Beyond High Street

Stuart Frankel: Founder & CEO, Narrative Science

September 19, 2018

Focus and listen. It’s what I had to do after my conversation with Stuart. I went back to the beginning of it, listened and learned. He is not only a great storyteller but a teacher too. Stuart is the Founder and CEO of Narrative Science, a company that interprets millions of data sources and transforms it into insightful, natural language narratives. His industry and brand are cutting edge and AI is certainly part of the now and the future. But just as important, I loved his vision of wanting to be “the somebody else,” the client that was being served, which led to an abrupt change in careers (the story is worth listening to). You will also appreciate and respect the business business opportunity he got from a CEO after seeing him (and really only him) on countless Saturdays in the office.

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Podcast Notes:

Stuart’s career from Miami

  • Accounting major from Miami and started working for PwC.
  • Went to Vanderbilt Law School and was a corporate lawyer for three years.
  • Frankel got an opportunity with a client to work on a project that excited him.
  • After a couple months, Frankel got word that the project was canceled.
  • Took some time to figure out exactly what he wanted to do from there.

Coming into the office on a Saturday?

  • In office every Saturday 9am-3pm.
  • The only other person who would come in was the CEO.
  • If you work a little harder than the other person, this can give you a significant advantage over them.

Why Stuart got the promotion

  1. He was the youngest people there and the CEO thought that younger people would understand and adopt emerging tech and things better.
  2. He had been bugging him in the past 6 months about implementing new ideas.
  3. He was there and showed up even on the weekends and the CEO felt he could do this job

Take the risk.

  • When the project was canceled, he had the choice to go back and practice law or to discover another area of business he was interested in.
  • Frankel didn’t look at what the next three years would be, but he looked at what the next 30 years could be.

Working in AI (Artificial Intelligence), there’s always two sides...

  1. Creation of technologies: this is where a lot of work is being done by large companies (Google, Microsoft, etc), but also smaller companies.
  2. Market adoption: this is the harder step because it takes a lot for people to adopt and like the technology.

Always be in a learning mindset.

  • Read everything.
  • Listen to a lot of podcasts.
  • Surround yourself with people of very different backgrounds.
  • Learning doesn’t stop at 22.