Nathaniel Schooler 0:23
Today I’m interviewing Chrissie Lightfoot and she’s a legal futurist And CEO of Entrepreneur Lawyer Ltd and CEO of Robot Lawyer Lisa; a tool that you can use to create contracts and NDAs. You don’t even need to use a real lawyer!
She’s been mentioned as a cool vendor in AI for small and medium sized businesses by Gartner Inc. She has won all sorts of awards in Entrepreneur Magazine, as a top 10 lawyer turned entrepreneur adviser to the board of the Telegraph’s digital enterprise network. Her blog was selected by Feed Spot as one of the top 50 entrepreneur blogs on the web. She’s an honorary visiting fellow at the University of Westminster School of Law on AI and robots in law.
In this really interesting episode, we talked about entrepreneurial thinking and entrepreneurial skills; key really for actually staying away from being disrupted by technology which is happening fast.
Hi there Chrissie, it’s lovely to speak with you after this all this time; I am really interested to learn more about the Robot Lawyer Lisa. Which is from what I understand an AI powered contract creation tool right?
Chrissie Lightfoot 2:02
Yeah, absolutely. Nathaniel it’s first of all, great to speak with you after so long. But yes, essentially you’ve got it, Robot Lawyer Lisa is the world’s first impartial AI lawyer, we branded her and we’ve given her personality.
So she has her own Twitter stream, YouTube and Facebook. We built a system whereby lay people and business people can create documents between themselves.
So there’s no need for any human system involvement whatsoever. It’s done in a way that is unique. We’re the first company to go to market where the system works totally bilaterally and is transparent, hence being impartial. So its objective as well. So two people can use the system and they’re educated and made aware of the legal and commercial nuances of what’s involved in the particular legal contract.
So, we’ve had a lot of interest. I mean, the flagship tool, our MVP went to market back in beta mode in November 2016 and was launched April 2017 after feedback. It is being used now in about 80 countries worldwide. So we’re very pleased with the take-up.
What it does tell us is that there is a real need and demand for this type of product, this bilateral product, but it’s a completely new way for users to behave. And certainly from a supplier perspective, it’s been a good learning curve for us. Having to be agile and respond to our customers needs and demands as to how they’re feeling about using it.
We were talking to customers and they identified the contracts that would be really useful in this day and age and how people live and work is going to automatically in the next decade or two. So we focused in on creating some property contract tools.
So we’ve done a lodger agreement; a short-hold tenancy agreement, also known as a residential lease and the commercial lease as well. So we are particularly focusing on helping the mass market and majority of people who have been neglected by traditional law firms and solicitors and bringing cheaper, easier, faster more efficient quality product to the marketplace.
The feedback has been fantastic and we’re just moving into first sales territory with distribution channels, ie. bigger companies, the end users are lay people or small businesses, we’re quite pleased with how the company is progressing.
In this day and age, you’ve got to be very entrepreneurial, and being able to flex and adapt and where you thought the market might be, or how you go to market. We’ve had to assess it, each corner, in each turn and deflect and where we failed in some areas, we’ve picked up on that and learned and tried new areas. And eventually, we found our sweet spots.
It’s taken 18 months or so from getting some initial product out there, testing it, piloting it, working with the design and fitting in with the normal trend of how people; the customers are willing to use these kinds of products.
You are well aware of the different types of AI, machine learning NLP and how the majority of people in the world are starting to use these tools and whether or not they trust them or not. You know, it’s a big ask to get people to use a system where their legal contracts are so important.
You know, you’re talking about going from the rudimentary contrast a very complex process. A commercial lease is not a simple contract in any respect. So we have identified that the users and how they use our systems fits in with the research that proves that a third of people using any form of AI product or self help DIY legal product. 30 people out of 100 are happy to use technology in the first instance and not have any human intervention.
The second third do require human intervention and are happy with the technology at first, but they do want some human to top and tail the beginning and end of this kind of thing. And the final third section that aren’t interested at all because they don’t trust it.
Part of the challenges that we’ve had is the regulatory environment where a lot of potential distribution channels or intermediaries say that we should be regulated: which is unnecessary.
We’ve had to educate the market and it’s been interesting to see how users have used the tool. Whether they have used it bilaterally or just unilaterally. Because you know, we are used to as human beings dealing with a contract on a unilateral basis. Where you’re the client and you talk to your solicitor and then whomever the business person is on either side. They will then talk to their solicitor. So the two solicitors talk together; but the two people never talk together so they usually talk to their solicitors.
Our users are using it bilaterally, so that they go into the system and alter anything they don’t like or haven’t agreed to. And they can then negotiate. About a third of our users are using it bilaterally.
So in time, we will see like most things, as time goes on in that continuum, more people will start to use it bilaterally. But it is sitting nicely with where the market research has proven how people use AI tools at this point in time.
Nathaniel Schooler 7:28
Very interesting. So in terms of the current situation with lawyers, are they actually using it with their clients or is that something that isn’t really happening right now?
Chrissie Lightfoot 7:41
Law firms are focusing very much on their own legal tech which is mainly used with their existing clients. So they will use it as a marketing tool; an add-on or client engagement tool and also part of their legal process.
So legal tech sits quite differently to where we are positioned as Robot Lawyer Lisa with law tech. And the differentiation is quite simple. Legal Tech has been a burgeoning industry whereby lots of technology companies sell into law firms and lawyers. Whereby they know that they want to make it easier for lawyers to do what they’ve always done; in the way they’ve always done it. So those lawyers will be engaging with their existing clients or new clients when they want to have the human lawyer engagement.
They want legal tech that speeds up the process of client work and helps them negate some of the time involved with their normal traditional legal tasks.
Conversely, where we sit in law tech we don’t want the human lawyer involved at all. So there shouldn’t be any human lawyer intervention necessary.
We’ve built this so that the Robot Lawyer Lisa has been embedded with that legal knowledge, experience, talent and wisdom. So as the user works through it, they are totally do it yourself. Self help is based on the information that we have actually embedded in the system.
So law tech is very much focused on those individual users who are going to use the system with another person basically on a bilateral basis. Which is unique, because even when lawyers and law firms are using legal tech, they tend to use it so that they have some involvement. Human lawyer involvement at some stage; to lead them on to some higher level legal work. Whereas we built a system so that we’re more than happy for our users to go off to their local solicitor after they’ve been happy with what they’ve created.
Robot Lawyer Lisa Cost Savings are Huge!
For an example a commercial lease can cost anywhere between 2,000 to 10,000 pounds for a normal office lease for example.
If somebody uses our system and they’re 95% happy with it; but they just want to use a human solicitor to check and top and tail the contract a lawyer will usually charge them 250-500 pounds. So they’ve saved themselves thousands of pounds; and the main thing is the time that it takes to create something like this, the user could come on and create a commercial lease in 20 minutes.
Whereas if you tried to get a commercial lease out of human solicitor in a law firm in 20 minutes. I will put money against it wouldn’t happen not unless they’re using a system like this and they could drop their 20 unilateral 1 to 1 clients. Which which isn’t going to happen or hasn’t happened as yet.
So it’s been a very slow take up by lawyers and law firms to even consider this; simply because it doesn’t sit with their existing business model. They have to really reassess their business model and culture to align better at this point in time.
Many firms are happy with their existing clients VS getting new clients at a 90% of the charge they would normally charge them pumping out mass volume self help contracts. A lot of law firms, haven’t made that step yet and may not be willing to either.
Nathaniel Schooler 10:59
I don’t think they will like this at all to to be honest….
Chrissie Lightfoot 11:04
I would say that, we haven’t put ourselves out there to disrupt and put humans out of work. We purely focused on the 80% and 90% that haven’t actually ever been served by the solicitors.
I say, just juxtaposed with user behaviour. Some users have just said, we’ll we’ll happily do and take a risk- try and sign off everything without any human intervention. Whereas others want a mix of both. So you have to keep that in mind.
Because people aren’t ready to make a complete 100% digital switch. It is no different than analogue TV, or the digital TV or people being really comfortable with putting their credit credit cards in, you know, Ebay or whatever.
It took two years for people to actually say, this has become mainstream, and it’s the norm, and I don’t see it being any different in the legal ecosystem, either.
Nathaniel Schooler 13:25
I agree, there’s some, there are early adopters and then there’s the people who are first and the people who laggards at the end, which might get around to it in 20 years, but they’re more likely to be the people who are going to use a traditional solicitor anyway, because they want to talk to someone, you know, so I think it’s, I think it’s just a fantastic thing.
There are so many developments now within within AI and machine learning. I just think it’s great what you’ve done and it’s pioneering, you know, I mean, you’re in 80 countries, that’s just incredible! Is that multilingual?
Chrissie Lightfoot 14:00
It’s used in 80 countries and the system is English law industry restrictions. So anybody who is using our NDA the confidentiality agreement, a tool they’re using a system which basically, once they’ve drafted their contract using the system, it is, you know, the jurisdiction is England, it’s English law and it’s in English.
So we haven’t rolled out anything words in Spanish or Italian or Greek or anything like that, because once again, you’re looking at a different front end. And if you wanted to do you know, multi jurisdiction, they are you going to have to devise the best documents that take into consideration the different law or the different jurisdictions.
So what we do know is that maybe 60% and most teachers or contract workers, you know, people look to English law anyway, which is why I think it’s been so popular. So people are willing to use confidentiality agreement where the recourse would be an English court of law, this NDA has been out there for over 18 months and we haven’t had any issues whatsoever just more and more take off which is fantastic.
And as for the property tools they are with English law in mind. Where people who are coming to visit the UK. Whether it’s for a leisure visit to family in a space where else but people don’t stay in a hotel by taking a short term luxury in a room somewhere. People obviously coming to work from Europe or different continents and they’re looking for Short-hold tenancy agreements.
Rather than using the the bog standard templates that you might get from estate agent which are pretty basic where the law is going to show fairness and dialogue between landlords and tenants.
Obviously our system is perfect for that because you’ve got a bilateral system where the dialogue and the exchange has actually happened and improves that. It is amazing and we were very surprised actually how it has grown, you know, the stretch and the breadth of where the data is being used.
So much so that we were listed in Gartner’s report, 2018 AI small and midsize business report being one of the tech companies to look out for. Mainly because we’ve got such a global reach and global brand.
Nathaniel Schooler 16:00
That is great in terms of entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial skills.This is the fundamental skill that can be lost in the excitement of being entrepreneurial in nature.
Warren Buffet, he can shake hands, and he can go and buy a department store or a bed store. I think he actually just walked in, and he spoke to the lady.
Buffet said – “How much do you want for it?”
He agreed a price shook hands, and then walked out. And that was how he did a deal. But that was just what he did….
But in the entrepreneurial world, feelings can change. At the beginning, everyone’s excited and they all they all want to want to grow a business and partner and all this sort of stuff.
But I unless you have that contract, and that piece of paper that says. This is the percentage, this is the get out clause, and this is the NDA as well, which, like you say is, is is is important. You have to trust those people extremely well, to not to not actually sign an NDA.
I mean, I personally, I won’t really sign an NDA now in technology, because all the possibilities are in my mind anyway.
So if I go and sign an NDA, I’m actually going to probably do-myself over, because it means that if the NDA says the wrong thing; then in the next five or 10 years, if I’m working with a different company that’s in that space, right, in some shape, shape, or form, I’m going to get in trouble.
Personally, from my perspective, I won’t sign one, and I will actually just do business on trust. I’m slightly different in that respect. But I think in terms of an NDA, when it comes to certain things, it’s vitally important. There’s no doubt about it.
So with your entrepreneurial flair, when you were when you were learning about law, were you entrepreneurial before and dreaming of something bigger than the court room drama lawyer?
Chrissie Lightfoot 18:26
Well, the the simple answer to that Nathaniel is, I was an entrepreneur before I became a solicitor or a lawyer.
So it’s in my DNA, I think my Father was an entrepreneur, not unlike yourself, it’s in your DNA, your interest in AI, and machine learning, with your father’s background, of course, being from MIT…
So I think I got the bug from a very early age, I’ve always been wanting to get into business and do startups and the rest of it; new ventures with the fire in my belly, basically.
But I did have a focus on the law and legal because you can’t be in business without touching on legal contracts as they are going to make or break a business. Even with a Non Disclosure Agreement, you can choose whether or not you you sign one or not based on where, you know, you trust people.
And just to cover it you can’t protect an idea, you know an NDA is not protecting an idea. An NDA is protecting how that NDA idea is commercialised.
So for example, you might definitely be nervous, if you know, you’re going to talk to somebody, and they could directly compete with you. So that’s where an NDA has its non compete clause in, because it’s a crucial element. Because you want to feel comfortable, you can sit there and you know brain dump your wonderful ideas onto this person that you’re going to trust and you’re going to do a joint venture together, or whatever. And then they just steal your idea and go off and do it on their own.
That’s where you’ve got this non compete element that comes into it. And then some other stuff and how you describe what is the product describing, a service or describing anything else. So it’s really important to that description goes into the NDA.
Rolling back to the entrepreneurial side issues. And understanding I think as an entrepreneur really helps if, if you’ve had a plethora of skill sets being exposed in business. And what I mean by that is understanding operations, understanding, sales, understanding, marketing finance legals, because you have to wear many hats, when you’re an entrepreneur in a business.
And I think the great you’re exposed to those different channels and verticals within a business itself, those discrete areas. If you’ve worked in those areas, and got a good feel for them. And branding in particular, you know, personal brands in nowadays with social media, where, you know, leaders or people within companies having personalities is really important. That has to dovetail with the company’s brand strategy as well, which is really important. The legal is still paramount in the success of the business.
So getting those first legal contracts signed up, even between co founders, your shell agreement, articles of association, the basic everyday contracts, whether it’s your license agreements, terms, conditions, and website and licensing and rest of it. That’s absolutely crucial, because as you as you quite rightly say, sometimes it can make or break your business. And certainly for looking for investment. And going forward, you have to have all of those in place. Plus, you know, your trademarks and such because investors are looking for value in your brand. At that point in time as well, you’ve already built in how you can protect it, because certain things you may be able to protect.
So copyrights come to fruition naturally, anyway as long as you stipulate it. But other things you need to apply for, such as your patents, or your design rights, and all the rest of it.
For myself as an entrepreneur I feel quite blessed, because I purposely went out of my way to make sure that in my career I have actually exposed myself to learn those skills, and those different areas.
So marketing, sales, funnels etc…but then obviously a great skill of entrepreneurship is actually realising when it’s not going, right, and if you have to be prepared to fail. Some products you develop won’t work, or they’re just not good enough, and, or customers prefer something else, and you’ve spent a lot of time and effort on something that you think is going to be the next fantastic thing. It just doesn’t work out that way. I mean, we take those lessons from the Steve Jobs of this world, and all rest of them.
But I think that one of the greatest thing is having to have empathy with your customers, not only been able to stand in their shoes yourself, as a buyer of whatever product, you’re developing that to actually listen very, very deeply. Deep dive into the customer experience, and listen to them, because they’re going to be your users and buyers.
If you don’t get it right, then you’re going to fail, you know being entrepreneurial is about those key things as well and why companies do fail, whereby, you know, the initial founders, co founders and the team that you put together, if that’s not right, can cripple you, you know, as a company.
So being entrepreneurial is obviously try to get that right. But obviously, we do fail sometimes. Second thing is obviously, making sure that you’ve got initial finance, whether it’s from yourself, family friends initially. Then going out to angel investment and having enough finance in place for least two or three years because you know, you’re going to have trials and tribulations, still three out of four businesses fail in the first three years.
And thirdly, as well as whether or not there’s a market for what it is, you know, your your fantastic pioneering idea, and getting that product, right, and prototype right.
Then going out to the market and getting users and buyers and that can take, you know, a good 2,3,4,5 years even, you know. I’ve come across founders who said, we still haven’t really found our model we’re still playing with and trialling it and you know, and, and four years in having burned a million pounds kind of thing. So that’s what entrepreneurial-ism as well as being prepared for that long journey, that hard journey that duration of it all.
When you’ve worked a potential client for 18 months in the still haven’t signed the dotted line on board. That is the reality of entrepreneurial-ism and I’ve actually been okay with failure.
It’s not a nice thing to deal with. But the reality is, you will fail, you know, I have failed, we will fail and have failed at certain things.
We’ve picked ourselves up and we’ve spun and we’ve looked at things again, and it’s one of those things where entrepreneurs just do it and takes effort and it takes, you know, hard work, long hours, humility as well.
Entrepreneurial-ism is also about celebrating and, you know, patting heads when it’s required, but also, you know, kicking ass when it’s required, as well. And so entrepreneurial-ism is more than your skill set. It’s about your, your personal skills and your human skills and having that continual home whereby you constantly learn as well. I mean, part of my role is, is looking out for emerging technology.
So we might be using a particular technology now, but how could we serve our customers in the same way, but but using improved technology? And how do we need to use our use our technology now? So there’s so much we could talk about, you know, as in the entrepreneurial hat, and all those different skill sets.
Nathaniel Schooler 25:23
Brilliant, I think you’d love the gentleman that I interviewed the day before yesterday, he had a eureka moment. He was he was in branding, and he was sitting in an office, and he was he was looking at bubbles for bubble bath and he sat there.
His boss said to him:- “You need to, you need to measure these bubbles. And you need to think about the size of the bubbles. And you need to do all this and everything else….”
And it just sort of looked out the window and he just thought life’s got to be better than this 🙂
Chrissie Lightfoot 25:59
It is a proper eureka moment. I thought you were going to go on to Einstein, because he had his eureka moment when he was sat in a bubble bath or something.
Nathaniel Schooler 26:09
Interestingly enough, you’d love Douglas, he actually did a degree in International Business Law became a barrister literally from that very moment. He was like, right, I’m going to go and do something and he just decided to become a lawyer.
Nathaniel Schooler 26:26
And you’ve done it the right way. I mean, I think you know going into law I mean. If you actually just listen to the interview that I did with him, there’s very little editing and I don’t expect to be much editing this one.
And that’s because you’re used to standing up in front of lots of people and particularly a judge and actually explaining something and if you kept saying “Um-Um” the judge would just tell you to get out probably.
Chrissie Lightfoot 26:54
We still do that sometimes when we’re not sure where we want to take the conversation, so I wouldn’t say that this has been 100% perfect at all because you do listen to yourself some times, but I would love to be introduced to Douglas he sounds like a real character as well.
Nathaniel Schooler 27:08
Our interview I’m calling it branding lessons from working at Krug!
Nathaniel Schooler 27:16
It’s because he worked with Krug champagne, and he used to write speeches for the Prime Minister of Malaysia. I’ve just learned so much from him over the years about branding.
I just seek out people like yourself, who are experts in their field, because I find it absolutely fascinating to just listen. And that’s part of the entrepreneurial skill set, isn’t it? It’s just that this that relentless wanton desire to just learn more every day, right?
Chrissie Lightfoot 27:50
Absolutely, but I get frustrated, because I don’t have enough time to read more. So you’re grabbing snippets of Twitter or, you know, bits of your phone, and you’re watching that groups or wherever, and, and I just wish I could, you know, I wish it was a 36 hour day, I really do.
But you do keep constantly learning through experience and practice anyway, so you’re thrown curve balls. So entrepreneurial-ism as well is very much about dealing with those curve balls. Some people that just can’t handle that. And like I say, if you do fail, and your company plummets to the floor, or you’ve got to wrap it up. Because if things aren’t working out, whatever the reason is, it’s having that positivity and that mindset:
“All right, okay, well, that was tough. And it didn’t really quite work out nothing, stop me from doing the next venture, or improving this venture in a new way, let’s rethink it. Let’s use design thinking and rest of it.”
So most entrepreneurs will keep going. And those are the serial entrepreneurs. A real entrepreneur is a constant entrepreneur who was on to the next and the next, the next the next venture, you know, these one hit wonder entrepreneurs. I just look at business people, and I think that’s quite different. And I think entrepreneurs have a very much that they’re spotting new opportunities all the time, because one of the problems of being an entrepreneur is you’ve got so many ideas that you lose focus.
And one of the challenges as an entrepreneur is to stay focused on your prime venture at that point in time and stick to what your you know.
Your core purpose and idea was and is only deflect and react and be agile where you’re still true to your core purpose, but you may have to invent some different products. But you still set out with your vision mission and aim, which remains solid.
A lot of entrepreneurs fail, because they go all over the place, and they don’t stay focused. And they, for example, might develop 100 products when you only need 5, or spend 10 million on technology, you might only really need to spend 1 million. So making those crucial decisions is really, really important as well.
Nathaniel Schooler 30:02
I agree. 100%, the amount of times I’ve wasted on on the next big idea that I never really managed to get off the ground, because I had so many other ideas that were it’s not spinning plates. And if you try and spend 20 plates, and you’re not a plate spinner, it isn’t going to work.
So you’ve got almost just just cut everything out that doesn’t fit like you say, but it’s but the thing is, is that it’s about being able to say no, isn’t it because there are there are just so many ideas.
I get approached by people since I have been doing this Podcast, I get approached by people all the time, you know, I want you to partner with me on this. So what can you help me with this? And, it’s actually very, very difficult to say, “No”
Something may just come along which you actually turn around and say, Well, actually, if what I’m doing now I can, I can reduce my time in and I can continue to make money and grow that venture, then I may jump into something else.
Because the opportunities come along. And it is a life changing opportunity. I have had two of those in the last few months. I’m not I don’t know what I’m going to do with them. I may not do either of them.
But you get the point I’m making…If there’s if there’s sort of mission statement and their morals and their principles fit in there with yours, then that’s not going to work for you. Right?
Chrissie Lightfoot 31:29
Nathaniel Schooler 31:30
But if if their purpose and their principles are shallow and hollow, and there isn’t any empathy, there isn’t any compassion with people who are in essence having a tough time because life is not easy. And a lot of people they think it is. And when they reach a certain place in their career, they think it is, and then they go and launch a company.
And it’s like, well, what are your “What are you going to do to help the world?” like how I mean, the point of this Podcast is to give away information. So people actually learned something valuable, and they can actually up skill, that’s the purpose of my Podcast.
Bring experts to the world so that people can actually listen to them. And I know that if I do that, then that is a great thing to do. You know, and I want to help people understand there are a lot of homeless people out there. So I’m championing the, the kind of homelessness charities and working on helping you know, the church and this kind of stuff that actually help the community. And they’ve got like a really holistic view to how they help people. So they help them go to the gym, they help them get accommodation, they help them get food, have some new friends, get out of their circles that they’re in, you know, so it’s just like, you can always get lost, though, that’s the that’s the major issue I’ve got with the entrepreneurial problem that we have, we have an ingrained problem in society it and it says, “Oh, I can build the next PayPal”
It’s a delusionary issue that people have. And unfortunately I think it’s responsible for a lot of suicides
Chrissie Lightfoot 33:13
Robot Lawyer Lisa is much about social enterprise, it is about that bigger picture and make it a huge difference to the mass majority of people basically having the ability to, to create something that could make a huge difference and be a positive disruption that’s been needed for a long time. And this technology exists now. So it should happen. But you just have got to be patient with it. But it’s the social enterprise angle that is that you have to have purpose beyond the monetary side of things, it has to be something greater. And I agree with you because you get pulled towards other opportunities, basically, where people approach you say:
Will you help with this, will you come and be a non executive director?
And you can only do so much. And it’s really, really hard to say no, but you have to do it in a respectful a nice way as well. So, you know, for me, I just did this a couple of days ago. And like yourself, I was blown away by what this company is, and what directors were on board first and foremost. First I have to stay focused and true to my venture Robot Lisa and the shareholders in that so you’ve got to say.
Well, you know, your primary focuses is this. Will it impact the primary focus?Does it impact the primary purpose? Yes, I can manage this, because I’m going to support this other venture, instead of, you know, going to football on Saturday, or you know, something else.
It’s about making those decisions about your big rocks in your life, and also your commitments to the people that you’re already involved with. And I think that’s important. But I think all of us do have capacities in our lives, to have that mix of your commitment to your work, whether it’s one or two ventures and a charity cause of sort, and your family, of course, and maybe yourself and your own leisure pursuit, because that balance is really important. And, you know, as entrepreneurs, we’re not usually very good at doing that, actually. Because as entrepreneurs, we tend to just put number one work in the box, and everything else around it falls apart.
So an entrepreneurial skill is actually being aware that you are tempted by all these other fantastic opportunities and getting involved in things. But you do have to be very judicious in what you do do because it will impact all the other aspects of your life or business. And, and that is a skill set that you learn, I think, as you mature as you get a bit older, because having, you know, burnt yourself out for the first time or second time and had some kind of illness because you’ve exhausted.
Most entrepreneurs sit back at some point, think there’s got, you know, I’ve got to get some balance back in my life here. And what am I doing where I need to share some of the workload or, you know, call it a day because it ain’t working or start again, but make sure you have more people around you making those kinds of judgements and assessments you learn through experience, having had some failures, actually, as an entrepreneur in previous ventures. And eventually, most entrepreneurs get it right. They might fail lots of times, and then they get to age 50-55. And all of a sudden, they are the next Amazon or wherever, I think the average age of a successful entrepreneur is 47. So yeah, I am 47 right now which gives me hope…
Nathaniel Schooler 36:17
Well, I’m 42. And I am certainly making some massive positive steps forwards, you know, but I think you are completely right. I think that there’s all this, you know, oh, well, there are these entrepreneurs who are in their 20s, and they’re really successful. But actually, when you look at the figures, and you compare the figures with the successful entrepreneurs, they’re definitely over 40, I was reading an article the other day about it.
And, you know, there are people who didn’t become successful to their 70, I mean, look at the lady that launched “The Secret, Louise Hay” and she launched that book publishing company became, like, massively successful the age of like, 75 or something.
It’s totally possible!
Chrissie Lightfoot 37:05
It is. And I think a good point that just raise that you shouldn’t be fazed by age. You know, I think the older you are, the better is because you will have had a lot of bruises and you’re more experienced, and you’ve got more life experience, so personal and professional, and you need to bring both of those into a business and you know, I think some of the young ones if they’re, you know, they tend to be the ones that are put out in lights are the unique it’s just like Roger Bannister doing the first four minute mile he was the first to do it, or the second to do it.
Then, you know, these these young ones through it’s fantastic what they’re achieving, because they’re obviously very bright. And, but they’re also quite lucky. Because, you know, you can get picked up quite young when you when you are a star, and where there’s less chance of you failing as well, because obviously, you’ve got the right people, they put the right people around you and the financing very early on, but they are the ones that get the pages in the media are the exception rather than the rule. So for every one or two that are the next Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, then Denise Harris, the rest of them, there’s 1000, 10,000+ that didn’t make it.
For the teenagers or those in their 20s who have, you know, failed in their first business and lost their graduation money and that kind of thing. So I think we need to bear in mind as well, that we have to be realistic and put some perspective and saying entrepreneurship isn’t just about the Warren Beatty’s entrepreneurship is about the everyday person.
Who we know, in the next decade, 20% of the UK population are going to be self employed, and working as entrepreneurs. So if that’s the case, then those skill sets of those entrepreneurs, then hopefully, a lot of them have been exposed to these professional verticals I talked about earlier, because they’re going to need those because a lot of entrepreneurs starting off a usually a two man band, either a one man band or a two man band, then looking to grow to a team of four to six and you’re going to have to have the right skills in order to pick the right people and nurture those people. And not just the people. But you know, as you said, the technology and the finance as well.
So there’s going to be a lot of support needed for the entrepreneurs of the next decade into because raising awareness and education and skills that are required is a key thing I think, going forward. And there’s going to be a lot of pain and a lot of bruised people, and a lot of fallout and a lot of failures. But conversely, there’s going to be a lot of great new companies starting up and some great successes I hope.
Nathaniel Schooler 39:33
I agree completely. I think there was a lot of a lot of people were scared about AI and machine learning, and how it’s going to replace jobs and stuff. But in fact, I think that, if they give us what they promised us, which was, which was when the first Industrial Revolution came along, you know, more money, less hours, right?
We’ve been promised that for how many years 100- 150 years?
We’re 150 years into this “Industrial Revolution”
Apparently, in we were in the Second Machine Age, but I think we’re in the fourth now or something, but they’re going to be a lot of certainly very interesting businesses that haven’t even been created yet.
Yes, jobs are going to die. I mean, you’ve got, front end robots now working in retail, as from, you know, the last few trials that are sort of been happening, which I find hugely interesting, and that that trend is going to continue. So, really, we want we want that to what they promised, right? Which is say, again, “less hours more money!” And we want that for everyone, and everyone needs to have a stake in a lot of these businesses.
Otherwise, you’re going to have businesses that that just don’t have any employees, there will just be, you know a business, it’ll have 10 billion in revenue, and there’ll be two people, right.
So there needs to be I mean, there are any actual guidelines around this, but, you know, we’re getting into sort of quite a deep topic, but there needs to be some sort of ethical constraints around it, which says, you know, yes, I could replace that individual, but I’d rather actually find them something more interesting to do instead of get rid of them, and then they’ll just be less people in the shareholders make more money, you know, it’s a difficult call because of competition…
Chrissie Lightfoot 41:27
I’ve been behind the scenes and some, some think tanks basically, around this issue about, you know, the, the displacement of workers, you know, in, and even in the legal field, people think, Oh, well, lawyers will be replaced. And I say, well, it’s a mix of some of the tasks and roles that they did, will be replaced and ought to be, because it should be automated.
But then it’s not that you get rid of them, it’s that you put them somewhere else where they should be doing the human stuff that machines can’t do I see it, it’s quite a simple thing.
Really, it I think it’s inevitable, the numbers of traditional solicitors jobs will decrease as the years move on. I think that is inevitable, and we’re starting to see it any way, you know, we started to see, the Secretary’s or PAs, or the legal execs or the juniors being placed some of the grunt work. But then the work that the human solicitors still do is the high end, you know, the judgement, the reasoning and supported by the technology, so you’re going to need some humans solicitors, and we talked about this earlier, anyway, there is going to be displacement of course there is. But then there’s going to be some new roles where you have, you know, legal tech engineers and robot engineers and, you know, design thinking teams, and all that kind of thing where you corralling a matrix of looking at the law and business and customers and technology and people are, so even the solicitors are going to have new skills to learn, and then move into a different area completely.
So I agree with you that there’s going to be new roles, new tasks, and new jobs. So it might be the machines come in. And because they’re more efficient and far better than the humans, then why not have a more efficient system, that efficient system means that balance of technology with a human not completely being technology without the human and the big debate, I agree with you about, you know, putting some ethical rules or guidelines.
And I think, until government steps up it and that’s the problem, you’re never going to have policy regulation and law coming into soon. Because what governments and the UK in particular or any other nation government, they don’t want to starve innovation, and they want they want competition, because that’s healthy, that I think you’ve already seen him with GDPR, even the big companies they’re not going to be able to just run them year on year if necessary, law will come in to prevent that from happening. And they will be accountable and responsible to nations.
I think we’ve seen that with GDPR, where we’re seeing recent fines with Facebook and others whereby, you know, looking at data, how it’s used, how it affects consumers. So I think we could feel quite comfortable that as we move into these opportunistic, but also challenging times, regulation, policy and law will catch up even if the horse is already bolted, you know, Bill Gates made his fortune and Microsoft because he had the loopholes where the law hadn’t caught up and Amazon has and Facebook and all the rest of them, but they will be held to account going forward. And certainly the whole debate about should there be a robot tax or machine tax?
I think yes, they should actually, I think we should really rethink our whole economy and tax system based on the fact that we will be having more machines doing human labour work. And if that’s the case, we need to look at the system whereby if companies are skewed towards having more technology, pumping out product or service, then there is a relative tax that is quite different to a company that is employing, you know, human labour 90% as opposed to a company that’s using technology, 90%, I think we should actually look at the tax system. And there we might start to see that it is then when “robot tax” comes in. And those funds are used in a positive way for the majority of the people in a nation.
Nathaniel Schooler 45:13
I’m just nodding away, because you haven’t got our video on
It’s no, I think that’s absolutely fantastic. That’s, that’s so great to understand more about, you know, you and your ethics, and then how we totally agree. And that’s what’s so interesting about about social media, we’ve sort of connected and I’ve, you know, I’ve read about your journey and, you know, tried to sort of talk to you, but you’ve been so busy and so far, you know, so great that to actually understand that we’ve got so much more in common I die even thought of, which is just fascinating.
Chrissie Lightfoot 46:15
I’d be thrilled to pick your brains about AI machine learning and your Dad’s experience MIT because I was just asked if I would go and do the legal tech woman speech over in Chicago in February, February 7, just before the big ABA, and which is the American Bar Association thing and, and clients. I said, This is too short notice so many commitments. I’m off to South Africa in March, I said, I would have loved to because if you’re going to Chicago, I’d gone to MIT because I’ve always wanted to go and see, you know, have a wander around in rest of it.
Nathaniel Schooler 47:16
My Grandfather went to MIT as well.
I think sooner or later, I definitely want to go to MIT and do something. I don’t want to just go there. Just to look around my Dad won the JP Morgan award at MIT.
Chrissie Lightfoot 47:48
Nathaniel Schooler 47:49
He used to interview prospective students from the UK who wanted to go to MIT. He did that for decades. And they would go and speak to him.
So MIT recognised his hard work and they gave him this very rare prize. I’m really proud of my Dad. He’s phenomenal!
But my Grandfather had something to do with the just something to do with the building design there when they were looking at redesigning the buildings, I think in the, like, 30s, I’m not sure exactly. But it was, you know, the earlier part of the century, basically, you know, I’d love to go there and do something. It should, it could be super, super exciting. I mean, that’s the spirit of entrepreneurialism. Isn’t it?
Chrissie Lightfoot 48:52
I was asked to go just last year, actually, at the Nordic Business Forum, I was interviewing Andrew McAfee. So I had a keynote to do with one of the law firms that brought along a lot of its clients, basically. So that, you know, the clients were interested in understanding what was possible in the legal world. So I gave that. But then I also interviewed Andrew McAfee and his perspective on it all, which is fantastic. And obviously, Andrew McAfee is well connected with MIT. And we’re just discussing it. And he said that the wonderful thing is, is like I had already read as well, as he said, it’s great, because it’s such a mishmash of such a genius people.
So you’ve got the chemistry department, next to geography, and then geographies, next to physics. And then the physics is next to biology. And then you’ve got all these different subjects near one another.
So he thinks that MIT is so successful because of this matrix of different fields of study that has been thrown into one pot, rather than kept in discrete form, if that makes sense.
So he said, we think a lot of the great breakthroughs in science that have occurred in the last, you know, decade or two spun out of the MIT kind of stuff setup, because you’ve got physicists working with chemist and biologist and mathematicians, then we realise that we’ve got it all wrong regarding physics. So, you know, it was just amazing just to listen to him. And so I always had this real punch on to actually get myself them start mix it with some genius people.
Checkout more about AI here in this episode
Nathaniel Schooler 50:19
Well, I’ve made me to, you know, but what’s really interesting, you might not know is if you actually, if you’re a student, and you get into MIT, which is, you know, like, seriously hard.
They actually say that if you get in, and they guarantee that you can afford to stay there.
Chrissie Lightfoot 50:41
Because, you know, the, wherever you’re going to get place you’re going to be able to pay off your student loans with, they get, they get to get your work.
Nathaniel Schooler 50:47
I mean, literally, they will give you work, give you projects that are going to make you money, and then you can progress through that. So, that’s another reason that that is, you know, they are number one in the world.
Chrissie Lightfoot 50:58
You know what, don’t know the answer that it wouldn’t surprise me if they are in America.
Nathaniel Schooler 51:02
I mean, a lot of my sister went to Yale you know, so she would be probably like. “What are you talking about?” You know, but there’s all this rivalry isn’t there?
Chrissie Lightfoot 51:16
Depends what what field of study it is. So you’ve always got Yale and Harvard in America for law. Yeah, it’s just like in England, you’ve got Oxford and Cambridge and Durham actually, I think during for business. So you’ve got the Ivy League of whatever subject area is, rather than saying, which is the top university because it’s relative to what subject area, isn’t it? But I think MIT is well, without a doubt, it probably is for, you know, science and technology for STEM science, technology, engineering and maths. And it’s probably the top in a world that said, you know, some of them in China in that now, you know, they’ve got great reputation. So it really just depends.
Nathaniel Schooler 53:03
So how do people get hold of you, or find this amazing, amazing robot lawyer? How do they find that?
Chrissie Lightfoot 53:18
It’s really easy, we’ve tried to keep everything really easy, you just need to go to robotlawyerlisa.com, and that you will find everything on there. You can create your NDA for free. So have a read through that and click on the button and have a play and you see the property contracts on there. Nice little orange button on the top right.
There’s loads of media stuff on there. So anything that we haven’t discussed today, there’s two years of articles, blogs, Podcasts and such all about Robot Lisa, customers subjects we’ve touched on now as well. And myself personally, Nathaniel, through my speaking engagement and consultancy has your family entrepreneur lawyer code at UK once again, loads of articles on there, some of them about entrepreneurship.
Actually going back to the last eight years. You’ll find that on the blog role as well as our articles, media section the books as well you know, some of the things we touched on today about entrepreneurialism and marketing, branding, personal branding, the naked lawyer books on there. It’s been a best seller and tomorrow’s naked lawyers on there as well, which is all about the impact of AI and robots in society and law that’s worth taking a look at as well. But you’ll find them all at www.entrepreneurlawyer.co.uk
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