Andrew Warner 0: 04
Hey there freedom fighters. My name is Andrew Warner. I’m the founder of mixergy, where I interview entrepreneurs about how they built their businesses. If I sound like I’m shout out of accountants because I’m excited about today’s guests, I feel like in the future when computers can actually understand our emotions, I think we’re going to be thanking today’s guests for for moving that. We’re going to, I don’t know how much credit to give you, but because of you computers will have the ability to see recognize and react to emotions. Am I right? Is that fair to say? Is that
Rana el Kaliouby 0: 29
That is fair to say.
Andrew Warner 0: 32
um, the woman whose voice you just heard her name is Rana el Kaliouby. How did I do with the pronunciation? Awesome. Oh, great. Thank you. She is the founder of Affectiva. It creates facial and vocal emotional AI platforms. I read it from my notes, but I don’t feel great about that description. It’s the case study that people are going to really feel the significance of your company and I invited you here to talk about how she’s giving company The power to to understand people. And then what are the practical implications for today? She’s not just doing this in theory, even though she set out to do that she’s doing this in practice and she’s generating revenue from it. She won’t tell me how much and she’s not gonna tell me from who what specifics, but I will ask her. The other thing that I’m shot out of a cannon about is the frickin book that she wrote. She wrote a book called, I spit as I said it out of excitement. It’s called girl decoded. I don’t think a lot of people in my audience are going to be as excited about this book as I am, because it’s a memoir written just so beautifully well, and they might be expecting a book that’s going to give them the 12 ways to build a business in their sleep or something like that. This is not one of those books. This is an entrepreneur who’s creating code who’s creating a business it’s changing the world saying, I’m be vulnerable. I came from background you don’t know I’m not supposed to talk. I don’t even know how our family is keeping her in the family. We’re going to talk about that. Going to do these things to two phenomenal sponsors. The first will host your website, right. It’s called HostGator and a second, we’ll help you hire phenomenal developers. It’s called Toptal. Let’s get to the business. The dove story in the book, I think will give people a sense of what you’re doing. Can you describe the ad? And then what your company what your software what your work was able to do?
Rana el Kaliouby 2: 17
Yeah, absolutely. So this is a this was an ad from a number of years ago, it was the one of the dove campaigns and basically the ad starts with these really kind of grotesque images of like from the beauty industry, right, like plastic surgery, and it’s just like,
Andrew Warner 2: 36
I’m gonna back up a little bit. It starts out with a baby being born, right a little girl, and then all the influences she sees like what before you get the plastic surgery, it’s,
Rana el Kaliouby 2: 46
it’s just like you need to be, you know, sinner like
it was like
Andrew Warner 2: 53
this little girl take on the impressions of the world, which is you need to be thinner, you need to look a certain way you need to do this and ask She gets older and older and older we see it go all the way up to plastic surgery. And this is Doug saying, you don’t you take care of the influences that your daughter sees before society does essentially. Right,
Rana el Kaliouby 3: 11
Andrew Warner 3: 13
Why? What did what did you do to it?
Rana el Kaliouby 3: 16
So first of all, you know, content creators and advertisers really want to know how do people emotionally engage with their content, right? So they create this beautiful ad, and they put it out there and really, they have no idea how do people emotionally engaged did they like it that they not like it did it resonate where they tearful. And so what we do is using cameras that are on our devices, we ask people for their consent to turn the camera on. And then they watch the ads and basically our our algorithms, or our technology watches them watch the app. So say you’re watching this ad and then you do a brow furrow because you’re like, oh, you’re like, Oh, what is all that or you raise your eyebrows because you’re interested and we smile. We’re able to track these moment by moment and we aggregated across everybody who’s seen In the ad, and then we’re able to show you where did people emotionally engage subconsciously, right? So it’s really powerful data and and advertisers, you know, gain a lot of insights from this type of data.
Andrew Warner 4: 14
And dove was one of your customers. Yeah. Did this for dove early on. And what did you discover?
Rana el Kaliouby 4: 21
It was so interesting, um, this particular app like you in any kind of content, really, you want to take people on an emotional journey, right? But we found that there are some kind of best practices, right. So you want to end on a positive note, right? You want to like basically culminate this whole story on something positive because that increases the likelihood of people sharing it, it increases the likelihood of people associating the brand with something positive. This particular ad just took you through this emotional roller coaster and it was like, all of these things happening but you never emerge from it. You just like it left you in this downstate. And we found that, you know, it didn’t do so well. It didn’t do so well as an ad. And also people kind of ended, they kind of quit viewing the ad before they even figured out it was tough, right? Because the brand reveal came at the very, very end and people had already moved on.
Andrew Warner 5: 19
And if you would ask me, it seemed like it made sense. It seems like a great ad, right? If I right, what you noticed what your software picked up on was these little micro gestures that people who watched it made that showed you that they’re feeling what we want them to feel, but if I’m understanding you right, to a greater intensity, and without the eventually, eventual payoff that says, I feel good now because of this, okay, and so the fact that your computer can do this, that your computer the fact that your software can do this is the big win. In fact, you go on in your book about how when you were getting to this point, I wrote this down for myself to go to ask you to tell me why on page 113 of your book. You get so excited that your, your software can understand a nod with 91% accuracy. Talk to me about the process to get to this point.
Rana el Kaliouby 6: 10
Yeah, so I, you know, I’m basically I started on this mission to build emotional intelligence into machines. And so to do that I wanted to understand well, how do humans communicate? As it turns out, over 90% of how we communicate is nonverbal. It’s not in the words we’re using, it’s in the facial expressions and gestures and vocal intonations and all that. So So then I was like, Okay, so how do I build a machine or an algorithm or software that can detect these nonverbal signals, and I’m particularly expressive in my face, like I do a lot of facial expressions. So I was just fascinated with how the face works and how it communicates a ton of emotional and cognitive states. And so essentially, there are these 45 facial muscles. So if you smile, you’re pulling the zygomatic the zygomatic muscle or When you frown, it’s the corrugator muscle and so on. So I use computer vision to train an algorithm to detect these expressions. But it took a while it took a I had to find the tough data and be I have to do it over and over again. And I started with the head nod because the head nods like, like a lot of our expressions unfolds over time, right? Like you move your head up and down.
Andrew Warner 7: 24
I noticed that I’ve been doing that a lot here in this conversation. I’m letting you know I understand you but it’s a subtle head nod. It’s not a yes, absolutely cross the street type of I need you to see it from a distance not it’s a micro gesture that sounds to you. I’m with you. I get to keep going
Rana el Kaliouby 7: 39
exactly in the intensity of the nod and also like how often you like how often you go up and down, up and down. All of these like they have different meanings. So you want your software to be sophisticated enough to know that all of these are head nods but they have different meanings. You know, if I’m, if I nod my head like really slowly That’s like I’m not convinced at all.
Andrew Warner 8: 02
I needed to spend time with a webcam with software to watch you you personally nodding over and over.
Rana el Kaliouby 8: 11
Um, well, I have a data set. I had a data set, but ultimately I would test it on myself. Yes, got
Andrew Warner 8: 16
it. And that’s that is the level of work that you had to do over and over for everyone. Tell me if I if I’ve got this wrong. Was it 412 different emotions you were trying to get into the system?
Rana el Kaliouby 8: 27
Well, I know I didn’t get to all 412. That’s a ton. But I had like, narrowed it down to about 24. So it was already like super complex.
Andrew Warner 8: 37
Let’s get back and understand you. The thing that shocked me was you were born Where?
Rana el Kaliouby 8: 42
I was born in Cairo, Egypt.
Andrew Warner 8: 44
To a family that was fairly I thought they weren’t conservative. But you You said you know what, my mom had a job. My dad had a job. It wasn’t until I grew up that my dad said to me, do you know why your mom comes home from work at three o’clock and tell me about this realization. that you had about your family later on.
Rana el Kaliouby 9: 02
Yeah, first of all, I love my family and and you know, we’ve all been on this journey of kind of trying to reconcile what it means to be you know, an Arab and Muslim and but also at the same time kind of liberated and so anyways my family valued education and so that was kind of number one in our in our in our house like you studied hard you worked hard that was really key. But it was a very conservative family so like my dad I wasn’t allowed to date until after I graduated from college. That was the first like the first guy I did ended up being my husband, right? So and we had like strict curfews at home. I have two younger sisters. So you know, we were all like, yeah, so it was definitely conservative, and also like very clear gender roles. So even though my mom worked with my mom’s a rock star, she was one of the early kind of computer programmers in the Middle East. It was it we all like it was kind of unspoken that how work comp was second to family and you know, she she took care of everything at home.
And my dad worked too, but he didn’t really contribute at home. So it was interesting
Andrew Warner 10: 12
about she would have to come home at three o’clock because that’s when school ended. If she had a work trip, she couldn’t take the work trip on her own because number one, she had to be back at three o’clock to take care of the three kids. And number two, it’s kind of weird for a woman to leave the country and go work somewhere with God knows who and do God knows what. And this is what she was under. And if she did travel it off for work, tell me if I miss remembering this, she would have to wait for an opportunity to coincided with school vacation, take the kids and the family with her and make it into a work trip. But this is what she did
Rana el Kaliouby 10: 46
exactly like it you know, she would have a lot of opportunities to travel to events and conferences and you know, training programs. And she couldn’t go Unless Unless you could make it into a family vacation. And so we would That being in London or you know, whatever France and, and I would think, oh, cool vacation but my mom would disappear for a couple of hours to do her thing. Yeah.
Andrew Warner 11: 11
And this is what she did. And then you go out for a job interview at a company. What is where I write that down? I see works. Yeah, what did they do?
Rana el Kaliouby 11: 25
Yeah, so I saw Um, so I grew up in Cairo, but lived in the Middle East and then and then went back to Cairo to study as an undergrad. I’m Kairos pure science undergrad. And then I started school at 15. So I graduated.
Andrew Warner 11: 43
I was like, well, you went to the American University in Cairo at 15. Yeah. Well, because you skipped two grades I think was like eighth grade and what was like second grade
Rana el Kaliouby 11: 51
or like, okay,
yeah, so so so I graduated 19 and I wanted to interview for this like, super young startups. They were like at the super scrappy office in, in Cairo. And so I told my dad and my dad was like, why do you even want to work for a startup? Because I had graduated top of my class and he was like, why don’t you like just go work for a multinational or, you know, you know, go like, go work at a university or something. And, and so I was like, No, but I want to interview with the startup. So he’s like, okay, I’ll come with you. So I was like, No, Dad, you can’t do that. And he was like, Nah, just accompany you to the interview. Like, they seem sketchy. So anyways, we negotiated it, and he waited for me in the parking lots and I went up, did my interview.
Andrew Warner 12: 38
What did what did you dress to you? What did you wear to your interview?
Rana el Kaliouby 12: 42
Well, so this was a it was a really like early stage startup, which which, you know, this is like over 10 years ago now. In in Cairo and and, you know, there weren’t a lot of startups like that. So it was quite unusual. Now, in my head, I was like this like super professionally dressed MBA like MBA looking. You’re not 19 year old so I had a skirt and a floral blouse and I walked in with my laptop. And then they say there’s not enough chairs for us to interview you, we have to either reschedule or you just have to sit on the floor for the interview and I was like, it was awkward. So I sat with my skirt, you know, made it work. I did not get the job. But the CEO kind of noticed me. Actually, he was a he was a Chief Technology Officer at the time and we ended up getting married.
Andrew Warner 13: 34
He because he kept checking in with you who he was asking you for your feedback. He valued your intelligence. He saw that you had something
Rana el Kaliouby 13: 41
that is true.
Andrew Warner 13: 42
Yeah. Did you ever ask me why didn’t you hire me then?
Rana el Kaliouby 13: 45
Oh, you know what? I never asked that question. Wow, I should go back to
Andrew Warner 13: 50
come back to you and asking you but by the way, I’m on I’m on their website. They look like pretty conservative people to me. I think everyone on their about page wearing a white shirt. Some women have head coverings you have had covering when you went in for your interview.
Rana el Kaliouby 14: 04
No, I did not wear the hijab when I when I went in. I wore that years later.
Andrew Warner 14: 11
Okay. All right. So then you’re going in there you meet him. He knows that you want to do something with your life.
Rana el Kaliouby 14: 19
Yes. So we were both super ambitious and, and to his credit, he was very open minded. So he grew up, you know, he grew up in Argentina and was very well educated. And so as I and we just became best buddies, really, we were two nerds like we were super both of us were computer scientists and was just very nerdy. Yeah.
Andrew Warner 14: 40
Okay, so you end up getting married. Along the way, you end up at Cambridge, you’re studying and having a long distance relationship. The really, Oh, you know what one of the best parts for me is I’m gonna let you tell the story. The first time you go into Cambridge, a guy comes and hugs you and you’re so shocked that he touched you like that. That was Just like half hug even you and you two room and you started crying.
Rana el Kaliouby 15: 04
Yes, yeah. Yes. Because I grew up again, I grew up in the Middle East and, and when I, when I moved to Cambridge, I was wearing the hijab at the time. It was right after September 11. So my family were like, You’re nuts. You can’t go, it’s unsafe. You’re leaving my my, my ex, but at the time, my husband was running the software company, right? And so he couldn’t leave. But he supported me. He said, okay, your dream is to become faculty. You need to go get a PhD. Go do this. We’ll have a long distance relationship. And, yeah, and so I so I left, you know, I left and I started with Cambridge, and it was tough. It was tough because there it was like, it was my first experience being away from my family. I felt lonely a ton of times, I felt very homesick. And I had to work through all of that.
Andrew Warner 15: 57
Let me take a moment talk about my first sponsor. It’s a company called Hostgator I’ve got to tell you that there are some people who are listening to this and they can obviously hear the excitement in my voice. I like when people get as vulnerable as you are in your book, even though it makes me just sit there go, How’s she doing this. But this is this is my passion. I’ve got to tell anyone who’s out there listening to me, whatever your crazy passion is, go create a website for it because people take it much more seriously, when there’s a website associated with it. I’ll be honest with you, my website hardly gets any traffic anymore because as soon as somebody comes on, I push them to go and subscribe via via whatever podcast app, they like. Spotify has become really big lately. Whatever it is, I push them to that. But the fact that I’ve got a website gives me credibility with guests who take a look and they say, Okay, now I get what this person is about, I get what this is, this whole thing is about, I’m willing to enter Andrews world and do an interview with him. And so that’s what you get you get ability to tell people what you’re about in a credible place that you have 100% control over. That’s the beauty of having a website. So take your passions, go over to hostgator.com slash mixergy. If you do that, by the way, I’m getting this weird echo on your Mike, maybe pull your hair a little bit further back because, like is connected to Yeah, there we go. Look at that. Yeah, that helped a lot. Bring it over to Hostgator dot Yeah, I’m still getting a little bit of an echo one sec, bring it over to hostgator.com slash mixergy. When you do, you’re gonna get the lowest possible price from them, and you’ll be up and running with a company that can take care of you. And if you’re ever not happy with them, maybe 510 20 years, who knows what, you take your website and you move it somewhere else. The beauty of Hostgator is they’re just hosting your site, it is your site and what you create there can work on other platforms hostgator.com slash mixergy. All right. Tell me about affirmative computing. What did that book mean to you? What is that book?
Rana el Kaliouby 17: 46
Andrew Warner 17: 47
Oh, why do I keep it? You know what it is? I as I was reading it, I was audio dictating to my device. And I assumed it was affirmative computing, but it’s an effective computing What does
Rana el Kaliouby 17: 58
that mean? So aspect is a synonym for emotion. So this MIT professor called Rosalind Picard was trying to build artificial intelligence. And so she was drawing inspiration from human intelligence. And notice that your emotional intelligence matters just as much as your IQ, your cognitive intelligence. And she was like, Well, why do computers don’t have any emotional intelligence? So she wrote this book in 1996. I read at 1998. And I just got so inspired by her work and decided that this is what what I wanted. Like it basically took me down this path, I decided that this is what what I wanted to build, like,
Andrew Warner 18: 36
why did you care about that? Why did you see that she noticed this about emotions and say, I’m gonna spend my time my life working on it. What did you care? What did you see in that?
Rana el Kaliouby 18: 46
Well, it was it was a very compelling argument. Well, two things first, it was a very compelling argument, right? Like, you look at people who have higher emotional intelligence and they are more likable, they’re more persuasive. They’re just better human beings. And I believe that this is going to be true for technology, and especially technology that interacts with us on a day to day basis. So that was kind of Reason number one. But then I had a personal experience that that kind of brought it all kind of together for me. I when I first moved to Cambridge, I realized because I was kind of nerdy and really focused on my work, that I was spending more time on my laptop than I did with any other human being. Yet this laptop, despite this kind of closeness had zero idea how I was feeling it was just completely oblivious to my emotional state. So when did we hear about that? Well, I just felt like it was just, it made our interactions like very, very ineffective, right and I wished and I also realized it was the main portal of my communication with my family back home I in particular, my husband at the time, and it just I would be homesick I would be lonely in tears and I felt like all of this written, written of our nonverbal communication was just like lawston. And, you know, I was on FaceTime,
Andrew Warner 20: 04
which wasn’t there, but Skype was and Isn’t that how we communicate with other people?
Rana el Kaliouby 20: 10
But it’s not really right. Like, a lot of our communication is text based, where it’s very easy to mask how we truly feel right? And it makes it cheap, right? Yeah, I could have sent the emoji little emoji thing with tears.
Andrew Warner 20: 25
But But I do want to like, I just wanted him to know that I felt lonely and homesick. And I didn’t want to like explicitly say it. And then how did you imagine that the computer the laptop that you had would take that and then translate it over to him or to your parents?
Rana el Kaliouby 20: 40
Yeah, I started imagining like technology that could have perception, perception of human emotions, and and and started to kind of envision the plethora of applications and how it could build that into social wealth. Social media didn’t exist that
Andrew Warner 20: 57
wouldn’t what what application Did you imagine?
Rana el Kaliouby 21: 00
Um, the very first application actually was for autism. So that was kind of the very first use case. Because that’s almost an extreme case where people really struggle with nonverbal communication, right? They don’t even do face or eye contact, because it’s so overwhelming. So we designed these like Google, like glasses. Google Glass, like devices, basically, with cameras that could read the emotions, or the facial expressions of the person they’re interacting with. And give them real time feedback via Bluetooth. Your set
Andrew Warner 21: 33
early in the year it says, This person is angry, or it says, I think your friend is angry. Exactly. Because they couldn’t pick up on it unless the friend explicitly said that and so you were envisioning that type of thing. And you said, I don’t exactly have a checklist of what this could do, but I have a vision of it. So you start to study you start to do this. You then you What is it you, you go into this competition? What was this competition I can’t find it in my notes here.
Unknown Speaker 22: 04
Rana el Kaliouby 22: 04
after so after Cambridge, basic National Science Foundation,
Andrew Warner 22: 07
yes, yes. And then what happened? They liked you.
Rana el Kaliouby 22: 12
Right. So So basically, at the end of my PhD, Ross, Deckard, who’s the author of aspects of computing comes to Cambridge, to like, check out what we’re doing, and I need her and I’m like, oh, you’re my dream come true. And she’s like, come work with me. So so. So to sponsor me to come to the United States, we applied for this grant at the National Science Foundation, and we want it to build this, you know, this basically wearable device for autistic kids. It was quite ambitious. So they came back and they said, We love the idea of this project. We think you two are amazing, but it’s way too ambitious. You don’t think we don’t think you can pull this off so we’re not going to fund you? So that was a bummer. And I was like, okay, that’s the end of it that like I don’t think I’ll be able to join MIT which was dream really I thought that was the end of it. But Roz called me in Cairo and she said, we’re just going to do it. We’re going to find the funding. We’re going to build it and then come back to the National Science Foundation and ask for an even bigger grant, which we did.
Unknown Speaker 23: 14
Did you get it the second time?
Rana el Kaliouby 23: 15
We did, and it was, it was over a million dollars. It was amazing.
Andrew Warner 23: 19
That was the amazing thing about her that she had the intelligence but she also had the hustle, the hustle You said you check out my site, you got to know me and you that’s what you were drawn to. She had that also. Did you have that at the time?
Rana el Kaliouby 23: 34
I think I’ve learned to persevere I mean, obviously I did, right because I had let you know I left you know, I kind of deviated from the norm by leaving to Cambridge and doing my PhD. But I think over the years I’ve just really become a lot more I don’t take no for an answer easily. And I just find ways to make it happen like one of our one of our core values of effective on my company. Now is Have a can do attitude like, don’t start by saying, Oh look, here’s 100 reasons why you can’t make it up, start with the one reason you can, you should and could make it happen. And I think that mindset is really critical.
Andrew Warner 24: 14
So, you get rejected, you go back in you work on it, you do something called demo or die at some point, your producer would like demo or die. I never heard of that before.
Rana el Kaliouby 24: 25
So, so I joined Roz at the MIT Media Lab and the mantra of the Media Lab, it still is actually, it’s demo or die. You can’t just like show up with a PowerPoint presentation. And just like, you know, talk about what you do, you have to show it. And so you have to demo or That’s it, you perish. And so we put together this autism demo. And for a number of years, these fortune 500 companies who sponsored the lab would, you know, come in twice a year and we would demo the autism work and they would say They will, like Toyota would say, Well, have you thought about applying it to detect drowsiness of drivers, Procter and Gamble wanted to test you know, their latest fragrances, shower gels. Time wanted to test their full lineup for content, right? So I kept a log of all of the different use cases. And when we got to about 20 of these, I was like, okay, we’re ignoring all of these sponsors, they’re gonna hate us. What do we do about this? I thought the solution was to just hire more PhD students to work on this. And the lab director at the time, Frank moss basically said, No, no, you got to start a company. Like go Yeah, take this and go start a company out of the lab. Yeah.
Andrew Warner 25: 43
Work with MIT Media Lab. If you create something there, these companies sponsored, they basically help support this or this organization, right. Do Do you own the technology that you worked on there? You do?
Rana el Kaliouby 25: 56
Yes. So the Media Lab is very generous to me. To inventors, so you I mean, MIT owns the intellectual property. But if you do decide to take it and start a company, they let you do that, like at minimal cost basically.
Andrew Warner 26: 13
God so there’s still some fee but it’s it’s not significant. It’s not gonna hold you back there the
Rana el Kaliouby 26: 18
Andrew Warner 26: 19
Yeah. Okay, so you finally say we’re going to go work on this, there are all these different use cases, these fortune 500 companies are telling us what they want. What did you pick first?
Rana el Kaliouby 26: 31
Um, you know, this continues to be kind of what makes this both so exciting, but also challenging. So we learned very early on that there’s a combination of factors right. And you know, you’ve had a business so you’ll resonate with this. You have to look at the total opportunity, right, the addressable market size, and you have to look at the product market fit, right because they sum up some of the use cases were super cool and exciting, but the product wasn’t ready for it. We started with this kind of audience measurement advertising testing solution, which is now used by 25% of the Fortune 500. companies.
Andrew Warner 27: 08
Let me pause for a moment because this is something that you told my producer that I didn’t see in your book girl decoded, you had way more emotion in your book that I can get into an interview. But there’s one thing that you told our producer, you said, we had a list of three factors that matter to us. The first was product market fit, how close can the technology actually get to solving the problem? Then you said what is the total addressable market, like you mentioned earlier? And then finally, what is our go to market strategy? How do we do this? How do we get it out there? So we’re not just going to create something great that we have no way of selling? And then with all that, you said, we’re gonna start with what I don’t believe your heart was in, but it satisfied all these three intellectual factors. advertising, big market, they need this, we could solve it. They’re open to us all the stuff that you’re looking for was there. How did you get your first customer
Rana el Kaliouby 28: 00
first customer it was it was right about around the Superbowl. And we did this like crowd sourced experiment. We put like ads on Forbes websites, we collaborated with them. And so people could just come in there and like watch these ads and then watch their reactions. We called it emote your vote. It was kind of fun. So this big advertising conglomerate WP caught, you know, we caught their attention and they approached us and and they ended up being kind of, you know, an investor and one of our largest partners in the space.
Andrew Warner 28: 34
You coined the term emotional AI because,
Rana el Kaliouby 28: 38
well, I’m a believer that I actually met an investor, a Boston based investor early on and he said, You need to be a category owner. And I was like, what’s that? He was like, you need to kind of coin a name, a category, seed it evangelize, it paints what it looks like. And so we did that for emotion AI. We are We coined the term and we seeded it. So we were like, okay, here’s what emotion AI is. This is why computers need artificial emotional intelligence for the use cases. And we started just painting a picture of the world that didn’t exist yet. And fast forward a few years later, we now I have investors calling us and they’re like, Oh, look, I want to invest in emotionally. I like I’ve heard about you guys. And I was like, Yes.
Andrew Warner 29: 27
See, the thing that I was wondering about that is AI, by the way for people who are listening, artificial intelligence. That I wonder is, if it’s so complicated, that you had to come up with a brand new category, you you’re teaching people why this category matters, which means you also have to prove to them that it does actually matter and that it could exist, and then that it would make sense for them instead of starting with the problem that they had. You were starting with the vision that you had, and I wonder if the way you were able to get away with that is because yes, you are explaining the future. You are naming This category you’re evangelizing what you saw in the future. But you also work low to the ground and said, I see the problem you have as marketers, you have a budget, you have a problem, I could solve it with this thing. And by the way, this is where it’s going. Is that why
Rana el Kaliouby 30: 13
this is actually like? Yes, absolutely. Because Because a lot of the applications that we were kind of describing or painting a vision for didn’t exist, and it wasn’t even close, right. But to make money and to drive revenue, we have to Yes, we have to be very short term. So we always talked about here are the low hanging opportunities and short term applications. But then here’s where you can take this over the next five to 10 years. And I found that people just got so excited about this vision and they wanted to be part of it.
Andrew Warner 30: 43
Who went out and fundraise? Was it you?
Rana el Kaliouby 30: 48
It was the our initial round of funding was me and my co founder Ross Picard who wrote the book. And it was it was interesting because we were to MIT scientists, women are And we did the whole like Sand Hill Road show. And we were pitching in a lotion company. So that that didn’t go very well.
Andrew Warner 31: 10
So you could see in their face that they thought these are two girls who are trying to be business people. They might be professors, but they’re not. And so what got you over that?
Rana el Kaliouby 31: 24
Just wait, we persevered. I mean, we must have pitched like maybe 20 plus investors, a lot of them. I mean, to their credit, people got excited about the technology. They were like, wow, this is fascinating. We’ve never seen anything like this before. But then it was just like, way too risky. Way too outside of the comfort zone to invest. We ended up getting money from one of the kind of wealthiest Swedish families are very philanthropic and they had been following our work for years and wanted to be part of it. So you know, so we ended up our first investor was the Swedish Swedish guy, PETER VON Berg.
Andrew Warner 32: 00
We can find out about you.
Rana el Kaliouby 32: 01
They used to visit MIT often, and and they have told Roz you know if she ever needed money, hmm, she should call them so she did.
Andrew Warner 32: 11
Well, you know, I invested small amount, I just hit the mic, a small amount in hustle fund as a as a part as investor in it. Elizabeth Yin, the co founder of this venture capital fund has been saying, expect to pitch 100 investors the fact that you just did 20 which is a lot is impressive. It wasn’t gonna be Oh, you know
Rana el Kaliouby 32: 33
what, that is so painful. Like every time you got to know you got like this pit in your stomach, right? And it’s just like, depressing. So we, we develop, you know, thicker skin for sure. One
Andrew Warner 32: 47
thing that landed that made you doubt yourself
Rana el Kaliouby 32: 51
once Well, a lot of things. I mean, we were just
and the other thing is I just always I’m still kind of struggle with this. I have this voice in my head that I call it Debbie Downer, right? It’s always like say, you know what, like, you really think you can spin out? No way you think you could go that net? And so I had to overcome that too, right?
Andrew Warner 33: 14
How’s your your marriage going through all this? You’re making a lot of progress. What happened?
Rana el Kaliouby 33: 22
Um, so. So I, you know, I was commuting from Cairo. So it was a pretty long commute between Cairo and Boston. I was spending a lot of time in the US kind of, you know, bringing the company online. So hiring and, you know, pitching to investors and all of that. And honestly, my mind, sir, was just 100% on the company. And I at the time had two kids, including an infant
who, who would tag along on all these investment pitches, which is fun.
But yeah, but it was, it became It started to fall apart Really? And so after a few years of starting the company, we got divorced.
Andrew Warner 34: 08
I think the statement that you had in your book about him was You just said you don’t need me anymore. And that’s but you tried really hard you you remade the bedroom on one of his trips, you learn to cook I think, right? You learned right? Like all those details stuck by the way, this book, I think for the right person, you’re gonna frickin love this book. If you’re not into I need to, like, I need to step by step to how to do this thing. I think you’re just going to be it’s amazing that you could that you could write this book if someone loves business they’re going to see the inside of a business owner is taking herself really seriously. If someone cares about international politics and in the world. They’re going to get to see what happened when we were watching on the news. Iraq invaded Kuwait. What happened to somebody whose family was in Kuwait, right? It was you your whole house like
Rana el Kaliouby 35: 00
Andrew Warner 35: 02
was used by by soldiers I guess is that right? Yeah, right.
Rana el Kaliouby 35: 05
And actually there’s gonna there’s a photo insert in the book. An h. v. Well you don’t have it in the early No. But, but there’s gonna be a colored photo insert and one of one of the pictures is my dad hiding behind the curtains from our house with all the Iraqi tanks in front of our home. So
Andrew Warner 35: 25
for a while there You didn’t even know where he was. You were completely disconnected.
Rana el Kaliouby 35: 30
Yeah, we were disconnected from him for about 10 days. We didn’t know what had happened to him. He ended up being safe but it was pretty traumatic.
Andrew Warner 35: 39
You got 911 and we in the US are thinking why would we go to the Middle East didn’t after 911 you’re in Egypt legal? Why are you gonna go into into the other side over there in the UK, which is which is interesting. And then Arab Spring and what that means and all that. There’s one thing that stands out to me that I just kept wondering as you were doing I feel like you handled your husband’s experience I went into it thinking how is she gonna write about divorcing her husband? and still have it feel okay for kids? There’s nothing disrespectful I get a sense of him both from photo is this what it looks like? This is like my I kind of like Yes, yeah, he looks like a serious guy. I’d be a little intimidated next to him except that I could see like from here that maybe he’s like, maybe that smile is revealing something right? Looks like a good guy. So I get that. It’s your family. I wonder that like how did they feel about you talking about divorce about all that stuff? Let me take a moment talk about my second sponsor, and then come back in here. My second sponsor is a company called top towel if you’re listening to any of the technologies that we talked about in my interviews and you say you know what, we should be adding this into our company, but we don’t have that expertise. Maybe we should start looking into it. We should start hiring process which I’ll tell you what, here’s what you should do instead. Go to top towel comm slash mixer D that’s t o p ta o comm slash MIZ rG why the first thing you will Do is schedule an appointment with someone a top down? Tell them what you’re thinking about it. You know what, we’ve got this team, but we also heard about Southern technology. We want to implement it here. How do we do it?
Unknown Speaker 37: 09
Andrew Warner 37: 10
they’ll hook you up with conversations with potential hires. Often within days, you can do your assessment and if you decide to hire, I’ve experienced it. You can hire superfast with them. I mean, within days, not months, which, frankly, for some of these technologies would be a win if you could do it in months. They’ll do it for you in days, test them out, prove to yourself that I am right now. Really, obviously, if you don’t get the results you’re looking for, I want to hear about it. [email protected] if you do I want to hear about it too. I’ve been hearing a lot of positive feedback from it. I’m always open to you. This is not you know what? I said to Carter Swisher, one of your sponsors. There’s something questionable about them. And we went back and forth via Twitter and to her credit Kara Swisher the reporter. She engaged me in this conversation about this, this company. But at one point you said it’s just a sponsor. It’s just an ad meaning I it’s not my editorial. It’s an ad. I’ve got to tell you guys if you listen to By voice it’s never going to be just an ad if if they harm you even a tiny bit if they’re not great, I want to know about it. Andrew it mixergy or 201 mission street in the heart of San Francisco. They may not want to come here now because of Coronavirus. But I want to I’m open to you. I will come in with if you have Coronavirus I will still come in and talk to you. There’s a problem with my sponsors. I love them. That’s commitment. Yes, it is just an added. So what about your family? How do they feel about being so exposed?
Unknown Speaker 38: 28
Rana el Kaliouby 38: 30
I’m comfortable, I think but so my mom and my two younger sisters have both read an early version of the book. You know, there were parts that made my mom really uncomfortable because for example, like they kept my divorce, like they didn’t really talk about my divorce for a few years after the divorce. So, but but I think, I don’t know I decided very early on that I wanted to open up and share very vulnerably and I in doing So I hope that people will find different aspects of the story that will resonate with them. And it’ll, I don’t know, I find that vulnerability
encourages human connection and empathy.
Andrew Warner 39: 12
Um, but you’re hurting your parents feelings, right, then you intentionally had to keep the divorce from them for a while because he didn’t want to hurt their feelings. They’re keeping the divorce away from their friends. Now, it’s documented for the world to see in a book by a woman who’s like a famous Ted Ted speaker. Right.
Rana el Kaliouby 39: 29
And I think I think they I think we, I don’t know, we’ll find out. So my dad has not read the book.
Andrew Warner 39: 36
But he knows that you’re going to be open and vulnerable. He knows who he knows who his daughter is, right? And there’s no hesitation. There’s no Why are you doing this? You know, I don’t he told you don’t go to work at the startup. And then he told you don’t go to work here. And then when you come home late one time because you’re at school studying, he sits you down and he gets angry at you for embarrassing the whole family. There’s none of that going on here with this book.
Rana el Kaliouby 39: 58
I think he softened up toughened up over the years? No, honestly, like, seriously, I do think that they take pride in my journey. And they recognize that I have a role to play, both kind of demystifying what it’s like to be a middle, a family from the Middle East, and both kind of struggle with being conservative and really true to our core values and our culture, but also, at the same time, embrace what’s amazing about this country and about kind of, you know, like being an entrepreneur. So I think,
in balance, they will appreciate it.
But I’ll come back to you if it’s not
Andrew Warner 40: 40
to talk to your dad, if it’s not. It’s not. You made a really good point in the book. At one point, you said, Look, people think the Middle East is a monolith. It’s not i’m not describing all the Middle East. I’m not describing all of my experiences. It’s just like, here’s my own personal experience. I didn’t realize that people in the middle in Egypt were as conservative as your family was. It’s Not, they’re not necessarily Right.
Rana el Kaliouby 41: 03
Yeah. And and actually, my family isn’t even that conservative on the scale, right. And if you consider the full spectrum, they’re kind of in the middle. But it’s it’s complex, right? They’re conservative on some things, but not right like that. Like, again, my, both my parents really supported our education, it was the top priority. And my mom was a working woman her entire career. She only retired a few years ago. But at the same time, there was these other kind of rules that we all have to abide to. So it’s it’s complex, and I wanted to share that complexity. But at the core of it is a lot of love and support. Do you know what I mean?
So even through when your dad says, I love you.
Andrew Warner 41: 47
My dad doesn’t say I love you, you know, because
Rana el Kaliouby 41: 50
oh, that’s that. That would that would be awkward. I know. I know. He loves us all, but I don’t know that he I’m gonna I’m gonna Yeah.
Unknown Speaker 41: 59
Do you say I love you, too. You too.
Rana el Kaliouby 42: 01
I don’t think I do I do to my mom, but I don’t tell my dad, do you kiss your dad on the cheek? Yes. When I see him I do. Yes. Yes, yes. Um,
Andrew Warner 42: 12
all right, coming back then to the, to the business part of this. You went after the low hanging fruit, which was marketers, you showed them results, which got you to I think 25% of the Fortune 500 companies were working with you. Right. And the way it worked was basically they would show their ads to didn’t happen on mobile phones remotely. Yes, he would show the ads.
Rana el Kaliouby 42: 32
So initially it would, sorry initially it worked on a laptop and then eventually we got it to work on a soft phone. So you just like use the camera kind of on the device.
Andrew Warner 42: 44
So people can see a commercial they get to see a thing a product. Very action is registered. You don’t you don’t have to survey them to know the hidden meanings. You You could see a lot of it come up on people’s faces.
Unknown Speaker 42: 56
Andrew Warner 42: 58
Okay, and So then you’re doing well. And at some point, you say, this is not enough. This is not why I started this. Right.
Rana el Kaliouby 43: 08
Right. So So I started the company with Roz, because we had this vision of an emotion enabled technology universe, like a human centric kind of technology world. And so we really wanted to see that happen. We wanted to integrate this kind of technology into all sorts of devices, our phones, our social robots, our conversational agents, our cars, have, you know, health apps, like you name it, and I felt like we had that was kind of this first market or product was a top along the way, but it was not the destination. It was not the end goal. And I just had this awakening moment that we were on the wrong track, and we were kind of missing the boat on the real opportunity really. At the time, I was also the chief technology. Officer not the seat, not the CEO. And I just felt like I wasn’t in control of of this company that I started. So I so I think, sorry. Um, yeah, so I, so I really kind of, you know, stepped outside of my comfort zone. And my initial idea was to be co CEO. So I went to our CEO at the time, and I said, Hey, you know, I want to be co CEO with you. And he was like, that’s a really dumb idea. Why would they agree to that? But then the more research I did on what a CEO actually does, I was like, I’m doing this already. Like, I was the face of the company. I knew the technology inside out, I raised you know, I was involved in all the fundraising rounds for the company. And so, so I went back to him and I said, you know, what, I actually do want to be the CEO. And, again, you know, we had this great relationship. So we went back and forth and said, okay, you’re ready. So he said, you know, away from the roll and I suppose almost four years ago now,
Andrew Warner 45: 05
in your book and girl deconstructed, you make it hot like It’s alright, no big deal he accepted. I googled what a CEO does, which you literally googled what a CEO does.
Rana el Kaliouby 45: 15
Yes, I literally googled it. And I created this is like a bulleted list of what a CEO does. And I was like, tactic.
Andrew Warner 45: 23
And then he went from saying, No, I would never be a co CEO to you, you making a case and him saying, Okay, now I get part of it was, hey, look, if you don’t do this, I just got a great job offer to lead another company. So I’m either leaving the company I created or the company that I’m going to go and work for somewhere else. But you’re not getting me here as a data. I get that. But how did he feel okay with it. How did you get to a place where it were really separation.
Rana el Kaliouby 45: 49
I mean, for me, this was my passion. Right? And I think for him, this was just a job like he joined as our head of sales and then and then kind of stepped into the CEO role. And so I really do think he and I, and I, you know, I use this leverage, I basically said, I’ll just leave and I think he recognized that, you know, if I left a lot of the, the core of the company will, will stop will cease to exist. And I think he realized that that would be trouble.
Andrew Warner 46: 22
You and he had shares in the business and he had a vested stake in the future of it. So I get that. You told our producer, I had this little voice in my head and you mentioned it earlier today. Is it literally a voice in your head? Or do you see pictures? How do you how do you have this doubt in your head?
Rana el Kaliouby 46: 36
It’s like a conversation right? It’s like, it’s like this conversation with myself and it usually starts by you want to be CEO there’s no way on earth you’re going to be CEO and I journal a lot so a lot of my journal entries have these conversations in it like I really want to be CEO but like Nick CEO, and he’s not going anywhere. This will never happened, right? Like you have these like,
Andrew Warner 46: 56
super like get it out on paper and you do it as a dialog. You
Rana el Kaliouby 47: 00
know, it’s not a dialogue. It’s just a stream of consciousness. Typically, with a lot of like, you can’t do this, you shouldn’t do this and you let your
Andrew Warner 47: 09
body write that out knowing that somebody could see this afterwards because
Rana el Kaliouby 47: 14
oh my god, I hope nobody sees my journal ever.
Andrew Warner 47: 17
But you still put it down and you take the risk and it seems like you’re doing it for a reason. My hunch is it’s because the value of arguing back with that little voice is Yeah, by the way, do conversations like this without webcam? I was just interviewed by somebody said, I’ve listened to your interviews forever. I’m gonna do my own it. Let’s go. Let’s do it. I go, Okay. Can you turn on your webcam? Because I never turn on my webcam. How do you have a conversation with someone if you don’t? I could see your your facial hair your animated.
Rana el Kaliouby 47: 41
very animated as well. Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. See, because these things matter. That’s the whole point.
Andrew Warner 47: 50
is the whole point. Did you read Malcolm Gladwell, his book that his latest book, though? What was it it was just like beneath you like you were studying?
Rana el Kaliouby 47: 58
Yeah. I have a huge fan of Malcolm Gladwell, in fact, his book blink inspired a lot of the work I do, because he talks about how people are so good at intuiting each other states by just like a micro slither of like micro, you know, micro expressions and micro behaviors. So I’m a huge fan of his work. I have not yet read his latest book,
Andrew Warner 48: 21
his latest book, don’t read it, get it the audio book because he clearly geeked out on production values. But he has this he has a compelling case in there about how by seeing people’s expressions, we bring our own prejudices to them. And he has this woman who he is one example that he starts off with, he says, this woman comes in front of a judge, the judge says, Can you please take off your face coverage says I can’t it’s religious. It’s for religious reasons. And he says, Well, how am I going to be able to judge you if I can’t see you? I can’t tell what we tell him the truth and when you’re not. And then Malcolm Gladwell goes on to slowly make the case that by seeing people we bring our own judgments and our own experiences into the their facial expressions, and maybe we miss something. And that made me wonder maybe I shouldn’t be keeping the camera on. Maybe I’m now reading into your enthusiasm, support for the things that I want. Like I’m looking for backup of what I’m used to, instead of noticing when you’re uncomfortable, think about how many women were sexually harassed, and they and the men would see an expression that told them, they like it. We’re good. We’re going on with this. We have this fun report, when in reality, the women were signaling No, I’m uncomfortable. Maybe other women would pick up on it. What do you what do you say?
Rana el Kaliouby 49: 32
Well, it is it is absolutely a complex. It’s complex, right? Because our expressions sometimes are, are often very nuanced. They’re subtle. They’re fleeting. So if you’re not really paying attention, you can miss them. There’s, there’s a lot of you know, we communicate through many channels, right, so you’ve got your facial expressions, you can use hand gestures, you can use pop, you know, body posture, you can use vocal intonations, and often these things will all signal Same thing, but sometimes it can be contradictory. Like my face can say one thing and by tone of my voice will say different story. So, so this is what what makes it super exciting, in my opinion, because it’s just such a it’s not just about detecting a smile, which is sometimes what people think when when we say our building most recognition. They’re like, Oh, just a smoke detector. Anybody can do that. I’m like, Yeah, but it’s not about that. It’s about the complex kind of communication of our expressions. I often say, I would love to crack the code of what inspiration looks like when you watch a TED talk, and you’re inspired. But what do you look like? People don’t we don’t know what inspiration. We don’t know what love looks like. Like, what does love look like when you were like, are like,
Andrew Warner 50: 43
yeah, anyways? No, yeah, that’s a great TED Talk. One is one that resonates with me because so I remember giving a Toastmasters talk when I was learning how to how to give presentations. And I saw someone’s look in the audience and it looked like utter disgust. And I happened that week. To go see a play little tiny play, or sitting like three rows face, I could almost touch the actor. I was so frickin riveted. And I remember registering what my face was looking like for the moment without moving it. And it was the same form of like, What are you talking about type of look, but it wasn’t that What are you talking about what it was maybe the same expression I’d make when I was in shock about what someone said. But instead I was enthralled. I was amazed. You can’t really tell Can you?
Rana el Kaliouby 51: 32
You have to incorporate as much information as you possibly can. So So sometimes you need to incorporate the context like for example, you know, you may want to know how a person’s personality for example, right, like if you know the person really well, if she knew you really well, then maybe she could tell like this was your enthralls expression. But she didn’t know used to she was like this or that. So yeah, again, this is what Like, you just need more multi like we call it a multi modal approach to solving the problem, the more information you can get in there, it’s a data problem, the more data you can get in there, the more accurate your inference is going to be.
Andrew Warner 52: 11
Got it just like I had more data by going to see that presentation software can have more data by registering lots of people’s experiences, and improving based on that, and then maybe we want to customize it to the person. All right, so you took the helm of the company, it’s now your baby and your whatever it is that your your adolescent, and you say, I’m going beyond marketing to what?
Rana el Kaliouby 52: 36
So we, so there’s a lot of applications of this technology. But one of the things that we’re very excited about is bringing this to our cars, right. So you can imagine, if your car is able to detect, for example, if the driver is drowsy or distracted, because they’re texting on their phone, they’re slapping on their phone while driving. You’re not supposed to do that. But we’re able to detect that because we can look at your head pose it information as you look up and down, whether you’re texting or if you’re like nodding asleep falling asleep, we can detect that from your eye patterns, we can look at your yawning behavior. So so there’s a huge safety application, we can help our cars be safer. But I think also equally interesting. We can reimagine, like this mobility experience, we can personalize the backseat experience with additional content that you you’re interested in.
Andrew Warner 53: 28
Thinking about I know I understand you’re saying there are people who own fleets Tell me if I’m wrong here. Yes, fleet. They want to know someone sleeping. They want to know someone texting, right. And we don’t think about this. So I don’t want to put too much weight on the Uber experience. But they had a self driving car that hit somebody in Arizona, I think it was right. And what they were doing was putting a lot of Intel intelligence into the car which backfire because the car didn’t catch this. This I think a cyclist was crossing the street but it’s As far as I know, they didn’t put any intelligence into detecting what was going on inside the car. And if they had your software, they would have known this woman was I forget what she was doing
Rana el Kaliouby 54: 11
a video or something.
Andrew Warner 54: 13
Right? And you would have been able to say she’s either watching something on her phone, or she’s not engaged anymore because she knows the software is taking over. She’s sitting here she does. She’s not touching her phone. But we’ve lost her attention. And so she’s not a good backup. And that part of what you’re envisioning.
Rana el Kaliouby 54: 28
Exactly, it’s we call it the handoff challenge challenge, like if the car is driving itself, but that it faces a situation where it’s like, oh, I don’t know what to do here. I need to transfer the control back to a human driver or co pilot, the human driver or copilot can’t be watching a movie, they need to be paying attention. So we need to know what level of attention and engagement are they in, and that’s where our type of technology kicks in. But can I share one more example? Yeah, my daughter is 16. So she’s about to start driving and I know horrified. I wish our technology already existed in our car because I want to know if she if she, I do want to know if she’s distracted. I want to know if she’s distracted on her phone if she’s friends, you know if she’s writing with friends, and they’re like, totally, like, distracting her. And
Andrew Warner 55: 15
so truly do you think she would be okay with it? If you had a little camera in the car?
Rana el Kaliouby 55: 21
I think, Well, I think it would be a conversation. And it’s less about, it’s less about spying on her, but it’s more so the camera doesn’t record video. It just records the state of the occupants. So it will just say, you know, on a scale from one to 10, you know, these occupants were very distracted, whatever. It’s not going to show any images. So in that way, it’s like there’s some privacy.
But I think
it’s a conversation around safety. Right. It’s like what what can we do here as a family to ensure that we are all safe on the road?
Yeah, so that’s another case. That’s Not just fleets or Uber cars and if that will happen.
Andrew Warner 56: 04
Yes, yes. Individuals cars, cars, yes, that means I will pay for a car that potentially I will pay for a car that has this.
Rana el Kaliouby 56: 12
Yes. So there is a new regulation coming out of Europe called the Euro end cap that is going to basically ensure that all automakers who want to have a safety what would you call it like a safety score? They need to have this kind of monitoring of the driver and the occupants in the vehicle. So it’s coming.
Andrew Warner 56: 37
I see it here and they, they’re gonna have to have this Mm hmm. And so that in order to do what in order to drive or in order to get
Rana el Kaliouby 56: 48
the highest safety score, right, so if you are like Toyota or Volvo or BMW, whatever, and you want to tell your consumers and buyers that this is a very special vehicle that it has to have this kind of
Andrew Warner 57: 06
I see auto AI is very what’s the word? It’s it’s prominent on your website. What percentage of the revenue is coming from dealing with the auto industry versus? I guess?
Rana el Kaliouby 57: 21
Yeah. It’s ramping up. So it’s a relatively new market for us. We’ve only been doing this for a couple of years. We did raise a recent round of funding that was very focused on the automotive use case. I would say the split is probably somewhere around 70%. You know, media analytics and 30% automotive, but this but once we crack the automotive industry, that’s a huge market opportunity. Going back to the total addressable market, it’s huge obviously, because you, you deploy this technology in a car and you get a royalty or a license fee per vehicle, so you can imagine how it scales really well.
Andrew Warner 58: 00
Then maybe another, another segment another another. That’s where you plan to take it. Yeah,
Rana el Kaliouby 58: 04
yeah. Another kind of application or industry that I’m super passionate about is mental health.
Andrew Warner 58: 10
And seem like you keep coming back to that.
Rana el Kaliouby 58: 13
Yeah, I, I really feel that there’s potential for helping a lot of people.
Andrew Warner 58: 21
Is this your glasses, the glasses that you’re making the ones here on the screen? my iPad? Um, oh, I just accidentally tap something there. Right there. You guys have mentioned that.
Rana el Kaliouby 58: 33
Um, this is this is kind of some version of it. But that’s not exactly what we invented. I was even cruder than this one. Just say,
Andrew Warner 58: 43
Yeah. All right. So you would you want to put glasses on people’s faces to help them do what?
Rana el Kaliouby 58: 49
Well, this is the autism application and we partner with a company called brain power and they use Google Glass and our technology to help autistic kids but beyond autism. Consider This when you go into a doctor’s office, and they don’t, you know, they don’t ask you what’s your temperature? They just measure it, or they don’t say, oh, what’s your blood pressure? Andrew like they’re just measuring in mental health. Literally, the gold standard is a scale from one to 10. how depressed are you? Or how suicidal are you? And it’s just so subjective. At the same time, we know that with this technology, there are facial and vocal biomarkers for things like depression, suicidal intent, Parkinson’s, and we are on our devices all the time. So I feel like that’s a great opportunity to collect this type of data, again, consent with while respecting people’s consent and privacy, but it would be really powerful because it can bring objective data to this mental health.
Andrew Warner 59: 47
So maybe before I go see my therapist, I’m doing something on my phone, but the thing that I’m doing is not the goal. It’s that app is watching me do it and then telling And then telling the software what’s going on with me, which would then pass it to the doctor which you know, what is kind of what we do with kids. We don’t ask kids, how depressed are you when they’re really young? If they’re going to see a therapist, the therapist would play with them would watch them engage with this would give them little assignments and then assess them.
Rana el Kaliouby 1: 00: 16
Right? But they’re also doing it over a 45 minute period. What if you could extend that throughout the week, right and collect data that is like in the person’s home and their natural environment? I think that type of data could be very powerful. Obviously, it’s it’s a very personal data. So we have to think through privacy and consent and all of that.
Andrew Warner 1: 00: 39
Speaking of personal Are you in love right now? I know that we’re going overtime. Are you in love? Have you been in love?
Rana el Kaliouby 1: 00: 44
I have started dating.
And I’ve had a lot which is a by the way already, like don’t tell my dad that
I’ve been on a lot of failed dates. But but as of right now that yeah that I met somebody who’s like, where are we into it but wow,
Andrew Warner 1: 01: 07
how does it feel I could be with someone now again.
Rana el Kaliouby 1: 01: 10
It feels really good. It feels good Now, again only a weekend so don’t go you’re
Andrew Warner 1: 01: 15
starting a relationship does it feel wrong in some way? Does your old cultural experiences come in Do you feel you do oh that
Rana el Kaliouby 1: 01: 24
oh my god yes. I feel like totally guilty and I perpetually feel like I’m doing something wrong. Even though I’m 41 Right,
Unknown Speaker 1: 01: 31
Right right. That’s nice.
Rana el Kaliouby 1: 01: 33
But it’s just culturally it’s it’s very it’s I didn’t grow up that way so I’m I’m learning a lot
Andrew Warner 1: 01: 42
Why are you so open to this you could have easily said to me Android rather not talk about it or signal to me. You know, I can pick up on it if you just give me a little bit of
Rana el Kaliouby 1: 01: 49
wink, wink. Why do you do that? Why do you
Andrew Warner 1: 01: 51
Why do you get into this stuff? And girl decoder what’s the business plan in this At first I thought maybe it’s like a little passion project but I’m on your website. There’s a photo of you holding on to the book with this. Smile have pride on it. What? How does this fit into your life this book?
Rana el Kaliouby 1: 02: 05
You know what it took me like 20 years to own find an online voice I and I just want I want to share this story so that other people who I just want to inspire people, I want to inspire young people who are forging their own path. I want to inspire women who feel like they can’t do a lot of these things. I want to inspire technologists. Yeah, I just want to inspire people. I
Andrew Warner 1: 02: 35
reckon if you’re honest, what
Rana el Kaliouby 1: 02: 36
yeah, I wrecked it. And if I’m honest,
you know, people will pick up on that and hopefully that will make the message resonate even more.
Andrew Warner 1: 02: 47
You should be really proud of the book. It’s really freakin well done. My job is to read people’s books, even if it’s a terrible book, I can read right? I can read it. But um, it’s just well written it just there’s a vulnerability. In an openness in it that I don’t think people appreciate like even Lisa jobs I read her her memoir. Did you read that? No, I did not. I was prepared for like all the anti jobs thing and all that it wasn’t about Steve Jobs. It wasn’t about technology was about one girl saying I’m going to be open and vulnerable about who I am
Rana el Kaliouby 1: 03: 18
cool. out of it.
Andrew Warner 1: 03: 21
My my dad is dying. And what I do is I go through his house is lift up things from him and steal things from him and put in my pocket. That level of openness is is dangerous for her to put herself out there like that. But that’s so cool to hear. All right. I got a shout out. There’s there’s no reason for me. All right, it’s girl decoded. I really appreciate the book. I appreciate you being on here. Frankly, the book is great, but the business here is going to impact so many people. I think there’s a pronunciation issue that I’ve got. I’m the new yorkers like I come from, like a foreign country where you can’t say but am I saying right? affectiva?
Rana el Kaliouby 1: 03: 57
Yes. Okay, good.
Unknown Speaker 1: 03: 58
For some reason. I get like
Rana el Kaliouby 1: 04: 01
And I’m like, that’s a yogurt. That’s not us.
Andrew Warner 1: 04: 05
Yogurt. Okay. kiva.com the site looks great. Thank you for doing this. And I want to thank the two sponsors who made this interview happen. If you’re listening to me, go get yourself a website. I know, this is my geeky project. Go find your own. I’ve been watching this guy, Seth, who’s really into bikes. He his geeky level of riding bikes is so it’s so fascinating. I can’t stop watching him. there gonna be people, if you’ve got a passion out there and you put it out there, people are gonna be fascinating. They’re gonna be super fans of yours or not. And you just get to express that passion for yourself. Go to hostgator.com slash mixergy and do it. And number two, if you need somebody’s artificial intelligence, so many other things you want to bring into your business and you don’t have someone to do it. challenge that people at top towel, go to top towel comm slash mixergy we’ll put to them for sponsoring. And thank you so much for being here.
Rana el Kaliouby 1: 04: 51
Thank you for having me. It’s super fun.
Andrew Warner 1: 04: 53
Transcribed by https://otter.ai