The Intersection of AI and Entrepreneurship: Insights from Jerry Yang and Akiko Yamazaki


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Jul 12, 2023

4 min read


The Intersection of AI and Entrepreneurship: Insights from Jerry Yang and Akiko Yamazaki


As the world continues to witness advancements in artificial intelligence (AI), it is clear that this technology is reshaping various industries and revolutionizing the way we live and work. In this article, we will explore six new theories about AI and how they intersect with the entrepreneurial journey, drawing insights from the experiences of renowned entrepreneurs Jerry Yang and Akiko Yamazaki. We will delve into the implications of AI on the economy, competition, distribution, and the role of AI in content creation. Additionally, we will discuss the significance of incorporating AI into existing products and the concept of "invisible AI."

Theory 1: The Democratization of Creation Costs

The widespread adoption of AI is pushing creation costs towards zero, much like the internet did with distribution costs. This shift in economics will result in rapid consolidation and power law outcomes among infrastructure players and end-point applications. The availability of open-source AI models and the accessibility of training data make it possible for anyone with the necessary skills and resources to build AI solutions. However, the real differentiator lies in factors such as developer community, ease of use, and user experience, which contribute to the network effect around the ecosystem.

Theory 2: Long-Term Model Differentiation through Data-Generating Use Cases

While fine-tuned models may win battles, the true differentiation of AI models lies in their ability to generate valuable data. Startups that focus on data-generating use cases have a greater chance of long-term success. This underlines the importance of leveraging AI to collect and analyze data, enabling companies to make informed decisions and refine their products or services.

Theory 3: Open Source Transforming AI Startups into Consulting Shops

The availability of open-source AI tools has led to a transformation in the business model of AI startups. Rather than being software-as-a-service (SaaS) companies, they often function as consulting shops. Open source solutions put downward pricing pressure on model providers that sell access to their models through APIs. The competition becomes more about the go-to-market (GTM) strategy, sales, marketing, and overall product vibe, rather than the performance of the AI model itself.

Theory 4: Distribution as the Key to Success

In a world where content creation costs are minimal, distribution becomes the determining factor for success. Creators who effectively utilize AI tools to produce high-quality content at a faster pace will be able to build a critical mass of fans. The digital media landscape is already characterized by a small fraction of creators capturing the majority of revenue, and AI will further magnify this dynamic.

Theory 5: Incorporating AI into Existing Products

Startups aiming to compete with established companies must consider the competitive advantage that lies in integrating AI into existing products. Large companies possess inherent distribution and product capabilities, making it easier for them to adapt and incorporate AI. Startups, on the other hand, face the challenge of building competitive full-suite AI products from scratch.

Theory 6: The Concept of Invisible AI

Invisible AI refers to companies that are powered by AI but do not explicitly mention it. These companies leverage AI to create innovative solutions that were previously unimaginable, thereby delighting users. By focusing on the end result rather than the technology itself, invisible AI allows for seamless integration and acceptance among users.


In conclusion, the integration of AI into entrepreneurship brings forth both opportunities and challenges. Entrepreneurs must navigate the changing landscape of AI economics, model differentiation, distribution, and the role of AI in content creation. Three actionable pieces of advice for entrepreneurs in this AI-driven era are:

  • 1. Embrace the power of open-source AI tools and foster a strong developer community to drive innovation.
  • 2. Focus on data-generating use cases to achieve long-term model differentiation.
  • 3. Consider strategic partnerships or integration with existing products to leverage inherent distribution capabilities.

By staying attuned to these insights and adapting to the evolving AI landscape, entrepreneurs can harness the potential of AI to drive their businesses forward. As technology continues to progress, the marriage between AI and entrepreneurship will shape the future of innovation and economic growth.

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