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AI in the Workplace Started Here

by | Jul 25, 2018

How your AI-powered teammate came to be.

Something magical happened in the winter of 2016.

For the first time in the history of the world, the top-selling holiday item on Amazon wasn’t a video game. It wasn’t a Tickle Me Elmo. It wasn’t a book or a toy.

The top-selling item was: Amazon’s Alexa.

Soon millions of people would have an Alexa or a Google Assistant in their home, and millions more would be using Siri on their phones to be more productive, more efficient, more… 21st-century. It felt like the future had arrived¹.

The 2014 sale of Answers had given me the spare time necessary to re-examine the emerging technologies at my disposal. After a few months of travel, I started searching for my next project. I had this deep-down desire to tackle the things I never got to spend as much time on as I would’ve liked: helping make companies more efficient and more effective. To that end, I began setting up meetings with business leaders in search of any pain points that plagued the modern organization. In the process, I stumbled across a few of my own.

Chief example: setting up meetings.

Managing my own calendar for the first time in a long time made clear what a chore it really was. I know, what a first-world, CEO-in-between-gigs problem. But what a hassle it was!

And this got me to thinking about all the other hassles I experienced running my old company.

I can’t tell you how many times I’d be looking for a file — a document I was certain I had access to — and I simply, for the life of me, couldn’t find it.

Nailing down a time when everyone was free to meet was like pulling teeth, and rescheduling was — whatever’s worse than pulling teeth. And what was worse than that?

How often I needed to reach out to the IT department to retrieve or set up my login credentials for this app or that app, from HRIS to CRM.

How was this possible? How in the world was the workplace still this cumbersome?

Anyone anywhere in the world can find Burundi’s number one export in milliseconds², but figuring out how much vacation time you have left at your own company takes the amount of time to physically travel to Burundi.

Then the lightbulb moment arrived…

What if there was a Siri… for work?

(Before rebranding, Capacity previously did business as Jane.ai.)

Setting up meetings? Searching your files? Creating tickets? Finding your leads? Accessing policies? Check, check, check, check, and check.

Rather than going to work and feeling like you’ve gone back in time, what if you could go to work and all the systems you use made you feel like you’ve entered the future?

This bit of inspiration was the genesis of Jane.ai — your company’s first AI-powered teammate.

Access everything in one place.

In just 18 months, Jane.ai is already working — and delivering value to customers — to bring the future of work to the present. She’s already saving team members’ precious time that was formerly wasted in the search for all the information they need to excel in their work. She’s already taking some of the work out of your work so you can get back to innovating, creating and producing.

Want to set up a meeting with a coworker? Just ask Jane.ai. Looking for the Anderson lead? Just ask Jane.ai. How about the copay on the dental insurance policy? No problem, just ask Jane.ai.

But why Jane.ai? I’m glad you asked.

I didn’t want to name your AI-powered teammate something that sounded like when parents make up flavor-of-the-month names for their kids, and I didn’t want you to feel like you needed to be wearing a spacesuit to talk to her.

I wanted to communicate with Jane.ai to feel normal — the anti-Siri, the anti-Alexa, the anti-Cortana.

Someone who could be in the cubicle right across from you.

Or, if you like, “The Joy of Accessing Nearly Everything.”

And when we subsequently tested the name with focus groups, the reception was fantastic.

Thanks for reading about how AI in the workplace began. Though Jane.ai is how we started, Capacity is how we will continue to grow and improve.

  1. I always thought that the future would be ushered in by hoverboards. A few ambitious companies are working on that.
  2. Burundi’s number one export is coffee and tea, by the way. Took exactly 0.62 seconds to get my hands on that information.