Joining Intel in spring of 2021, Lesley serves as Head of Marketing for Incubation & Disruptive Innovation. In this role, she oversees marketing and communication for the IDI business group, the Intel Incubation Program and all ventures within IDI. IDI combines vision technology and AI to develop vertically integrated solutions across categories like robotics, finance, healthcare and retail.
As the general manager of Essence.com, Lesley negotiated an internal joint venture between Time Inc. and Warner Brothers Television group. The joint venture secured investment funding for an Essence.com redesign and re-launch. In 5 years, Lesley built Essence.com to become the most profitable digital property per unique visitor at Time Inc. She also led the diversification of sales inventory to unlock new ad sales categories and revenue streams. Revenue grew by 20% year over year.As the Executive Strategy Director for GMR Marketing and the Omnicom Experience Group, Lesley built two successful agency capabilities leading the creative technology and social media practices.
She has also served on several non-profit boards focused on improving outcomes for youth and currently sits on the Board of Directors for Near North Montessori School in Chicago.Lesley and her wife Tiffany share a precious and precocious 6-year-old daughter named Penny (Penelope), and an even more precocious 7year-old miniature cock-poo, Ziggy. Lesley loves to cook and dreams to try her hand on Chopped.
AI has officially gone mainstream and which is ironic to me, because it's been around for a while and it has been impacting us for a while. If you go into your iPhone or your Android Phone, Android phone and you go to your picture real and you type in dog. That's artificial intelligence that has figured out that that's a dog and a picture, not a cat. When Netflix suggests the film, that's artificial intelligence that has sort of crunched the data, and worked on an algorithm that has said, “Okay, if they like this, this and this, they're also going to like this movie.” It’s really been around and behind the scenes for a while.
But what we're seeing lately is this idea of using AI to create, and I put this up because there is a platform out there, Midjourney that his similar to how Chat GPT works, where you can prompt it with an idea, write me a 100-word paper on the Russian Revolution of 1917. And it'll sort of go out their comb all of these resources, and write to a pretty decent if not boring paper. Chat GPT has really captured everybody's imagination. It's been used already to successfully argue cases, every single college right now is thinking about how they eliminate piracy from that. We also can assume that newspapers, and other publishers are starting to use these for social posts, or promotional and even articles, we kind of don't know, but I think it's pretty safe to assume.
This is where I think people have started to understand and also become fearful of what AI could become. We've seen it on the fringes, but when you have elements that can easily create images that are realistic, and you pair that with Vox box, where you can, creative voice, that sounds like Morgan Freeman, and you could go to a platform like rails.ai. And you could take your chat GPT script, you can take some images that you created on another AI platform, you can drop it into reels, and you can make a quick movie. I went through the process of going to Chat GPT and said, What are five marketing trends that women business leaders need to know, it generated a script, I dropped that script into real AI reels AI, and it made me a 32nd video that wasn't great, but also wasn't horrible. I've seen worse that people have spent money for. And so I think this idea of creation is what is sparking both the concern and excitement around artificial intelligence. And I think what's important for us to think about is, is that it's really been around longer than we know, I think we're just starting to see this use case changing. And it's not really a revolution. It's a tool.
I'm obsessed with the Pivot podcast with Scott Galloway and Kara Swisher. They had an art critic on a couple of weeks ago. And he was saying that artificial intelligence is going to eventually become like a paintbrush, or like oils, or like charcoal is going to be a tool that creators use to enhance, it's not going to necessarily change the structure.
If you're a great storyteller. You're a great storyteller. And Chat GPT is not today going to be a better storyteller than you. Could it get there, potentially. But I think what we've seen with all of these technology jumps is that the human brain is a better computer than we can create today. And in real time can process more information than these algorithms can. When the internet first came out, and when YouTube first came out, everyone said this was going to be the death of linear television. Well, what it looks today, we've expanded the pie. But none of the big players have really gone away. People still get excited for Marvel Cinematic Universe films. I think now it's just a broader playing field. And so I think AI will continue to evolve as a tool.
The biggest part for me that is so troubling about AI is, is that unfortunately, it has taken on all of our biases as a society. There's been a ton of articles in the last two weeks about how Chat GPT with Bing has gone down to a very sort of dark post-apocalyptic sort of tone. And I think that all technology is influenced by the people that create it, which is why I advocate for sort of democracy of development, which allows everybody because most AI chatbots today, sort of carry the burdens of our society, they tend to be misogynistic, they tend to be insensitive around race issues. All of the things that we combat as individuals in our society is showing up in AI. And that's troubling. And I think we need to sort of make sure that we have those safeguards.
But I think as a tool, it's important to remember that there are biases and these tools. And despite everyone's best effort, it's really going to be up to the end user to ensure that those biases don't sort of pervade their final work. And then the last thing I will say about AI is really, I think, what is the most interesting about this AI moment that we're in right now is what does that do to Google's cash cow business, which is search? Right now, if you go to Google, and you type in what is the best restaurant in Chicago, you'll get a page full of paid links, and article links that all probably have top 10 Lists, Top 25 lists of what the best restaurants in Chicago. AI and we're biggest hoping to go is to say the best restaurant in Chicago is Alinea. And they can say that because of all of the 100,000 articles written on the best restaurants in Chicago. Alinea was on every single one. And it was the only restaurant that was on every single one. And so if you think about that, as small businesses, that's going to be huge, because a lot of people make their money on Search Engine Marketing, a lot of people find their customers on search engine marketing, Google search results, double click that whole ecosystem is predicated on not giving great answers but giving you options. And as these tools get smarter, and can give you that singular answer, I think how Google pivots their business, and what that means for those people that have invested in sort of traditional content search, and search engine marketing, they're going to need to and should start thinking today about how they can recoup that lost traffic when we migrate towards a more singularity of answer on the article artificial intelligence front.
So DiFI are better than NF T's. We all know that NFT's have had their ups and downs. DiFi is short for decentralized finance if people aren', sort of how we got here, Blockchain, which is I'm gonna assume that everybody knows blockchain and is but basically it's an open contract that allows how that informs how decisions are made, and it's secure. And it's portable, and it's open. And it can be used to create everything from NFT's to platforms; you name it. And from the blockchain, we quickly got to cryptocurrency and then from there, we quickly moved to NFT's. And then I think everyone collectively had a WTF moment. Like, what are we doing? What is the real value here? And there was a lot of not aboveboard players that I think really made this first introduction or consumer introduction to blockchain and cryptocurrency rife with skepticism. I think what we should have been talking about is this idea of decentralized finance and what that means in terms of security and access.
We have a global underbanked problem. We have real challenges with access to systems when we think about our global community. Not a day goes by where something is not getting hacked. Value is arbitrarily set by certain people. Right now, if you're a seller on Amazon, some of your stores they're taking 50% that's a lot. Visa takes their cut, your bank takes their cut. And so this idea of, of allowing democratization of the value and not having to go to somebody, or a centralized authority to get into a financial system is has real value. And then transparency and liquidity!
The reason why these people aren't getting mortgages is because there's one person or a group of people sitting at an institution and saying, okay, credit score is the number one determinant of people's value. And that's how we're going to make all our decisions moving forward. Well, what if you don't agree with that? What if that's not the way that the world should work? What if we're more than just our credit score? So decentralized finance basically puts in, in progress, the ability to transact without going through the big banks as simply as I can sort of say that and it allows for everything to be liquid? And the way I like to think about it mostly, is, it's like going back to the caveman era where things were bartered..
So the value is what I think it is going back to a real estate example; what is a house worth? Well, it's worth what someone is willing to pay for it and what someone is willing to sell it for. There’s data out there that can help us determine in this neighborhood prices go for this much per square foot. But if this is my dream house, and I want it more than anything, I may pay more than that. If it's not, I may pay less than that, or find the value less than that. And so, this idea of being able to use anything to drive value or create value, I think, is a very interesting idea and an interesting concept. And so what DiFi will do is allow value in all of its forms to be tokenized. And this is when all the finance people if there are finance people on the call will start like rolling their eyes and laughing. Because they're like, well, value is value. And that's the dollar that's the euro or that's, this currency. But I think where we need to sort of be thinking is that value can flow freely across geographies and industries. People from traditional finance often are skeptical tokens can be used to represent anything real estate, social clout, employment, community membership, right? And so when you think about it that way, if you are a content creator, on tick tock, for example. Is there a value to having some of your audience get a sneak peek of your content? Or getting exclusive access? If the answer to that is yes, then that's what really an NFT is. And you starting to see companies like Starbucks, who are moving away from the verbiage and calling it a digital asset. So basically, they're saying this many visits to Starbucks has this level of value, and creating their own mechanisms with transparency, to allow everybody to understand what that value is. And so when I think about DiFi in that way, it gets incredibly more interesting than sitting around thinking and wondering why the hell someone is spending $100,000 for a board ape NFT.
For a while now, people have wanted to break away from the money and the pieces of institutions that they don't think are fair, credit card fees, late fees, overdraft fees, in a pure banking sense.
And if you think about that, as we extrapolate to, like the Shopifys of the world and the Amazons in the world, the Googles and double clicks of the world, this idea of value being co-created agreed upon, I think, is going to really take off and really sort of be the part of this idea that sticks.
As I mentioned, sensing is really important. Our senses are the greatest data receptors that have ever been created. And we are chasing that in a technology from a technology perspective. The closer we can get to actual human sight and actual human sound, and taste and touch, is going to change everything and for how people sort of integrate these technologies into their existing businesses and ideation. I can't wait to see sort of what starts to come out of this sector.
So Metaverse, Web3, what I like to call post Roblox. For those of you that don't know about Roblox, you probably don't have children. But Roblox is a wildly successful, primarily gaming platform that was probably is the first real success case. In Web3. You go on, you can create your avatar, you can buy different things for your avatar, and there's over 300, maybe 400 900 different games that you can play that are all being created. So, ROBLOX has nine and a half million developers on the platform, people creating things that can be bought or sold. Those developers generated $328 million in revenue last year. And they did all of that with a peak audience on Roblox of 5.7 million concurrent users, the majority of which probably shouldn't be buying things, because they're under 18, unless they have that worked out with their parents.
I think what this says is, is that this first evolution of Web3, the metaverse this idea of open computing, a fairer web, based on the blockchain, I think hasn't really lived up to its promise because what we've seen so far are the same exact behaviors that we saw on the web. Roblox is a walled garden, similar to Facebook, or similar to Amazon. Decentraland is a walled garden; I can't sort of take my avatar from decentraland and put it into fortnight or put it into Roblox. And it also has been very focused on gaming, which I think, for those of us that are probably 30 and older, our vision of gaming has changed. Younger gaming is much more holistic part of an entertainment experience.
But what I like to get excited about is kind of what's next. And so if we think about where we are right now, we're in this first of like transport and transact. So like, we are going into Roblox, we are going into Decentraland, we are transporting into those virtual environments, and we are taking an avatar, and we are anonymously traversing these. And we also may be transacting, , whether that's buying an NFT in these games, or buying them just on the open market, what we've seen so far is is that, , Blockchain based activities in these first two buckets of Web3 have been marginally successful. This last one, I think, is actually the most interesting piece, and I think is what gets me excited, on the right is, is a image of a contact lens. For those of you that don't know, Apple has put in a couple of patents on contact lenses. And if you think about where this is going, in short form, we will have technology similar to Minority Report, right, where, without looking crazy, because the glasses are too big, or they aren't really fashionable, that we will have sort of real time overlays of information and content, as we're traversing our everyday lives.
Our physical reality is changing. The internet is moving off screens and out into the world around us. Digital information, content and shared experiences will blend into view impacting every aspect of our lives, culture, and economy. This feature is made possible by AR cloud technology, which includes machine readable maps, that tech giants and startups are currently spending billions of dollars to create. To reach its full potential AR cloud applications, content and experiences must be accessible, and work seamlessly for anyone, anywhere, on any device without unjustified restrictions. Above all, personal private and sensitive data collection must be limited, compartmentalized and protected at all costs. We must earn it.
Whether we get there in five years, we get there in 10 years, that is where we're going where you either have glasses, or you have a contact lens that feeds you information that you can turn on turn off. I know it seems like a little daunting right now. But this idea to bring digital elements into everyday life. I think where we're going is this convergence of like, how much information can we get and how can we innovate on things like contact lenses and regular glasses to help facilitate this transition? But , if you're a blogger and doing a city tour, and that's or if you're a blogger talking about your hometown, I think it's obvious to see how this is going to be a game changer for you and your business and how you tell stories and how you create content and how you think about those experiences that the end user is having. For me, this idea of transformation and mixed reality is where we're going.
The EU a couple of years ago, launched GDPR, which is why we have all those except all cookies boxes on the bottom of our websites, around how companies can collect personal data. And there is a whole list of tenants. And, I think like all legislation, it was bold, it was flawed, but it was necessary, especially in this emerging technology. They've gotten a lot smarter over the last five years and some of the new discussions that they're having in Europe, about GDPR, I think are going to put a lot more teeth into what GDPR was, the fines are getting bigger, they're looking at criminal, they're looking at potential criminal charges against some of these companies. And so this idea of how do we move to a cookie list non trackable internet is really being spearheaded by the EU. And, they've been really protecting the rest of us with their forward thinking and willingness to try to at least allow us to retain our personal data, not have it be monetized, and also not have it be sold and traded the way that it is here. So I think GDPR is another thing in the next session of EU saying what specific legislation comes out of that and how that impacts on privacy and our ability to collect information.
And then the last thing is rising tensions with the People's Republic of China. The fact that Apple is making the investment, even at a 50% success rate to move some of their production out of China is a huge signal. If the People's Republic of China, and their tensions with the West escalate, we've already started to see sort of how that is impacting supply chain. So if you're a small business owner, and you have an Etsy shop and you source in China, it's probably a good time to think about diversifying regions locations, and just making sure that you don't you have redundancy, I think we learned during COVID how important supply chain is. And, this is one that we kind of see out there on the horizon, I think the sanctions that Biden put in around technology being delivered there, and sort of how that has initially hampered a lot of innovation in the People's Republic of China. I don't think it's going to be met long term without any sort of retaliation or tax increase or whatever. And so I say this to say, if your business significantly runs through the People's Republic of China, just make sure that you have some redundancy if things don't cool off.
AI, relax, it's a tool.
DiFii is the way to think about value reimagined.
Sensing is a drive towards approaching humanity through technology.
The Metaverse, it's not this, but it's going to be something.
Then with privacy and politics, you got to protect yourself.