Two powerful trends are disrupting almost every industry – artificial intelligence and the freelance economy. Coming from obscure beginnings some decades ago, they have since evolved and are now braced to change business as we know it for good. Straddling on both these revolutionary trends is Matt Coatney, a C-level technology executive, award-winning author and keynote speaker. In his book, The Human Cloud, he writes about how these two forces are making inroads in changing the world of work forever. Joining Tony Bodoh and Betsy Westhafer in this episode, he gives us a history lesson about the evolution of AI and how it is now being built into industries such as sales and marketing. Apart from being a thought leader in disruptive technologies, Matt is also a visionary who sees wonderful possibilities for AI in enhancing human capabilities, as well as the need for a change in the way we teach our children to prepare them for the beckoning future.
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Evolving AI For Customers With Matt Coatney
The Blending Of Business And Technology
I’m excited, Betsy because we’ve got Matthew Coatney here. He is this brilliant person that you introduced me to. What I love about what he does is that he brings together this intersection of business, technology, and I would also add in humanity. He brings these three things together in the work he does as a CTO and a thought leader in many different spaces. There’s the AI involved. There are many different pieces to his work that to try to describe it in 1 or 2 sentences for me has been challenging. I’m not even going to bother. I’m going to hand it over to you so you can kick this off.
I’m excited about this conversation. I’ve known Matt for several years and have had the opportunity to have these conversations about business and technology and how it informs better decisions. Also, the pace at which things are changing. Matt truly is an expert in this area. We’ve watched his TED Talk on YouTube and he’s got a book coming out. I think we should jump right into the conversation. Matt, welcome to the show.
Thank you, Betsy and Tony. I appreciate being on this.
We’re glad to have you here, Matt. Let’s kick it off. Tell us about your career path, how you got to where you are now, and where you’re heading in the future. You’ve got a lot of cool stuff going on.
I’m flattered by the description of me. It’s been a lot of serendipity and good fortune and not nearly as much planning as it might sound the in the journey of my career. I’ve been hopping from one stone to another hoping it leads to another side of a river and not over a waterfall and so far, so good. I’ve always been enamored with technology since as early as I can remember it.
I was in fourth grade when my parents bought the family an IBM PCjr. We received it on Christmas morning and we are going to set it up the next day. I woke up at 7:30 then I ran downstairs and hooked everything up before anybody else was awake. I was the computer guy from then on. I was always fascinated by technology and how we as humanity interact with it. Early on, I was developing software and trying to build AI systems as a 6th, 7th grader. Needless to say, I was not successful, but I was always enamored by that.
Early in my career, I started as a software developer in some interesting and complex industries. I helped build software for drug pharmaceutical science so drug discovery, and really accelerating that. It was some fascinating work and that was my first professional foray into AI. The part that was most frustrating to me was as a technologist we would build these amazing things and then turn around and watch it fall flat in the industry for a variety of reasons. Whether the industry was changing, we didn’t have a good sense of what our users needed, or a whole variety of reasons that I would watch time after time the systems that we would build not reach their full potential.
For me, that was the pivot to focus more on the business of technology. I started moving into consulting, product management and executive roles like I do now. I’ve been to a lot of different industries and jobs throughout the course of my career. I’m now a CTO for a large managed services provider in the legal space. With all of those hops, it’s always been about how can I take this advanced technology and make it accessible for people. Also, on the business side, how can we make sure there’s product-market fit and early on getting feedback from users? It’s commonplace now but back then, that was a novel concept. It’s how do we turn that gear quicker so we can get better results faster.
I think many people don’t understand AI as well as you do and other technologists. It’s such a nebulous thing for people, but now more and more people are starting to understand the application of it and what it means. I know we talked about this. We were talking about how people think AI is just Siri. Can you talk a little bit about that shift from AI being a technologist dream world to now the common man being able to access it and have their lives changed from it?
It’s evolved so much in the last 20 years. It’s been a wonderful time to be in this technology and watching it evolve at such a quick pace. The term may be new, but a lot of these technologies go back into as early as the ‘70s and ‘80s. It then began to enter into business in the ‘90s and 2000s. The paradigm shift that happened back then was it used to be that a person would program a computer to do a task. You had to be prescriptive. You would write out the instructions and code what that computer was going to do.
It did a good job at that one thing you programmed it for. If it veered off a little bit to the side, it would fall off a cliff because it had never seen that experience before. The big shift was a set of algorithms around the topic of machine learning. That’s the early stages of AI. It helped to take a task that someone was doing and you trained a computer the same way you would train a person. You give it examples. You tell how it should respond and what it’s seeing. Is that an apple or an orange? In your car, do you turn left, do you brake, or do you turn right? All of these different scenarios.
That worked well but it was expensive to do. Only the largest enterprises for the early 2000s into the first part of this decade were the ones who are capable of investing the time and the money to making these kinds of systems work. What we’ve seen though and why it’s exciting to see now the world we’re living in is the barrier to entry there has dropped dramatically. It’s letting smaller organizations have a gateway into using these kinds of technologies. It’s becoming part of our common vernacular and not just personally with all of these productivity tools like Siri and Alexa.
It has an opportunity to introduce this into the company, the corporate environment and the types of businesses that small and medium entrepreneurs and organizations can leverage. That’s exciting, but what’s funny is it’s all the same technology that was around 20 years ago, it’s just been supercharged with the advent of better software, better hardware, and cloud computing. These are all enabling this technology that’s been around for so long.
I want to dive a little deeper into this because as we were talking in our prep call you were talking about this blending of business and technology. You’ve alluded to it a few times here. There was a concept that you brought up of active listening. AI is only going to get better if we know how to employ active listening. I’ve heard about active listening all the time. Betsy and I wrote a book about how to listen to customers. How does that play out in the AI world? How do you see that impacting customer experience?
This may seem odd for a technologist to say, but I suggest not starting with the technology. We love it. We love working with it and our first inclination and instinct is to jump in, “We have a tool for that. We’ll solve it for you.” The reality is you have to start your point with listening. As a business person or a technologist, listen to the problems your clients have and do the five whys. Dig deep why are they experiencing that. Once you’ve done that, understand what’s the right blend of people, process and technology that can help solve for that.
It might be that someone is having a real challenge that technology could solve, but it’s only happening once a year. Maybe it’ll affect a couple hundred thousand dollars in annualized revenue or cost savings, but it’s a relatively small number for a large business and it only happens once a year or once a decade maybe. That’s not a good fit for technology. If it’s a pain point they’re experiencing multiple times a day, it has a real impact on revenue, and it is too large of a problem to tackle with an extra team member or a process, then technology can start to become efficient and cost-effective in solving that. It’s back to basics. Technology is another tool that we have in our tool belt and ensuring that we’re not jumping the gun and going to that shiny object first.
The shiny object thing is a real problem for entrepreneurs, but also technology. I love that point about starting with the problem and listening. I love that process of the five whys. For our audiences that may not know what we’re referring to, it’s asking the question why after every answer at least five times to really get to the root of what the issue is. That’s an important point because sometimes people think technology is a quick fix for anything and it may not be fixing the right thing.
We have three children. Our youngest is in first grade. I always say, “Act like a first grader.” They’ll say, “Why?” They keep going. They know how to do that well. It’s relearning that skill.
It is a great skill particularly when listening to your customers. They may tell you what they think is the reason why but when you dig, dig, dig and really listen, then you get to what you need to know.
There is a real challenge in AI adoption or technology adoption in general, especially ceding control to technology in helping to make decisions. There listening comes into play as well because at the root of a lot of the objections is fear. It’s fear of losing control, losing a job, being displaced. There is a real risk there and a real concern. It’s listening to that, being empathetic, and helping to identify where there’s an opportunity that it creates, “Yes, you’re not doing this anymore, but it lets you refocus over here, and that adds more value.”
That’s something only people can do. It’s a great marketable skill for you. If you can get people over that hump, they will start to embrace it. Then they’ll become advocates for you and they can help advocate to the rest of the organization saying, “This is great. This is helping and here’s how.” You don’t have to be afraid of it, but you have to start with that empathy because if you’re coming in with a hammer and saying, “This is going to fix everything,” and not taking the people element into it, you won’t be successful.
As I think about the customer engagement side of AI and what’s possible now and what will be possible in a short period of time, I think back to 2007. It was the first time I was introduced and start using machine learning. It wasn’t even called AI in the format I was using, but it was for text mining on surveys and understanding what problems existed out there. When I think back to those days, the rules we had to write and how we had to train the machines, it was hard work.
I don’t know that it’s any easier now but there have been some advancements. Walk us through some of those advancements that have happened because we were just listening and trying to get alerts when certain things were said or written. Now, it’s beyond getting alerts so we can send a human to go do something. It’s like, “Let’s go solve a problem for a customer so a human never has to touch it.” Take us through what has changed and what do you see on the horizon for that same area?
The way that I like to describe it is it’s in a couple of different camps. There have been software improvements, hardware improvements, and data improvements. Those three pillars, those three angles have all grown considerably in the last ten years. Those are the same three areas that we’re watching to how they continue to evolve. I’ll start with software. The best way to describe it is there has been an improvement in the way that these algorithms work where they can be much more nuanced.
It used to be fairly black and white or statistical in the way that it would make these decisions. It wasn’t sophisticated, but it did the job well for the types of things we were solving for. To your point, Tony, back in the day, we would write a lot of rules to help coach and guide. It was very human or domain expert-driven. The software now is able to automatically derive those rules from data so that it knows the nuance better because it studied that corpus of information.
The algorithms can be now much more complex. They layer and they stack in complexity much like our brains do taking simple concepts and abstracting up into these more abstract and nuanced definitions and things like that. These algorithms can now do that. If you’ve heard the term deep neural nets or deep learning, that’s what that is. It’s effectively stacking multiple layers of these algorithms so that they can be more human-like. That’s only been possible because of the advancements on the computing side of the hardware.
If you look back to what we could do back in the 1990s, the phone in your pocket now is more powerful than a supercomputer from the 1980s. The computer on your desk is quite a bit more powerful. If you look at the raw computing power, that has made these types of algorithms possible. Lastly, data, same thing. Data has been exploding. There’s so much more that we have to work with as data scientists and as businesses that we can now look at trends and dig deep into data that wasn’t there 10 or 15 years ago.At the root of a lot of objection to technology adoption is fear. Click To Tweet
There’s a term I like to use called data exhaust. The hard part back in the day was trying to get all this data assembled and ask people to train these algorithms. It was difficult. It was time-consuming. It was expensive. We have so much of this data exhaust or this trail that we leave behind when we’re doing our job or living our lives, whether it’s social media, email, documents that we’re creating, or sites that we’re visiting. There are privacy implications there. Ensuring that we’re balancing and making sure that we’re looking at this from an anonymized lens, that we’re reducing the chance for bias.
There’s a way to look at all this data that’s happening in our lives and build some sophisticated capabilities to help understand what your clients are doing, not just what they’re saying, and then making better decisions from that. That’s transformational. I do feel that you have to do both. You have to talk to your clients. You have to talk to your customers. You have to then look at what’s happening in the environment and try to marry the two up. Whether it’s dissonance between those two, that’s where a lot of opportunity lies. If they’re saying something and they’re doing something else, that’s an opportunity to drive a better outcome.
Along those lines, talk to us a little bit about how AI is getting built into sales and marketing, and what that means for growing a company.
When we were prepping for this, that was one of the topics that I got animated and excited about. There was a fear that I and a lot of us in the industry had that over the last couple of years, a monopoly was starting to form around the big four. You had Google, Facebook, Apple, Amazon and Microsoft too. You had those companies starting to build capability at a pace that no other organization could keep up.
They were too well-funded and too large of an organization. Had they kept that to themselves, we would have seen a scenario of another AI winter where there wasn’t a lot of innovation. Thankfully, those companies decided, “We’re going to open this up.” It wasn’t entirely altruistic because they’ve learned that it’s another business model where they can drive revenue. Instead of these close circuit environments, they’ve now created an ecosystem and an economy around selling AI as a service.
Betsy, to that point, companies are now able to embed AI into the software that they’re using for a variety of needs at a fraction of the cost it used to take. I’ll give one quick example and then I’ll get into the sales and marketing. To give you an idea around that, back in 2005, I was at a software company called LexisNexis. They do legal research. We were building an AI type of knowledge management tool for the legal industry.
We spent about a year and a half. There were five of us working on this project to take it to market on the technology side. Probably all-in, it was about a $2 million, one-and-a-half-year investment. It was significant, but that was typical back then. Fast forward to 12 years later, I helped an adjacent industry, it was higher education, build effectively the same type of tool with all the same capability but built on top of AWS and Microsoft Azure. We built that in a two-month period with one and a half people for a total of investment of about $50,000 for the client. The orders of magnitude both in time and money was really transformational.
These technologies are still tough. You still have to be a technologist to integrate them. They’re not so easy that it’s drag and drop. They’re trying to head that direction, but not there yet. You still have to be an engineer. What we find is that small and medium-sized businesses have access now to these tools through the products that they use. From a sales and marketing perspective like Salesforce and HubSpot, they have started to build these capabilities directly into their solutions so that you as a business owner can benefit from them without having to have that full technology organization, developers, and all of that behind you. That’s transformational. I’m seeing that across every sector of the economy, whether it’s cybersecurity, operations, finance and HR. All of them have these elements of AI built-in. It’s like the dashboards or the business intelligence many years ago. It’s becoming a commonplace which is spectacular.
I love how you talked about the way it’s being integrated here. There’s a philosophical challenge that I’ve had over the course of my career because I started out as a marketing analyst who was all quantitative. I moved into the experience field about 6 or 7 years into that journey of mine. What I see again and again is technology typically tells us the what, the quantitative. This is what happened. If I go and analyze the flow of a customer journey on a website, I can see if they click this and this, so they’re likely to do this. I can see if they’ve done this. I should present other customers like this on Amazon.The Human Cloud: How Today's Changemakers Use Artificial Intelligence and the Freelance Economy to Transform Work Click To Tweet
The concern I have is if we continue down that path, we lose the why. That’s where the understanding of the emotion, understanding the context of why someone’s making choices, all those things that psychologists study. I have a concern that our machines may get so good at what that people fundamentally ignore the why. That’s such a critical part to life itself. I’m curious, what would you say in response to that?
I couldn’t agree more. I have that same concern and that’s a lot of why to put focus around the people in this mix. AI may eventually get to the point where it helps us understand the why as well, which that will be quite a day, but in the interim, we’re far off on that. In the interim, I don’t view these technologies as displacing human effort. I see it as elevating it. We talk a bit about this notion of what we’re doing is creating a society of managers, leaders, and entrepreneurs. They’re the cloud. The capabilities they’re working with are no longer just people. It’s people and machines. In many cases, the technology will help narrow tasks and get into the what of things.
The people side of that equation necessarily needs to ask the why and put that synthesis around it. That elevates our value as humans. That’s putting the optimistic lens on it. We get to do the things that are truly unique to us. We’re not spending 80% of our time cranking through data which a machine is going to do much better at. It can be liberating, but that’s for those people that enjoy that work and wants to do that. It is a different story for those that take solace and comfort in doing something that’s relatively routinized. That’s the downside of it.
Let’s shift gears a little bit. I had the good fortune of getting a sneak peek at the book you have coming out. I think some of the concepts in it are exciting for the future. Talk to us a little bit about the book.
It is called The Human Cloud. It’s how AI and freelance are transforming work. This is another one of those dumb luck serendipity moments for me. This was not premeditated by any stretch. I am a bit of a freelancer myself so I dabble. My day job is I’m an executive and I’ve followed that track well, but I have a passion for other pursuits that require me to do some freelancing. It’s not the money. It’s more the opportunity to do a variety of different creative outlet tasks and one of those is writing.
I happened to do some ghostwriting for an individual who at the time was formerly at a company called Gigster and then went to Microsoft where he led their future of work. He was a freelance economy expert and a brilliant young guy. He said, “I’m working on a book and I need someone that has more of that technology lens because that would be a neat combination of freelance and technology.” We combined those concepts and the famous last words were, “It’s about 90% done.” We shopped around for a good while and had a lot of rejections as is the typical story for writers. We did end up with the help of our agent, John Willig. We landed with HarperCollins Leadership. It was a great imprint and a great opportunity.
The book was not 90% written. It took us about six months. We reshaped it into a compelling story that will be launched in January of 2021. The book is all about how these dual trends of AI, which is my background, and high-end freelance gig economy work. These two trends will fundamentally transform the way that businesses operate going forward. We talk a lot about why that is and how that’s going to happen. What the company and the person of the future will look like. At its essence, it is disrupting the advantages that large corporations have by having full-time FTEs people on staff.
That made sense in the 1900s because they got economies of scale. They reduce the friction of a lot of different interactions with different suppliers. If they brought more of that in-house, they would get out of the economy of scale and improve their profit margins. Now, we have technology that’s coming in and disrupting that.
It can be easier to find a freelancer in India that knows exactly how to program this particular type of software. You can bring them in now and have it done tomorrow at a fraction of the price that you would try to have one of your engineers learn that trade and then do the work. That disruption has been profound. We’re starting to see that hockey stick now in the COVID world where we’re all remote work. The notion of having an office doesn’t necessarily make sense as much anymore. That opens yet another door into this freelance world. It’s exciting. It was a whole world that I didn’t know a lot about until a couple of years ago. I’m a journeyman at this point.AI does not displace human thought and effort. It elevates them. Click To Tweet
Tony and I are seeing this as well where companies are going out and finding the best person/consultant for the job and pulling together a team of people that can work on projects versus all the full-time employees. I can’t recommend your book enough. I was fascinated by it. I’m excited for it to come out to the mass market so that lots of people can get a chance to read it.
I’m intrigued by the book too because it’s one of those things that is in a sense long overdue. This whole idea of freelance in the gig economy. A lot of people have talked about it. Betsy and I have been working together for a few years on various projects. We both have our own companies, but we also don’t have a huge team behind us because we bring the team on board as the projects shift and as the demand shifts. That’s the way I’ve run my business since 2009. I don’t have employees. I never have had employees because I bring in contractors for particular projects. I find it fascinating and what I’m curious as you look at this, we’ve got the machines coming in and the people being replaced. There are two questions I have here. What has to happen for the freelancer to be successful in this space with that technology coming in so they don’t get too tied into how to do a narrow set of tasks that are going to be gone in a couple of years? They don’t need to be there.
I think that freelancers if done right are better prepared for potential displacement than a traditional organic employee. You all know this and I know it as well from my work. When you’re hungry for work, you’ll pick up most anything. You can get a little bit more discerning as your business grows but early on, you’re taking all kinds of projects that fits in your lane but it stretches you. You’re learning a lot of different techniques and skills.
You’re also starting to see patterns across trends and industries and things like that. You become more nuanced, more complex thought. Those are the things that guard against being displaced. The work of a freelancer helps with that. The hardest part of a freelancer I’ve found is all of the non-billable administrative work that you do. It can sap 25%, 30%, 50% of your time, everything from setting up meetings to handling payment, to contracts, etc. That’s part of what our book talks about is in many ways, technology is liberating for the freelancer.
It can automate some of the things that you don’t want to be focused on that are not driving your value, so that you can do more of the work that is driving value and creating revenue. That’s a big shift. We talk about freelancers can use other freelancers and technology combined to handle different pieces of that to have this holistic, you’re a company of one, but you’re leveraging all of these resources, both human and machine to get work done and create value.
The other part of the question there is I’ve got two daughters. They’re getting ready to go to college sooner than I want to admit. As a parent, I’m out there trying to understand, where do I encourage them. The job world that I came out of college in 1997 does not exist anymore. They’re coming out 25 years, 30 years after that, once they get out of college. What should they be preparing for? I know this isn’t a parenting show, but a lot of people reading are parents. What should they be preparing their kids for so they’re ready for this?
It hits home for me as well as my oldest is going to be fourteen. It goes back to the core principles of it matters less what they go into and more of the skills they have especially relationship, emotional intelligence, networking and the ability to connect with people, which is hard to learn in school but you can it get through real-life experience and coaches. Having curiosity and a desire to learn, be a lifelong learner and that notion of sharpening the ax every day and working on something. Those are the skills. The challenge is that traditional institutions aren’t geared towards that.
To me, anything that they are passionate about. Fueling that passion by giving them the tools to be successful in that passion. You can build a business or a successful career in just about anything if you approach it correctly. It’s more about that foundational training. It’s not a great answer because you’re saying, “Go get this degree.” Most of those degrees, most of those jobs won’t exist in 10 or 15 years. You got to fall back on those first principles.
I’m wondering if even some of those universities will exist in ten years with the big shift in that.
One of the key things that I learned through my career and what I attribute to my success were the types of roles that I had early on. To your question, Tony, it’s not much where they go, but what they do right after. The roles that I found to be the best at learning quickly and learning a lot is startups. I did several startups in my early career and learned a ton because you’re thrown into the fray at the beginning. Consulting of any variety, management consulting, etc. because again you are thrown in a variety of different client context. You get that experience over and over. That turns at the wheel, as much experience as you can get as early on.
Also, freelancing is another great way for young folks to get introduced into the work environment at a very low inertia, low entry. Sales is another good example of that. Anything that has a lot of something and a lot of variety that you get quick experience on helped me set up later for better success than some of my peers that were still doing the same few tasks that they had done for three years in a large organization. That has its merits too but I’ll steer folks toward more of an entrepreneurial track because you learn so much.
One of the things we love to do on the show is give our guests an opportunity to give a shout out to a nonprofit community or organization that you may have alignment with or a passion for. What are some organizations that you have a piece of your heart?
I have two. The first one was where we first met. I live in Dayton, Ohio and it’s as an organization called Brigid’s Path that has a wonderful mission of helping babies that have been drug-exposed through their birth. They are helping them wean off of that in a natural setting with a caring environment, then also a support system for the mothers and the families to break that cycle. We have been hard hit as many areas have been by the opioid epidemic and other drugs in the area. It’s a great place. I had the honor of serving on their board for a couple of years early on in their formation as a startup for a nonprofit. They celebrated their 100th baby coming into the facility and leaving.
Since I’m a technologist, I’m currently on the board of Technology First which is an IT networking organization locally here in Southwest Ohio. It’s honorable the work that they’re doing and trying to instill the skills, not just technical skills, but soft skills, leadership skills in the youth, and the next generation of IT professionals. I love to be a part of that and help where I can.
Thank you so much. We are honored to have you on the show. We can’t wait for your book to come out. Thank you for your time. There’s more to this conversation. We may see you back at the start of season two.
I’d be honored. Thank you.
This interview is fun and at the same time very deep and interesting to me primarily because I have played in the same space as Matt from a different perspective. It’s that business and technology integration. I’ve often told people that I’m a translator between the business side and the technology side. I’ve never officially been a technology employee, but I’ve played that space and translated between the two. Understanding how the humanity of it is so important and as an example, as he was closing out, he was talking about the advice for parents. He talks about the soft skills. Of all things, a CTO, a technology guy, an AI guy is talking about the importance of soft skills. That hit me and shows me that humanity is the element we have to be concerned most about as we’ve often talked about on the show. Listening to your customer, really knowing your customer is about knowing who they are as an individual and not just the data about them.
I love that part and it’s important. Part of the fear comes from people who don’t think that’s going to happen, it’s like, “Humans are going to be replaced by technology.” That does create a lot of fear. It would make me nervous if I thought of that. I don’t happen to believe that because I do believe that the human side is critical. It is awesome to hear a technology executive talk about how important those human skills are. The other point that he made that I grabbed hold of is this whole future of work. When we were talking, I got to read his book and it opened my eyes to how different the workforce and business in general are going to look in the near future. Some of these things that he’s talking about and how AI is a part of that are fascinating. The good news is they can preorder Matt’s book.
My final thought here is that if you were concerned about AI, diving in and understanding the value it brings, the way it frees up humanity for the higher work. It’s Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. We’re letting machines do the things that are repetitive, rote, and not elevating the human species anymore. They may have at one point in time, but now there are things that we can put our minds to. We can thrive and flourish in new and grand ways. I love that we can free ourselves from those areas that might be for some people and at the same time, look to this higher what is possible down the road.
That higher value being the deep listening to your customers. That’s what you and I are all about. If you are not busy doing these rote things that machine learning can do, then you have more ability to spend that time listening to your customers. Tony, it was a great conversation. It’s always a pleasure to do this with you. Audience, if you would like to leave us a review, we would greatly appreciate it. Tell your friends about our show. It’s all available on every podcast platform out there. We appreciate you being here and being a loyal audience to our show. Thank you so much and we’ll see you next time.
- Matt Coatney
- Matt Coatney’s TED Talk – AI as a Force for Good
- The Human Cloud
- Brigid’s Path
- Technology First
- ProphetAbility: The Revealing Story of Why Companies Succeed, Fail and Bounce Back
- The Congruity Group
- Tony Bodoh International
- ProphetAbility Membership
- ProphetAbility for Teams
About Matt Coatney
Matt Coatney is a seasoned C-level product and technology executive, entrepreneur, advisor, author, and speaker with decades of experience helping business and technology work better together.
He has led divisions and portfolios for large global corporations, co-founded three companies and advised several others, been an early-stage employee of two successful tech startups, advised dozens of business and technology professionals across all stages of company formation and growth, and launched over a dozen successful products.
Matt has expertise in artificial intelligence, automation, future of work, robotics, data analytics, cloud computing, and digital content across a wide range of industry experience spanning manufacturing, media, law, life sciences, government, and finance. He has helped some of the largest, most well-known organizations in the world, including Microsoft, IBM, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Pfizer, Deloitte, and HP.