20VC: How to Survive and Thrive in a World of OpenAI, Are LLMs Being Commoditised, Where Does the Value Lie; Infrastructure or Application Layer, How Apple Could Win in a World of AI, How Amazon Could Threaten OpenAI and Why Google Struggle with Des Traynor, Co-Founder @ Intercom

Posted on 15th November 2023 by Harry

Des Traynor is a Co-Founder of Intercom, and has built and led many teams within the company, including Product, Marketing, and Customer Support. Today Des leads all of Intercom’s R&D efforts, and parts of Intercom’s marketing.

In Today’s Episode with Des Traynor We Discuss:

1. From Consultancy to Founding a Unicorn:

  • What was the founding a-ha moment for Des and the team with Intercom?
  • Why does Des believe that most startup advice is BS and outdated in 5 years?
  • What does Des know now that he wishes he had known when he started?

2. LLMs: The World is Not Equal:

  • What does Des mean when he says the world of LLMs is not equal?
  • How do the different LLMs vary in quality, price and speciality?
  • Does Des agree with Alex @ Nabla, “the best companies in the future will work with many LLMs at the same time and switch between them for different things”?
  • To what extent does Des believe LLMs will be commoditized and it will be a race to the bottom?
  • Would Des be a buyer of OpenAI at a $90BN price? Why not?

3. How to Survive in a World of OpenAI:

  • What two simple questions will determine if Open AI will kill your existing business?
  • What 3 criteria will determine if there is a new business to be built on top of OpenAI?
  • What is the different between a thin layer on top of an LLM and a thick wrapper with real value?
  • Which traditional incumbents are most vulnerable? What should they do in this new world?
  • How long does it take for incumbents to really be impacted?

4. The Titans of Tech: Who Wins:

  • Why does Des believe that Apple could be a massive winner in the next wave of AI?
  • Why does Des believe that Google have not been impressive and failed to keep pace?
  • Why does Des think OpenAI should be wary of Amazon? What could they do to threaten them?
  • What opportunity does Facebook have here? How could Instagram and WhatsApp win?

5. Startup and Investing 101:

  • Why does Des believe that every founder should write a blog post per week?
  • Why does Des believe that most B2B marketing sucks? What makes great B2B marketing?
  • What are Des’ biggest lessons from the Hopin journey?
  • How has Des’ angel investing changed in the last year with the rise of AI?

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