NativeAdVantage 10-Q2BA:

(10 Questions 2B Answered)

What do you do best?
What makes you the best?
Biggest success?
What are your aspirations?
Most challenging moment?
Favorite Motto?
Favorite People?
Favorite Places?
Favorite Products?
Current Passions?

Featured NativeAdVantage:

Andy Weir: Author of "The Martian"

John Philipson: VP, Six Senses Resorts

Tom Sito: Chair of Animation, USC Film School

Elizabeth Wynn: Broker, Sotheby's RE

Leonard Greenhalgh: Professor, Tuck-Darmouth)

Ryan Blair: NY Times Best Selling Author/Entrepreneur


Featured NativeAdVice:

Shai Reshef: Founder of University of the People

Paul D'Arcy: SVP of Indeed

Susan Hatje: GM of Mandarin Oriental, NY

Dan Laufer: Co-Founder of RentLingo

Hilary Laney: President of Tri-Digital

Greg Marsh: Co-Founder of onefinestay

Omar Qari: Co-Founder of Abacus

Gabriell Weinberg: Founder of DuckDuckGo

Stacy Rauen: E-I-C of Hospitality Design Mag

Jon Gray: CRO of HomeAway

Joe Speiser: Co-Founder of

Ben McKean: Co-Founder of HungryRoot

John Boiler: Founder/CEO of 72andSunny

Wayne Pacelle: CEO of The Humane Society of the US

Tom Guay: GM at The Sagamore Resort

Dr. Alejandro Junger: Founder of The Clean Program

Rob Flaherty: CEO of Ketchum

Neil Thanedar: Founder/CEO of LabDoor

Andy Grinsfelder: VP of Sales/Marketing, Delaware North Resorts

Laura Frerer-Schmidt: VP/Publisher of Women's Health

Avi Steinlauf: CEO of

Kathy Bloomgarden: CEO of Ruder Finn

Gabriel Flateman: Co-Founder/CTO of Casper

Mark Bartels: CEO of StumbleUpon

Bill Hagelstein: President/CEO of RPA

Adam Singolda: Founder/CEO of Taboola

Jonathan Plutzik: Proprietor of The Betsy-South Beach

Jessica Scorpio: Founder/VP of Marketing at GetAround

Ralph McRae: CEO of Leading Brands

Warren Berger: Bestselling Author

Liz Kaplow: Founder/CEO of Kaplow Communications

Dave Girouard: Founder/CEO of UpStart

Dave Asprey: Founder of BullectProof Executive

Douglas C. Smith: President of EDSA

Val Difebo: CEO of Deutsch NY

Guido Polito: CEO of Baglioni Hotels

Doyle Graham, Jr.: CEO of Valencia Group

Oscar Farinetti: Founder of Eataly

Angelo Sotira: CEO of DeviantART

Ali Khwaja: CFO of Safecharge

Zach Erdem: Proprietor of 75 Main

Jim Beley: GM of The Umstead Hotel

Alexis Gelburd-Kimler: Proprietor of West Bridge

Elie Georges: Proprietor of Hotel San Regis

Kalen Caughey: Founder o VOKE Tab

Michael Friedenberg: CEO of IDG

Donna Karan: Founder of DKNY

Edward Nardoza: Editor-in-Chief of WWD

Scott Dadich: Editor-in-Chief of Wired

Rhona Murphy: Former CEO of The Daily Beast

David J. Pecker: CEO of American Media

Lilian Roten: VP of Swissotel Hotels

Kenny Dichter: Founder/CEO of Wheels Up

Joshua Tetrick: Founder/CEO of Hampton Creek

Paul James: Global Brand Leader of The Luxury Collection

Dr. James Wagner: President of Emory University

Amy Thompson: President of ATM Artists & Management

Neil Gillis: President of Round Hill Music

Brett Matteson: President of Columbia Hospitality

Jonathan Reckford: CEO of Habitat For Humanity

Phil Harrison: President/CEO of Perkins+Will

Chef Bill Telepan

Tony Horton: Founder of P90X

Beth Weissenberger: Co-Founder of The Handel Group

Michael Fertik: Founder/CEO of

Dana Cowin: Editor-in-Chief of Food & Wine

Bob Proctor: Chairman of Proctor/Gallagher Institute

Dennis Turcinovic: Owner of Delmonicos

Vittorio Assaf: Co-Founder of Serafina Restaurant Group

Shafqat Islam: Co-Founder of Newscred

Matt Williams: CEO of The Martin Agency

Bruce Rogers: Executive Chef at Hale & Hearty

Caleb Merkl: Co-Founder of Maple

Candy Argondizza: VP of Culinary at ICC

Neil Sazant: President of The Sagamore

Matt Straz: Founder/CEO of Namely

Terry Couglin: Managing Partner of Marta/Maialino

Andrei Cherny: Co-Founder/CEO of Aspiration

Ronen Nissenbaum: Managing Director of Waldorf Astoria NY

Patrick Godfrey: President of Godfrey Q

Sarah Berman: Founder/President of The Berman Group

Michael Schwartz: Owner of Genuine Hospitality Group

Stephan Aarstol: Founder/CEO of Tower Paddle Boards

Peter Shaindlin: COO of Halekulani Corp.

August Cardona: Founder/CEO of Epicurean Group

Nick Kenner: Co-Founder of Just Salad


Chris Nicholson: Co-Founder & CEO, Skymind

My NativeAdVice:


Chris Nicholson is co-founder and CEO of Skymind, the company behind Deeplearning4j, which is the most popular open-source deep-learning framework for Java. Previously, Chris led communications and recruiting for FutureAdvisor, a Sequoia-backed Y Combinator startup that was acquired by BlackRock in 2015 for $200 million. He also spent a decade as a journalist, reporting on tech and finance for The New York Times, Bloomberg News and Businessweek, among others.

How did you get into the industry?

By accident. I moved into a hacker house in San Francisco in 2013, and the guy who became my co-founder was sleeping on a bunk in the next room. We were both in startups, he had been working in machine learning for years, and we decided to build a company together.

Any emerging industry trends?

Artificial intelligence is basically a set of statistical models and logic gates that make good predictions about data. AI algorithms are becoming more sophisticated and accurate really quickly on an expanding range of tasks: including everything from winning at board games to steering autonomous vehicles. Those algorithms are also getting better at predicting human behavior, and they will affect how we live and behave. They can see us click through pages on the Internet and learn about our preferences. That’s going to make the data that companies gather more powerful and prescient.

Any industry opportunities or challenges?

When companies wanted to analyze data, they had a choice being accurate, expensive and rare human experts, or less accurate, less expensive and infinitely replicable algorithms. Now those infinitely replicable algorithms are more accurate than humans on a lot of problem sets. That chokepoint no longer exists, and companies face a new landscape of incentives. These algorithms will help them create new products and perform existing operations more efficiently.

Inspiration for the business idea, and your vision for the Business?

We were inspired to found an open-source software company by Red Hat and the many excellent open-source software tools that developers use every day. (Open-sourcing code makes it human readable. That means your users can also become contributors to your code base, and help improve it. That’s one reason why an open-source operating system like Linux won over Windows.)

What's next for the Business in the near future?

AI and robotics are going to combine to create more functional machines. That’s going to affect primary care, manufacturing and warfare. AI gives robots faculties like machine vision or the ability to respond to some human speech.

Your key initiatives for the success of the Business?

We’re going to keep on hiring really smart people wherever we can find them in the world. For us, marketing usually happens when we explain complicated new technology is a clear and simple way. That’s what drives people to our website, so we will continue to do that. Marketing and product development are intertwined, so the great people we hire will be focused on creating a product that makes AI easy to use and powerful.

Your most difficult moment at the Business? (and what did you learn?)

Most moments in business are difficult, frankly, because there’s always a problem to solve, and most of them are hard problems: How do we build the right product? How do we convince customers that it’s the right product in the face of fierce competition? How do I raise venture capital? How do I hire great people? How do I fire someone who isn’t a good fit? Those are all pretty hard problems, and you have to solve them under pressure and do the right thing both for the company and all its stake holders. Learning how to sell something is hard, and one of the hard things about it is the amount of knowledge you need to be an authority on the subject, someone that customers can trust. Selling isn’t just convincing someone to spend money, it’s making sure that your product is the right fit for them, and steering them elsewhere if it’s not.  

Ideal experience for a customer/client?

Our ideal client is a large corporation, and within that corporation a principle software architect or an executive in a line of business. Those people have problems to solve, and when those problems involve predictive analytics, deep learning can give them better results than almost any other algorithm. So the ideal experience is for the client to try our open-source software, tell us about the problem they want to solve, and then work with us to build a solution using their data. What we do then is we support that solution long term. Open-source software companies are like insurance companies: we sell warranties on our own code. So the ideal experience is for the software never to break, but if it does, to have it backed up and repaired quickly by its creators.  

How do you motivate others?

Clear communication. You need to be able to explain to people where the company is going and why in plain language without business-speak. You need to cut the crap, the doublespeak. You need to listen to them, trust them increasingly as they show what they can do and give them autonomy wherever possible. That’s very motivating. Startup people like the ones who join us are self-starters. They don’t need a lot of micro-management. Their job description and the skills they need keep evolving as the company grows. So we offer them the chance to work with a small, talented team at a growing company on a set of hard and important problems, and when the solutions for those problems are completed, the world will be changed. This is work with impact. It’s open-source AI.

Career advice to those in your industry?

Learning how to communicate about AI, how to explain the way it works and the limits to what it can do, is really important. There’s a lot of confusion and misunderstanding about AI, even more than other technologies, and the people who leave their listeners and readers with a feeling of clarity, epiphany, understanding, are rare. Way too rare. Anyone who can do that work of understanding the tech and translating it for intelligent outsiders who don’t know the jargon will go far.