The Revolution of AI in Businesses

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Over the years, as I navigated through various business domains, I encountered operational challenges and efficiency bottlenecks. From tech start-ups and fintech to real estate and green energy, my entrepreneurial journey has been marked by innovation. The rapid advancements in AI over the past decade have made it an indispensable tool for modern businesses. As an early adopter, I’ve consistently been attracted to the promise of emerging technologies, especially AI, and its transformative potential in challenging traditional paradigms. At its core, the AI business model works as a catalyst for growth, aiding in refining your business model and enhancing decision-making on both internal and external strategic fronts. However, understanding ‘what’ and ‘how’ AI can offer opportunities is crucial.

How I Began Implementing AI In My Businesses

Understanding the advantages of AI is one thing; implementing it is another. Here are the steps to consider:
  • Defining your Vision
Start by clearly defining the objectives you aim to achieve with AI. Before diving into it, pinpoint your goals. Whether it's automation, product enhancement, or improved decision-making processes, knowing your objectives will guide your search for the right AI solutions.
  • Spot the Use Cases
Once your goals are clear, delve into specific applications that resonate with your startup’s ethos. For instance, if you’re considering several AI marketing tools, ensure they align with your marketing strategy.
  • Do Your Homework
Before investing, research to find the ideal AI tool for your initiative. Understand the technology, its potential risks, and limitations. Factor in your budget and your team’s tech proficiency.
  • Employee Training
As you integrate, ensure your team is equipped to maximize its potential. The journey of AI success is a learning curve, driven by your team’s adaptability.
  • Start Small, Aim Big:
When introducing new tech, it's best to start with manageable projects and gradually scale up. Start with a simple project that you can complete quickly, test rigorously, and then progressively tackle more complex projects. Always be prepared to adapt to unexpected outcomes.
  • Gradual Implementation
After achieving some early successes, resist the urge to implement AI across the entire business immediately. As above, start small, test, iterate then build out. You need to give your team time to get used to using AI and integrating it into their workflows and also in the culture and always monitor customer feedback.
  • Continuous Assessment
AI solutions should never be left on autopilot. Regularly evaluate the value and cost-effectiveness of the AI tools in use. If a tool is not delivering, adjust until you strike the right balance.  

How AI Revolutionized My Businesses

Automated Customer Interactions

The first noticeable change was in customer interactions. By implementing AI-driven chatbots, my businesses were able to offer 24/7 assistance, significantly reducing overhead costs and drastically improving customer satisfaction rates. Within months, I witnessed higher engagement and increased loyalty—testament to the power of personalized and instantaneous support.

Data Driven Decisions

Another revolutionary change was in data analytics. My startups were able to process vast amounts of data, extracting actionable insights in real-time. This deep understanding of customer behavior enabled us to refine our offerings, predict market trends, and proactively tackle potential challenges.

Enhancing Operations & Productivity

My teams once spent considerable time on routine tasks. AI introduced efficiencies, reducing these timelines by an impressive 50%. From automating document verification to predicting market fluctuations, AI's integration translated to faster decision-making, reduced errors, and an overall increase in operational efficiency. This freed up time was redirected towards innovation.

AI in Marketing & Sales

From predictive analytics to sentiment analysis, AI in marketing aids in market research, facilitates content creation, and automates campaigns. Furthermore, AI-driven sales processes, like chatbots, handle traffic and convert sales efficiently.

Talent Acquisition

Hiring is often a challenge for startups. AI can streamline the process by screening CVs, automating interview schedules, and ensuring a smooth hiring process, ultimately securing top talent.  


  Reflecting on AI's role in my businesses, I see its value not just in advanced tech but in tangible, measurable outcomes. The hours saved, the dollars not spent, the resources freed up represent tangible benefits, not just abstract concepts. These gains have empowered me to focus on growth, innovation, and pioneering change. AI, for me, isn't an option; it's a necessity. It's the edge that every entrepreneur, including myself, needs in this ever-evolving business landscape. As technology continues to advance, I believe the potential of AI will only grow, further revolutionizing the business landscape.  
With over 12 years of experience in the business environment, my investment portfolio is both diversified and extensive. From nurturing early-stage startups in tech to investing in groundbreaking ventures in green energy and real estate, my day-to-day activities center around analyzing market trends and making calculated investment decisions. This multifaceted involvement not only broadens my understanding but also uniquely positions me to interpret complex economic landscapes. One question, increasingly urgent for both business leaders and investors, looms large: "Why are all the big companies firing employees?" The critical nature of this issue demands a thorough review. Let's delve into the forces currently at play. 

COVID-19 and Evolution of Tech Companies 

  The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the digitization process, fueling tech giants. However, this rapid growth came at a cost. In the quest to dominate market share, these companies aggressively expanded their workforce. Yet, as the pandemic eases, diminished advertising revenues have led to financial strains. The result is overstaffed, inefficient tech companies with work-from-home policies that are proving less effective than initially anticipated.   

Fears of Global Recession: USA, EU, China 

    Concerns of a looming recession are not restricted to one geographical area; from the United States to the European Union and China, the anxiety is widespread. Large companies are taking precautionary measures, bracing for a potential downturn.   

High Inflation 

  Skyrocketing inflation, coupled with rising interest rates, is adding fuel to the fire. Businesses across the board are feeling the impact, from increased supply chain costs to surging employee wages, putting additional pressure on already weakened balance sheets.   

Negative Cash Flows 

  Despite impressive revenue figures, various tech giants, like Amazon's robotics division and Meta's Bulletin, are experiencing negative cash flows. The era of unchecked innovation appears to be meeting its financial limits, prompting a reassessment of corporate strategies.   

AI Innovations and the Irony of Progress 

    Ironically, the field of Artificial Intelligence (AI), once proclaimed as the future, is contributing to layoffs. Technological advancements in automation and intelligent systems are making several job roles redundant. Yet, it's important to note that the AI revolution is not just eliminating jobs; it's also reshaping job requirements. New roles are emerging that require skills in data analysis, machine learning, and algorithmic decision-making. These roles often demand a level of specialization and adaptability that wasn't as critical in the past. The transition we're witnessing is less about the wholesale loss of jobs and more about a shift in the kinds of skills that will be highly valued in the future.   

Industry Maturity vs. Investor Expectations 

  As industries mature, expectations change. A sector can't be in a hypergrowth stage forever. The transition from hypergrowth to a mature industry is a bittersweet moment. For investors, the expectations have shifted; the thrilling spectacle of skyrocketing growth rates is now replaced by sober evaluations focusing on sustainability and profit margins.   

Is This Just the Tip of the Iceberg? 

  Given the current landscape of widespread layoffs and market instability, one must question whether this is the beginning of a larger, unsettling trend. Early indicators suggest a significant shift that transcends the tech industry.   

In Chaos, Lie Unseen Opportunities 

  History has shown that no company is too large to fail. Those that do not adapt face the risk of becoming cautionary tales. However, turbulent times often reveal untapped investment opportunities, potentially offering high returns both financially and socially.   

Final Thoughts 

  In these volatile times, the landscape is ripe with both challenges and opportunities. For discerning investors, now may be the moment to reevaluate and reposition portfolios. As the saying goes, "In the midst of chaos, there is also opportunity." The key is to seize it.   

“Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” 

Check out my latest interview: Today, we had the pleasure of interviewing Octavian Patrascu, the Founder & CEO of, one of the leading global online brokers. Having over a decade of experience as an entrepreneur and business angel, hearing what Mr. Patrascu had to say about the current online brokerage landscape is extremely interesting for people activating in this industry. We talked with him about how he sees the post-pandemic fintech sector and what changes he implemented throughout his businesses during these fast-changing times.

When did you decide to start, and what made you invest in this industry?

I have been working in the online industry since 2008, so it's been 14 years already. During these times, even though I invested in various and diverse other start-ups, the one that really brings me passion is still represented by fintech companies. Having the experience and devotion for this sector, I wanted my day-to-day job to remain in online trading. I founded in a period where rules became tighter, competition fiercer, and the market more crowded. So, I took it as a challenge to compete and learn from the big players.

What changes have you implemented in your businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic?

capex-laptop                   We focused on a two-pronged strategy over the last two years: adjustments to our corporate mission and changes for the benefit of users. Talking about the way we organize: • We began implementing the Agile method of working and wanted to make sure that all our procedures, processes, ways of working, executing, and so on were done digitally. • This brought us the recognition of being named a Microsoft success story during the pandemic • So, for a long time, we've been focusing on putting people, processes, connectivity, technology, time, and place together to determine the most appropriate and effective manner to complete a task or project • For the clients, at a group level, due to market volatility and the enthusiasm associated with online trading, we started to build more products for them and better services. We took action towards lowering spread and fees which gave us an influx of new clients. On top of it, we created our X-branded product line, which features QuantX, StoX, and ThematiX, and we are close to launching our investing service through DMA: • QuantX is a smart portfolio builder that allows investors to create an investment portfolio in less than two minutes, based on their preferences • StoX allows investors to trade unleveraged products with 0 commissions • ThematiX blends the world’s top companies into top stock portfolios designed to make trading exciting • DMA - Direct Market Access - Commission-free investing for everyone

Tying this question to the previous one, what makes stand out from the crowd?

people-cooepration                   • The spirit of is the spirit of the employees. We believe this because several of our departments in our company have a great number of young workers. The average employee age is around 27. 43 nationalities, countless cultures, an almost perfect balance between the number of ladies and gentlemen employed - we value and emphasize our team; this is why we always prefer to promote from within • I believe it is because we began during the most difficult period in the markets, so we had to be forged by our environment and adapt to thrive. Today, online trading is entering a golden age, as many new types of users are joining the markets • Because we can have a chance to prove that it doesn't matter that you start last, it's the classic "the tortoise and the hare" story - we are here for the long run; I see this business as a marathon, not a sprint. Others might have the advantage of time, but you can still become an influential company by hard work, thinking about the client, and the product

What is the most common trend you have noticed in fintech as of late?

man-with-phone                   I suppose it's all about democratization these days. This is the term that comes to mind. Democratization benefits not only clients/users of financial instruments or banking but also smaller businesses, which can now accomplish more with fewer resources. This is possible because of the future represented by low-code or no-code, which is predicted to expand at a 44.4% annual pace by the end of 2022, API connections, and other factors. Today, you can connect the dots to create exceptional products in much less time than a few years ago and still maintain a competitive advantage. Fintechs are becoming more and more popular year after year, and brokerages have begun to shift their focus from traditional brokerage/investment firms to product or marketing firms while maintaining a compliance focus.

What are your goals for in the future?

capex-screen                   I won't go into great depth now because I know part of's success is due to a better mindset that says: be humble, modest, and friendly, disclose less and deliver more. I'll just mention a few tracking points: • We launched new products last year; we are focusing on the same vision this year. Launch products that users can use and benefit from • Reach exciting markets • Have more licenses so we can give better services • Implement new verticals for our one-stop-shop mindset You can follow me on Twitter and LinkedIn!
As I was skimming the Web the other day, a title caught my attention. "The Romanian e-commerce sector grew by 50% of the number of orders in pandemic period", it said. Of course, I had seen numerous similar headlines this year about the e-commerce market (and many with a better English!). Still, for some reason, I clicked on this one. What I read next made me write this blog post about the attractiveness of the e-commerce industry in today's market.     Romanian online businesses continue to flourish even after the relaxation of restrictions According to data supplied by MerchantPro, between June and August 2020, there were 52% more transactions placed compared to the same period of 2019. For the record, MerchantPro accounts for orders placed on over 1.500 online shops in Romania. This comes as a surprise to me since the Romanian government relaxed restrictions several months ago. Yet, online shopping performance wasn't affected at all. On the contrary, its growing trend never halted. We have a fact: the new e-commerce dynamics from the start of the pandemic show growth in six months, similar to three years in a familiar context. And with no end in sight for the COVID-19 pandemic, this trend might as well carry on. Before getting into studies, examples, and analysis, let's talk about what makes the e-commerce sector, such as an enticing business to invest in. ADVANTAGES OF STARTING AN E-COMMERCE BRAND
  • More reach to customers
  • Pretty much anyone can launch an e-commerce company
  • Low operational costs and overall improved quality of services
  • No need for setting up a physical location; everything takes place online
  • Managing the business is more accessible than in other industries
  • Straightforward transaction procedures
  • Buying and selling take place 24/7.
  As for any business, e-commerce has several shortcomings too. Below you can read several disadvantages of e-commerce businesses:
  • Not all e-commerce participants play fair; e-commerce companies can use tricks more or less legit
  • The product/service quality can be questionable for e-commerce websites
  • Due to a minimum interaction between customers and company representatives, customer loyalty can come under scrutiny
  • E-commerce sites are often the targets of hackers, so the safety of customer accounts is always in danger
  The top 3 online shops in Romania own half of the e-commerce industry here According to, eMag ranked first in the e-commerce sector last year, with a revenue of $682 million. came in second place, scoring $80 million revenue, $3 million more than, the no.3 online shop in my beloved country. No surprise so far. But I need to mention one incredibly exciting fact you ought to know: these three online shops account for half of the revenue generated from e-commerce businesses in Romania, or so states. Side note: the website I cited as source bases its rankings on every store that generates Romania's revenue. These stores can either have a national focus and only sell in their primary country or operate globally. For this evaluation, it took into consideration only the revenue created in Romania.   What the past, the present, and the future tell us about e-commerce in Romania Why should you invest in Romanian e-commerce? What's so appealing about this industry apart from the obvious things? I have not answered these questions yet, but the time has come to address them.   Revenue is expected to soar approx. 40% year-over-year, user numbers to increase by 11% During my research into the Romanian e-commerce market, I stumbled upon some exciting data regarding this industry. For instance, online shops could hit $2,35 billion in 2020 – a whopping 38.4% jump from $1,702 billion in 2019. Moreover, the e-commerce market could turn into a $3,815 billion industry by 2024, double the amount expected for 2020. The market's largest segment is Fashion, with a projected market volume of $943 million in 2020. Electronics & media, toys, hobby and DIY, Furniture & Appliances, and Food & Personal Care account for the other major industries. Graph showing Romania's e-commerce revenue from 2017 to 2024 (achieved and forecasted), and the most relevant industries contributing to it -   Buyers gather in increasingly larger numbers, women lead Another growth factor for the e-commerce market in Romania is the number of users, which is expected to amount to 10.4 million by 2024. Compared to 2019, 2020 could witness a 10,7% increase in users shopping online. Graph showing Romania's e-commerce users growth from 2017 to 2024 –   In 2019, 27.7% of e-commerce users fell into the 25-34 age category, which accounted for most online visits. Customers aged 35-44 followed, with 24.6%. Most people who buy online are women (51.4%). Graph:   Romania compared to the rest of the world. With a projected market volume of $1,115 trillion in 2020, analysts expect China to generate the most revenue from e-commerce. The United States, Japan, U.K, and Germany could follow suit. Romania sits comfortably on the 51st place. Graph:   All things point towards investing in the e-commerce market, yet... ...Eurostat points out that 23% of the Romanian population shopped online in 2019, which places us on the second to last place in the EU, only ahead of our Bulgarian neighbors. This fact might show that Romanian e-commerce has a lot of space to grow OR that we still have a long way to go to join the big names, depending on how you see things. As for myself, I like to focus on the positives, so I'll leave you with a good stat: Romanians spent around 12 million euros/day on online shopping daily last year, compared to 9.86 million euros/day, the average of 2018. And where's potential for such growth, there's also a potential for extraordinary opportunities.   You can follow me on Twitter and LinkedIn.

“The beginning is always today,” said Mary Shelley two centuries ago

She was quite optimistic, which comes as a surprise from a leading Romantic era exponent. Of course, she was talking about the excitement of an interesting adventure, a fresh day, a brand-new start.

In the trying times of Coronavirus, I keep my right to be realistic. There’s growing talk about the post-corona era, about how everything will come back to what it once was, how society will restart and pick-up from where it was left a few months ago, how economies will put all crisis behind and rise from the ashes. I’m confident that what we’re going through right now is just the beginning of a new epoch, the epoch in which nothing will be the same anymore.

The new normal

I’ve come to this conclusion by observing behaviors around me. From the muted cry of small entrepreneurs who try to find comfort in insufficient government stimulus programs to central banks that gave their all and then some, printing money out of nothing and throwing it in the face of the virus in the hope that this, the last weapon in their arsenal, will start making things right, economies rejoice, and people enthusiastically consume once again.

The underlining note in all of this is one thing: FEAR. Manifested in different forms and with various influences and vectors, but all in all, the same feeling: pure, unadulterated fear.

Business-wise, fear makes or breaks actions and thoughts, dismisses investment plans, smashes development budgets, fires employees, cuts innovation, research, development, affects investor sentiments, turns economic tigers into tame pussycats. Mind you; this is not a presumptuous forecast; this is the reality we’re living in now. This is the new world.

The Wuhan precedent

Let’s not kid ourselves; this is not an exercise of imagination; this is what some already tried. The best example is the lockdown relaxation and economic restart measures in what was, not long ago, the epicenter of this new world: Wuhan, China.

For them, after a 76-day total lockdown, with draconic measures taken to keep them inside at all times, the April 8 announcement of travel bans being lifted came as a literal breath of fresh air.

One month later, and shops are still closed, restaurants are turned into takeaway booths, businesses generate close to zero profits, production is still in shambles, bankruptcy is the new status quo. Already, the local economy contracted by at least 40% and prospects are grim.

Regardless of state-backed stimulus programs, zero-rent programs, employee cost covers, and many more, the economy does not seem to pick up.

The once-thriving 11 million people city is still in mental lockdown. Anxiety is the name of the new game.

Employees that had the luxury of being able to work from home don’t want to return to the office. People no longer frequent gyms, restaurants, cinemas, spas, salons, arcades, shopping malls, travel agencies, beauty parlors, neither the personal nor the professional life of most Wuhanese is now what it was a few months ago.

Authorities, even despotic, autocratic ones as the Chinese are, have no idea what’s going to happen, how to prepare for it, how to tackle it, and what to do if all else fails. It’s a trial and error process for Wuhan, for China, and pretty soon, for the rest of the world.

A mixed bag of information

So far, the pros and cons list contains most, if not all, measures and steps you hear about all day long, every time you turn on your TV or web browser:


  1. It surely works!
  2. It might not, it’s too soon to tell, look at the USA, see the protestors!


  1. Essential for life support during these trying times!
  2. Actually, studies are showing they don’t make much of a difference!


  1. The magic drug that’s going to cure us all!
  2. Trial test after trial test showed that it has no positive effects and might, in some cases, even make matters worse!


  1. Some guy says it cured him!
  2. Intensive medical studies find no relevant connection between it and Corona evolution!

Smokers are better protected

  1. Their lungs are more accustomed to harsh breathing conditions!
  2. How could that be, smoking kills, it says so on the pack!

Flattening the curve is the way to go

  1. Sounds smart and might work!
  2. There’s no proof yet this is the way to go for acquiring mass immunization!

For each contradictory affirmation, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of articles, pseudo-studies, reports, analysis… And with each of those, the general uncertainty about the future grows a little bit stronger.

For the average Joe and for Billion and Trillion-Dollar businesses:

  • revenues and incomes plummet
  • earnings are reaching new lows
  • tens, if not hundreds of millions have already or are very close to losing their jobs
  • productivity is sinking
  • motivation becomes a scarce commodity
  • people invent reasons for staying inside, in the comfort and safety of their homes
  • entire market sectors close up
  • the business world is transforming and all of us together with it

Until the Holy Grail, the vaccine, will be on the market, I see the anxiety described above as an ever-growing sentiment for all of us.

What does the future look like?

Covid-19 is here to stay, even the most optimistic medical scenarios don’t approximate a delivery data for the vaccine closer than 18 months.

Bracing for the second wave is easier said than done, because, in the end, in this new world, nobody knows what the future holds.

Caution is the word of the year, and it should be displayed both in a personal and a professional sense.

Not all people react the same way, and not everybody can work from home, cultures differ, lockdown measures affect each of us differently, central banks intervene in various ways in the markets, government policies that work in Wuhan might not be appropriate for Milan. We’re different, all of us, and now we find each other united by a common enemy and a common goal: survive, adapt, thrive.

Stay safe; stay healthy!

You can follow me on Twitter and LinkedIn

Amid the COVID-19 crisis, entrepreneurs must overcome their condition and address not only the preservation of their own business but also the process of scaling it, tuning it to the new economic realities.

Giving society - and the economy – a part of their wealth is a necessity, not just a nice gesture or a way to get tax deductions. Private capital and its owners are one of the most effective weapons against economic decline.

The lesson of Warren Buffett and Bill Gates

In 2010, when they launched the Giving Pledge initiative, Warren Buffett, Bill, and Melinda Gates started from a simple statement related to the tens of billions they had in their accounts: no other financial additions or arrangements done to their assets would have brought extra welfare or happiness.

This is how the initiative started, which in the meantime, gathered around 200 billionaires as followers. Only last year, the total equity for the 200 contributors - including Mark Zuckerberg, Larry Ellison, or Elon Musk – reached almost $1 trillion (a thousand billion). And the total donations amounted to $500 billion.

The amount is very close to the $590 billion funding package agreed by the finance ministers of the European Union countries at the beginning of April 2020, for the COVID-19 recovery. We can see that a group of private individuals has a financial strength comparable to one of the world's leading economic federations.

But what is also interesting is how the Giving Pledge works - the only necessary conditions are:

  • to donate more than half of your wealth and
  • claiming it publicly

The second condition eliminates the discussion of anonymous philanthropy and encourages donors to become public advocates for the causes they fund and support. Otherwise, they have the freedom to sponsor any initiative, from medical research to art, local or global, for the common good. They meet and exchange ideas; they can unite for the same actions or take on separate projects.

Why does it work?

The lax mechanism of Giving Pledge has proven to be successful and also provided a useful lesson, demonstrating that it suits the strengths that entrepreneurs have in their charitable endeavors:

  • the ability to quickly and reliably analyze a situation, transforming the analysis into concrete strategies and their immediate materialization into actionable plans, realistic goal setting, and real-time performance evaluation
  • quick, personal decisions based on priorities and future steps to be taken
  • the ability to put righteous choices into action, translate abstract purposes into measurable goals on a medium and short term
  • efficient feedback and control mechanisms, including adaptability to changes from forecasted situations
  • special negotiation skills that have the entrepreneurial prestige of the donors as a starting point, but also their remarkable business practice

By comparison, as an example of a political "drawback", in the COVID-19 crisis, US Republicans and Democrats can't come to terms regarding the terminus point for the economic stimulus package. The former would like the funds to go to small businesses, while the latter would like a cash injection for the disadvantaged social categories and the health system. 

Based on the negotiations taking place in the European Union, there is an evident opposition between the southern countries – severely affected by Coronavirus – and the northern countries, which are more interested in supporting the continental economy.

What conclusions can we draw from this?

Of course, seeing all of us equals to Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg would show a lack of common sense.

But seeing role models in famous entrepreneurs is desirable, especially since in Romania, local philanthropy, touted as both efficient and socially acclaimed until now, has been lacking so far, up to the point where the word "philanthropist" is strange or only used in literature.

From this point of view, it is useful referring to the precursors of great philanthropists of the moment – pioneers themselves – if we think of Andrew Carnegie or John D. Rockefeller. They preferred global initiatives over local ones. If Carnegie has physically built numerous institutions that he named after himself, Carnegie Hall being the best known, Rockefeller funded the solving of typical American problems, such as the education of women of color. We can take their example and act in the spirit of their philanthropic acts.

Even if our resources are scarce, let us reflect on the fact that John D. Rockefeller did his first charitable act at the age of 16, when he began his career as a humble accountant. He started with a donation equivalent to 6% of personal income and became what today we consider to be, after adding up all assets, the richest man of all time.

Steps towards the future

The entrepreneurial spirit is – by its nature – a gregarious one, that not only deals with the individual good but pursues, through economic movements, a greater good, more significant than the sum of its components. I believe that it is the moral duty of every entrepreneur worth his salt to return some of the benefits he enjoys back to the society that mediated the attraction of those benefits in the first place.

Philanthropy, through its very definition, is friendship or love for the people. What better time to express this friendship than in an economic crisis?

You can follow me on Twitter and LinkedIn

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