The Future Is Now: Shubham A Mishra of Pyxis On How Their Technological Innovation Will Shake Up The Tech Scene
Create a balance. In the beginning of my entrepreneurial journey, I would focus on solving a problem and putting everything else on hold. I would lock myself up and emerge only when I’ve solved the problem satisfactorily. However, I realized that while the problem was solved it wasn’t a sustainable action. I think it was okay to do that when I was younger, but I’ve come to realize the importance of demarcating personal from professional, to really succeed professionally.
As a part of our series about cutting edge technological breakthroughs, I had the pleasure of interviewing Shubham A. Mishra.
Shubham A. Mishra is the Global CEO and Co-Founder of Pyxis One, a California-based tech startup that provides codeless AI infrastructure for brands to scale accurate data-driven marketing. He also co-founded Absentia Virtual Reality, where he led teams to build a disruptive tech stack for game developers. Mishra’s work helped enable more than 10 million in-game asset generation via AI stack. He co-founded Absentia after studying at the Birla Institute of Technology and Science. Mishra has contributed to patented work on deep learning-based auto texture synthesis with e-content-based tags, a learning algorithm processor, a haptic array suite for real-time feedback in a 3D virtual environment, and a compact-sized adapter for stethoscope innovations. In his free time, Mishra is passionate about art, fitness and healthy eating.
Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
Thank you again for having me, always a pleasure to chat with you!
It’s a funny story you know, in college I actually used to be more of a hardware, rather than a software guy. Entrepreneurially, back then, I experimented a lot and even built a haptic array suit to provide real time feedback in a 3D virtual environment, which I eventually went on to patent. I then began to think, “what if I applied these learnings into a software environment?” There’s been no turning back ever since.
My first venture was focussed on building a disruptive AI stack for game developers, enabling more than 10 million in-game asset generation through the AI stack. I then began to research and explore more possibilities with AI, and that’s when Pyxis One was born. So instead of one specific story, or an “aha!” moment, I’d say it was a quick process of exploration and discovery that led to this career path.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
I’ll pick a recent one since it’s fresh on my mind.
Let me quickly get the tech context out of the way — the AI infrastructure that we offer to our customers comprises dozens and dozens of proprietary AI models. In order to continuously improve the customer’s codeless AI experiences, we observe and add new models and strengthen the core tech. Since the AI infra deals with real marketing dollars, we run simulations to detect anomalies and perfect the model before introducing it to our AI ecosystem.
It was a Friday evening and my tech team and I were running one such simulation to test a few of our newest models. The excitement in the air was palpable as we waited and watched the model take trained decisions. At the end of the successful simulation, we were all relieved and cheery when one of the team members noticed the model take an action that we hadn’t accounted for.
I think the team froze a little bit thinking about the damper that AI action would cause on their Friday evening plans! However, on thoroughly inspecting it we realized that the model had maxed out all profitable actions (according to plan), and had begun to search for more trained opportunities to continue taking profitable actions!
It, by far, is my favorite “beers on me” moment! We had observed an action that we thought would take us another week to perfect. Speed is what I value most, and this new development was just amazing.
Can you tell us about the “Bleeding edge” technological breakthroughs that you are working on? How do you think that will help people?
Artificial Intelligence, for far too long, has been the centre of too many misconceptions and myths. It’s been perceived as a “black box,” and hence considered too complicated, too expensive, too time consuming, and too many other things!
We’re breaking this perception by bringing AI to every marketer’s device, making it their super strength. By making it codeless for them, we’re enabling them to train their own AI systems with their brand data, while we do all the heavy coding and calibrations on our end. They don’t have to depend on hiring an AI expert to make sense of the technology, no need for specialized talent for the AI. So essentially, we’re helping the marketer also don the cap of a marketing data scientist.
Everybody talks about how data has grown unbelievable-folds in the last decade. That’s true, and now marketers can harness that data with the help of our AI to make extremely precise decisions that lead to lowered dollar wastage.
How do you think this might change the world?
I don’t know about changing the world but the tech that lives at the heart of the Pyxis One AI ecosystem is most certainly disrupting the marketing world. Up until Pyxis One, marketers physically did the heavy lifting on research, campaigns, analysis and reporting, and everything else. Now, with our codelss AI marketers can set up objectives for everything and have AI do all the heavy lifting. This leaves them with a lot of time to strategize and re-train the AI according to the trends they’re observing.
Keeping “Black Mirror” in mind, can you see any potential drawbacks about this technology that people should think more deeply about?
Honestly, AI is what humans develop and train it to be. It is trained with data generated by humans, who possess strengths as well as flaws which unconsciously get transferred to AI through training. So unless you develop tech to consciously create a Frankenstein’s monster, you will not have a Frankenstein’s monster on your hands.
However, I will say this — training AI definitely makes naturally intelligent humans more careful and conscious of what biases we’re passing off to an artificially intelligent technology. Because, for lack of a better way to put it, while we possess a regulator because of our emotional intelligence, AI does not possess a natural emotional regulator! So we need to have conversations around stricter regulations, and greater conscious development of technology.
Was there a “tipping point” that led you to this breakthrough? Can you tell us that story?
It was actually a conversation with one of our customers. Since our tech is relatively new to the world, we like to have conversations with our customers to understand how our products can serve them better. Sounds cliche I know, but it’s honestly one of the easiest and quickest ways to improve a product.
While catching up on a few things, one of our customers said and I quote, “Sometimes I wish I had someone living inside my system that would do my work when I’m asleep so I can wake up in peace everyday.” That, I would say, was the starting point of our “activate AI in 10 seconds mission”. We now have direct channel plugins that make AI adoption and usage so seamless that it’s almost like installing an app and configuring it a little everyday.
What do you need to lead this technology to widespread adoption?
We need to get our case studies out in front of as many potential customers as possible. Our AI plugins have been enabling some stellar results for our existing customers, and our potential customers love going through them. They have a lot of questions, and many of them try to really understand the logic behind the algorithm.
What’s been helping us a lot is old school word-of-mouth marketing. Many times we have companies reach out to us by mentioning the names of one of our existing customers. So that’s always a win for us! Especially because AI can be perceived as a “black box,” so having customers talk about us to their peers really reinforces that we have something big on our hands.
What have you been doing to publicize this idea? Have you been using any innovative marketing strategies?
I always tell my team to be smart at what they do. They don’t need to always reinvent the wheel in their respective functions. I encourage every team to immerse themselves in research before doing anything. It’s sort of like training their brain with data to help arrive at the perfect solution! So we employ the usual marketing strategies but with twists that can get us in front of the eyes of relevant potential customers in the fastest ways.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
I think every person that we have interacted with in our journey to date has had some contribution towards the success of Pyxis One. From our early investors, to our early customers. They have played a pivotal role in helping us improve and fix our product problems with their constructive criticism and support. In fact, it’s a testament to us and our product that our first customer is still one of our customers today!
I personally, am very invested in how investments in AI are changing the way our customers do business. So it gives me great pleasure to get into the nitty-gritty of their ROI from our products, with them. It’s good product research, customer relationship maintenance, and AI research all rolled into one.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
Being an entrepreneur myself, I have experienced the journey of starting something from scratch. I know how it feels when you are doing something that you don’t feel inclined to. I believe that if you are passionate about something, you should pursue it with all honesty. So every year I try to help individuals who are stuck in this situation and invest in them. It feels good to be part of their journey towards their entrepreneurial dreams.
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started”?
- Wow, that is difficult. It is important to have “nay-sayers.” As a young entrepreneur, one is going to face a lot of rejections. I believe it takes another level of strength to be able to weaponize those rejections into motivation to achieve what you set out to do. I think all entrepreneurs inherently are of this mettle, we just need to recognize it early on.
- Next lesson would be, to invest in people. You can have a great idea but without an experienced team, it is just going to be that, an idea. Placing your team in the driver’s seat can really turn things around for a business.
- Entrepreneurship is a very competitive space with long hours and no time for yourself. But I believe that it is ok to slow down for a bit. Don’t be afraid to take some time off because it does not mean that you are stopping, it just means that you are pacing yourself. From experience, that has helped me complete my tasks better and in a more timely manner.
- Note everything down — your success, your failures, and everything in between. Each one of those milestones has a lesson for you. This will prove to be astoundingly helpful when you begin to scale rapidly. Processes and management becomes a hundred-fold easier if you already have benchmarks to refer to.
- Create a balance. In the beginning of my entrepreneurial journey, I would focus on solving a problem and putting everything else on hold. I would lock myself up and emerge only when I’ve solved the problem satisfactorily. However, I realized that while the problem was solved it wasn’t a sustainable action. I think it was okay to do that when I was younger, but I’ve come to realize the importance of demarcating personal from professional, to really succeed professionally.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)
Lately, I’ve been toying with the idea of starting a founders pool of sorts. The idea is to persuade founders to pool a tiny percentage of their equity into a common kitty. This kitty will grow over time and act as a financial cushion for founders who’ve had to shut operations for whatever reasons. I believe this will encourage and empower founders to not quit the entrepreneurial route even if one idea fails.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
I see speed as a valuable strength. So I like to “fail fast, learn and scale”. I’ve come to find that failing has a positive domino effect. So whatever it is, I like to fail fast so I learn fast, and eventually when it’s time to scale, I’m scaling the most efficient and disruptive ideas.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
You can follow me on Linkedin, and see what Pyxis One is up to here.
Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational.