No one knows the disruptive power of artificial intelligence better than Chegg CEO Dan Rosensweig. When the online tutoring company gave ChatGPT a lower-than-expected revenue forecast earlier this year, the company’s stock price dropped 48% overnight.
“I unfortunately became the poster child for how AI can fuck you,” Rosensweig said during a lunchtime panel at the Fortune Brainstorm Tech conference in Deer Valley, Utah this week. According to Rosensweig’s account, he “made the mistake of telling the truth” about losing 100,000 paying Chegg subscribers with the launch of the free ChatGPT 4 service in April. “I don’t think anyone is ready for AI; I don’t think anyone knows what “AI ready” means.
While Rosensweig pointed to downside risk from AI, other leaders on the panel were cautiously optimistic about the technology and its potential to help them forge stronger relationships with customers.
Amit Patel, CEO and president of $8.5 billion (market cap) discount shopping platform Rakuten, believes the most promising use of AI is being paid off. “Based on the data we have, the payout coin remains the biggest sticking point throughout the experiment,” he told the panel, alongside Rosensweig, Brad Hiranaga, director of the Cotopaxi brand, and Jim Steele, president of Salesforce Global Customers and Strategic Partners. , And Fortune moderator Michal Lev-Ram. Patel says $20 billion is abandoned in Rakuten shopping carts every year, and estimates that more than 10% of that can be converted into sales via AI “Whether it’s Apple Pay, businesses that buy now and pay later, Google Pay, etc. , all of these things have their own complexities that only work on certain platforms. Our goal is to figure out how can we do it quickly? How to make it easy? How can we make it joyful? »
For executives at other companies — organizations both larger and smaller than Rakuten — basic questions abound about where and how to use AI in the customer-facing parts of their businesses. “I think it’s a net positive, but in terms of understanding what it’s going to be like for our business, it’s still very debatable,” said Hiranga, who oversees cult outdoor apparel brand Cotopaxi, which has 311 employees (by LinkedIn).
Steele, who has seen Salesforce grow to more than 72,000 employees in his more than 20 years with the company, echoed that sentiment. “It’s this race to understand (AI),” he said.
Steel said his team focused on determining an AI deployment plan, which has three parts: The first is to separate sensitive data from data to be used in the big language model. The second, the establishment of clear governance. And the final piece is making sure employees are AI-ready. “It’s a challenge,” he admits. “We handle more customer data than any company on the planet.”