My Entrepreneurial Journey with AI, an Interview with V Ray, co-founder of Valex Solutions
Introduction (V Ray, an entrepreneurial journey with AI)
In this interview, Alan Olsen, CPA, MBA discusses an AI entrepreneurial journey with with V Ray, Ms. Ray is the co-founder of Valex Solutions
Transcript (software generated):
AI has the ability to take in data and make decisions that would just seem so overwhelming for human beings to do. And it does it so quickly. And so I think there’s so many different ways to leverage it.
For example, in my past, when I was working with Benefit Cosmetics, there were so many different data points that could impact sales and impact revenue.
So they really wanted to understand how do we figure out through all this noise through all this data of what actually matters.
And so one of my favorite equations is constrained optimization, it essentially means how to minimize what needs to change to maximize the outcome. And that’s a very common problem that we love to solve.
Or that I love to solve throughout my whole career in that we love to solve about solutions.
And so basically, that means, how to take in all the different data, maximize revenue, how to take in all that different data, improve marketing metrics, how to take in all that different data and figure out what to create or to design.
Welcome to American Dreams. I’m here with V Ray. She’s the founder of Valex Solutions. V, welcome to the show.
Thank you so much, Alan, it’s such a pleasure to be here.
So before the listeners, can you give us your background and what brought you up to where you are today?
Yeah, absolutely. So I feel like my life truly began. When I dropped out of college, I was studying biomedical engineering at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and I left after two years.
I immediately moved to San Francisco and became a roboticist and then transitioned into software engineering, where I designed an AI solution for Benefit Cosmetics.
That showed them how to maximize revenue from their largest third party retailer.
From there, I worked on a spectrum of different problems for brands of all sizes on how to leverage technology to achieve those KPIs, whether it was more revenue sales, improved marketing metrics, all of the above and more.
And then from there, I was recruited by Michelle Phan, who was an influencer with over 20 million followers to help her build a new social media for the beauty space.
I helped her for two years, in addition to mentoring with Brendan Kane, who wrote a book called a million followers in 30 days.
And then I was able to pair my background of data driven tech innovation with this new deep dive of human psychology, content creation and how to leverage social media as a tool to re enter the consulting world.
Where I started focusing on web three and other new forms of Tech Innovation solutions.
Did that for another year. And then I met Alex, who is my co founder, most commonly known for his success as being the president of Forever 21.
He scaled the brand over two decades to become a billion dollar brand, with over 800 stores and he’s an absolute legend in the space.
So V, you and Alex have just launched Valex Solutions. So tell me a little bit about what solutions you’re providing to the marketplace?
Yeah, absolutely. The we’re a one stop solution for brands looking to innovate with tech innovation, including AI, web three, data driven marketing, augmented and virtual reality, and then supply chain and cross border optimizations.
So to give you an example of a few of the different projects, we’re actually helping the Vatican right now with their digital collectibles launch in that is within the web three and f t sector.
In addition, we have a unique partnership with China, where we can get any brand that is performing well here in the US into the Chinese market, which is a massive market, almost 40% of all luxury sales come from China.
In addition to that, we can help brands with influencer marketing, saving them 10s of 1000s, sometimes hundreds of 1000s of dollars.
With that, there’s quite a few things we can do across the board. What’s an ideal client for you? Yeah, so I would say we work with different types of clients.
One are large conglomerates where we build relationships, and then do tech innovation for all the brands under their umbrella.
The second would be tech forward companies, for example, Allah yoga, where they have a product, they’re doing well through ecommerce and brick and mortar, and they embrace tech innovation, like web three and AI.
And then the third would be clients that know they need to change something. They’re either stagnating or they feel like they could be making more money or improving their systems.
And we go in and help them do that with technology.
And so we do that for brands of all kinds. These could be direct to consumer brands, retail brands, fashion ecommerce, and it could even be companies that have users.
For example, we have an app out of Asia that has 500 million users.
V I want to stop you right here. Because I mean, there’s, there’s quite a bit in your journey and, and you joined the club of Elon Musk and Bill Gates and Steve Jobs all have in common that they they’re all college dropouts.
Which for the entrepreneur, you know, following your passion is what it’s all about.
And so, in so part of the journey, though, that when you step down, and you begin to go in these different directions with robotics and AI.
There is another side that it within you there is a spirituality that you’re also drawing on at the same time.
Yeah, absolutely. I, you know, I think my journey was very heavily influenced by very important inflection points with my spiritual journey.
And I think there was a natural balancing of the mind, body and spirit that happened on my path.
I know that there’s many entrepreneurs who blaze the trail into success, and they push for it, and a lot of them end up hitting burnout.
But I think I’ve been very lucky to where I’ve noticed a very interesting balance naturally emerging in my journey.
I always find that, that spirituality blends quite well with that of being the entrepreneur, it’s following your passion, connecting with who you really are.
And, and, you know, as I’ve done this show, over the years, I’ve talked to over 2000 entrepreneurs, they’ll often relate stories about how in their journey there, they receive certain inspiration to go different directions.
And usually, when they follow the inspiration, they’re able to best apply their talents and gifts for finding solutions.
So be I want to, I want to roll back into the, into the world of AI. And and in my short conversation with you.
I quickly realized that you were a gifted individual, that it was by no accident that your journey led you to the path that you are and in so let’s focus a little bit in, in this AI journey.
How you got started. And I know you mentioned some things before, but let’s let’s roll back for the person looking at what is artificial intelligence? How do I get started? And how do I apply that into my business model?
Yeah, absolutely. Well, AI is one of my favorite topics of conversation.
I my current company valid solutions, we focus a lot on AI and think Florida, you know, summarize this and make it simple for any listener.
AI has ability to take in data and make decisions that would just seem so overwhelming for human being to do. And it does it so quickly.
And so I think there’s so many different ways to leverage it. For example, in my past, when I was working with Benefit Cosmetics, there were so many different data points that could impact sales and impact revenue.
So they really wanted to understand how do we figure out through all this noise through all this data of what actually matters.
And so one of my favorite equations is constrained optimization, it essentially means how to minimize what needs to change to maximize the outcome.
And that’s a very common problem that we love to solve, that I love to solve throughout my whole career in that we love to solve at VALIC solutions.
And so basically, that means how to take in all the different data, maximize revenue, how to take in all that different data, improve marketing metrics, how to take in all that different data and figure out what to create or to design.
How to take in all that data and really define the MVP, there’s so many different ways to use AI.
And those are some very common ways that we are currently using it to solve problems for our clients.
You know, I think you’re bringing out a very good point because a lot of do it yourself or say, well, there’s this Chat GPT I think they’re just released the fifth version of this, but the analogy I look at is kind of like a hammer.
You know, a hammer can do all sorts of things, you know, it can build but unless you really have an idea in in architecting, what it is that you’re striving to do? You know, you may get a lot of different results.
And I feel that what you’re doing in your business model with AI is you’re helping architecture for people solving problems.
So let’s walk a little bit through your processor, so I want to be bees By entering in V. I don’t know about AI, I got this chat GPT. But, but I’m like saying how can I?
How can I use this to my best benefit? So setting up an engagement? What? Walk me through what we would do together?
Yeah, so I think it’s really important to understand, you know what your end goals are. So if you have a vision for what that could look like.
I think it’s always best to reverse engineer from that main KPI that, that main target, whatever that looks like.
Okay. All right, and basically on the reverse engineering, then you would help me to develop a process of then approaching AI and saying, Okay, let’s chat with AI for a little bit.
And but it’s not like a one sentence in and we’re done, right?
Yeah. So I mean, it depends. Chat GPT is a tool, and you can definitely leverage it for some things. But AI on a much broader scope can do so much more. So I view Chat GPT as his tool within a much larger toolbox of what’s available.
Okay, thank you. And so, so that’s just chat. GPT is like one, when via venue that you can use but a lot of the AI also involves inserting software and in programs to help automate processes. Am I understanding that right?
Yeah, would it take custom data sets that are very relevant for the brand or the company and to process all that data to achieve their end goals? I understand that GV can be very helpful in that, in my personal life.
For example, I use chat GBT to write all of my LinkedIn posts.
And I find that when I am consistent and post about two times a day, I usually grow my followers about 1000 followers every few days.
Oh my goodness. So I understand then that as as you enter into the world of AI, that consistency is is important.
And in moving through this and, you know, let’s let’s, I’m going to move on to the topic here to get into the digital nomadic lifestyle.
Okay, you spent a year a few years living this digital nomadic lifestyle?
Can you tell us exactly what it means and how you feel it has helped you?
Yeah, absolutely. I think digital nomadic can be really, really effective when you want to maximize the value of your lifestyle, and the quality of life while minimizing expenses.
It can also be really helpful for just learning and growing and developing different parts of the self.
For example, when I was in Bali, I could just do so many different things.
And I was able to try clothing design and singing lessons and ceramics class and I had, so I think I had seven different hobbies in Bali. And so that was really effective for that area of life.
I’ve optimized different environments, depending on what my goals are.
But I think it can really help with inspiring that sense of wonder, creativity and magic in to keep things moving consistently to not get stagnant.
What role does family play in your life? And how important do you feel it is to our society?
So my family is definitely the core motivator of every single thing that I do.
And I just view all my actions and my wealth creation and my intentions with my business to be directly linked, to really wanting to habit, amazing experience with my family.
Provide for them and live a long life with them in.
So I really had this shift after the pandemic, and things just shifted from me exploring the world and focusing on myself, to me really building my company and focusing on supporting my family and helping them level up as well.
I think when you have that deeper connection to something more meaningful beyond just yourself, the momentum and the determination is so much more powerful and sustain so much longer.
So I definitely think it’s a very important value to have.
And what are some of the current and upcoming challenges that our society is facing regarding technology?
I just did a LinkedIn post about this the other day, where there was this baby reaching over the basically the bars of this apartment and you could tell you know, if the baby was able to climb up in slipped through the bars, it would fall.
And there’s actually this cat swatting away the hands of the baby to make sure that it did not climb up.
And so I think this is such an important metaphor for where we’re at with humanity right now in our development of technology.
I think we need to develop some type of governing body that would probably be a blend of the government, civil society and the industry of tech itself to set those parameters.
I think if AI gets into the wrong hands, which it could do much more rapidly than most people truly believe, then our world could drastically change.
You know, V if a person wants to reach out to you and say, Hey, can I engage Valex Solutions to help me with my AI? How would they reach you?
Absolutely. So you can find me on LinkedIn at V in the metaverse. You can also reach out directly to my email, which is V at VALIC solutions.co. Or you’re welcome to visit our site which is www dot Valak. solutions.co
V it’s been a pleasure having you with us today here on American Dreams.
Thank you so much.
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