By Eleanor Bennett
5 min read
For the next interview in our series speaking to technical leaders from around the world, we’ve welcomed Hikari Senju, Founder and CEO of Omneky.
Hikari Senju is the founder and chief executive officer of Omneky, an AI platform for generating, analyzing, and optimizing personalized ads at scale.
Can you share a little bit about yourself and how you got into the field of artificial intelligence?
My name is Hikari Senju and I’m the Founder & CEO of Omneky, an AI platform that generates, analyzes and optimizes personalized ad creatives at scale. I’ve always been passionate about technology and design. I got into Harvard, MIT and Princeton for college and ultimately chose to study Computer Science at Harvard while cross-registering courses at MIT. I remember taking a course at MIT where I saw the earliest text-to-image models. My dad is an artist and I got very excited about the potential of AI creating art. Understanding Moore’s Law, I knew the technology would get there quickly and I kept avidly playing around with the state-of-the-art applications and following the research since then.
Also in college, I founded my previous startup, an on-demand tutoring app called QuickHelp, which I later sold to Yup.com and became the company’s Head of Growth. During my time at Yup.com, I saw how much money was being spent on inefficient content but also how much data there was in advertising, which inspired me to build Omneky. By combining the ability of AI to quantify design and to generate creative content, I grew the company into a tool that helps businesses grow by generating and managing ads at scale in less time and for a considerably lower cost.
Tell us about the business you represent, what is their vision & goals?
Omneky generates personalized ads at scale through omnichannel creative orchestration and utilizes state-of-the-art deep learning to personalize advertising creative across all digital channels. Our machine learning algorithms analyze what designs and messaging are resonating with prospective customers and use those insights to generate ads most likely to drive engagement.
Omneky leverages two game-changing innovations: computer vision and AI generative content. Until computer vision, it was impossible to quantify design. Now designers can point to a design decision they made and can quantifiably prove that it drove a 20% increase in sales. Never before have designers had that power and leverage before, and Omneky’s dashboard empowers designers to back up their design decisions with data. Omneky’s proprietary software layers on computer vision to provide correlative relationships between ad features and KPIs.
Powered by OpenAI’s GPT-3 and DALLE-2 as well as our own proprietary algorithms, Omneky then generates the creative based on the insights to increase creative testing and maximize ad performance. One of the challenges of advertising is that ads can go stale and it's hard to keep coming up with new content based on existing stock or product imagery. Stable Diffusion and DALLE-2 lets customers generate an infinite number of new, unique visual assets, letting customers test new concepts without limit.
What do your day-to-day responsibilities look like at your organization?
My day starts with a 7 AM stand-up with the entire engineering team. At 8 AM I have a daily standup with the product, customer success and account management teams. Then my day consists of 1-1s with team members, investor meetings and meetings with customers. I also have meetings with the product, marketing, sales and design teams at least once a week. Usually, my work day goes well into the night. Due to our teams and customers in Asia, I may work until 8-10 PM.
Apart from meetings, I work on the product, marketing, hiring, fundraising, sales and operational work (taxes, accounting, compliance, and legal). I read a lot, whether it is recent papers on machine learning, transcripts of customer meetings, customer reviews, product analytics, product design proposals, exploring competitor products and AI applications, and go-to-market methodologies by experts. Additionally, I try to find an hour to work out every day as well as using that time to listen to an audiobook at 2x speed.
What book are you currently reading?
I am currently in the middle of Democracy in America by Alexander de Tocqueville. A few books I’ve finished over the past months include The Guns of August by Barbara Tuchman, Burn Rate by Andy Dunn, Blood Sweat and Pixels by Jason Schreier, Men Machines and Modern Times by Elting Morison, American Prometheus by Kai Bird and Martin Sherwin, Island at the Center of the World by Russell Shorto, Capitalism and Freedom by Milton Friedman, The Speed of Trust by Stephen Covey, and Whole Earth Discipline by Stewart Brand. I am able to get through so many books by setting aside dedicated time during my weekends and listening to audiobooks while working out.
Can you share some of the proudest achievements you've experienced in your career?
I’m most proud of the team we’ve built. At Omneky, we look for three attributes when hiring: high energy, high curiosity and intellect, and high integrity. We have around 50 employees all over the world and I am constantly blown away by how thoughtful and creative our team members are. I am striving to make Omneky the best place to work and attract the best talent from all over the world.
Which industries and processes do you see as the greatest opportunities for applying artificial intelligence?
This question reminds me of this great book called Capitalism Without Capital: The Rise of the Intangible Economy by Jonathan Haskel and Stian Westlake. Intangible assets are assets that are intellectual or knowledge-based, instead of things based in the physical world like factories. All industries and processes based on the “intangible economy” are the lowest-hanging fruit in terms of applying AI.
AI is already better at detecting diseases from pictures and other sources of data than humans are. AI is already generating music, film and fashion designs. AI + AR is revolutionizing shopping as you can dynamically put on clothes and place personalized generated objects in your house before buying. Software development is being revolutionized by tools like CoPilot. Anything that touches the internet or works with data is going to get revolutionized by AI. Software ate the world, and now AI is eating software.
What are the most significant changes you expect to see in business due to AI?
I believe that capitalism is fundamentally a democratic force and a force for freedom. Everyone is equal before the eyes of the market. The market doesn't care what ethnicity or religion you are, all it cares about is whether you can create value. Advertising is an essential part of capitalism because it informs consumers about products and services they can buy. Advertising plays an important role in generating demand for the growth of the global economy.
What we’re doing at Omneky is utilizing AI to democratize the markets further by lowering the cost of growth. With AI, Omneky is lowering the barriers to entry so that any compelling product has the opportunity to compete in the market, even if they don't have the capital or connections that were previously a traditional necessity to bring a product to market. The implications of AI here are enormous because we are describing not just how Omneky revolutionizes advertising, but the global market of products and services. I believe that great ideas and great products can come from anyone and Omneky will bring to market a whole new generation of companies whose innovation will revolutionize everything.
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