Creating alignment and actionable results

The barriers to organizational transformation

I recently spoke with the Chief Investment Officer of a top-tier endowment fund. In his position, he oversees investment committees, each of which allocates billions of dollars of funds through collaborative decisions. He knew that an improvement in their process of making investment decisions…


“… we balance probabilities and choose the most likely. It is the scientific use of the imagination …” Sherlock Holmes. The Hound of the Baskervilles. AC Doyle, 1901

The first half of 2020 has been marked by a call for the need for imagination.[1] We are dealing with a problem unique to human history. Statistical learning from data, the current driver of AI technology development, falls short in many areas when what happened before no longer guides you as to what to do next. Imagination is a uniquely human capacity and it is why we are resilient. …


Over the past twenty years I have dedicated my career to developing technologies that rapidly focus expert knowledge and intuition on an opportunity or problem. While the applications of such technologies are many, it’s clear that empowering experts to collaborate on solutions to global crises is critical to our collective future.

At my current company, CrowdSmart, we use AI and collective intelligence technologies to predict the success of startups at the seed stage going on to a growth round. Over the past four years, conducting a wide range of startup evaluations across a variety of sectors, our predictive accuracy on…


Building the collective mind of humans and machines is the future of AI

The human quest to automate intelligence

The three waves of AI and where we are headed

The quest to capture human thought, reasoning and knowledge in a machine has deep roots, dating back to the late1600s with Gottfried Leibniz’s “knowledge calculator”. The advent of digital computers fueled a leap forward in the latter half of the 1900s, as the first wave of AI showcased systems that mimicked human expertise through a set of hand-programmed heuristics.[1]

The second wave of AI followed soon after, developing the first wave’s expert systems into statistical learning models and neural networks that have changed nearly every area of our daily lives.

This paper makes the case that the third wave of…


Rev. A. E. Kehler and Dorothy Kehler Wedding Photo 1940

My dad passed in 2009. Today he would be 100 — or 25 — as he would have liked it. He always delighted that he was born on a leap year thus when he turned 80 he would remind everyone that he was finally no longer a teenager. In some ways that characterized dad; always youthfully minded. Yesterday hanging with my son Mike in San Francisco after work we were remembering dad and Mike said “He was a good man.” And that he was. Dad had a calling to love others that started in the days of the depression when…


Human Collective Intelligence and AI

Tom Kehler, CEO, CrowdSmart

Resonance in physics is defined in terms of synchronous vibration. My Ph.D. thesis was in fact on understanding magnetic resonance in thin films. In sound we experience resonance as a deep reverberation that is generally pleasing. In the same way when we speak, we want something to resonate with our audience. In essence we want to be in synch with our audience.

Producing a product that resonates with a market need leads to explosive growth. …


Ask a successful startup seed investor, “How do you do it?” and you will often hear, “You’ve got to have the magic.” Press harder and you will likely hear, “It takes years of apprenticeship and experience in pattern recognition.” The myth of expert magic was challenged decades ago but it still persists. Research in 1970, led by Lewis Goldberg at UCLA showed that:

“If you wanted to know whether you had cancer or not, you were better off using the algorithm that the researchers had created than you were asking the radiologist to study the X-ray. …


“By combining the collective intelligence of humans with an AI model, you are more likely to be able to predict a startup’s success.”

Let’s face it. Startup investing is difficult. You know you are looking for the outlier and the odds are not in your favor. But you keep hoping you will get lucky. Happily, there is a science-based approach that can lead to continuous improvement.

Michael Lewis points out in his book “The Undoing Project” that as far back as the 70’s researchers in psychology, including Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky, showed that despite our belief in ourselves as rational decision-makers, the evidence shows we aren’t. Another researcher, Lewis Goldberg, went further, demonstrating that artificial intelligence (AI) can prove more reliable than…


The need for a scalable way to find and fund impactful startups

Global entrepreneurship continues to grow at a very rapid pace. In 2017 $140 billion of venture funding was invested globally. $2.3 trillion of value was created in the startup economy between 2015 and 2017. [1]

One substantial challenge to continue this growth is access to smart capital. Crowd funding and cryptocurrency are rapidly growing attempts to create a more level playing field for capital access. However, these attempts fail on two critical startup success factors:

  1. Ecosystems and technologies that develop entrepreneurial skills and help founders iterate ideas into…


With a name like CrowdSmart it would seem to be a perfect fit for the largest conference on Crowdfunding. But when the moderator Richard Swart asked the question “You choose not to go the crowdfunding route, could you let us know your thoughts on that decision?” So, what follows are a few thoughts on my response.

Improved access to capital for startups is clearly needed. If you have experienced raising capital for early stage companies, as I have over several decades, you will have to admit it is not a rational or data driven process. Connections, impressions and reputation play…

Tom Kehler

I love pioneering transformative technologies based on solid science. CEO and Chief Scientist at CrowdSmart.

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