Tell us your name and a little about yourself.
I became an entrepreneur straight out of college. I learned we were living in two distinct worlds. The first world, the one they teach you about, is a world of rational mechanisms and events. I always wished this world would prevail. The second world is something not often talked about and is much harder to swallow – a world of intuition, randomness, and uncertainty. I learned how to juggle both worlds to some degree at an earlier period in my life. So, when the opportunity for Chooch came along, I intuitively knew it was the right thing to do.
What exactly does your company do?
Chooch is the new standard in AI training, tagging, and predictions for archived and lives digital assets. You can use Chooch’s general Perceptions or can train your custom Perceptions for mission-critical activity.
What were the biggest challenges you have faced and how did you overcome them?
Before starting Chooch, I was part of a company that grew significantly through acquisitions. The newly acquired companies were on different ERP systems and there was a major project to merge the systems over a period of three years. One of the purposes of acquiring companies is to create efficiencies and economies of scale so it makes sense to merge ERP systems or select one system and phase the others out over time. In ten years, the systems never merged, the project failed, and the company was eventually acquired.
What piece of advice do you wish someone had given you at the start of your career?
Seize the day. You have a window of opportunity for everything and it opens and shuts very quickly sometimes – sometimes in seconds. You need to develop that intuition to understand when opportunity knocks when you must act or decide on something. Sometimes you only have sketchy data points. What are you going to do? Some people have an innate capability to do this and some people need time to develop this skill. I’ve always tried to develop and see opportunities where it was not so obvious. I now just call it intuition for short, a mix between gut (old processed data) and any new data coming in at that moment.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful for who helped get you to where you are?
Every week Vartan Gregorian (Brown’s President when I was a student there), would walk past my dorm. Whenever he’d see me on the street or through my dorm window he’d ask me one simple question, “Have you found the truth yet?” It was always the same question and he would smile after asking it. Of course, how can you answer “yes” or “no” to that? Most of the time I was caught off guard and was staring at his smirking face. Maybe I said “I’m looking” a few times. At first, I thought he was referring to Meds Yeghern (the “Armenian Genocide”), but then realized he was referring to something more universal. That constant questioning took me through an esoteric journey which finally landed me in Silicon Valley reeling in the future. So, I am grateful for his leadership and for his simple questioning.
What do you see as your greatest success in life?
Before Chooch, I was involved with a Trust out of DC to provide aid to refugees in Turkey. And before that, I built and operated three nursing homes and was a co-founder of an arts college in Istanbul, Turkey. I’ve been trying to give back at every chance I get.
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