Tania Peitzker, CEO of AI BaaS shares her incredible journey into the world of bots. Tania has been ranked in the top 1% of tech entrepreneurs internationally and the company in the top 10% of tech ventures & established corporations globally by Crunchbase — pretty impressive right?
Not only is Tania a serial entrepreneur, but she’s also an author, NED Board Advisor, keynote speaker, ambassador for Boardroom Advisors and an expert within the world of Conversational AI.
Q1 — What drew you to the Conversational AI industry?
Tania: I come from an academic background in Humanities. Rhetoric training was part of my PhD in English & Cultural Studies at the University of Potsdam. So after academia, I went into corporate communications coaching for blue chips like Bayer Schering, Deutsche Bank, Mannesmann. Followed by stints as a journalist even for the Wall Street Journal & The Times Higher Education supplement in DACH. I guess you could say I was drawn by the multilingual communications aspect of bots — that they can help humans to inform, learn, decide & interact with the world!
Q2 — What skills or transferable skills helped you when entering this space?
Tania: Well given the background I just outlined, you can imagine that journalistic skills and postdoc analytical abilities were of use in business generally. Being able to “get inside the heads” of all sorts of people was useful in comms of course and specifically for the bot space, to create short, powerful interactions that were text-based, effective & influential for overall “messaging”.
Q3 — Were there any specific resources, tools, industry experts, that helped you along the way?
Tania: Yes women in business groups gave me encouragement as well as individual female mentors, sometimes men too who were executives or investors. Fortunately, I’ve met some cool women who have really made their mark in the business world. That has always been tough for women to do, especially in the New Technologies industries and more so now with global recessions caused by an ongoing deadly disease. The very much gendered battle for positions of power and prestige just got harsher & we can already see fewer women in management & IT.
Q4 — In a sentence or two tell us what your role entails
Tania: OK I have spent over a decade investing my time, money and energy into a proprietary algorithm for HMI, using NLP, that we have created 100% in-house. No outside coders and loads of beta testing, with even more Greenfield Projects and too many unpaid pilots! I was commissioned to write a book about this — 14 Case Studies you can get from the New Yorker Business Expert Press (2020).
Q5 — What do you enjoy most about your role?
Tania: I have brought our venture through 2 company formations in 4 countries, a couple of mergers with earlier spin-offs (eg My Own Reporter & the pre-Twitter first ever bots in an online town village), and now into our current M&A phase. So we’ve come full circle by packaging up our Intellectual Property Rights and selling the IP to the highest bidder in 2021.
Q6 — What is the most challenging part of conversation design?
Tania: Being at the leading edge — Melinda Wittstock interviewed me last year in the USA & said it was more like the bleeding edge! — of Conversational AI and having to constantly “de-hype” our contribution to the space. It is really annoying the level of misselling and overstating of the AI capabilities of chatbot vendors and voice assistant developers of all shapes and sizes, from scale-ups to long-established tech giants that have been working on their algorithms for even longer than we have! In other words, I continually need to “manage expectations” of clients and stakeholders who are often quite confused about the terms, the performance of bots and applications of Artificial Intelligence in its many forms. I wrote a Glossary of jargon in my BEP book for that reason (USES & RISKS OF BUSINESS CHATBOTS: GUIDELINES FOR PURCHASERS IN THE PUBLIC & PRIVATE SECTORS).
Q7 — What excites you about the future of this industry?
Tania: We have a saying in Australia — “we’re getting to the pointy end of the stick”. That means exciting, significant outcomes are culminating after a long unremarkable period of developments. We’ve globally entered the crucial stage of actual, commercialised AI bot applications that are really helping people. Whether it is interactive robots in healthcare or better FAQs & service chatbots to help you shop or bank online. Or finally getting multilingual voice bots to work well on any device as we’ve just achieved at AI BaaS with our Low Code, SaaS innovation in Edge Computing. Getting voice bots to help people and businesses in the pandemic is a landmark because it's touch free, non-screen Infotainment they truly need because there aren’t enough humans around to do sales and marketing in lockdowns and with social distancing.
Q8 — What is one piece of advice you would give to other people looking to enter this industry?
Tania: Durchsetzen & durchhalten. In German, it’s an attitude you see in how they do business (long before the challenges of a never-ending pandemic!). It means persevere or “push yourself through” (sich durchsetzen) and endure or resilience (durchhalten). You need to maintain your vision of what the AI bot benchmarks should be and not be tempted to circulate easy, hyped-up comms with all it's overpromising & underdelivering due to the increasingly confused, saturated marketplace. And these two German words or concepts will help you as a woman in this tough industry to maintain your self-belief when others are unfairly running you down or standing in your way. You’ll get there in the end if you don’t waver and keep to the standards you set and stand by.
- A background in Journalism could give you a great benchmark into the world of bots!
- Cutting through the noise and managing client expectations within this domain, are just some of the challenges business owners like Tania face.
- There is so much potential with the future of Conversational AI! Especially in this new world, we all face ourselves in.
Thank you for reading! A special thanks to our guest, Tania. We really enjoyed hearing Tania’s insight and all her wisdom, and hope you did too! Click here to follow Tania on LinkedIn and check out AI BaaS here!
If you’re keen to hear more insights and advice from industry experts in the Conversational AI space, don’t forget to click the follow button to be notified of future posts!
And if you’d be interested in taking part in our blog series get in touch, we’d love to hear from you!
Allys Parsons — Conversational AI Recruiter @ Co-Founder @ techire ai
Leigh Smith — Conversational AI Recruiter @ techire ai