Co-founder and CEO at Tractable
Who are you and what do you do?
I’m the co-founder and CEO at Tractable, which is developing AI to accelerate global recovery from accidents and disasters. Out technology is used by over 20 of the world’s top insurers, including Tokio Marine, MS&AD, Covéa and The Hartford.
1. What was the journey that brought you to your current role?
I was at university, studying computer vision – how a computer understands what’s in an image. The technology was moving forward quickly, and it was clear we would soon be able to automate everyday visual tasks. I wanted to create a company that could apply AI and improves people’s lives across the world, which is why my co-founders and I formed Tractable, which seeks to develop AI to accelerate accident and disaster recovery.
2. How do you get things done?
Anyone who knows me would say I attack challenges with a lot of energy! But as Tractable has scaled, you can’t try and solve everything yourself. Instead, I like to agree on a plan of action, and then trust people to execute on it – not least as at a quickly-growing company, it’s important not to let yourself become a bottleneck. Equally, you need to avoid being distracted by every problem – my most important job as CEO is to ensure we maintain focus on our vision, and on achieving it.
3. Who are your role models and why?
I think what Elon Musk is doing is incredible. He’s not only moving space exploration and transportation into uncharted waters, but he’s overcoming significant barriers as he does so – while, at the same time, creating products that will make our lives both better, and more interesting. That’s what I want to do too.
4. What’s the one secret about your field or industry you wish everyone knew?
Image classification – a computer understanding what an object is in an image – has now surpassed human accuracy in the lab. This is what visual tasks such as auto or property appraisal depend on, which means they are ripe for disruption with AI.
Conversely, video segmentation – a computer recognizing and delineating every object in a video – which autonomous driving likely depends on, hasn’t yet got to that point. That means disruptive progress there isn’t as close as people think.
5. What are your predictions for the industry for the next few years?
A few years from now, millennials will laugh at how their parents book appointments to get quotes for repairing, maintaining, insuring, financing, or selling their car or home. They’ll pull out their phones, turn on the camera, and it will scan their property and immediately produce price-compared quotes for all the above.