Will AI Take Over My Job?

Did you know that artificial intelligence can be categorized as either weak or strong? Weak AI are technologies trained to perform a clearly defined task. Examples include virtual assistants or customer service bots. Strong AI, on the other hand, is characterized by its generalized human, cognitive capabilities. As such, strong AI (or artificial general intelligence as some like to call it), can reach conclusions and find solutions to complex problems without human intervention. No wonder AI is setting a revolution is motion, in which many current jobs will be made redundant. Here’s what AI might mean for the future of work.

“Occupations involving social, literacy and emotional abilities run the lowest risk of being made redundant.”

According to PwC, 30% of today’s jobs will be taken over by machines by the 2030’s. Which ones? Well, there is a website called willrobotstakeovermyjob.com. When entering a job title, the site gives you a percentage of the likelihood of this particular job being taken over by AI. For instance, the site states that bus drivers have a 74% chance of losing their jobs to AI, accountants 94% and psychologists only 0.4%. This illustrates that strong AI will be perfectly able to perform tasks such as approving loans, deciding on hiring an applicant or identifying financial crime. It could be said that occupations involving social, literacy and emotional abilities run the lowest risk of being made redundant.

Large technology companies such as Amazon, Google and Apple are acquiring AI startups at the speed of light. This is not surprising considering that many of their new product launches are centered around AI in one way or another. Take Amazon’s Alexa, Google AI or Apple’s Deep Fusion to sharpen pixels in photos. Clearly, AI is hot and holds incredible business potential. It reduces costs of operations, lowers head count and is a fertile source of competitive advantage. However, there is a flipside. Many people find the idea of AI taking over their jobs rather troubling. But before we panic (or get excited) about how AI could change the workforce as we know it today, let’s explore where AI can add most value tomorrow. 

According to recent MIT research, the area of prediction is where AI can have most impact. The researchers looked at the so called autonomy of a task in reaching this conclusion,

 which is displayed in the figure below. As AI technology will improve and data availability will expand, prediction will be more important in a wider array of tasks. This means that prediction by machines will increasingly take over prediction that used to be handled by humans. Therefore, the authors argue, humans should simply take their hands of predicting tasks. After all, computers will be more accurate, more reliable and more cost-efficient. Instead, humans should leverage their judgement skills. The judgement area of a task will constantly involve changing contexts. As a result, this aspect requires humans to adapt accordingly, and in order to make that work, human judgement will play a crucial role. Does this explain why psychologist only have a 0.4% chance of their jobs being taken over by robots?

Other experts claim that the future workforce will need to develop so-called hybrid skills. This implies that employees need to have a proper understanding of two central aspects: how their jobs were performed in the past and how modern technologies complement this. For example, people in marketing roles now also need to have a thorough understanding of complex analytical tools and data science. Naturally, this means that tasks which are rather simple and can easily be automated, are being taken over by machines at a fast pace. According to this theory, hybrid skills are not necessary in such cases. So, without any doubt, AI will take over jobs. Looking at the bright side, however, it will also create many jobs, which today might still be hard to imagine.

About Amstel Lab
Amstel Lab partners with start-ups and scale-ups to commercialize your business. On the back of our experience, we have developed the unique Amstel Lab method: a tailor-made approach to maximize success. We test your markets, refine your product, innovate your commercial approach and execute your strategies. Any good idea is worth seeing through.

Want to learn more? Contact us through [email protected]

Amsterdam’s Upcoming Startup Events You Want to RSVP For

Amsterdam’s Upcoming Startup Events You Want to RSVP For

As the year is coming to an end and we are slowly entering the festive season, there is a ton of events being organized in Amsterdam’s startup scene. So why not end the year with a valuable lesson, a useful connection or a little party? We put together a list of startup events that you’ll want to RSVP for today. 

Event: Amsterdam Tech Job Fair Autumn 2019
Date: 20 November 2019
Location: Software Improvement Group
Link: click here
If you have anything to do with tech, you might want to pay attention. The Amsterdam Tech Job fair offers the opportunity for developers, designers, marketers, data scientists, analysts, recruiters, you name it, to come together and make valuable connections, right in the thriving heart of Amsterdam’s business scene: the Amsterdam Zuid As. 

Event: European Women in Tech Conference
Date: 26 & 27 November 2019
Location: RAI Amsterdam
Link: click here
Ladies, this is your chance to make a difference in Europe’s tech scene. Join a powerful network of influential and inspiring women in tech, by participating in insightful workshops, deep-dive sessions and endless networking opportunities. Among the 200+ speakers, are some very interesting names.

Event: Onboard Amsterdam
Date: 28 November 2019
Location: Kromhouthal Amsterdam
Link: click here
If you’re into HR, this event might be interesting for you. With over 1,000 experts in the field, this is a great opportunity to learn about future trends in HR and the employee journey. The announced speakers, a.o., work for Swapfiets, Zoku, Heineken, Tony’s Chocolonely and Classpass. 

Event: B’s Unforgettable Ugly Christmas Sweater Party
Date: 13 December 2019
Location: B Amsterdam
Link: click here
It is becoming a tradition for B Amsterdam to invite the whole startup community in, to bond together over a gluhwein while wearing hideous Christmas sweaters. Doesn’t that sound wonderful? The more, the merrier, so sign up now. This is going to be a fun one. 

Event: Crowdfunding Your Business — How to Crowdfund a Product or Service
Date: 17 December 2019
Location: TBA (Utrecht)
Link:  click here
In need of capital and considering crowdfunding? Research shows that it is an extremely effective way of finding funding. During this meetup, experts in the field will share their success stories and provide you with the necessary tips and tricks.

Event: Chinese incubator talk, about what China, the incubator & government can offer!
Date: 13 February 2020
Location: A’Dam & CO (18th Floor)
Link: click here
Yes, this one is not until February, but hey, it’s better to find out too early than too late about this event. A Chinese incubator is coming to Amsterdam, to look for Dutch startups and scale-ups, focused on blockchain. So, if you are in blockchain, this is your call. 

About Amstel Lab
Amstel Lab partners with startups and scaleups to commercialize your business. On the back of our experience, we have developed the unique Amstel Lab method: a tailor-made approach to maximize success. We test your markets, refine your product, innovate your commercial approach and execute your strategies. Any good idea is worth seeing through. 

Want to learn more? Contact us through [email protected]

Corporates and Startups: a Match Made in Heaven?

Corporates and Startups: A Match Made in Heaven?

Theoretically speaking, an alliance between a corporate and a startup is the ideal combination, in a world where continuous innovation is so high on our agendas. After all, the corporate has the resources, scale and power to get stuff done, whereas the startup possesses the novel ideas, the agility and the willingness to make it happen. Each has what the other lacks, so joining forces would be a win-win, one could argue. Practically speaking, however, it is not all that rosy. A recent study by Harvard Business Review, conducted among corporate Chief Innovation Officers in the US, Asia and Europa, revealed that nearly 75% of innovation initiatives failed to deliver the desired results. Differences in management style, daily routines and company culture often translate into conflicts that stand in the way of blossoming partnerships. Let’s reflect on the different corporate/startup mechanisms out there and what it takes to successfully employ them.

“Establishing mutual trust is key.”

Equity Models
The most straightforward way for a corporate to engage in entrepreneurial activity, is to simply finance it. As such, corporate venturing and corporate incubation are among the classical methods of corporates trying to innovate, finding their origins in the 1960s. In return for a little equity, the startup gets a chance to aim for the moon and actually set foot on it. The corporate, on the other hand, automatically gets to keep an eye on interesting technological and market developments out there, allowing the corporate to get a taste of radical innovation. What is tricky for the startup, though, is that such constructions can present themselves as a double-edged sword. At the end of the day, it is very difficult for the startup to find out whether the corporate has some sort of hidden agenda. Therefore, establishing mutual trust is key here, which is characterized by each party fulfilling its obligations and behaving as expected and agreed. 

Non-equity Models
Recent developments have shown that nowadays corporates are adopting more lightweight models, in an attempt to engage with startups. These models are often referred to as “startup programs”, and differ from traditional models in the sense that the corporate does not hold any equity in the startup. As such, a lot less due diligence is necessary at the corporate end, and for the startup it might feel more comfortable not to have a large enterprise as an investor. In addition, the corporate gets to engage with a rather large number of startups and creates a certain startup support ecosystem. In this ecosystem, the startups are also encouraged to work together. 


Consequently, a certain fear of getting ideas stolen might be an issue for entrepreneurs. Again, the corporate must ensure a trusted environment, in which all startups feel comfortable to fully commit to opening up whilst capitalizing on each other’s knowledge and expertise.

Making Partnerships Work
The HBR study mentioned earlier, demonstrates that a common reason for failure can be found in the corporate boardroom. More often than not, the big bosses do not dedicate enough time to understanding the value that startups could bring to the table. As such, it is of crucial importance that the whole company is as enthusiastic about the startup partnerships as the corporate venturing unit. 

1. According to a study by Lavie et al., the relationship between the corporate and startup will suffer when internal task routines differ too much. Now, if you think logically about how corporates and startups behave, those differences are very likely to occur. But, not to worry. According to Lavie and his academic friends, this problem can be overcome if the differences are being recognized upfront. As such, new and concrete routines should be established, that do not undermine either party. 

2. Although the wealthy corporate might often seem superior in the partnership, it is important that this is actually not the case. A certain fit must be ensured by partnering goals. Therefore, it is important that the goals of both the corporate as well as the startup are crystal clear from the beginning. 

About Amstel Lab
Amstel Lab partners with start-ups and scale-ups to commercialize your business. On the back of our experience, we have developed the unique Amstel Lab method: a tailor-made approach to maximize success. We test your markets, refine your product, innovate your commercial approach and execute your strategies. Any good idea is worth seeing through.

Want to learn more? Contact us through [email protected]

The Future of Work is Agile

The Future of Work is Agile

We probably do not have to tell you that Amsterdam is among the innovation capitals of the world. Innovation is no longer a matter of choice. To quote the ancient innovation guru Joseph Schumpeter: “anyone seeking profit must innovate.” At Amstel Lab, we agree. But how does one organize a business culture that fosters innovation? The magic word is short, sweet and sticky: agile. 

The agile methodology, puts the customer in the center of everything. As such, agile can not be called top-down nor bottom-up: it is outside in. How does that work? Well, the manager is expected to fully empower those carrying out the work. This means that he/she should enable them to contribute to their full talents by trusting in their judgement, talent and capacities. Solutions develop iteratively and through collaboration between self-organizing and cross-functional teams. The result and beauty of agile development is that it enables teams to respond to change quicker, to be more efficient and deliver more value to the customer. Everybody benefits. 

Roughly 20 years ago, a group of IT guys, where the agile ideology originated, put together the agile manifesto. This is how it goes: 

1) Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
2) Working software over comprehensive documentation
3) Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
4) Responding to change over following a plan

Makes sense, right? In reality, however, many companies encounter resistance in the process of going agile. That is not surprising, considering that this change in working style will require a change in mindset and therewith company culture. However hard we all know that is, it is worth considering.

Generally speaking, companies aiming to go agile will need to overcome five significant shifts:

1) Communications will need to be horizontal. This means that there is zero room for one way, top-down commands. 

2) Rather than efficiency and predictability, the predominant values throughout the business should be centered around continuous improvement and transparency.

3) Instead of having bureaucratic rules, regulations or any other formal system in place, work should be prioritized according to iterative work cycles and direct customer feedback. 

4) There is no room for micro management in agile methods. Managers should not check whether their employees do what they are supposed to. They should enable them to effectively function is those self-organizing teams. 

The goal of the company should not be making money. Instead, it should be about exceeding customer expectations.   

“The result and beauty of agile development is that it enables teams to respond to change quicker, to be more efficient and deliver more value to the customer.”

Looking at companies that have been agile for a good while, such as Apple, Zara or Google, two things can be concluded. First, they are extremely successful. Second, they managed to put the customer in the very heart of their business models, allowing them to design every process in such a way that the customer ultimately would be delighted. 

Without any doubt, adopting the agile philosophy is easier said than done. Company cultures are extremely hard to change and so are traditional management practises. Nevertheless, agile methods are worth switching to. They suit the 21st century, the Millennial and Gen Z mindset and the fast pace at which our digital world will continue to develop. 

About Amstel Lab
Amstel Lab partners with start-ups and scale-ups to commercialize your business. On the back of our experience, we have developed the unique Amstel Lab method: a tailor-made approach to maximize success. We test your markets, refine your product, innovate your commercial approach and execute your strategies. Any good idea is worth seeing through. 

How to Build Your Own Accelerator

How to Build Your Own Accelerator

It is generally known that Amsterdam is a startup heaven. The people’s minds seem to produce more novel ideas than ever, however, many founders could use some support in scaling their businesses. This is where accelerator programs come in. Typically, accelerators offer a three to four months program designed to help startups get up and running by expanding their businesses in exchange for equity in the startup. As such, there is a strong focus on trainings, workshops, mentorship, networking opportunities, finding investors and other startup fun. Accelerator programs are booming. So, why not start your own accelerator? After all, it is extremely rewarding to help others chase their startup dreams, it demonstrates your commitment in the industry and benefits return on investment. Here’s how to build your own accelerator.

Step 1: Be a Founder and Have a Great Team
Clearly, starting an accelerator is not for everyone. In order to attract entrepreneurial talent, you need to have some sort of credibility so that you can prove that you properly understand what is going on in the industry. Most accelerators’ initiators are or have been successful founders themselves which makes them inspirational, to some extent. In addition, running an accelerator is a lot of work, for which you will need a team. Joining forces with other founders, mentors or industry experts might be a good idea in order to establish a reliable and experienced team.

Step 2: Get Active in the Community
Once again, we highlight the importance of having a proper network, like we did in this blogpost. Amsterdam’s startup scene offers plenty of startup breakfasts, techy Meetups, entrepreneurial speed dating events and other opportunities to make even more valuable connections. In other words, it is relatively easy to get in touch with promising entrepreneurs that are experiencing resistance in their attempts to scale their businesses. 

Step 3: Be of Use in the Community
Once you are getting active in that startup community, it’s time to start helping the community. Think of hosting Meetups yourself or matching people in your network to one another. It is key, however, that you do not expect anything in return. Again, we are highlighting the importance of building credibility and trust. 

Step 4: Define Your Value
The huge amount of accelerators out there, indicate that there is plenty of demand. It also indicates, however, that you will need to distinguish yourself from the competition. Therefore, it is important that you actively think about the kind of value your accelerator can offer startups. This could include specific mentorship, a certain kind of exposure or some special type of access to your network. What do you and your accelerator team possess that might benefit the startups you are trying to attract? 

Step 5: Design the Program
Based on the value you will be delivering, develop an attractive and feasible program that is going to help the businesses you will accept thrive. Set a time frame, get a space, clearly define every step and milestone that you will be guiding those founders through. Also, think of how much equity you will be taking in each startup and how many startups you will be able to take on at a time. After that, make sure to assemble all resources necessary to realize the program designed.

Step 6: Get Selective
Now that you are inspirational and important in the community, chances are startups will start to be attracted to you. Define what types of companies are worthy of your time, funding and mentorship. In doing so, be specific. Set criteria based on the idea’s potential, how nimble and experienced the founders are. Most accelerators create an online form first, after which interviews will take place. Determining who you are going to mentor is an extremely important step. Make sure you choose wisely and consistently.

About Amstel Lab
Amstel Lab partners with start-ups and scale-ups to commercialize your business. On the back of our experience, we have developed the unique Amstel Lab method: a tailor-made approach to maximize success. We test your markets, refine your product, innovate your commercial approach and execute your strategies. Any good idea is worth seeing through.

Want to learn more? Contact us through [email protected]

10 Tips To Make a Killer PowerPoint Presentation

Ladies and gentlemen, let’s get this out of the way. Many PowerPoint presentations are just like children; only the creators think highly of their way too animated end products. Yet, Microsoft estimates that there are about 30 million PowerPoint presentations being created every single day. This means, unfortunately, that there is a staggering number of poor PowerPoints being brought into this very minute. Time to turn things around. Why? Having a great PowerPoint can be an extremely powerful tool to strengthen your presentation. Here are 10 golden PowerPoint tips that will help you win over your precious listeners, instead of moving them to tears.

1.Think Before You Act
Before you get all enthusiastic and randomly decide on that bright purple template, think about the story you want to convey. What is the purpose of your presentation? What kind of people make up your public? How many details do you want to show? The answers to such questions form the framework of your PowerPoint and should therefore be reflected in your set-up, structure and layout. 

2. Break the Ice
It may sound like something you were forced to do in your high school Geography presentations, but use an attention grabber at the very start of your presentation to draw your audience in. This can be in the form of a question, an anecdote or an animating visual. First impressions are still key. 

3.Mind Your Text
Your listeners are called listeners for a reason. They came to listen and not to read your story word by word. Naturally, words are welcome in your PowerPoint. However, this should be limited to keywords, with a maximum of five per line and a maximum of five lines per slide. This will visually make your slides more attractive.

4.Commit to One Style
And one style only. Naturally, this point is about your layout. So, if you decide on a certain colour scheme, font or text size, make sure you apply those consistently throughout the entire presentation. This will not only make your PowerPoint more attractive to look at, it will also make you as a person come across as more professional and structured.

5.What You See Is What You Get
Visuals are extremely important. We simply cannot highlight this enough. Studies show that people remember 80% of what they see and only 20% of what they read. We suggest you use this statistic to your advantage.

6. Consider Your Colours
Although you might be tempted to use a certain colour scheme that you personally feel comfortable with, this might not always be the wisest thing to do. Colours are known to awaken feelings in people, so you might just as well try to control those feelings, to a certain extent. Think about whether you want to be associated with warm feelings (yellow, orange tones), or want to keep your message more cool and business like (grey, blue tones). Also, hard colours might come across as aggressive, whereas softer tones might soften your message accordingly. 

7. One Idea, One Slide
Make sure you do not overcomplicate your slides by dedicating one topic to one slide. This will benefit your presentation’s structure and therewith increase the chances of your audience being able to follow you. 

8.Get Griddy
Two important objectives of any PowerPoint should be to show information in a visually attractive way and to display it in a clear way. As such, grids are your friend. Think about the margins, columns and gutters (a.k.a. blank spaces between columns) you consider suitable, and again, use those consistently throughout the various slides. 

9.Less Is More
However interesting your story is, avoid overdoing it. Remember that friend who endlessly shows you pictures of his or her baby? The first few pictures you might actually enjoy looking at, but after a while you have to try your utmost to make your “aahhw’s” sound genuine. Don’t be that friend. Keep your presentation short and sweet. Being concise is an art. 

10. Finish Like a Boss
Don’t say: “that was it.” Do say: a catchy line that summarizes your story in an original way that will be remembered. Again, try to support this line by a great visual to really make the essence stick in your audience’s minds.

Do you have any other tips that helped you deliver a great presentation in the past? We would be happy to hear your perspective. 

About Amstel Lab

Amstel Lab partners with startups and scaleups to commercialize your business. On the back of our experience, we have developed the unique Amstel Lab method: a tailor-made approach to maximize success. We test your markets, refine your product, innovate your commercial approach and execute your strategies. Any good idea is worth seeing through. 

Want to learn more? Contact us through [email protected]

Sterre Bisschop

Sterre Bisschop

Author

All Posts