From Thought To Profit: How Ideas Become Viable Businesses

Timothy Mitchell is excited. The 27-year-old eccentric genius says he’s cracked artificial intelligence (AI).

His computer code and programs actually have the ability to learn. They also have the ability to make him a great deal of money.

It is an idea that could revolutionise business; drastically cutting down on the time spent monitoring, repairing and protecting computer systems, because AI will learn to do it by itself.

So, to bring his idea to a wider audience, Timothy, who’s the chief executive of Dot AIN, headed to this year’s Future in Review (FiRe) conference.

Set in the lush grounds of a posh hotel in California’s Orange County, about an hour’s drive south of Los Angeles, the annual FiRe gathering brings together some of the brightest minds in the United States and beyond.

There is little doubting Timothy’s credentials. At just 18, he did so well in Microsoft’s entrance tests that they thought he must be cheating. He joined the software giant as a senior architect and director, and his expertise has been sought out by Wall Street banks and government agencies.

But he describes himself as an inventor, an ideas man. So, how did he turn his vision into a viable business?


For Timothy Mitchell the first step is getting over the fear of the future.

“I have seen thousands of ideas die on the vine, because the individuals that have them never get over that fear of failing,” he says.

To pursue his dream, he gave up a directorship at Microsoft and put his money where his mouth is. He cashed in some of his assets, including the savings he was putting away for his retirement.

Taking an idea down the path towards being a profitable business is risky, but being fully aware of the risks is key.

“You have to understand what the worst-case scenario is and be comfortable with that,” he said. “For me, the absolute worst scenario was, I’d spent what I’d built up and I’d have to go back to work. Once you understand that, it’s much easier to get over that initial fear of starting.”

Jon Myers, the founder and chief executive of Graphene Technologies, a company that makes the highly flexible yet strong material graphene from carbon dioxide, agrees.

But he also adds that the desire to bring an idea to market needs to be tempered with a degree of realism and common sense.

“Never put yourself in a position where you’re risking your family and risking putting food on the table,” he said. “I’ve seen a number of people go there and lose it all. Family and everything.”

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