Interview: Dan Mallin Of Lucy On How To Use Data To Take Your Company To The Next Level

Promote better decision-making: It is not just about making it easier for employees to find data and knowledge. It is about equipping them with answers, in the moment they need them, that enable them to make better decisions faster. Leverage the right technology to help them get to the answer they need sooner and you will drive the factors that enable your business to succeed.


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The proper use of Data — data about team performance, data about customers, or data about the competition, can be a sort of force multiplier. It has the potential to dramatically help a business to scale. Sadly, many businesses have data and don’t know how to properly leverage it. What exactly is useful data? How can you properly utilize data? How can data help a business grow? To address this, we are talking to business leaders who can share stories from their experience about “How To Effectively Leverage Data To Take Your Company To The Next Level”. As part of this series, we had the pleasure of interviewing Dan Mallin, Co-Founder of Lucy®.

Dan is the Co-Founder and CEO of Lucy. Lucy was created in 2015 to solve one of the most urgent and overlooked problem that exists in every organization: the daily scavenger hunt for information. The Lucy platform has included Synopsis, its generative AI (GPT) feature, for over a year. Mallin helps the Fortune 1000 liberate their corporate knowledge and leverage their unstructured data, freeing capacity and driving efficiency. A serial entrepreneur, Mallin has led numerous organizations, including Magnet 360 and Minnesota Cup, and sits on multiple private company boards.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series. Before we dive in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?

Ihave been an entrepreneur for as long as I can remember. In fact, I started my career early with Video Memories, a company I sold while I was still in high school. As a young adult, I joined Apple and Microsoft in their early stages and actively participated in the creation of the modern internet. I became intrigued by the influence of technology and how it enables companies to drive competitive advantage. Over the years, I saw the power of technology multiply. The businesses my partners and I have built — including those in the internet/interactive, media/advertising, marketing and CRM spaces — have all focused on helping companies use technology to create competitive advantage.

We saw the next era of artificial intelligence (AI) come to light in 2015. For the first time, AI capabilities were becoming marketable and accessible to everyone. We realized how much information companies have available yet sits idle on internal shared drives. We started looking at how we could apply AI to solve this urgent enterprise knowledge gap and help companies tap into the information they already have on hand, yet are not leveraging, to make better decisions, drive efficiencies and ultimately revolutionize the way their teams work. That was the impetus for Lucy®, and it has been an exciting and rewarding ride.

It has been said that sometimes our mistakes can be our greatest teachers. Can you share a story about a humorous mistake you made when you were first starting and the lesson you learned from that?

In the early days of my entrepreneurial career, the biggest mistake I made was hiring people who were too much like me. I already had a ‘me’ — what I needed was to look for people with complementary skill sets.

Always look to hire people who are smarter than you. Leverage other people’s unique abilities (Dan Sullivan). It is the things you do not know as well or do not excel at where you need to hire. These people will add value and round out your team. I realized later in my career what I can bring to the table is a thimble full of greatness — what I do not bring to the table and where I need to augment my skills are the many roles needed to build a successful company. And remember, every mistake you make as a business leader or entrepreneur is an opportunity to learn. We have been able to change our company’s trajectory multiple times based on some potentially fatal mistakes.

Leadership often entails making difficult decisions or hard choices between two apparently good paths. Can you share a story with us about a hard decision or choice you had to make as a leader?

When we started Lucy, the platform had three separate feature sets. We were doing world-class work and delivering tremendous client impact in each area. We realized we could not do everything as a startup. We needed to pick and focus on the one offering that presented the greatest market opportunity and would enable us to grow and scale. We ultimately had to make a difficult decision to discontinue two product areas, which meant parting ways with our clients and giving up the vast majority of our revenue. The vision we had for Lucy when we made that shift has come to fruition, and it was undoubtedly one of the hardest decisions we had to make.

Part of why we chose to focus on knowledge management and developing Lucy as an Answer EngineSM was how completely automated she is end to end. She requires no human interaction. She automatically finds the information employees are looking for, regardless of its format or where it sits within the organization. We saw the impact that would have on the future of work both in terms of how she could automate and speed employees’ path to finding information and also be easily scalable across multiple departments and use cases within an organization. We directed our focus to helping companies end the very real daily scavenger hunt for information and never looked back.


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