Finding the Way to AI: Your Competitive Advantage

By Ben Dyer

Vint Cerf, one of the distinguished fathers of the “Internet,” was the first to use that term in print in 1974. This coming year will be the 50th anniversary of that moment in history. Think of how much your life and livelihood depend on the Internet as we know it today. Think of all the pioneers who took it from concept to a universal foundation of our society.


Think also of the business minds that used the Internet to compete hard to become the Tech Oligarchs of today. They disrupted countless industries and created visions well beyond simple imagination. All business leaders lean heavily on continuing innovations in this technology to preserve the values of their companies and fend off opponents in their sectors of the economy.


We come now to the early morning hours of a similar, and perhaps greater, transformative time in computing technology and all its branches. See the Forbes article below regarding executive intentions of using AI to create new markets and/or disrupt current markets. The majority are staking their growth plans on AI-assisted intellectual property created to drive earnings goals for the years ahead.


If anyone is snoozing, it should be known that hundreds of Silicon Valley entrepreneurs are gathering often in a session referred to as “Accelerate or Die.” The Forbes article below gives Kevin Rose’s account of this movement. You can now order tee shirts with the “e/acc” logo to invite yourself into that conversation. These are the folks that are charging ahead on all aspects of AI on the belief that technology will get the job done and police itself.


Meanwhile there are regulations already mapped for 2025 in British and European theaters. And there is no lack of discussion about similar moves in the US. There is plenty of FUD (Fear Uncertainty and Doubt) among the opposition. You may choose to align with either one or just let nature take its course. Suffice it to say, however, that if you do the latter, you’ll likely lose a lot of ground to your competitors. Self-regulation will move much faster and better than any government action. The next great round of Tech Oligarchs probably will not include you.


One of our ecosystem leaders assembled his advisory board recently and received one very clear message: “Just Do Something.” His team has now found one potential pathway to pump some life into the AI desert that is the Southeast. I will admit that it has been difficult to overcome the impediment of seeing relatively few genuine and local AI centric innovations, and worse yet seeing the talent and the best ideas and entrepreneurs race to the West Coast. That crowd is clearly recognizable by its e/acc shirts, and they’re not yet visible in our tech centers. You’re seeing CEOs of large corporations already pounding their staffs to do more with AI than just window dressing. Their boards want to count some tangible wins as quickly as possible and have begun to discern what has potential payoffs and what is in fact just PR.


Keep in mind that the decision makers of enterprise America are not huddled on Sand Hill Road and are found across the US, with many of them close to home in Atlanta. The ultimate decisions on corporate innovations reside with them. We may have to cede the technology core to the West Coast brain trusts, but, as NYC has already advertised, you have to accomplish customer discovery where commerce is consummated.


All of us can be founders of important aspects of the AI-powered future. Our universities are rising to the occasion, and some of us will make the breakthroughs that land in the history books.


Best wishes to all of you for the Holidays and a New Year filled with high promise.


And comments are always welcome. Message me in the Finding the Way Community



Ben Dyer is best known as the founding CEO of Peachtree Software and has been responsible for numerous startups in both Atlanta and Austin ranging from technology to financial services. He is currently an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at the ATDC at Georgia Tech and spent 7 years in starting in 2011 in similar roles at the University of Texas at Austin. He is a prolific writer and has written many hundreds of blog posts on entrepreneurial topics. Among numerous honors, he is a member of the Georgia Technology Hall of Fame.

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