September 7th, 2019

Series ‘D’emocratize

RSS icon RSS Category: Community, H2O Driverless AI, Makers

Last month was very emotional for me and I suspect it was the same for many of my fellow Makers at H2O.ai. The news broke that H2O.ai raised its Series D funding of $72.5 million led by Goldman Sachs and Ping An. While some of my friends were ecstatic for me, I felt like a big weight had been lifted off me. The best word to describe what I was feeling was Gratitude.

One of the biggest, hardest and most painful lessons I learned from working in the Startup world wasn’t about gratitude, but it was about humility. It’s so easy to take news like this and thump your chest and say, ‘that’s right, we’re awesome! We’re the bomb!’ That type of attitude can set you up for painful lessons later on. You end up misreading the market or your customers and you end up threatening the very thing that made you great in the first place.

Gratitude is a feeling that’s partly attributed to external factors. Gratitude is beyond saying ‘Thanks!’ and it’s no accident when our CEO Sri Ambati opened his Ai4Finance keynote with a slide that said “Gratitude.” It’s a deep level of thanks that gets generated from our customers and open source community using our software. Humility, on the other hand, is a completely internal feeling. It’s what defines us, gives us our values, and drives us to listen with an open mind to our community and customers. This gives rise to Gratitude and the cycle continues.

I feel gratitude for all the Community Users, Customers and Makers that use and build with our Open Source software. I feel gratitude when prospects try our Driverless AI platform and then become customers. I’m humbled when titans of Wall Street invest in us. I’m humbled when our open source libraries are used to make the world a better place. 

The vision that our CEO laid out for us is to Democratize AI for all. We’re working hard to do this, armed with humility and are sustained by gratitude. I consider last month’s Series D investment really as a Series ‘D’emocratize and I’m deeply humbled to be a part of this amazing journey.

 

About the Author

Thomas Ott

Tom is a Senior Customer Solutions Engineer for H2O.ai. He started his career in Engineering working for large transportation firms around the USA before transitioning to the startup world in 2014. He comes to H2O.ai from his own Data Science consultancy and RapidMiner. A gritty and seasoned Sales Engineer, he worked across Product Marketing and Community Development and learned how to solve complex customer problems. He's a natural born tinkerer that loves figuring things out and getting it done.

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