Leveraging AI for Business Success With Ab DeWeese

Ab DeWeese is an entrepreneur, polymath, and AI enthusiast, paving the way for technological transformation in business. He founded Good Automation and successfully automated its operations, allowing him to retire at 37. Coming from a family business background, Ab discovered his passion for technology, software development, and sales, which he converged to navigate the realms of automation and AI, addressing complex business challenges. Presently, he shapes the future as a Co-founder and Chief AI Officer for several enterprises while leading a private advisory practice that aids medium-sized to Fortune 500 companies in capitalizing on AI. Ab’s journey took him back to academia, pursuing a PhD and inspiring him to integrate AI ventures into Good Automation’s future path.

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Here’s a Glimpse of What You’ll Hear:

  • [2:13]Ab DeWeese reflects on key lessons from his family’s niche in high-quality woodworking
  • [3:25] Foundational business lessons of record-keeping, manufacturing efficiency, and safety
  • [05:34] The importance of recognizing and grasping entrepreneurial growth opportunities
  • [09:55] Crucial lessons on validating the market before product development
  • [14:18] Strategies for achieving business sufficiency and scaling by prioritizing time and freedom
  • [16:05] Techniques for maintaining client relationships and recurring business in the face of automation
  • [28:01] The significance of recent developments in AI
  • [33:49] Ab’s approach to managing services and product development simultaneously
  • [37:29] The personal transformation after discovering an ADHD diagnosis

In this episode…

Have you ever wondered about the intersections between passion, business, and high-level thinking? Can mathematical models truly dictate the future of global industries? What if the answers lie within the entrepreneurial spirit of one visionary individual?

Ab DeWeese, a mastermind in entrepreneurship and AI, shares his journey from his father’s woodworking shop to chasing the most perplexing physics problems. His narrative is not just a career chronology but a testament to transformation, highlighting the strategic pivot points that propelled him from handcrafting quality oak toilet seats to architecting AI solutions that revolutionize industries. Sharing essential insights on business and product development learning curves and his ADHD discovery, Ab guides entrepreneurs through the AI-influenced future landscape.

Tune in to this episode of the Smart Business Revolution Podcast as John Corcoran interviews Ab DeWeese, a polymath, about leveraging the breakthrough power of AI in business. They explore the nuances of AI implementation, the significance of market validation, and the importance of blending technical expertise with entrepreneurial acumen.

Resources Mentioned In This Episode

Quotable Moments:

  • “The art of manufacturing is to make things easy to do.”
  • “I wanted to protect my downside of guaranteed income and then get all my time back so I can do whatever I want.”
  • “The reward is the journey.”

Sponsor: Rise25

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Cofounders Dr. Jeremy Weisz and John Corcoran credit podcasting as being the best thing they have ever done for their businesses. Podcasting connected them with the founders/CEOs of P90xAtariEinstein BagelsMattelRx BarsYPO, EO, Lending Tree, Freshdesk,  and many more.  

The relationships you form through podcasting run deep. Jeremy and John became business partners through podcasting. They have even gone on family vacations and attended weddings of guests who have been on the podcast.

Podcast production has a lot of moving parts and is a big commitment on our end; we only want to work with people who are committed to their business and to cultivating amazing relationships.

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Rise25 Cofounders, Dr. Jeremy Weisz and John Corcoran, have been podcasting and advising about podcasting since 2008.

Episode Transcript

John Corcoran 0:00

All right, today we’re talking about how to leverage the power of AI in business. We’ve got a certified expert in AI here talking with us. His name is Ab DeWeese, we say I’ll tell you all about him in a second. So stay tuned.

Chad Franzen 0:13

Welcome to the Smart Business Revolution Podcast where we feature top entrepreneurs, business leaders and thought leaders and ask them how they built key relationships to get where they are today. Now, let’s get started with the show.

John Corcoran 0:30

Welcome, everyone, John Corcoran here. I’m the host of this show. And you know, every week I feel so privileged to be able to talk to interesting and smart CEOs, founders, entrepreneurs, from all kinds of different companies. We’ve had Netflix and Kinkos YPO EO Activision Blizzard lending tree, GrubHub. Redfin, go check it out in the archives, lots of great episodes for you there. And of course, this episode brought to you by Rise25, where we help b2b businesses get clients referrals and strategic partnerships done for your podcast, and content marketing and our new podcast copilot platform, which is incorporating elements of AI which is what we’re going to talk about here today. So it all comes full circle. 

And I’m really excited to have my friend Ab DeWeese here and Ab is a polymath. He has got so many different skills and interests. And what’s relevant for our conversation here today is that he’s got a background in automation, and now has been spending the last couple years really studying AI and working with companies to implement AI into their company and help them to really leverage that groundbreaking revolutionary technology. But something really interesting about him is that he basically stepped out of his business at age 37 with good automation, and allowed him to work on other things for about five years or so, before stepping back into it, which we’re gonna get into in a second. And of course, I know Ab through the Entrepreneurs Organization network, which I’m a part of, and I’m a big advocate for it’s an amazing community. 

But I love to start people by talking about how they were as a kid, what they were like, as a kid and how you grew up around your dad’s manufacturing facility. And they created something really cool like furniture. I think it was or it was something really interesting. Wasn’t that good in the world? What did it mean? They manufacture it again?

Ab DeWeese 2:13

Yeah, so he was a carpenter . They made the highest quality oak toilet seats.

John Corcoran 2:19

Oak toilet seats, exclusively. That’s all they made. That’s all they made. Yeah, that’s Wow, they just found their niche. And they’re like, this is us.

Ab DeWeese 2:28

Yeah, I mean, when you’re good at something you double down. Alright, so do we make woodworking companies? Oh, toilet seats and, and just outside of Philadelphia, Mississippi for several decades?

John Corcoran 2:41

I joke about it, because it’s easy to because, you know, it’s something that people sit on when they take a dump. But, you know, you know, it probably was a great business. What did you learn being around your dad’s facility? You know, with your dad? Sounds like he owned the business or was the founder of the business? 

Ab DeWeese 2:57

Yeah, he’s the founder of the business. So our man, I learned so many things. He had two filing cabinets. One was for customers. One was vendors and he told me he’s like, he’s like, son, knowing, knowing anytime I would meet somebody that’s related to the business, like knowing which filing cabinet to put them in is really important, you know, because sometimes it might be both, but you got to know which one they are. I learned pretty high tech at the time.

John Corcoran 3:22

Yeah, right.

Ab DeWeese 3:25

I learned what a what a the word vendor, the word purchase order, because he would hand write purchase orders on a sheet of paper and follow them. It’s just record keeping all this newfangled technology, databases and AI, all it is, is it’s just automation for record keeping, right you can do good record keeping by hand, it’s just keeping records, there’s nothing magical about the data being in a computer, it’s just easier to retrieve. But you know, keeping stuff by hand has just helped me understand kind of the essence of some of these things. The other one of the A couple other things I learned from him. I learned that the art of manufacturing is to make things easy to do. So that when new people hire on they don’t have to think hard about it. 

And things are mistake proof and especially safety you want to design things so that it’s really hard to hurt yourself. He taught me about the SQl’s and machinery he had. This one radial arm saw was probably like 70 years old. It’s a big cast iron thing and it’s a son, this thing does not have a mind. It doesn’t have emotions, it doesn’t have a soul, it will take your arm off, and it won’t even slow down and won’t feel bad about it at all. Like you have to really respect the danger of this machine. And so I grew up around the factory floor just understanding, you know, safety, automation flow. You know, kind of at a really young age, a lot of fun. 

John Corcoran 4:47

Well, then now there’s some second generations that see their kids. They see their parents run a business and they see a lot of the bad sides of it. They see the struggle, the ups and downs, stuff like that and they run away. They say like I couldn’t imagine that Life for me, but it sounds like to you, you weren’t put off by it. You obviously are an entrepreneur now. Do you feel like you were inspired by watching his experience by being a part of that to ultimately become an entrepreneur yourself? Or was it just the natural path for you?

Ab DeWeese 5:15

Yeah. So thanks for the question. I was inspired not to go into business for myself.

John Corcoran 5:20

And then that’s the other path is a lot of people I’ve interviewed are like that. They’re a second generation. They’re like, I’m never gonna go into business for myself. And then the first couple years, in a career, they do something else, and then they end up finding their way back towards it. 

Ab DeWeese 5:34

Yeah, 100%. So I remember just thinking, like the stress of having other people work for me, and I just didn’t want to take that on. I just, you know, I was always passionate about math and physics and technology and software. And, and that’s where my heart was, I knew I wanted to go to college, I went and studied physics. And I had no interest in starting a business. And it wasn’t until we were pregnant with our first child that I realized I just had this huge urge to go and earn, that I just doubled down and started on that long and arduous entrepreneurial journey. 

But no, I didn’t, I really didn’t want to do it at all. Although I was inspired by my dad to sell, and I didn’t know that at the time. But he’s, he’s selling anything. He has a silver tongue and the ability to connect with people. And he’s one of the most, he was one of the most empathetic people I’ve ever met. And so he never met a stranger, he could connect with anybody. He was deeply, deeply genuine, he cared about the people that he interacted with. And because of that, if he had a thing that he thought would benefit from them, all he had to do was talk about it. And I was lucky enough to be surrounded by that, and was able to really, really deeply internalize that. And that’s what makes me an unstoppable salesperson.

John Corcoran 6:49

Yeah. You actually grew up in Mississippi, which is where your dad’s factory was. And it’s funny, as you mentioned it, you know, you’re interested in physics, you’re interested in software, I can’t imagine that there are a lot of people around you that share those kinds of similar interests. Did you feel a bit like a fish out of water? Did you struggle to find your tribe, your community when you were young? Yeah,

Ab DeWeese 7:13

I mean, in a couple different ways. On the math and physics side, I had, you know, I had some, some, some friends interested in science in high school as the ones I gravitated to. But just for context, like, I didn’t even know what evolution was until I turned 19. Because they didn’t teach it there, wow. It’s just not in the curriculum. So a lot of kind of late stage exposure to science and stuff. And then the place where I really, you know, they’re a really big transition for me to like, fit into a community for the first time was when I joined do and 2019. I know a lot of the hours, you may have had the same experience, John is where, you know, I didn’t realize how lonely I was until I joined do and I found myself surrounded by tons of like minded people with kind of the same brand of crazy, and I just felt that community and connection. And it was a pretty awesome experience for me, and I just haven’t let go since then.

John Corcoran 8:09

It’s funny, you started your business. Around the same time I first started becoming an entrepreneur as well. So my oldest was one year old, one year, one year old when I started my business almost exactly on his first birthday, which looking back on it now seems a little crazy. At that point in time, you said you have this, you know, urge to earn. What was your vision for the company that you would start at that point in time?

Ab DeWeese 8:36

Yeah, so I didn’t know I didn’t know what I was doing at all. I knew that I wanted to start a business. I got that urge. The company I was working for just announced that it was sold. And I was like, Oh, well, that’s how you make money and build a business, right. And so I was the I this, this fancy new thing called the iPhone had recently been released. And they had just announced that they were going to make it possible to develop custom applications for the iPhone. So I bought a Mac laptop, taught myself how to use Xcode. Objective C, learned how to program against something called UI Kit, which they later rebranded to iOS and was taking a walk after watching videos of these two guys doing the guest lectures at Stanford on how to write off iPhone apps. 

I taught myself iOS development, I was going to write apps for this, this new revolution that I knew was coming. So all his time and effort into writing, learn how to write software. And then one day I was like, where’s all the money at? And I realized that it’s because I didn’t go talk to any customers or sell anything and, and I realized that I had a hobby. What I thought was a company was a hobby. And that was kind of my first my first strike at business and I had a second.

John Corcoran 9:51

So did you turn around and start talking to customers and selling?

Ab DeWeese 9:55

No, I’m a slow learner. John. Thanks for watching too. Hey guys. So I did, I partnered with a couple guys. And we’re going to make this company called cue sheet, which would take two spreadsheets, you take two spreadsheets, upload them into a server, and it’s going to automatically mash them together and automatically merge them. So you can unify spreadsheets and it was going to have a learning algorithm. And there I go, again, like all software, software, software, writing the code, making it work, engineering, designing it, putting all this effort into product development. And when it’s finally done, like, we’re all customers.