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Fireside chat with Sara Nasiri

Who is Sara?

Sara is CEO and AI leader at SmartyX GmbH which helps SMEs who want to have smart workspaces with AI methods by giving away lots of knowledge about explainable AI and AI-based solutions. She has served as a research assistant, and after her PhD as a postdoctoral researcher at University of Siegen. Sara is also a guest researcher at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT). Within AI, she is interested in problem-solving methods related to machine learning and text mining, and their interdisciplinary applications in different fields. As a result, Sara’s work blends both theoretical and practical aspects of the problems and she wants to bring it in her own business and explore more and more new AI use-cases and application ideas.

Tell us more about your role in SmartyX GmbH.

My first responsibility in SmartyX is refining our product vision consequently with frequent interactions with our partners and customers.
In parallel, I focus on managing revenue and external financing to maintain the consistent development of our company.
I have these concerns to build a motivated-skilled team and continually optimize for team fit, and brand management.
Last but not least, corporate development for managing our company’s place in the overall industry.

What is the most difficult part of your job? But the most rewarding one?

Finding the right balance, because I can’t be amazing at all roles!
I can perform all responsibilities on the best days in perfect harmony so that everything working well. But I know that my role is a constant push to align all the requirements of our customers, our team, our investors, our partners, and myself!

Is there anything that you would change about your professional path?

I think, starting a business can be very challenging and risky but a rewarding one. The only way to learn is to do and apart from that is just estimating something without sufficient information.
I learn from everything and everyone! I am sure you understand the idea that we can learn in every situation, from our success to our failure and mistake. Our success trains us to repeat the correct things, and our failure which starts before the failure even happens! Because when failure occurs, we were prepared for it! You know, I say to myself: No matter how is my feeling, just need to take a lesson from it! I am learning also from other people by analysing what they do and why!
Therefore, I think we should not miss the lesson, just keep moving forward and keep learning, in every situation!

What’s your key strategy for the development of your company?

Product development strategy by regularly refining our products vision, defining use-case scenarios and interacting with our partners and customers.
A weekly standup (all-hands) meeting is a great setting to remind our teams from different projects that continually feel clear and excited about where we are headed and how their works provide a strong contribution to the team’s objectives.

What do you think about the next period of time, keeping in mind the pandemic and the new business climate? How will your industry be affected?

We have planning mechanisms & emergent strategic management:
Selecting the proper risk management & scenario planning:
– Setting out the assumptions based on the identified action plan/key risks about the future plan of our AI-base automation software development;
– Arranging effective communication meetings;
– Discussing about the alternative scenarios considering different perspectives, assists with no regrets, opens up new opportunities & build in time for development of the cloud/on-premise system (diverse range) and considering the impact of each scenario;

Staying flexible by agile development:
– Designing agile models with iterative procedures e.g., extreme programming & rapid prototyping;
– Defining the unit tests & user stories/scenarios for end-users in non-technical language for each iteration, being customer & development team in the same side to build an XAI system together;
– Presumed authority in team to increase the level of agility, adaptability, & encourages a learning approach.

Please name a few technologies which have the greatest impact on your business.

  • Artificial Intelligence (AI)
  • Machine Learning
  • Explainable AI (XAI)
  • Edge Computing
  • 3D Printing (AI-based 3D Printing)

What books do you have on your nightstand?

  • The Formula: The Universal Laws of Success (Albert-László Barabási)
  • The Masnavi (Maulana Jalaluddin Rumi)
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