It’s clear what we (Othot) do. What we do is provide actionable solutions to HIQs™ (high impact questions) using predictive and prescriptive analytics in a format that is consumable to non-data scientists (i.e., cloud based solutions that “regular” people can use to make decisions—and even influence outcomes). But why are we doing this? That answer is simple, it had to be done.
Here is what I mean.
Othot was born out of Andy Hannah and John Abbatico’s vision that solving HIQs™ with predictive and prescriptive analytics just had to happen. It was ordained. It was too stupid that real questions, for real businesses/enterprises were not being turned into data science questions and given predictive and prescriptive outputs for everyday people.
It was, and is, their view of the World—solution framing first, data driven answers and predictions and prescriptions and put it all in a usable package. It just had to happen, and we were going to do it.
Lars Dalgaard—founder of SuccessFactors and now an a16z partner gives this example in a recent a16z podcast with Ben Horowitz (btw—I think Lars and Ben may be two of the smartest people who have ever lived and virtually everything they say is worth listening to).
“Lars [explaining why he started SuccessFactors in the face of being turned down by 73 VCs]: …. It was hard and oddly, it didn’t really influence me much because I kind of felt that this had to be done. And to me, that is the number one piece of information for anybody starting a company; don’t try and catch a wave. Don’t try and do something you’ve read in a magazine that might be hot and you can just get in on it because there is no such thing. Once you try to catch that wave, that wave is gone, and it’s got a bunch of people on it that came up with it, and they are well-funded and it’s over.
Ben: So you’re saying, don’t do it if you want to do it or if you think it’s a good idea; only do it if you have no choice?
Lars: I think so, it must be done.
Ben: It must be done.
Lars: I remember asking Reed Hastings a long, long time ago over a decade ago… started Netflix… get done, Pure Software, a bunch of other companies I was impressed with. And at that time the story was because I got tired of walking the extra blocks to the blockbuster store with my VHS tape. Why couldn’t I just use DVDs? So I think it’s…
Ben: You had to do it for a walk.
Lars: …to assume that he didn’t imagine a $50 billion streaming empire. It had to be done. For him it was too damn stupid. And every amazing entrepreneur I meet, when they start talking, they get so steely-eyed when they talk about the reason that they’re doing this and why it must be done. It literally means that nobody will ever extinguish that fire. It will just keep burning.”
So to me, Othot—in some humble way—represents Andy and John’s view that it just had to be done.
Now do not get me wrong, I am making some lofty comparisons. And I genuinely mean them, but we also know that what we are doing is incredibly hard. This is not hubris; it is about authenticity and we fight every day to deliver the best solutions to our customers. And we know we must win each day, every day to succeed. Period full stop.
But if you ask me why, it is because it has to be done.
For what its worth, this is not easy. The democratization of data science outputs in the cloud is easy to say, but impossible to do and that is why we have an outstanding data science team led by Dr. Mark Voortman whose team makes it easy to say.