GE 215: Cofounder Dan Reich On How Troops Is Building Artificially Intelligent Personal Assistants for the Workplace (podcast) With Dan Reich

Dan Reich

Hey everyone, today I share the mic with Dan Reich, Co-founder and CEO of Troops, an artificial intelligence assistance for work.

Tune in to hear Dan discuss his vision behind Troops and how the improving AI capabilities will completely change the way we use CRM software, his struggle with getting Troops on the growth curve and the eventual funding and tie-up they landed with Slack, and his management philosophies and hacks that help him be more productive on a day-to-day basis.

Download podcast transcript [PDF] here: Dan Reich On How Troops Is Building Personal AI Assistants for the Workplace TRANSCRIPT

Time-Stamped Show Notes:

  • 01:06 – Review and subscribe to the Growth Everywhere Podcast
  • 01:26 – Eric welcomes Dan Reich
  • 01:26 – Troops is a sales Slackbot with high AI capabilities, and is Dan’s tenth startup
  • 02:16 – Dan’s last startup was sold to Buddymedia and then subsequently to Salesforce
    • 02:26 – Though Salesforce is the most popular CRM, it is not very user-friendly
    • 03:00 – Troops integrates with Salesforce to create an enhanced customer experience
    • 03:09 – Troops helps pull workflow and reports from Salesforce to the popular messaging platform, Slack
  • 03:41 – What is the main benefit of using Troops? – Users can pull information from Salesforce via Slack, hence negating the need to log on to Salesforce every time
  • 04:23 – Dan shares the important numbers around Troops
    • 04:23 – Troops has 15 employees
    • 04:36 – Troops works with over 800 companies
    • 04:42 – Raised over $10 million in venture financing
  • 05:05 – What do you see in the future? – In the future, instead of interacting with fields, forms, buttons and boxes, we are going to be interacting with something much more conversational
  • 06:33 – They plan on working with other platforms apart from Salesforce and Slack in the future
  • 07:22 – Depending on the complexity and size, the product costs between $10 and $50 per month
  • 08:20 – How did you acquire the first 100 customers? – “Hustle”
  • 09:00 – Word-of-mouth publicity has worked wonders for Troops
  • 10:19 – Troops is one of the bigger investments that Slack has made
  • 11:11 – 77% of the companies surveyed felt that they could be doing more with Salesforce
  • 11:47 – What is the one unique thing that you are doing in terms of customer acquisition? – Educating potential customers about the capabilities of Troops via blogging
  • 13:21 – What’s one big struggle you faced while growing any of these startups? – “How do we execute our vision against limited technology?”
    • 14:45 – Being involved in a startup is like digging for gold—you need to be at it
  • 15:25 – If people want to learn about AI, what would you recommend? – Stanford lectures, university material, blogs
  • 16:00 – What’s one big change you’ve made in the last year that has impacted you or your business in a big way? – “Write down a few things that I am grateful for. It is therapeutic and sets the tone for the day”.
  • 18:10 – What’s one new tool that you’ve added in the last year that’s added a lot of value, besides Troops? – Wunderlist: it’s a digital version of writing things on paper and checking things off
  • 18:50 – What’s one blog or podcast that you tune in everyday? – “There is not particular blog or podcast that I listen to every day”
  • 19:16 – What’s one must-read book do you recommend?High Output Management – “Great for managers as well as people who report to managers”
  • 26:47 – Connect with Dan on his blog, website or Twitter

3 Key Points:

  1. As a company, it is important to have the technology in place to help you execute your vision.
  2. With the future being in AI, we are going to be interacting with something much more conversational—not just fields and buttons.
  3. Being involved in a startup is like digging for gold—you never know when you strike gold, so you need to just keep on digging.

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