Brad Messer’s experience has convinced him that AI can help any enterprise.
What’s your story?
After graduating from Clarkson University in 2015, I spent 8 years with IBM’s mainframe analytics and AI strategy which had me working on the biggest tools of the day and porting them over to the IBM z/OS platform. After trying many different positions, I wanted to go my own way and make a stake for myself in entrepreneurship. During my time, I also did a lot of self-study in AI and had data scientists and researchers welcoming me in to work with them before I left. That’s when I knew I was really on to something.
What excites you most about your industry?
AI can be mixed into practically anything, which is beneficial for the end users as we can simplify processes that otherwise provide a bad user experience and get people home to their families instead of saying due to technical difficulties, I have to work longer. This is all about how we can make life simpler for everyone.
What drives you in your career to push beyond what other people consider normal?
Our productivity has aftershocks in the market and one of the common ones from AI is the amount of electricity and Green House Gasses (GHG) produced in the training of the model which inadvertently cause trouble for everyone else around the globe.
What have been the most useful skills you have learnt and applied in your journey?
Being adaptable. As I’ve grown in my career, I’ve been on the AI strategy’s A-team and would be on the particularly tough projects. Those projects only have to be as tough as you let them and you can go with the option of having a hardcore learning regimen.
After even more time, though, you find the software environments you use will change drastically and what role you are expected to fill in a team change as you grow. After 8 years, I’m only doing C-suite and board work.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
When I first started at IBM, one of the well-achieved leads told me to always say yes to opportunities as you never know where the opportunities can lead you. If I hadn’t trusted my own instincts, I wouldn’t have found such great people and been on the path to achievable financial independence at such a young age.
Who inspires you?
I really love what Bill Gates, Gandhi, & Andrew Ng have done with their lives. The world is full of hate and here we have folks handling systematic, big change without losing themselves to the toxicity of the world.
What have you learnt recently that blew you away?
Just how much work we have left to do on climate action. Starting 2025-2030, we need to remove 30 gigatons (GT) of GHG a year to keep us in a stable zone of temperature increase. At this point, we’re looking at closer to a 2.5-3 degree Celsius increase which becomes a critical inflection point of the human race being able to survive. For more details, check out the AI for Good specialization on Coursera. The needs here are that drastic that we need to make meaningful differences ASAP.
If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I wouldn’t allow myself to be held back. There’s always a way to your goals, but it also becomes a question of which people can support you to get there. In pursuit of some, you’ll have to re-evaluate priorities and relationships to decide what makes sense and what needs to go. In a way, you have a duty to the world to fulfill your calling because the world needs what you have to give by operating in alignment with yourself.
How do you unwind?
I’ll typically enjoy time with my wife, get out for walks or exercise at the gym, and just enjoy talking business and life with other like-minded professionals.
What is a major mindset change, belief shift or ‘ah ha’ moment that you’ve experienced in relation to your career?
The biggest shift came when I realized how I could compound my growth through rigorous self-study and combine that with job experience for best results. I quickly grew into the C-suite and board work and left off there as there isn’t much else I can do without starting multiple businesses and just giving them time to grow.
Everyone in business should read this book:
Leadership and Self-Deception: How to get out of the box by The Arbinger Institute. This forced me to re-evaluate my relationships with everyone and how I viewed them through a protagonistic or antagonistic lens. Some relationships I knew would work out and I just had to change how I position myself within them and others I had to think about how much contact I wanted to maintain if at all. It’s hard, but humans are dynamic creatures and we’re meant to grow. This can be both into and out of relationships.
Shameless plug for your business or career:
Star Growth Solutions (SGS) – We’re here to simplify your business through hands-on process implementation and scale you to big sizes through our comprehensive C-suite services.
Structure AI – We take an idea and provide end to end software implementation services providing novel ideas of how to embed AI into mission critical business structures.
How can people connect with you?
People can get in touch with me on LinkedIn or my cell phone at +1 (716)-307-8473. If an international contact, please use LinkedIn or WhatsApp.
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This interview is part of the CallumConnects series.