical role of data privacy, the hype around AI and ML, and the need for quality over quantity in innovation.

“There are no shortcuts. The things that are not fun doing are the things that are going to make you successful.”

Alani ends by offering valuable advice to startups on simplifying processes and providing an alternative to competing directly with giants.

Highlights From This Episode:

  • Technology investment and advisory
  • Web3 and decentralized infrastructure
  • Personal productivity and routines
  • Evolution of the internet: Web1, Web2, Web3
  • Importance of data privacy
  • AI and machine learning hype
  • Startup advice and business modeling
  • Simplifying processes and focusing on quality

Watch the Live Recording

Full Episode Transcripts

Tessa Burg: Hello and welcome to another episode of Leader Generation, brought to you by Mod Op. I’m your host, Tessa Burg, and today I am joined by Alani Kuye. He’s a technology investor and advisor, and a Web3 advocate for decentralized infrastructure. Today I’m really excited about our conversation. We are going to be breaking through the hype and looking at the strategic value of the technology wave we’re all finding ourselves operating in. Alani, thank you so much for being our guest. We’re excited to have you.

Alani Kuye: Thank you. Thank you for having me. Good morning. And it’s a pleasure to be on the show today.

Tessa Burg: And before we got on, we were talking about, you know, how we were doing this morning and I shared, I’m always looking for those little nuggets of how to be, you know, more successful or do things that I see other successful people doing. And there on Instagram was a list of the books you should read to be successful. And one of them was “The 5:00 AM Club.” And I will say today was one of the only days I jumped outta bed at 5:00 AM, but it is only because I got an amazing night’s rest and was super, you know, we just have like one of those light bulb moments, and I was like, yes, it’s happening. Let me get up and get this started. So I am very excited for the conversation. Today’s gonna be a great day. Tell me, how are you doing?

Alani Kuye: Yeah, well first things first I was gonna ask you, you didn’t do the cold plunge, like Tony Robbins always does.

Tessa Burg: Oh my gosh, I did not. My husband swears by that, like, we’re getting that cold plunge tub thing and then a sauna. But no, like the bucket challenge back in the day in the pandemic, like after that I was like, no, I will never do this. Do you do the cold plunge?

Alani Kuye: Well, I do sometimes. I did buy the actual, I bought a cold plunge device and after the third time, I wait until summertime when it’s really hot and I really need it. But first thing in the morning, it’s, I’m getting there. That’s a nice way of saying I don’t often.

Tessa Burg: It is crazy.

Alani Kuye: It’s awesome. Yeah. But I’m doing great. I’m doing great this morning. It’s a glorious Thursday. The sun’s up. We’re alive. We live to do this every day. And I’m thankful for that. So yes, I’m excited.

Tessa Burg: Yeah, and just for a timestamp today, I don’t even know the date today. Where are we we’re?

Alani Kuye: Today’s the 25th.

Tessa Burg: The 25th.

Alani Kuye: April 25th. Yeah.

Tessa Burg: April 25th, 2025.

Alani Kuye: 2024.

Tessa Burg: Oh yeah. It’s definitely 2024. I dunno why I said 2025. I’m jumping right-

Alani Kuye: You live in the future. That’s acceptable.

Tessa Burg: But I wanted to say the date and the year, definitely 2024 because things are moving so quickly. So to give people sort of a timestamp on when we’re having this conversation. And it would be a lot of fun to explore similar topics in 2025, just to see our thoughts, feelings, reflect on what’s happened. But right now, you know, we hear about technology moving so fast that machines are taking jobs. Companies have already done layoffs. Everyone should be using AI and ML. And if you’re not leaning into it, you are behind. I just wanted to get your thoughts as a technology investor, as an advisor, as someone who’s had three successful exits. Where are we in this AI ML maturity spectrum?

Alani Kuye: So, you know, just very brief overview of how I got here. That way I can give substance to the answers because everything we’re gonna talk about today will stem from my direct experiences, successes, failures, and challenges as well relative to where we are today. So I spent 22, 23 years now, actually this year in the technology industry. I started as an engineer actually, and I moved more into executive roles. I started in oil and gas at Praxair now the Linde group where I manage the enterprise services group in the US and Western Europe, specifically Gondecourt and Orval Belgium. And then I progressed into, I went to AstraZeneca for a few years, went to United for a while, and after that I spent time at Clarity Software and I co-founded a data storage company back in the day, PDSI And what we did, we actually built the very first container ship micro data centers. So we took server clusters, UPS power backup systems and cooling systems and we jam packed everything into shipping containers. And lo and behold, our customers was the US government. We don’t know what they did with them, they just bought them and they disappeared. And we sold that company to Hitachi Data Systems. It was a decent exit at the time, my very first, I was naive and experienced. You know, you think about people think, oh my God, you made all these millions of dollars and you made less than 3%. So that was my first exposure to the VC space. Fast forward to do some consulting work and you know, co-founded another company in the gig economy space where in six months, we built a network of over 30,000 drivers nationwide and in Europe as well. We exited that to a company that got acquired by, you know, Uber a few years later. And then some other smaller exits. And then moving forward to Web3, you know, I got called, you know, by some long-term associates who had started this decentralized infrastructure company called Akash. Prior to that, I had advised crypto shops, Harvest, specifically the first really true defi protocol, decentralized finance protocol. And we built that ecosystem, you know, did the token launch, built the accelerator program, invested in other ecosystem companies, you know, two exits now this year, no, in the last six months actually from that exercise. And today is the best performing protocol on all of Cosmos. I think the market cap hit about $1.2 billion yesterday, which was really good. It was very good to be a part of that. And fast forward, went to Stellar Development Foundation, did some work there. And I’ve just been right now focused on helping teams go from the garage to being adults, basically take them from their very first check to being operating entities and you know, coaching them on the things they don’t enjoy doing, which is operations management, Brunswick management, managing a business. It starts being a hobby when dollars start going back and forth. So that being said, and going to your question, innovation where we are, there’s always a bridge. There’s always a point in every innovative cycle. Usually it’s between the, it’s when you hit the 10 to 15 year mark where something emerges that looks like that’s it, right? But what it’s doing is it’s bridging us to the next innovative wave. And we saw that, as I was saying before the call, with the internet, you know, streaming as an example. It’s actually not new. Networks, just we had ISDN and, you know, networks weren’t capable of handling, you know, what Reed was pitching at the time, this idea of Netflix. And that’s what put blockbuster outta business ’cause they had first mover advantage to do that. They did not. But as networks got smarter and faster, what happened was, now they can make that pivot. But in that timeframe the investments were made in building an ecosystem. So we’re mailing, you know, mailing DVDs to subscribers. So that helps to build the marketplace, establish a base, right, understand the data points, what people are interested and what they’re not. So that when the actual opportunity arose to make the pivot into the true innovation cycle, we can do that. So right now, I see it from my experience as a bridge to the next thing. And we’ll get to that, you know, you know, in subsequent conversation. So I hope that that addresses that point. I wanted to, you know, paint, you know, give context, you know, to my answer before getting to it.

Tessa Burg: Yeah, no, I think that context was very rich. And to help sort of draw a bridge for the listeners, you talked a lot about Web3 as a network, as a platform and with protocols. Can you tell us a little bit more about how that operated from a business perspective? Because I think a lot of people’s definitions might be either very Bitcoin specific or very, like I know what an NFT is and I follow that phenomenon.

Alani Kuye: So Web3, think of Web3 as everybody taking ownership, everybody being a participant. So the difference is, and let me go back Web1, you know, early days of the internet, hotbot.com, excite.com, askgifs.com, early days of Hotmail and Yahoo, right? And this little project called Google, what happened was people contributed. You could set up a list serve, everything was done via email, right? The old days of TCP.

Tessa Burg: Oh, I remember that so well.

Alani Kuye: Geo city. Exactly. Geo cities, yeah. You know, everyone had a small webpage on the corner of the internet, Frankster, you know, those were the, at that time, people were adding to it, right? It was accretive, it was decentralized. What happened was Web2 became centralized where value accrued to a few players with the resources, right, to incentivize participation So you sacrifice personal data for access, okay. So those were the, you know, think Facebook, right? Think MySpace. The days where you just click, I agree, I agree, I agree, I agree, I agree. You gave up your personal information in order to participate. So you want to sign up for Facebook or Instagram or some of this, you know, well-known platforms, what happens is you fill out the form and you continue to feed information, content aggregation, right? And they were able to monetize that content via ads. So value accrued to a few central players. Web3 is where value accrues across the network. So Web1 value accrue to the edges, Web2, value accrue to the center. Think of the Zuckerberg’s, you know, the big players, right? Web3 value accrues across the network, which is powered by blockchain, crypto and tokens and Bitcoin. Anybody can use Bitcoin, anybody can acquire Bitcoin, anybody could participate in crypto, right? But Web2, and largely Web1 as well required either regional, right, or national, you know, qualifications. For example, there are places in the world where you can’t access Visa or MasterCard, right? If the value of the dollar increases today, guess what? The exchange rate in every country will be different. But if Bitcoin goes up by $2, it goes up by $2 for everybody across the planet. So if Bitcoin costs $70,000 in the anywhere, whether you are in Bangladesh, you are in, you know, Nigeria, you are in London, you are in, you know, Milan or Ohio, it’s going to cost you $70,000, right? But in everyone of those, but dollars wise will cost something different in every one of those countries. What you pay for it, it depends on what’s going on in that country. So a dollar in Kenya is, the value of it is in from a dollar in Europe. Even in Europe, you know, in London, which never switched to Euro, a dollar is different. So Web3 almost fixes that. The idea is let’s decentralize power via a common currency, i.e. Bitcoin, right? And give everybody access. So there’s no limitations. Of course, the negative side of that is when you scale on a, when you do something on a planetary scale, all the bad actors take advantage of the system. But these are challenges that are universal, right? Everyone goes through that. So innovation in the early stages has those challenges. And how do you manage that? That’s why I said earlier, you build bridges. The Maximalist think they’re going to replace the US dollar. It’s not possible. You’re not gonna replace fiat in any country. So why not work with the system in partnership so everybody wins. So I hope that answers your question.

Tessa Burg: No, that does. And I want to, before we get to what those bridges actually look like, I wanted to go back to something you said that is really striking. And I think especially, you know, we started this episode saying, you know, we’re gonna break through the hype. And you hit on what is key to centering on to get through media headlines. And that is how are you operating in this ecosystem and what you are doing as an individual, what your business is doing when it interacts online and what you are asking your customers to do is to sacrifice personal data for access. We are all operating in a place where we need to give up something that is personal and specific to us to get value. And we’re seeing that not everyone wants to give that up anymore. You know, this could be generational or I’ve seen studies where it says it is generational, but as regulations roll out, it’s much more universal. We’re seeing the consequences of what it means to give up too much personal data in order for access. And so if we look at Web3, and that’s not the requirement, I don’t have to give up as much. And like you said, there is a different value exchange. Tell me a little bit about, so how can we move from Web2 and Web3? What does that bridge look like? And then what’s that relationship where I think the best place for us to be is, is find a balance.

Alani Kuye: Yeah. So a very, very, very brief example. I’ll first say privacy is a fundamental human right. I was taught that at a very young age. I believe that till this very day. And every time we sacrifice our privacy for access, we never get it back. And that holds true in any strata or dispensation. For example, in Germany, Walmart tried to go to Germany in the 80s and 90s. In the United States, service is a big thing. You know, you get baggers who bag the groceries for you. In Germany, given all their history of the war and all that, ownership is a thing. I lived in Germany for many years. You buy your groceries yourself. In many cases, you actually buy the bags. And most grocery stores, whether it’s Rial, you know, or any of the other shops they have, Albert Heijn, you bring your own bags to the grocery store. There are no free bags. It’s ownership. The reason Walmart failed to penetrate Germany was because they had baggers there. And when a German has paid for their groceries, it’s theirs. They don’t want any other person touching it. Okay, my point is, the psyche, when we talk about privacy, it cuts across different areas that from an investor perspective, one has to think about what are the intrinsic risks here. So in Web3 we talk about, you know, we call it permissionless and trustless access. Doesn’t mean you’re not trusted, it just means you control your own, not your keys, not your crypto, right? You control what level of information you choose to release. Web2 is the opposite. Try signing up for any Web2 platform, first name, last name, email required. You don’t have those, you can’t participate. Web3 gives you the option. If you wanna put Mickey Mouse there, fine, right? But you still own that information because all the information is transparent and it’s on chain. A question I asked in a pitch last year on a defi protocol was, okay, if the law required Web2 platforms like Facebook to disclose to each user, and we have this data, it’s public, what the value of their data is in the first 12 years of, you know, 12 months of signing up, we know it, it’s about $18,000. That’s how much Facebook values your information when you sign up the first 12 months. You know, there’s some criteria required, if you’re active, you sign up, you know, you on the platform for four hours a day, things like that. $18,000. Okay? So now what if you had and say, you know, I want a cut of that for me to release my personal information to you. Will that change? End user license agreements, what impacts will that have? So when we talk about that bridge is how do you give people the option, right, to participate and still incentivize while making sure those incentives caught across the network. Imagine the growth potential exponentially, if any of this well-known platforms, even Google decides to, you know what, we’ll split the revenue with you. And there are companies doing that in Web3, but the problem is the ones doing it, like lens protocol, mass brows, some of them, they’re not bridging to Web2. They wanna replace something and it’s not going to work because you can’t shake hands with a clenched fist, okay. The innovation is in Web3, the money and the scale is in Web2.

Tessa Burg: Now, I think that’s, it’s a big parody to sort of digest and chunk out. But like for example, if I go back to what AI and ML requires, and something that we hear a lot about is first-party data. So some people hearing your answer might be like, okay, I understand, I understand what I’m sacrificing, but at the same time, don’t I need to start focusing on collecting as much first-party data as possible to do two very big things, one, reach and target people to sell my product, and two, to train AI and ML models. And so I’ll just leave it there. Like if that were a question posed to you, how do you reconcile that with what you just described in that ecosystem?

Alani Kuye: So think about, we’ve had lawyers get disbarred because they used AI that just made up case law, okay? People don’t realize if you search on Google, if you put, you know, colon parenthesis before 2023 before your search term, your results will be different. And if you searching about the same thing, you know, if you say, you know, icebreakers before 2023 and then just icebreakers on two tabs, your results will be very, very different. My point is, language models are trained, they’re still being trained. There’s a lot of data out there. And in many cases the modules themselves, unless there is context. So take Google, take Microsoft, Oracle, the big shops that are building their Salesforce, right? They stand a better chance because in the enterprise space, you have at least 20 years of data that these are sitting on. So they have context. Those will be more accurate than the public-facing platforms that are in the news every day. Because about 30 to 50% of the data on the internet, and you can look this up, is actually false information. Most people when they sign… Think about vanity metrics, right? So we talk to companies all the time and they say, oh yeah, you know, our MAU are down, you know, it’s 50,000. You know, okay, so you have 50,000 likes on this X Twitter post. Did you get 50,000 new customers? No. If we did the due diligence, okay, 50,000 likes, 20 comments, half of them are bots, the other half are your friends. You see what I mean? So you see where this is going. So given what we call the dirt, right, on these platforms, how are we due diligence and understanding that this information has the data integrity? You know, how are we validating the data integrity? Because remember I said earlier, AI ML is not new. Back in the early 2000s, and I remember in grad school in the 90s, there’s something we call decision support systems. DSS, okay? It does the same thing. It just puts the data on a table. If you were a good DBA, a good database administrator, you knew exactly what was going on, right? So we’ve presented this in a different way. The same way Google took search, put it behind the search bar, you know, and Yahoo still has an identity crisis. So the point I’m making here is it’s not a zero sum game, right? Garbage in garbage out. We still have to find ways to ensure, you know, the LLMs are looking at data that’s being passed. You can’t have the AI module clean up the data itself because you know, the rules are the rules. Let’s take biases, right? We had issues with AI spitting out certain, it was all over the news, right? It’s still humans writing these programs, right? So from an executive perspective, how do we ensure that one, whenever we’re in a file of the law, right, data integrity is to a degree acceptable where we can actually use it and monetize it, right? And thirdly, brand perception is important because it takes one mistake in a very fast moving environment to completely, completely destroy a brand just based on false information. And that is where the promise of AI, I believe is being over-hyped. Because right now, anything with AI is just getting money thrown at it. You know, I’ve had a few projects come through that, okay, we just reached $25 million, we want someone to sit around. I’m like, slow down. You know, the hype, same thing with crypto i.e. Web3, because it’s one of the things, blockchain crypto Web3 is the same thing. And I watched this experiment, created a token 15 minutes and hit a 40 million market cap. 15 minutes. So when we talk about Web3, when we talk about AI and Web2, you need adults in the room calling time out saying, wait a minute, okay, let’s pass our data, let’s classify our data before we start running models against the data. But everybody wants to get to the finish line first without doing the hard work. That’s where the, the things that are not fun doing are the things that are gonna make you successful. There are no shortcuts.

Tessa Burg: Yeah, I’m so glad you said that ’cause every time I go to give a presentation on where we’re at, it’s always the not fun stuff. And they’re like, oh Tess is gonna talk about compliance and governance again. But it is extremely important. And I also, I’m interested to hear your perspective on what kind of feedback are you giving to innovators and startups right now to help them take that step back. Like they’re gonna look at their data. What I’m trying to ask, how do you get that mindset shift from quantity to quality, from first to market to best in market? Like personally, like I feel like I’m always struggling to like bring people there because we have been so driven and centered and measured on quantity. Like, we need more, we need faster, we need to get there. So what kind of feedback are you giving the people you’re advising to help them shift into that quality space?

Alani Kuye: So what failed for me in the past was exactly what you just mentioned. How fast can we go to market? You know, this guy’s gonna give us $4 million just to go aggressively, make a lot of noise, boom, boom, boom. But what’s always worked has always been, don’t try to be the competition, just be the alternative. Because you are not going to beat the competition. Especially, I mean, let’s take Amazon, right? Amazon’s pricing, AWS impact country’s GDP. People don’t understand this. If the pricing goes up, but a lot of it, like almost half the world’s infrastructure runs on AWS, whether it’s central intelligence, whether it’s, you know, MOD. Governments run on AWS. And these are, I mean this, and this is funny because everything I say you can look up, it’s public information. That’s the one that I pride myself on ’cause my work is very public and you can reference a lot of that stuff. Just look it up. So to sit there when a startup comes, yeah, we’re gonna compete with Amazon, we’re gonna take, you know, 1% market share, and it’s like time out. Half a trillion dollars in the bank. Planetary, you know, I mean their monthly revenue is over half the world’s GDP. And how do you intend to compete? Oh, you’re trying to raise how much? 10 million. Where do you start? That’s what a mid-level executive makes at Amazon, okay. My point is, we need to pull down and come down to earth and be realistic with startups. And my advice to them is first things first, the competition is great, but be the alternative. Because that’s what keeps people coming. If people can enter and exit positions comfortably with no friction, that’s what keeps them coming back. Simplify what you do. In Web3, the biggest challenge till date is the high cognitive load. Most people want to get involved. They only know about Bitcoin and Web3 and NFTs. But the reality is, Bitcoin’s actually not the best game in town. It’s not the fastest. It takes 15 minutes to a half hour to run a transaction. There are many other platforms that will do it in 10 seconds or less at a fraction of the cost. There’s a lot more innovation out there beyond Bitcoin and NFTs. RW is real world assets. For example, I can tokenize a contract, I can tokenize my phone. Okay, so how do you get startups to start thinking beyond, and the genesis of that is because most founders, you don’t teach people entrepreneurship. Most people think of startups the way they used to work in the early mid 2000s, which you create a pitch deck, you put a revenue model, put some forecasts in there, put some early, you know, traction data in there and then yeah, we’re gonna go be successful. But what was different? What cost $10,000 today cost $50 using Web3. But the mature ones understand that one, if we try to build bridges, and this is where when I talk to founders, I look for the ones that are open that have emotion or that elasticity. They’re okay, what if you have to run half your infrastructure on maybe the storage part, you know, on Web2 infrastructure and then compute, which is where a lot of the expense is on decentralized Web3 infrastructure. That way you’re building a bridge. That shows maturity. Think of it this way. An investor’s gonna put money up, risk capital, okay? You want to make sure that, okay, there’s some governance here, right? There’s a reason people don’t put money in Venezuela. However imperfect, you know, western democracies are, that’s where your investments are safe. That’s why people buy those bonds all the time. The same thing with startups. If you’re showing me that you have emotional maturity, then I’m more likely to say, I want to work with this team to help them get to the next level. And that’s the advice I give. Split your infrastructure between Web2 and Web3. That way you have one foot here, one foot there, you understand what that relationship is. So whether people are trading Bitcoin, Solana, Cosmos, or cash, you know, step, whatever it is, at least you know there’s a bridge there and you can attract a new audience into your market, right? And your existing audience can build new relationships and then everybody grows in that rate. That’s how the dollars and cents work.

Tessa Burg: Yes. Alani, this has been an extremely engaging and inspirational conversation. And I think you hit on a couple of points that for listeners who are sitting in an executive seat or even an executive marketing seat, we’re all overwhelmed by where is the innovation going in our company? We know roles have to change. We know the way the work we do has to change. And you said something so powerful, simplify what you do. And this phrase popped in my head, innovate to the adjacent, be the alternative. There was a paper I read probably like 10 years ago. When you were speaking, I’m like, oh my gosh, like it was like a callback to actually, this is something we’ve probably always known. We just get swept up in the energy and the pace of what’s next. But I love be frictionless.

Alani Kuye: Exactly.

Tessa Burg: Simplify what you do, be the alternative, create less friction. And if people center on that, it really combs away a lot of the noise.

Alani Kuye: Yeah, because people will pay extra for convenience. And I’ll give you just two quick examples. Tesla, right? It’s not the cheapest car, but you just get in and drive.

Tessa Burg: Yeah.

Alani Kuye: Okay. Every other car has 50,000 buttons, which you never use. Maybe the AC button, the radio button, and maybe cruise control and the wiper and maybe your flashers, right? That’s just one example. Anything. Google versus Yahoo. Yahoo had the chance to acquire Google for pennies on the dollar. They said no. Today Yahoo is a department of Verizon. People don’t know this, but Yahoo’s owned by Verizon now. And Google is Google, right? Simple, it’s one search bar, love or hate the company, there’s a lot of technology behind it, but it’s one search bar. You start your own journey, easy entry, easy exit. You go to Yahoo, I end up in a bad mood because first you don’t know what’s going on. It’s like 50 million things on the page and nine times outta 10, we know that bad news sells. So it’s just bad news that will trigger you. So why would I wanna go to a website that puts me in a bad mood by the time I click off the page? You know, another example, home products, people don’t know this. Johnson and Johnson actually invented, you know, the push to serve, when you, you know, trying to put lotion or shampoo. They invented it, and they get royalties every bottle made and or sold. Most people, you know, trying to put your shampoo on, would you rather a screw top to put it in your hand and try to keep it and then try to screw it back, prevent. So every time I’m going with this, but push to serve is easy. My point is simple scales. And if you want to compete or be the alternative, the simpler it is, you have a better chance of success. The very first million dollars I raised was from an investor who was sitting through the presentation. About a minute in, he stepped out. Oddly enough, he was the guy I was actually there to impress. And it was so demoralizing, but you had to… I mean, you know how the startup world works. You get up day, you self-motivate. Firstly, you roll outta bed because you’re depressed, because you have to get up, put a smile on your face, pretend the wall is great, but you’re burning inside because you don’t know how you’re gonna pay your bills next month because cloud bills came through, your devs have to get paid. You know, all these things come through. But you have to go face investors and customers and pretend the world is great. I understand it. It’s a very painful place to be. Sometimes just getting out of bed is a struggle for a lot of startup founders. But after the meeting, I went back to him, I go like, what happened? You didn’t come back. And you know what he told me? He goes, just gimme the highlights. I know what you’re doing already. Just gimme the highlights. If I need details, I’ll ask you. I get what you’re doing. It’s totally cool. Here’s my number. Just call me. Come have dinner at my house. And by the end of that week, we had a million and a half.

Tessa Burg: Yeah.

Alani Kuye: He didn’t need to know the details. And it happened twice. I mean Pauline, who was my third investor at my second, the second exit we had, same thing. We’ve done this a lot of enough times, you know, and I see where this is going. My thing is, how can we support you? It was a 10 minute conversation. So my point is, the simpler it is, treat your investors like customers. Treat your advisors like customers. Treat everyone like a customer ’cause the easier it is, the quicker they’re gonna take ownership and the more support you are going to get. Low cognitive load, high adoption and vice versa.

Tessa Burg: And you described the work that is behind that simplicity. And I think that’s something that should not be lost on executives and boards. The more simple it is and accessible, that actually means the more work and logic went into it to get it there. And that can, it is so easily underappreciated. But you know, if you’re a startup founder, if you’re an executive, like, you need to put in the work to get to the simplicity. So don’t think it’s just a matter of doing less. I see people confuse that all the time, they’re like, well you’re over complicating it. No, no, no. To get to frictionless, to get to simplicity, it’s actually quite complicated. And if you’re really smart, you know how to organize it and do it efficiently, not fast, but efficiently. And that’s what makes incredible frictionless experiences.

Alani Kuye: Yeah, there is no shortcut. There is no substitute for that hard work. Like all the math. So like the first thing I try… One of my, and I’m just gonna share some nuggets here. One of the work I qualify startups that I wanna work with is I put them through an exercise. You know, just business modeling. All that math spreadsheet work, you know, just deconstructing the business into a nice fully baked spreadsheet, from hiring, staffing, all your revenue models, all of your, you know, every source of revenue. It’s everything to arrive at your legit forecast and you can model just all of the dirty math. The ones that are ready to do it is telling. The ones that think it’s, we don’t wanna overcomplicate it, we are too early. You wanna go have someone give you $10 million and you do not wanna do this work and you are forecasting 20 million in revenue in 12 months and you don’t want to do this work. It says a lot more about you than the people trying to help you. There are no shortcuts, okay? And unfortunately what also happens is, you know, when we simplify anything, it shows how much of your point, how much work we have done behind the scenes. And that’s what you really have to do again. Simple works. There are no shortcuts.

Tessa Burg: Yes, I agree. Well this has been a great conversation. We do have to wrap it up. Alani, if people want to get in touch with you or hear your awesome content, where can they find it?

Alani Kuye: Just Alani. If you just google Alana Kuye or Alana Kuye on Twitter, you know, Alani Kuye YouTube. Just Alani Kuye on LinkedIn. There is only one Alana Kuye. There might be random.

Tessa Burg: That’s perfect.

Alani Kuye: But there’s only one and you can’t miss it.

Tessa Burg: Well thanks so much for joining us today. And if you’re listening, wanna hear more episodes from Leader Generation, you can visit ModOp.com. It’s M-O-D-Op.com. And until next time, Alani, we will be back in touch and continue this conversation.

Alani Kuye: All right, thank you.

Alani Kuye

Chief Growth Officer at Mande Network
Alani Kuye

Alani is a seasoned technology executive with over 20 years of experience scaling platforms, building technology ecosystems, startup acceleration and investing. He’s passionate about leveraging blockchain technology, decentralized platforms and artificial intelligence to create decentralized global ecosystems that empower people and businesses. Alani also published multiple papers on blockchain governance frameworks. Connect with Alani on LinkedIn.

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