The UnNoticed Entrepreneur - how to overcome being overlooked.

How AI can make your customers fall in love you with like Cyrano de Bergerac.

October 05, 2021 Jim James
The UnNoticed Entrepreneur - how to overcome being overlooked.
How AI can make your customers fall in love you with like Cyrano de Bergerac.
Show Notes Transcript


Cyrano.ai, is named after the French author Cyrano de Bergerac, (March 1619 – 28 July 1655) but was inspired by the serious teen mental health issues threatening a whole generation. CEO Scott Sandland talks with me about building a digital therapist that can be given freely to every at-risk teen in America, but which is also being used by 10,000 of corporations in America including Zoom for language analysis.

Scott Sandland is a thought leader in Artificial Empathy, contributing to best selling books on AI and speaking on the subject at the United Nations AI for Good Summit. 

With over 20 years of experience as a clinical hypnotherapist, Scott is an internationally recognized expert in subliminal motivation strategies. He has been published in numerous peer-reviewed journals, including Psychology Today, Forbes, and Entrepreneur Magazine. 

Scott is the co-founder and CEO of Cyrano.ai, a natural language understanding system that empowers AI with soft skills related to active listening techniques he honed in his private clinical practice.  

https://www.cyrano.ai/

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Jim James:

Hello, and welcome to this episode of the UnNoticed show. I'm delighted to be going all the way across to California to have Scott Sandland on the show. Scott. Welcome.

Scott Sandland:

Thank you.

Jim James:

Now Scott tell us, you're just south of San Diego and you have a company called Cyrano can you help us to understand how you're using AI to help people to understand?

Scott Sandland:

Sure. So, uh, the name of our company comes from Cyrano de Bergerac, which is, you know, the play. those of you who are watching this don't know it's a play about a guy with a big nose and what he's really good at doing. Writing effectively. So it's a love story. And he tells the guy this is what you say to have the girl fall in love with you. And that cliche in movies and TV shows where there's, you know, a guy whispering into the ear, they put in a little, you know, radio receiver into the ear, and the guy's telling them what to say. All that comes from the original version of that is Cyrano de Bergerac. And so our company is built on that idea. Our system, our AI, analyzes people and then gives you information. And the idea is to have, you know, your customer or the user fall in love with you. And so we said, this is what matters to this person. This is what they care about. This is how you can engage them to have a better and more, satisfying relationship.

Jim James:

So Cyrano de Bergerac I think that was Gerard Depardieu Wasn't it? The Frenchman who played that role.

Scott Sandland:

And Steve Martin in a remake of it called Roxanne. but, but the same story.

Jim James:

I love that story. Now you say for people, to get to know more about the other person. Do they need to be there physically, is this happening through text or voice? What's way is AI engaging?

Scott Sandland:

So our AI is linguistic analysis and. I believe words in speech are a behavior. And I think they're the defining behavior of people. you know, I think peacocks have feathers and, you know, deer have antlers and humans have words it is, it is our most defining quality. And the reason we run a planet. Is because we can effectively communicate with each other. And so I really look at this from a behaviouralistic standpoint. And so the more you can understand the way a person talks, more you can understand a way a person thinks or approaches anything. And no matter what a person is talking about, they're telling you about themselves and their priorities. And so we analyze words and that can be spoken. That can be on zoom. That can be text message, wherever. There are words we think of it as like a fingerprint of that person and deeply know a person and then transmit that information, to, the other person on the other side of the conversation.

Jim James:

Scott, you've got a, an academic and medical background in, in psychology. Haven't you?

Scott Sandland:

So I was a clinical hypnotherapist and then the CEO of a mental health clinic. And then my co-founder is a sociologist and neuro linguist. So the two of us sort of had these different, educational and working experience, in linguistic strategy and, just kind of paying attention to words in a slightly different way.

Jim James:

So you're well qualified Scott, so how does it work though, for a practical point of view? the person that uses, Cyrano have like an app on their phone or in the zoom meeting. And are they getting sort of numbers or charts or emoticons that real time or is it, you know, a sentiment analysis after the event?

Scott Sandland:

right. and I'll even start there with the sentiment analysis. So sentiment analysis is this fascinating thing because. It's got really low standards for people to be happy with it. It really is about a fifth grade reading level. and so we've got all these multimillion dollar companies focusing. All their efforts trusting a fifth grader with advice after the call is over. And so the call go? And the fifth credit goes not good. Then you go, why? And he goes, I don't know, I'm a fifth grader and that is sentiment analysis. and so what we can do is we can do real-time. We can do after the call, we put together a report that shows graphs of this is when they were highly committed. This is when they were curious and open-minded. which is not bad, it's just a different thing. And this is where they were talking about a need versus a want. And this is where they were, applying logic to this. And this is where they were being irrational. all of these things are graphs. And then, we have that, and then we also have. sort of icons of are the priorities that this person was using in ranked order. So for example, this person was highly focused on facts and data versus this person was highly focused on their ego this person was highly focused on the relationships of the community so on and so And then we turn all of that into a, so what, we give bullet point sentences on what to do about it. So we make it really easy and actionable. So we say how to collaborate with this person. Here are the next steps you should do. Here's how to have a long-term lifetime value of the relationship. Here's how to deescalate conflict. Here's how to mentor the person. Here's how to negotiate without losing rapport. So we really come up with very specific what you need to do to more effectively engage with this person.

Jim James:

And what are the applications then it's got, I mean, I can think of myriad ones. And we talked earlier before the mic about, know, young people and what they're saying, how they're communicating, is this being used in commercial or sort of social settings? How's it being used?

Scott Sandland:

So both of those. So the impetus behind this was, you know, me being the CEO of a mental health clinic, working with at-risk teens and watching, the team crisis unfold in America and to, to people who are listening around the globe, who may or may not be aware of this, teenagers in America, aren't doing so great. To put it lightly, the second leading cause of death. Under the age of 24 in America is suicide. pre COVID numbers. Every single day in America, just in high school. So a four year window. So in high school, there were 3000 suicide attempts every day for years. And no one was talking about this and you could look at it and it was, you, you, you think socioeconomics, what could this be? and it turned out, rich white kids were killing themselves. At historic levels. And the reason I bring it up that way is you say, okay, this is the population that should have access to all the best solutions and it's not getting them there. And so if it's happening there, it's happening everywhere. And so I was looking at that and saying, we need to build a tool that can help people feel audienced and understood. We need to build a tool that can create empathy and strategy. So more therapists can do work. We need to create tools that can listen to these kids and help them when the problems are small. et cetera, et cetera. So we built the tool for that. I was fortunate enough that I got to speak at Geneva, at the United nations AI for global good conference. and talk about how our work is being done there, but really where we have our tens of thousands of users today is the sales and commercial side. And we do it that way ethically it's a safer place to start and to kind of iron out wrinkles in a sales environment. There's better data, there's better apples to apples comparison. And when you get it wrong, you can still sleep at night.

Jim James:

Yeah, I was going to say, if you lose a sale, that's one thing. But if you lose a life, that's very costly indeed isn't it.

Scott Sandland:

Yeah. I am very happy, with the idea that my, my system might be wrong today. And so somebody, you know, doesn't sell a Honda civic. Like I can, I can live with that. but if a kid needs this thing to work, we need to make sure it works.

Jim James:

but Scott, I know we were talking about, this is still a passion area. It's not that you decide just to be commercial, right? So as a business, perhaps we can just Policy as businesses sustainable, which is great.

Scott Sandland:

100%. Yeah. The idea behind this was I built this for the social good idea, but then I, I needed to figure out the economics and just have it be sustainable. And I didn't want to do anything with, you know, charities or endowments or anything like that. I wanted this to be something that we could, we could run it our way and do it. Right. And, and, and that meant, you know, Own it. And so we came up with this, like you said, sort of the, sell one, give one. And basically what we've come up with as a pricing model, where. Every time we sell a one-year subscription to the software, to a salesperson, a real estate agent, a car salesman, you know, whatever that is, that one sale subsidizes one, user in a social good scenario. So call that a volunteer at the teen crisis hotline, call that the suicide hotline call that, subclinical support groups. So just, you know, On campus college support groups that need to help each other out. We now give our software to those people. And what that means is these wonderful volunteers who are listening to people who are in crisis or texting back and forth with people who are in crisis, we can help them be better at their job. We can onboard them more quickly. we can help them connect with the person on the other end of the call or text more effectively. and we can do that at scale

Jim James:

The show is around getting noticed. And of course, in a way, what we're talking about as being noticed At a deeper And Scott Cyrano omni-channel and by that, I mean, you've got people maybe messaging by text and WhatsApp, or maybe Tik TOK and Facebook, is it collating all this data from, if you like one person's multiple platform correspondence.

Scott Sandland:

Increasingly. So, so we are an API first company. So, uh, my, my COO, created a company called Cirrus insights, which was the number one app in the Salesforce marketplace for almost a year. And it was a top 10 app for maybe eight years. And so he and his programming team that he brought with us, our API integration, into a more complex stack. and so that's, our philosophy is to scale that way by empowering existing tech.. so we're in all email providers today. we're in zoom today. and we're building out the APIs to plug into specific apps, apps, crisis support apps, things like that. And so the game is just, building out those integrations. And then when people come to us and say, we want to integrate you, with our API. So we go back and forth with the input and the output, Over time, the goal will be to be everywhere.

Jim James:

So getting everywhere. And I guess this idea that Gates had have a computer on every desk. Now you getting Cyrano noticed apart from your brilliant name. Of course. how are you getting the company noticed as an entrepreneur?

Scott Sandland:

You know, it's, there's a, a cliche quote that I think, really applied. I was, I was very busy patting myself on the back for being smart for a little while and coming up with a neat idea and being awarded a patent and these kinds of things. I thought were it. And then the, the cliche quote is "people don't care how much, you know, until they know how much you care." And, and, and that was the, the obvious aha for me was, well, of course. And so. The word is community. And, everything in my life that has gone well has been about community. And, I just, I love community, and whether that's a sports team, you know, growing up in high school and in college, I played in sports teams, whether that's, early in my career finding, peer networking groups or continued education groups, those kinds of things. There are communities and groups that you can plug into that you don't need to create, where you can find like-minded people who want to hear what you're doing. And so for me, that was the game and the real turning point for our company was. When I got away from look how smart all our stuff is. And instead said, Hey, how are you? And started listening to the specific needs and wants of the communities seeing where my tool organically fits in those and provides value, or just where my experiences and ideas. You know, have merit. And that has been, what's gotten us noticed, proving that we're sincere proving that we care, proving that side of things and that we, are deserving of trust. I think that's the game because it's very easy these days to do hype. It's very easy to get. A thousand likes on LinkedIn or something like that. You know, anyone can do that once. but it's about once you reach a certain threshold of quality, I think it's about consistency and, that, trust Within a community. So been the way we do it.

Jim James:

Perhaps some irony that you've built a Uh, business based on, on listening. And, you know, then you had your own moment where you learned to listen as well. I think probably as entrepreneurs, we kind of all start with an ego and then at some stage realize it needs to be about more than our own ego.

Scott Sandland:

Again, the irony of the name of the company is Cyrano de Bergerac. And he's wants to be in the shadows. He wants to be hidden, you know, inner behind the Bush and just whispering the truth. And, and that is true of my company. And when we built it, you know, I was talking to, uh, you know, the three of us that are sort of the, the officers of the company. And I said, if we do this well, Everyone will use us and no one will have heard of us and that's the vision, but that means that someone has heard of

Jim James:

Yeah, I was going to. say someone somewhere

Scott Sandland:

Yeah. And so.

Jim James:

How is that happening, Scott?

Scott Sandland:

there's a guy who wrote a book called "The remarkable effect" Tom Dobby, a very smart guy, and, and he hit me with, a great idea of don't be better, be different. And, in doing so, get people to rally behind your cause and it turns users into advocates. And so all of that idea is we really built our company to help kids. We really, really did. And the commercial applications are neat and no sane person can hear our mission statement and say it doesn't matter.

Jim James:

Just share then? Scott, what is your mission statement? They're going to put you on this.

Scott Sandland:

We want create an AI that is a world-class therapist and be able to give it to every single kid for free and just have it live on your phone. because we're making the money on the commercial side and we've earned the trust. People know what they say to this app. Is confidential is safe. We're not marketing to them. We're not selling this data. We're not data mining them. It is a sincere, philanthropic good thing. And, and that's what we're doing. And so I can say to, you know, I just did to the president of a regional real estate group here. I said to her, you know, I mean it, I need you to go first. I need you to just trust me and show people that you trust. And that is going to help save lives. And she said, I believe in you, I believe in this. I have no idea what your The answer is yes,

Jim James:

Nice. Yeah. And that's beautiful when they actually don't honest care about the product anymore. It's.

Scott Sandland:

completely.

Jim James:

And it sounds absolutely wonderful system. and so in terms of the business and the, the app, this a global app that runs on multiple languages? I'm going to ask that because we have listeners in

Scott Sandland:

Yeah.

Jim James:

China and in Japan.

Scott Sandland:

So a multilanguage is on our roadmap. We're starting with English for obvious reasons. and we've done testing in seven languages and in all seven, it's done better than we hoped. Um, and so the, the way, the easy way to think of it, you know, we've done Italian, German, French, Spanish, Mandarin, two others. It didn't do great in Portuguese. but it did better in Mandarin than Portuguese, which was very surprising to me. we haven't put a lot of work into any of them. And when we, when we graph them all out, the ratios look good, but the confidence thresholds drop precipitously. So there's going to be a, uh, the need for a lot of training. We actually just, we just partnered with a company called hearme.app. Um, and one of the great things about that partnership is they have a big presence in India. So we'll be getting a bunch of. training data that we can uh, doing work with,

Jim James:

Okay. So that's wonderful Scott. And if people want to find more about Cyrano it's Cyrano.ai. but if you want to reach out to you Scott and hear from you, how

Scott Sandland:

Yeah. The easiest place to find me is LinkedIn. you know, we have a Twitter account, uh, as company, but The tweets are few and far between, really what we're doing is, you know, my LinkedIn and then our website, we have, we have a blog, we have a newsletter. Uh, we have ways of contact us. We have ways that you can use the software for free for two weeks. And it's not like a trick where you have to give us your credit card number. We genuinely want people to see it and, you know, just take it for a test drive themselves.

Jim James:

Sandland joining me all the way from just south of San Diego. Thank you so much for sharing about the power of purpose, really, and the, and the merit of following community. Thank you so much.

Scott Sandland:

Thank you.