Ep. #1177 - Tech Tools for Entrepreneurial Equity
Today’s episode of Startup Hustle features Lauren Conaway and Carolyn Driscoll, CEO & Founder of Uncommon Good. They discuss tech tools for entrepreneurial equity and how Uncommon Good can be an equalizer. They also talk about AI, the tech industry landscape, and more.
Want to learn more about Caroline’s local startup scene? Check out our top Connecticut startup picks featured on Inc.com by our very own founder, Matt DeCoursey. Discover the up-and-coming startups in Connecticut, including more on Uncommon Good!
Covered In This Episode
Non-profits, freelancers, and small businesses significantly impact the economy. However, many operate inefficiently. Uncommon Good offers a solution to keep them going with tech tools for entrepreneurial equity.
Lauren and Carolyn share their experiences as social entrepreneurs, jumping off from Carolyn’s journey. They discuss the value of transferable skills and small business experience to tell the Uncommon Good story. Carolyn describes its vision and validation process, the value of AI, and tech making the entrepreneurial journey easier.
Nonprofits and small businesses need all the help they can get. Find actionable insights by listening to this Startup Hustle episode now.
- Carolyn’s entrepreneurial journey (1:11)
- Transferable skills from owning a Pilates studio to private investments (2:55)
- The Uncommon Good story (5:05)
- How Carolyn’s small business experience helped (9:52)
- Uncommon Good’s validation process (11:38)
- Equity in tools (15:54)
- Uncommon Good’s vision (22:19)
- The tech industry landscape (24:24)
- AI and possibilities (25:06)
- The value of AI (32:00)
- How can tech make the entrepreneurial journey easier? (35:12)
- Carolyn’s favorite season (37:47)
Often having that outside perspective gives you more clarity around things like solutions and creative ways to address situations.– Lauren Conaway
We always want to be talking to our customers. We want to hear what they have to say, what they like, what they don’t like, you know, what they want, that’s not there. And you know, we’re never going to be everything to everyone. But if we can hit 90% of someone’s pain points, I think we’re doing a really good job.– Carolyn Driscoll
Our understanding of our ability to adapt and change technology, to develop technology, is currently outstripping our ability to understand our own technologies. Around morality of it, the underpinnings of it, the implications, like, we’re creating technology more quickly than we can comprehend what was happening.– Lauren Conaway
I think there’s value to AI, I just think that we shouldn’t overvalue it, right, I think that you’re never gonna replace, you know, human creativity and things like that. And I think just trying to find the balancing act between where AI is beneficial and where it’s just taking it just that one step too far.– Carolyn Driscoll
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As always, look into all the services our Startup Hustle partners offer. These organizations support the startup community.
Following is an auto-generated text transcript of this episode. Apologies for any errors!
Lauren Conaway 00:01
And we are back. Thank you for joining us for yet another episode of the Startup Hustle podcast. I’m your host Lauren Conaway, founder and CEO of InnovateHer KC. And I gotta tell you friends today’s episode of Startup Hustle is powered by FullScale.io. Hiring software developers is difficult, but Full Scale can help you build a software team quickly and affordably. And they have the platform to help you manage that team. Visit FullScale.io to learn more. And friends today, we have, I simply love top startup episodes. They’re one of my favorite things to record with Matt DeCoursey. We do it about once a month we explore another city and the startups that are available. And today, we have with us a company and a founder that made the Top Connecticut Startups List. We’re going to be talking to Carolyn Driscoll, CEO and founder of Uncommon Good. Carolyn, thanks so much for taking the time to chat with us. Welcome to the show.
Carolyn Driscoll 01:00
Thank you so much for having me. It’s a pleasure to be here.
Lauren Conaway 01:03
All right, well, let’s, let’s just dive right in. And I’m going to ask you and interpret this however you will, but tell us about your journey.
Carolyn Driscoll 01:10
Um, well, let’s see. From an entrepreneurial standpoint, you know, I’d say I’ve always been pretty entrepreneurial. I was a Pilates instructor through college, and then had my own Pilates studio in my 20s. And learned a lot about running a business sort of all the different hats that you have to wear. Yeah, when I was in my 30s, though, I decided to take a hard left and change career courses and ended up working in private investment, and working in a lot of definitely
Lauren Conaway 01:10
Go from not having any money to constantly talking about money. Was that how it went?
Carolyn Driscoll 01:55
Yes, a little bit. And it’s sort of funny because, you know, I live in an area that is pretty focused on money. Yeah, you know, I live in an area that’s, you know, pretty much like the hedge fund capital of the country, I’d say. Yeah, lots of finance people. So lots of opportunities to hear those conversations. But it was, you know, it was a definitely an interesting pivot, but I think it was, it was beneficial. And it also I think my experience, owning a small business, and having sort of an outside perspective, was really helpful in being able to sort of see things from a slightly different angle.
Lauren Conaway 02:31
Yeah. Well, I imagine so and we did we talk a lot about the fact that often having that outside perspective, it gives you more clarity around things like solutions and creative ways to address situations. And so that’s really, really cool. What did what commonalities did you find between the two? You know, what were the what were the transferable skills?
Carolyn Driscoll 02:55
You know, I think being able to be resilient, and also just sort of being able to, like, quickly problem solve, and being able to not get too stuck in one solution. And being open minded with different opportunities. And, you know, actually, although I’m gonna backtrack, I will say probably the biggest value I got from having a Pilates studio was the interactions I had with customers, with my clients. And they were, you know, from a large variety of backgrounds, but being able to handle a lot of the situations that you have with them, because they’re oftentimes very demanding. Sure. So being able to kind of diplomatically maneuver through certain situations was probably one of the things that helped me the most when I transitioned into, you know, a different career path. And, you know, basically also going from a pretty, you know, female oriented, you know, client base to working with a lot of men. Yeah. And just being able to sort of take a step back and understanding how you had to communicate differently to make sure that you’re heard.
Lauren Conaway 04:01
Yeah, well, it’s really good that you you took the time to do that. Now I know you know, you and I have talked before and first things first, friends, I do just want to let you know that Carolyn has that we have actually met in person despite living in very different areas of the country because you’ve been establishing a presence in Kansas City for Uncommon Good your platform and company and you came to an InnovateHer KC event and it made me really happy and I loved it. Yeah. Oh, I’m so glad well, and I mean, we so so um, common good came in as a sponsor, full disclosure. And we are very grateful that we had such a blast. It was actually our pride month, monthly meetup. And so I think you actually y’all came with the bolos and the sunglasses and all of the font, like, we had, they had a little photo booth, I was so impressed. But so so I am familiar with Uncommon Good and several different ways but our Audience is not. So tell us about the Uncommon Good story.
Carolyn Driscoll 05:05
So we started as a software platform primarily for nonprofits. And it was born out of a personal experience that I had working with a nonprofit, actually, that had a pretty big impact on my family. And I realized that, you know, small organizations, like, this one in particular, that just have such a deep impact on the community they serve just don’t have a lot of resources and don’t have a lot of accessibility in terms of making things easier for them on a business and operational level. Right, you know, and they wear so many hats. And they’re not just serving their community, but they’re also trying to run the business side of things. Yeah. And that can be challenging. I, at that point, had had a fair amount of experience working with technology startups, within the portfolio of investments that we had, and understood the general process and I will be very, very, you know, realistic about that of what it is to get technology stood up. And realize that there’s a lot you can do with it to kind of take over some of the day to day tasks that people really just don’t have the bandwidth to do when you’re operating in with one or two people. Um, so kind of took a hard look at the industry, there was a lot of software’s out there that did a lot of fundraising capabilities, or kind of, you know, wealth, prospecting, all of these things, but they missed, I thought, a key component, which was, you’ve got to be able to establish your story, and you’ve got to be able to establish your brand. And you’ve got to be able to under like, deal with your day to day kind of back office stuff. Yeah, we’re just gonna, like, give you a donation for existing. Right? You know, so we, we decided to build all of it in one place, so that you could basically just manage everything really simply, really cost affordably, not be jumping around, have it be user-friendly. And so when we did that, we ended up getting a lot of consultants and people that were not within the nonprofit space being, like, wow, I’m kind of you know, I have my own business. And I don’t have as you know, 10 people working for me, I’d love to be able to use that too. So we, you know, decided to continue building out the platform. And we now offer it for freelancers, solopreneurs, small businesses, and nonprofits, obviously. But it essentially just encompasses everything you would need to operate a business efficiently. Everything from your marketing, graphic design studio, the ability to post on your social channels, you can build a website, you can take your payments, and send out proposals and invoices and do your branding and your email marketing and your one off email communications and your CRM. So really just, it’s like a business in a box. It’s everything you need in one place is a really simple solution. And it’s, you know, the, the other thing is we’ve, we’ve made a really strong commitment to keep it cost affordable.
Lauren Conaway 07:51
Yeah, well, so one of the things that I love about Uncommon Good is how comprehensive it is, we talked about that. And I mean, you just kind of outlined that was a lot of tasks and a lot of priorities that Uncommon Good can can manage. And that’s super impressive. I mean, in Startup Hustle, we love, one of the reasons that we loved Uncommon Good so much was that you’re making it easier and more efficient for businesses to do business. And one of the things that I love, love love about Uncommon Good is the fact that as a small business owner, myself, and I know that many of the small business owners out there are going to this is gonna resonate with them. But one of the big struggles that I have is in my day to day is that a lot of the systems we use so many different systems over the course of the day to manage a business and some of us are managing over spreadsheets. And some of us are using the accounting software’s and the event management software’s and the donation software’s and, you know, can’t like all of these tools, none of them talk to each other. And that’s super, super frustrating because you have to, you have to copy and paste information all over the place, and you have to manually update numbers, and you have to. And so one of the things that I love most about Uncommon Good is that you’re creating this centralized hub, from which to not just complete and execute on tasks and work, but also manage the data side of it, like, capture your metrics, make it you know, comprehensively look at your numbers, and that that’s really powerful. You know, I know that I’ve heard I spend a lot of time chasing down different tools and figuring out how to make it work. And I so first of all, kudos. Thank you for that. Yeah, but but secondly, I’m really curious, you know, how did your small business business experience? How did that inform the tool that you were putting together?
Carolyn Driscoll 09:51
You know, I think hindsight is always 20-20. Right? I think they almost did it subconsciously, to be perfectly honest. And I know that’s sort of a silly answer. But I don’t think, you know, I think when because especially because I originally, you know, we originally designed this for nonprofits, but I was like, oh, well, they need to do this, like, I kind of just started putting a list of all the things that I had been doing when I had a small business, you know, dealing with billing customers, billing clients, making sure that they’re up to date with everything, you know, marketing, sending emails out, changing schedules, you know, adjusting timelines dealing with, you know, social media, which, you know, I’m a bit disastrous with the things you like doing and the things you don’t. And you just start to think like, Okay, well, in order to operate a business efficiently and successfully, you’ve got to do all these things. So, you know, it really was just kind of, you know, born from experience. And then I just found myself in this really fortunate position where I was able to build this tool that would have loved to have had myself when I was running the Pilates. I mean, it’s sort of like a kid on Christmas, you get to be like, wow, I get to make my perfect toy.
Lauren Conaway 11:04
Yeah. Well, I love Yeah, you get to make your perfect toy. And then you get to open it up and take it wrapping paper. Yeah. Well, so that’s incredible. Talk to us about the the market validation process. I’m really curious about this, because, you know, you’re pulling on your own experience, you’re pulling on the experience of entrepreneurs, and nonprofits and organizations that you have worked with historically. But as you were building the tool, what kind of customer feedback were you looking for? What kind of customer feedback did you get? How did how did you make that happen?
Carolyn Driscoll 11:38
You know, I think that we’ve been really strategic about that. And very intentional, which I’m happy about. One of the things that we’ve done that I think has made us be able to really move forward in a positive way is that my entire team is in house, I don’t outsource development. So I have a you know, all of my developers are full-time full employees, and my entire team is very close. So we have daily stand ups, everyone speaks with each other. So the the sales team and the developers and the UX and UI and marketing team all communicate directly. So there’s no lost in translation moments. And what’s great about that, though, is that when we go out, and you know, we talk to people, and we sign up customers, we’re very, very upfront about it, that we want to never lose the human element behind. Right? We always want to be talking to our customers, we want to hear what they have to say what they like, what they don’t like, you know what they want, that’s not there. And you know, we’re never going to be everything to everyone. But if we can hit 90% of someone’s pain points, I think we’re doing a really good job. And so I’d say we, you know, I still I spend a ton of time on demo call still, right? Like, yeah, I love getting on with people. And I love hearing, oh, I wish I could do this. I love that I can do that. And it’s like, great. You know what, let me grab a developer and let’s, you know, have you talked to him to see where that can go. And while I can’t promise it tomorrow, I promise we’re listening. And we’re gonna, you know, we’re gonna put that in the roadmap. And so I think just keeping those constant connections between all those different points.
Lauren Conaway 13:10
Yeah, well, and that’s really powerful. I think for customers just feeling as though they have a voice feeling as though they have agency around a product that they’re using or a service that they’re utilizing. So that’s really cool. How did you, like, you said that you sit on on demo calls? Did you do surveys? Did you focus groups, you know, it talks Alright, so So you’re you have the ideas kind of sketched out your your wireframing, you’re bringing your MVP to fruition. Talk about the feedback in your once you had started introducing the tool, and you were still in that kind of discovery mode and iteration mode. What were you hearing then, at that point?
Carolyn Driscoll 13:48
You know, again, I think because we started with nonprofits, and we worked really tightly with a small group of nonprofits, you know, so we’d sort of roll out one tool at a time. Yeah, and got feedback and are still getting feedback. And we’ll always get feedback. And then we were hearing from the consultants that were coming on looking for software for the nonprofits that they consult for. And they’re saying, Oh, wow, well, I wish I could use this. But do you have proposals in there? Or do you have memberships or ticketing in there? Right? So then you’re like, Oh, interesting, you know, so we started to just keep a running list of all of the different things that were getting requested. Yeah. And then started to we did you know we did a lot of kind of market research tool where we played on all the other tools that are out there all the other you know, whether you want to call them competitors, or whatever, you know, we clearly signed up for them and, you know, went through them and, you know, internally decided what we liked what we didn’t like, but again, you know, I think we we basically really started small. We started in when kept a very tight group of people that we communicated with, we do surveys, that is something that admittedly, we probably need to step up our game with into a bit more of So I know that’s something that we do have in the works. Yeah, you know, we’ve we’ve partnered with a lot of different groups, you know, even like, innovate hurricane AC, and, you know, we’ve partnered with some other groups where they’re going to see, you know, they’re starting to use the software, and we get on calls with them, you know, almost weekly at this point, as they’re using it to say, you know, what do you like, what don’t you like, you know, what, what’s really important to you? And what’s just like, kind of like, that would be a fun bells and whistles bonus. Right? And what you know, and we share the roadmap, we’re really open with that we want people to know what’s in the pipeline. And we want to know, like, if you were to prioritize this, which one would you want first? And again, we can we can pivot really easily because, again, I have an internal development team. Yeah, won’t outsource to an agency. So it just makes it makes it that much tighter with communication.
Lauren Conaway 15:54
Right? Well, so I can certainly appreciate that. Now, one of the things that I’m curious about, or I guess one of the things that I’m aware of that I’d like to explore a little bit. So because we talked a little bit about this when we were in person, and I think one of the things that impressed me about not just Uncommon Good as an organization, but you as a founder in particular, is that hard piece, you know, you’re definitely a company with a conscience. And yeah, and well in those are some of my favorites. But like, I know that you prioritize, you know, connecting with community organizations that are making an impact. You know, of course, I’m like innovators, one, yay. But also, like, I’ve seen you partner with other organizations that are doing really good, like a lot of good in their communities. And it’s really kind of fun to watch from the 10,000 foot view or from the outside looking in. But, you know, one of the things that you you talked about was the fact that Uncommon Good is kind of, it’s an equalizer as a product. And so talk to us a little bit about that, you know, for first thing, I just kind of like to hear about your, your attitude around it, but then we can talk about it a little bit more tactically?
Carolyn Driscoll 17:07
Yeah, I’ve got I think, just from I mean, look, I’m definitely an emotionally driven person, I feel everything right. Like, I mean, every statement, I It’s like, I feel like we should do this. I’m not one of those people that says, Oh, I think we should do this, right. I’m like, I feel like it should go this way. Yeah. Right. So I think, you know, I try to be cognizant of my environment, and I try to be aware of, it’s probably going to go in a little bit of a tangent. So I apologize. But I live in an area where people are very privileged. And I see what that can do in terms of how much easier it is to get ahead. Right. Not just from a monetary standpoint, but from an access standpoint, from people that you cross paths with, you know, the people you cross paths with to, you know, just different opportunities. When you when you’re in certain areas, like it just is it’s, you know, it’s one of those things where you can see, wow, that makes such a big difference. And what if, like, what if all the people that don’t have that same advantage, could have some of the resources to at least try to level the playing field, right, to at least try and make it so that we can all start a little bit more even on that starting line? Yeah. And I think there’s been such a transition to freelance work, and people not wanting to be working corporate jobs, and people wanting more free, right, there’s now that we can do that now that people see, oh, that’s an option. And we can have that freedom within our lives to build a life however we want, whether it is a nine to five job, or it’s a more, you know, independently structured situation. But sometimes the resources aren’t always available. Yeah. Right. And in sometimes the educational components aren’t always available. And I wanted to build something that was going to be able to give them a lot of what they need to run a business, right. Without, you know, having to spend a ton of money or having to.
Lauren Conaway 18:57
Like, I definitely know platforms, and I from what I the ones that I’m thinking of at least, like they’re not as comprehensive as Uncommon Good. But they’re also wildly more expensive. And so that’s definitely one way in which you reduce barriers, like you’ve got a super affordable cost, what’s the what’s a monthly subscription for uncommon good
Carolyn Driscoll 19:18
$30 a month.
Lauren Conaway 19:19
$30 a month that is that is very accessible to many, many, many, many people.
Carolyn Driscoll 19:24
It should, it should be accessible to everyone, like I said. It should include on your bottom line because people should have a nice quality of life and it shouldn’t have to be that your business expenses are you know, forgetting
Lauren Conaway 19:36
Well so in so I just want to kind of highlight a couple other things. So in addition to having a low monthly cost, you know, one of the things that we need to be aware of is that often when we are pulling all of these different tools together, you’re paying a lot of different monthly costs, you know, like, we pay for our accounting software on a monthly basis we pay for our graphic design software, like, we pay for, we pay for all all the things? And oh, you know, I believe I think Uncommon Good actually, you all take a much smaller percentage, you
Carolyn Driscoll 20:08
We don’t take a percentage, you don’t take claims, we have a marketplace, you can sell your services. We don’t take a percentage. I don’t believe in that.
Lauren Conaway 20:16
Yeah. So so you’re you’re not only offering a lot of products for one cost, but you are deeply reducing the costs that people have to put out there in a lot of different ways. And so So you’re creating that democratized access, which we love around InnovateHer KC. So that’s, that’s really cool. And I just want to kind of tip my hat to you, I know that it must have been a really difficult thing. And it’s a really, really hard job to bring this to fruition and continually iterate and update the units. Ah, yeah, I’m sure it like, you kind of you look at your hairline, and you’re just like, there are 10 white fuckers right there, like 99%. Night, like you know exactly what’s happening with entrepreneurship, you know exactly where you’re coming from.
Carolyn Driscoll 21:07
I wake up with like, new wrinkles every day, I’m like,
Lauren Conaway 21:10
Well, if you want to reduce the gray hairs and wrinkles, or at least slow the rate, one of the things that you can do is you can get really, really good help, like, Uncommon Good or like Full Scale. If you need to hire software engineers, testers or leaders Full Scale can help. They have the people in the platform to help you build and manage a team of experts. When you visit FullScale.io. All you need to do is answer a few questions and then let the platform match you up with fully vetted, highly experienced software engineers, testers and leaders. It Full Scale they specialize in building long term teams that work only for you. Learn more when you visit FullScale.io. Alright friends, we are here today with Carolyn dis Driscoll, booyah, CEO and founder of Uncommon Good, and we’re talking we were before the jump, we were talking about equity in tools. Really, like you’re creating a tool that establishes equitable access to information opportunity. Skill, like upskilling. It’s, it’s really it’s cool what you’re building. And I’d be interested to hear what are you building to what is the dream for Uncommon Good.
Carolyn Driscoll 22:19
You know, we’d love to be the the platform that provides everyone that wants to have their own business, their own journey, sort of the tools that they need to do so successfully, right. And success is obviously defined differently by different people, it does not mean you need to go make a ton of money, but just yeah, you for me, it’s freedom, right? For me, it’s completely just freedom and freedom to spend my time where I want, how I want, and when I want you. And I want people to be able to have software that’s going to give them time back in their day, that’s going to be able to allow them to go pursue their passions and their business without that continuous stress of, like, Oh, I’ve got to go back and do all the accounting, and I’ve got to go do all this social media, right? I mean, by reducing the amount of time that you have to do it, you get your life back in many ways, right? Especially as a solopreneur. We’re, you know, small business owner, where your life becomes your business in many ways. Yeah. So you’re balancing that and giving a little breathing room and allowing people to scale and you know, as well as anyone can, right?
Lauren Conaway 23:24
Right. Well, so So you’re giving, you’re giving, you’re giving a few gifts with Uncommon Good, you’re giving entrepreneurs the gift of time, you’re giving them the gift of extra money in their pocket, you’re getting giving them the gift of efficiency. All things that we love and all things that particularly like the emerging and the newer, but definitely things that all entrepreneurs, founders, small business owners need. So, Merry Christmas, everybody signed Uncommon Good. Yeah. Well, so I one of the things that I’d be interested to hear about from you, you know, you’ve been in the tech space for a while you’ve worked with a lot of tech companies. And now you helm a tech company. Talk to us about the the landscape that you see, and what you see coming down the pipeline in technology around, maybe, you know, do you have competitors? You see exciting things happening in the space? Are there things that we should be looking out for?
Carolyn Driscoll 24:24
You know, I think it’s it’s definitely a popular space, we’re starting to see that just based off of, you know, whether it’s outreach from VCs that we’re getting, there’s definitely interest within this sort of freelance productivity software space. Because, again, I think there’s been obviously since COVID. Such a pivot to people working independently, right. I think it’s, you know, the industry is growing at something like 18% per year. Yeah. Which is massive. And again, I think people want their life back, which I don’t disagree with. would be on that from a tech perspective. Obviously I I don’t think we can ignore the elephant in the room, which is AI because
Lauren Conaway 25:06
We’ve had, we’ve had many, many, many, many, many, many, many conversations about AI. You meet?
Carolyn Driscoll 25:16
Sure. I mean, can anyone talking about anything else? Right? Um, yeah. So I mean, I think it’s gonna be interesting to see it pan out, I think. I think there’ll be some amazing things that come out of it. And I think there’s so gonna be some, you know, things we’re all gonna probably have a giggle at. Yeah, at some point.
Lauren Conaway 25:37
I mean, I, it’s one of those things where like, I feel as though like, it’s, it feels like we’re on the cusp of an opportunity in a lot of ways. But we’re also just in a time of great shift and change and I think we all know,
Carolyn Driscoll 25:51
as as as you’re right, because you could go either way I could go to a dangerous place or a really good place like,
Lauren Conaway 25:58
And I don’t know that I really trust like, I don’t know, humanity, y’all are gonna have to do is show me something, show me that you can steward and handle things responsibly. Because thus far, we’re not we don’t have the best track record.
Carolyn Driscoll 26:13
We have the worst track record.
Lauren Conaway 26:17
I was trying to put a positive spin on it.
Carolyn Driscoll 26:20
Sorry, I know my bluntness comes out every now. But you know what, I saw this video today. And it was so beautiful. And it was a video on AI and it was this new AI, art installation, and your shadow becomes part of the story.
Lauren Conaway 26:38
Carolyn Driscoll 26:38
So you got these children in this room, and then their shadows became alive. Yeah. So they could interact. And they’d had this whole, like, sort of fantasy imagination interaction with their, the, you know, the beds and the nightstands in their shadow and everything was moving. And it was so beautiful, right? Because it was like, that’s such an incredible, like, innocence for these children to have, like, we used to have all these imaginary things, is it? Right? And it’s like, it becomes real. And so I think from art, you know, there’s it can be a beautiful thing, but at the same time it also can be terrifying because
Lauren Conaway 27:15
We have to, Alright, world, let us, let us helm this this time of change responsibly. Let us be good stewards of fast changing, speaking of fast changing, I just want to I want to register my disapproval with the the universe. So I’m putting on my Karen hat right now. Here it comes. I’m so irritated because I say like I use ChatGPT and apparently, daily, don’t worry. That is like people are like, Okay, grandma, like getting out of here, grandma go drive in the slow lane. And I’m like, I know, you know. I just agree, though. What, you know, months ago, okay, come on, give me a break.
Carolyn Driscoll 27:58
This is you should come back with is that like, actually, a lot of these AI tools are leveraging ChatGPT they’re just like building it into these other things kind
Lauren Conaway 28:09
of more niche more special, or, like,
Carolyn Driscoll 28:12
underpinning a lot of what people are doing. And so that, right, it’s like,
Lauren Conaway 28:17
I just I’m like there’s one more thing to keep up with, you know, I’m still on Facebook, which is for the olds and that is that’s been
Carolyn Driscoll 28:25
true for what will become trendy again and a few years like 12 year olds,
Lauren Conaway 28:29
Can we can I stop becoming obsolete? Can the shit that I use and the things that I like stop becoming obsolete because it makes me feel old knock that shit off universe, let’s just call her calm down. It’s all good.
Carolyn Driscoll 28:42
It is a little scary of chatting up is our TPTs already, like out of vogue, and literally too quickly.
Lauren Conaway 28:49
And so I saw a speaker a while back and he was actually talking about our mutually autonomous robot robotics, which was interesting, but he bought it is fascinating. It’s super fascinating. But but he’s one of the points and he was very much like he’s like we’re all gonna die. But his. Yeah, well, I mean, that is true. That is accurate. But he wasn’t there was an implication of like some kind of apocalyptic situation happening because our understanding of our ability to adapt and change technology to develop technology is currently outstripping our ability to understand our own technologies. Grounded them around morality of it, the underpinnings of it, the implications, like we’re creating technology more quickly than we can comprehend what was happening cuter that
Carolyn Driscoll 29:41
was just released. Where was I can, I’m gonna have to look it up and I’ll send it to you. But a computer you can compute like 42 million times faster than like a computer they had like three years ago or something, right? I mean, it’s insane. And it can like solve all these medical craziness, right? And you’re just like, okay, so it’s no human, all the brains in the world can do.
Lauren Conaway 29:59
Yeah. Well, and I feel as though that’s where a lot of the, the fear comes from, like you this unknowing, like, you know how people can’t, cannot comprehend the size of space. You know, it’s in, it’s like, okay, like, there’s no, that’s kind of AI to me right now.
Carolyn Driscoll 30:22
I don’t disagree. It’s a little scary, right? Or what was the New York Times article where the reporter spent like eight hours on Chat GPT. And that chat TPG started to say, you need to leave your wife and like, be with me, and I think you’re in love with me. And so I mean, it’s it passed, right?
Lauren Conaway 30:36
That’s another scary thing. And that’s where like that societal trust piece comes in. Because it’s like, AI, you know, we machine learn like you initially like, it is a tool that is only as good as the information that is fed into it. And that’s really scary, too. But we know
Carolyn Driscoll 30:53
there’s a lot of bad information out there, right. I mean, there’s a lot of
Lauren Conaway 30:57
It was made, I cannot remember who it was. And even if it was, I might not even name the company because I think it’s a scary company. But here is a company that released their own AI chat bot and it spent enough time online that it’s yeah, it started like sending hate messages and it like saying really, really negative things. Like that’s, that’s horrifying. It’s really terrifying. Yeah, well, that was kind of a fun little tangent, it didn’t really have anything. Well, I. So we got there from the future landscape. And let’s get let’s go ahead and let’s stick a pin. Let’s say that AI is something that we are going to have to contend with. And in particular, Uncommon Good is going to have to contend with and think about as competitors come to crowded space.
Carolyn Driscoll 31:44
I mean, we’ve already incorporated AI into our software.
Lauren Conaway 31:46
We’ll talk about that. What have you been? Are the measurements? The machines gonna get smart? Are they? Yeah, I’m
Carolyn Driscoll 31:54
gonna take over.
Lauren Conaway 31:57
Alright, go ahead and talk to us about the AI.
Carolyn Driscoll 31:59
Like, I think there’s value to AI, I just think that we shouldn’t overvalue it, right, I think that you’re never gonna replace, you know, human creativity and things like that. But yeah, you’ve got a big component for email marketing built in. And we’ve got, you know, all sorts of email templates and creative and things like that, because one of the best forms of marketing is email and, you know, small businesses and solopreneurs should be using, you know, email newsletters, whatever. But they can be hard to start hard to write and sometimes they’ll paralyzing. As we all know. So we our email tool has actually got AI built into it for both the design the graphic and the text. So if you’re, I want it to be like warm and friendly or I want you know, I you write your, you know, paragraph and then be like, can you make this friendlier? It can do that for you. Yeah. And I think just trying to find the balancing act between where AI AI is beneficial and where it’s just taking it just that one step too far. Yeah, you and again, like I admittedly, I use ChatGPT all the time. You can tell like, you can absolutely tell when ChatGPT writes something for you. Oh, yeah.
Lauren Conaway 33:07
Well, okay, so here’s something that I have noticed I like sometimes. So typically, what I do is I you like, if I asked ChatGPT. To write something for me, I asked that I asked you to write it, but then I make a whole ton of changes, because I want to back into my tone and my voice, like, I’m just kind of looking for the guardrails to
Carolyn Driscoll 33:25
just jump straight to you if you’re having like a little bit of failure to start,
Lauren Conaway 33:30
but very, very big. And in fact, I think never actually never has my ChatGPT blurb or whatever it is gone straight on to wherever, like whatever distribution channel like I’ve always made massive amounts of change to it. So it’s unrecognizable. And that’s to your point, like that’s because it you know, it doesn’t sound like me, it does sounds kind of formal and weird. I periodically I just test it, sometimes I used to try to make it, I would say give me a short blurb or a short pay, like I would say short, I would always say short or you know, concise either. That was another thing that I tried, like I was trying different, like different terms to feed into it. Because for whatever reason, like this thing is more wordy than me. And that’s saying what’s going on. And I’m like, Man, I said short, like a novel that you have here. But I got to the point where I said make it 200 words. Nice. Okay, I’m gonna have to try that. So I give it like a word. You’re just you’re a little bit too extra. And I’m gonna need you to dial it back.
Carolyn Driscoll 34:36
Like stop generating, but you don’t want it to stop because you’re like, I need all the points though.
Lauren Conaway 34:41
Right? So is there yeah, like I I think I feel like you and I are in very similar places. Like you have to watch carefully. There are some really interesting possibilities. There are also some really, some really significant threats. And yeah, and I
Carolyn Driscoll 34:57
think we’re just gonna have to always you know, checks and balances We’re gonna use constantly, you know, keep it in line. And, again, that’s why I said, you know, we’ve got it built into some of our tools, but it’s not meant to replace what you yourself can do. It’s meant to enhance, not replace.
Lauren Conaway 35:14
Yeah, well, so I love that. And I guess one of the one of the things like we talked about how you, you have served tech founders and things, like, that. One of the things that I would be interested to hear about, you know, for our listeners, first things first, we definitely, you know, want to give a heavy vouched to Uncommon Good, I’ve actually seen the tool, the user interface is super cool. Definitely check it out, we should have a link in the show notes. So that’s, that’s our first best practice. You know, check out Uncommon Good, if you want to be a one-stop shop to manage your business affordably we love it. But then what are some other things that entrepreneurs can do? How can they use the tech to make their experience more equitable, more accessible, you know, just kind of lighten the load and make the journey easier? How can tech help our founders do that?
Carolyn Driscoll 36:07
That is a big question.
Lauren Conaway 36:08
The big question I love asking deliberately open ended, if only to see your face when I asked them because your eyes just kind of got big.
Carolyn Driscoll 36:17
But, you know, I’m not. I’m not a great poker player, you’re gonna do? Now, you know, I think that it’s got to be easy, right? It’s got to be simple to use. And I think that’s also one of the things I think tech can get overly complicated. Yeah. Um, but I think the other thing too, is we live in, you know, before technology, like before the internet, right? We lived in our communities, which is wonderful. And in many ways, that was great. But it was it could be a little bit limiting. Now with technology, people have access, even if they’re, you know, a solopreneur they have access to a big community well outside of themselves because of technology. Sure. I mean, you can go on LinkedIn, you can go on all your social channels and build a following and build a community and find resources and find people to help you on your own journey. And without technology, that would never happen. Right? I mean, you’re you’re
Lauren Conaway 37:12
the worst acquirer here because that’s what InovatingHer KC is all about. And we absolutely employ technology to create community. I mean, I think that’s probably one of the Yeah, people have to talk about the inhumanity of tech but I’m just like, hey, you know, the thing that I have found is that tech technology has great potential to bring us closer together.
Carolyn Driscoll 37:31
It’s how we choose to use it right tech can be inhumane if we choose to use it inhumanely, right? It can be the complete equalizer and you know, complete drive for humanity and community if we choose to use it that way also.
Lauren Conaway 37:47
Yeah. Well, that you we went a little heavier I thought we were going to at the beginning of this session you know, we definitely went in some some good direction, you know, had some interesting chat. But now, my friend, we have we have come upon time for the human question. Are you ready?
Carolyn Driscoll 38:09
Lauren Conaway 38:10
Out of the four seasons what’s your favorite one?
Carolyn Driscoll 38:13
Lauren Conaway 38:15
Get out of here all right. Why?
Carolyn Driscoll 38:18
You’re actually my I think my answer will surprise you. I live in New England now, which is where my family’s from. But I actually did not grew up here. I grew up in Saudi Arabia. Okay, so I grew up in a very hot climate and I love the heat. Yeah, yeah, I am a water baby. I’m definitely
Lauren Conaway 38:37
I can totally see that. Although, do you ski, for some reason
Carolyn Driscoll 38:41
I do ski, I do ski
Lauren Conaway 38:43
I don’t know why but I’ve had I’ve had that impression like I’m just like shoot shoot shoot you got about top
Carolyn Driscoll 38:53
Anything with water and snow is frozen water right? Absolute water baby but you there’s no such thing as too hot
Lauren Conaway 39:00
I would not have guessed that I lived in Saudi Arabia at a time was going to be your answer. But it’s like very interesting that it that it was you were right, I did not expect that. But I can see that now in my my registers of disapproval over here like fuck your summer. Baby I want my leather jacket like
Carolyn Driscoll 39:24
Yeah, I agree small is beautiful and you live somewhere with a beautiful fall I in. New England is gorgeous in the fall as well. I mean, yes, it’s beautiful, but it leads to winter and I’m such just like I love I love date. Like I love sunlight like I love light and I don’t do well with like the dark shore days.
Lauren Conaway 39:42
Like I live I live winter to like, alright, for those of you who don’t know what I look like I am extraordinarily pale. I knew people were not built for summer and heat. And Kansas City is slowly becoming a hellscape every summer. Thank you climate change. So summer is just not my jam. I’d take winter, any day, bring it on. But it will. So thank you for that you, little summer, baby. I’m going to be thinking of you every time I go out into the heat and humidity, and I’m just like, fuck this. I’ll be thinking of you. Carolyn, are you excited?
Carolyn Driscoll 40:19
Yes, please. I’m like the one that turns the heat on when it’s like 70 degrees out?
Lauren Conaway 40:23
Oh, my gosh, you and I don’t know that we could travel together, we would have
Carolyn Driscoll 40:27
been separate rooms for sure. Yeah.
Lauren Conaway 40:32
Well, all right. Well, let’s, you know, one of these days, we’re gonna have to try it. And Carolyn, is we’re gonna have to have to have you back on the Startup Hustle podcast to hear more about your journey. But until then, I’m very excited to see what happens with Uncommon Good. Thanks for taking the time to fill us in.
Carolyn Driscoll 40:49
Such a pleasure. Thank you for having me.
Lauren Conaway 40:51
Of course, of course. And my friends. I would be remiss if I didn’t tell you that today’s episode of Startup Hustle is sponsored by Full Scale. Finding expert software developers doesn’t have to be difficult, especially when you visit FullScale.io where you can build a software team quickly and affordably. Use the Full Scale platform to define your technical needs. And then see what available developers testers and leaders are ready to join your team. Visit FullScale.io to learn more. Definitely check out the show notes as well. You can look into Full Scale, you can check out Uncommon Good. I believe you can check out the InnovateHer KC. I think there are producers pop that in there. But learn more about Startup Hustle and one of the things that I always want to ask our listeners to do is let us know how we’re doing. Let us know what you want to hear about. You can go to StartupHustle.xyz, check the show notes as well. But you know, check out StartupHustle.xyz. Go to our Facebook page. We have a Startup Hustle chat on Facebook as well. We’ve got LinkedIn presence, Instagram, all places. Find us, support us, subscribe, like, share, but let us know if you have any guests you want us to interview and talk to us about the topics that you want to hear about. We do this. For the entrepreneurs and founders out there. We don’t want you to have to worry about making us fuck ups. So we find founders to share and we share our own stories. We’re trying to save you. So help us help you friends, but definitely keep on coming back. We are extremely grateful that you listened to us week after week, and we will catch you next time.