Don't Shop For AI (unless you want to get scammed)

If you’re looking for places to use Generative AI in your business, then you’ve already lost the game. Read why it's important to avoid falling for buzzwords and ways to make sure your tech solves real business problems.

dont shop for ai

I’m going to make an unpopular statement.

If you’re looking for places to use Generative AI in your business, then you’ve already lost the game.

Tech cycles come and go, and there are few universals truths. One of those truths is that there are no technology projects, there are only business projects that involve technologies. In my day-to-day work with, I have the pleasure of interacting with hundreds of tech companies and tech consumers. These range from small businesses to the largest enterprises on the planet.

Across all of them, when someone approaches me and says they are looking to use technology X (LLMs, blockchain, APIs, XML, modems, whatever), they have a high probability of failing to deliver business value. If someone approaches me and says they are looking to improve their gross margin and are interested in finding the right technology to help, then they have a high probability of delivering.

This is especially true during the upswing of a tech cycle, like we’re seeing with AI today. When you start with the tech, you create a space in your mind that needs to be filled. To feel successful you need to fill that space with something. This softens your thinking. It drives you to mold the world around you to fit the narrative that you’ve already committed to.

In turn, this creates fertile ground for charlatans, con artists, and well intentioned technologists whose products don’t work. When you say you “want to find an AI tool to help process files faster,” then you’ll (subconsciously) bend product pitches to match the narratives that you’ve already set. You'll be softer on the AI companies in your follow up questions. You'll give them the benefit of the doubt that their tool "will get there eventually."

This is even more true across organizations. If an employee hears, “the boss wants us to find an AI tool,” then everything will be an AI tool. Completing the narrative will cause all sorts of logical acrobatics across departments and teams.

Salespeople know this. It’s why they trot out the buzzwords. It’s why marketing departments pivot to chase the latest trend. By committing to the narrative, you’ve done half the work for them already.

Luckily there’s a way to protect yourself from this: Begin with a business problem.

Tell the vendors the problem you want to solve. Make them explain to you how they help you solve it without any tech jargon. Make them prove it. Then (and only then) let them talk about the tech. You might find out that if you need to dig a hole, the best tool is a 50 year old shovel, not tomorrow's generative AI based shovel simulator.

P.S. I did use GenAI to make the image for this article, because it's a great tool for that job.

Brian Glick, Founder and CEO
By Brian Glick
written on March 7, 2024

Brian Glick is the Founder and CEO of and has worked in the logistics industry for over 20 years.

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