The beginning of April marks Ambit's 5th birthday!
We sat down with CEO Tim Warren to talk about the company's journey over the years, what some of the key highlights have been, and what's in store for the future of Ambit and conversational AI.
"Let's get started on our first question. What inspired you to start Ambit?"
Tim: The idea for Ambit came from us thinking about how awesome it would be if we could chat naturally online about anything to get what we needed.
No one human can handle hundreds of customer enquiries at once. It's just not possible. We wanted to bridge the gap between humans and machines and allow for people to work smarter, not harder.
We wanted to create intelligent software that could help people find the answers they need fast using conversational AI. A key driver in this was that people can find this information using natural conversation. Language is never one and the same, it's constantly changing – and having intelligent software able to understand the nuances of that was crucial.
We saw that this applied to customer service, and the fit was immediate.
"Knowing what you do now, is there anything you would have done differently when you were first starting out?"
Tim: This is a tricky one... I'd do everything differently!!
The way I look at it, is you've got to move forward and learn from what's gone before. See what worked in the past and what didn't. This is how we can keep refining our business strategy and operations to be better every year.
"How do you define success?"
Tim: 'Success' as such doesn't drive me... it's not a goal, it's more like a subsequent outcome.
I believe that with inspiration, purpose and application, success will ensue. I use the concept of Ikigai: Passion, Mission, Profession, Vocation. In other words, do something you love, something people pay for, something you are good at, something the world needs.
Do those and success will occur. But if you seek success, you will look forever. Do good, be good, be good at it. Enjoy the journey.
"What are you most proud of so far?"
Tim: Moments I'm most proud of are the little things like when I ran our first payroll for the team, and when someone bought an orange pair of shoes because they loved the brand so much.
In addition to that, when customers tell me how well the team has done, and they tell us amazing outcomes that we've delivered for them, that's another pride-inducing moment.
"So, what's next for Ambit and conversational AI? Where do you see the future of the company 5 years from now?"
Tim: 5 years from now, every brand and business will have conversational AI at the core of how they communicate. Email, social, conversational: you've got to be where your customers are.
It will be text chat and phone/voice. Anyone who doesn't have it will be like your dear old uncle still struggling with a fax machine.
There will be new titles: Conversational Designer is one we coined 5 years ago, a new role; an AI coach will be the role that teaches and coaxes AI instances to do amazing things.
The development and training of AI is rather like how a child learns. It takes a while, but all of a sudden they have incredible comprehension; and just like a child, everyone around them has to adapt as well.
Overall, the future at Ambit is exciting. We're looking forward to growing the team, hiring exceptional new talent to take us to the next level, and continue to spearhead the growth of conversational AI across businesses in New Zealand and beyond.