Steve King

Posted on 01 February 2020

Steve King is the CEO of Black Swan – the data-science start-up that uses artificial intelligence to accurately predict trends in consumer behaviour.

Elliot Moss
Welcome to the Jazz Shapers Podcast from Mishcon de Reya. What you are about to hear was originally broadcast on Jazz FM however the music has been cut or shortened due to rights issues.

Welcome to the brand new season of Jazz Shapers. I am Elliot Moss and we’re kicking off this season in style. Jazz Shapers is where I get to bring you the Shapers of the Business world together with the greatest musicians who are shaping the world of Jazz, Soul and Blues.

My guest today here on the very first one in 2020 is Steve King, Co-founder and CEO of Black Swan, the data-science start-up that uses artificial intelligence to predict trends in consumer behaviour. Studying Cognitive Science at Exeter University, Steve thought hard about how he would turn his passion for analytics into a career. Aged 25 however, he stated a music studio in Devon with £50,000 of his parents’ money but lacking a firm plan the business went bust. When hearing the news his father said simply, “never give up.” As Steve says, “the most valuable lesson of my life.” After meeting Co-Founder Hugo Amos in Canada while working in technology and marketing, they launched Black Swan in the UK in 2011 and you’ll find out shortly where the name Black Swan comes from. Their aim was to provide a better way for businesses and brands to make use of the mass data available to them, to give an understanding of what fickle shoppers will buy in the future, as well as insights into how best to pitch products to them. Black Swan now works with some of the world’s leading consumer faced brands, including PepsiCo, Panasonic Avionics and Tesco. Steve joins us imminently to chat about all of this and about White Swan, the not for profit arm of the business providing free data services to organisations including the NHS. We’ve also got brilliant music of course from amongst others Astrud Gilberto, Eddie Bo and Horace Silver.

This is Jazz Shapers, it’s 2020, we’re back, we’re excited, here’s Frank Sinatra, he’s excited too, it’s Call Me.

That was Frank Sinatra with Call Me. Steve King, as billed earlier is my Business Shaper. He is the CEO and Co-Founder of Black Swan which is an absolutely brilliant name. It’s really good to have you here.

Steve King
How are you doing? Great to be here.

Elliot Moss
Now, analytics, artificial intelligence, natural language processing, I could go on in data bingo. Tell me what this meant to you 20 years ago and why it excited you, why I think it was called cognitive science, why that was the thing that Steve wanted to get involved in?

Steve King
You’re definitely right, that definitely was good data bingo words. I was just really passionate about how people think and that’s… cognitive science is about how people think and then potentially how machines could think in the future. I just find it facinating, I’m a bit of a sci-fi kind of kid. I thought within 5 years by then we’d be building robots and doing things, but then it still took about 20 years until eventually we finally got a company that’s really using AI and your fantastic key words.

Elliot Moss
And give me a headline in your own words about what Black Swan does.

Steve King
We look at all the conversations on the internet, so anytime someone publicly has an opinion, and we take that in mass, so there are millions and millions in fact billions of conversations; people talking about what they had for lunch, who they love, what they had for lunch, what they’re going to do on Saturday and this is really useful information for brands, because we used to just have a survey and ask a few people but you were never really accurate and you’re really bias, you know, biasing the person. Now we can ask millions of people what they think and they can give us a unified answer we can use.

Elliot Moss
I suppose also it’s what people are doing, rather than what they say they’re going to do?

Steve King
It’s fantastic, yeah, when you’re asking people things you completely inference and you can’t help it, but when people are in their natural self, as they are on social, then you get a much, much better view of, you know, where they want to be and what they want to do.

Elliot Moss
And to day in the business how many people are working in Black Swan?

Steve King
There are 300 swans in Black Swan, yeah which is crazy and scary but it’s been incredible we have some, you know, really amazing people in there who are doing things I just couldn’t believe we would be doing.

Elliot Moss
And going back when you were much, much younger, before you got into cognitive science and the sci-fi thing, I think the world splits into - when I was young, and I’m a little older than you, Steve, before technology was there and computers were there and so on and so forth, there were the kids that were involved in Dungeons and Dragons which was sort of the precursor to sci-fi I guess in a way, then there’s the kids that are involved in Star Wars and can tell you every single planet, and then there are the kids that are out playing football and banging into walls. Why did you gravitate towards sci-fi? What was it about sci-fi? Was it the dreamer in you do you think at a very young age?

Steve King
What an amazing question, no one’s ever asked me that. I think I always had quite a big imagination and I sort of enjoyed it, but it didn’t mean I was still a normal kid, loved Rugby - I was Welsh, but I just found like some of the things they were talking about just to be so cool and I guess I just kind of… I just got addicted and I read so many of these books and it’s really strange now because you’re actually doing it and you’re doing these things kind of a bit more than ten years later.

Elliot Moss
And still as an adult you enjoy sci-fi?

Steve King
Absolutely love it, I absolutely love it. I know it’s interesting to see where we are now compared to where we were and where the sci-fi people think we’re going to be, because they are less accurate but a further predictor than the kind of data that we have.

Elliot Moss
I’m just thinking about Aldous Huxley and Isaac Asimov and all those other people, and I mean and George Orwell of course. All these people were, were they just dreaming or are they… I mean I don’t remember how scientific any of them were but for you, does the dream and the science, has it started to come together?

Steve King
They were predicting, you know, and it’s as simple as that. Humans are fantastic prediction machines. We’ve got a neuro network which is, you know, a fantastic piece of AI and we do that to cast well, well forward. You know, our accuracy can vary because of the length of the prediction but these guys were really just seeing the future and trying to interpret it and write it down the best they could.

Elliot Moss
Stay with me to find out much more about Steve King and how his passion and his understanding of the world and what it could be has influenced the creation of this business called Black Swan. We’re going to get much more into that. Time for some music right now, it’s Eddie Bo with Every Dog Has His Day.

That was Eddie Bo, pretty jaunty it was too, Every Dog Has His Day. I am here with Steve King, CEO and Co-Founder of Black Swan, 300 people plus. How many locations? About five or six isn’t it?

Steve King
Five locations now, a couple in America and across Europe and of course in the UK.

Elliot Moss
So the man from Wales done well. I mean this is, let’s go back to 2011, at that point what were you doing and where were you before you actually started, this idea came up for Black Swan and we’re going to talk about the conversation you had with your future partner and so on. What had Steve been doing up until that moment workwise?

Steve King
Yeah, I’d started a music studio after being a DJ for a while. I lost a load of money, realised I had to come to the Big City to come and earn some more money back. I had some coding skills, you know, at the time the internet boom was in, so I just quickly got up here and I remember learning HTML over a weekend, because I had the core skills and taking this really high paid job which I shouldn’t have been in, because London was crazy back then for coders, and that just kind of got me back into the software development and eventually into sort of building websites was where I was in 2011.

Elliot Moss
And then, you have this moment apparently, you’re having a drink with your friend Hugo?

Steve King
Correct.

Elliot Moss
Yes, you’re sitting there and how does the conversation go that leads to nine, or wherever we are, nine years later, us talking about a business which now has 300 people in it?

Steve King
It’s incredible when you say that.

Elliot Moss
It’s nuts. It is nuts, and sometimes I do find when I talk to people that they go, they don’t stop and we’ll come on to that and what makes an entrepreneur an entrepreneur but there is a moment where you do have to take stock, but if you take stock for too long you’re scared that it’s all going to fall apart, I can see it in your eyes. So tell me about the Hugo conversation.

Steve King
So very well said. So we were actually working together. Hugo worked for one of… he was a customer of ours and we were building websites together and we were creating all this amazing data when people were coming and using it, but then just the way in the business we were in which was sort of campaign led, they’d spend £5m, get all this amazing information and then just delete it. So it started off, the conversation was like, “Look, we must be able to do things with all these trends” and, you know, we weren’t so interested in individual people because it’s weird and scary, but like all the things we’ve learned about how people react, could we export them in some way? And then we thought but people aren’t really going to find that useful, and then we thought but like people don’t know what’s useful and then this idea of, it was Hugo’s idea of this, this Black Swan idea which is actually we could find data that people didn’t know was useful and give it to them to help them see things in a different way, and then it just took off.

Elliot Moss
And the Black Swan thing as I looked into it is something to do with the Australians’ bringing over Black Swans way back when and there were no black swans, and people used to say it’s as rare as seeing a black swan, right?

Steve King
Exactly.

Elliot Moss
Which I think is brilliant, because again the beauty of meeting people like you is I have to go off and read about them and I go ‘oh that is why we say those things’.

Steve King
Exactly right, it was their statement of impossibility like seeing pigs fly and swans are white, I mean they still are the Queen’s animal, you’d get your head chopped off for attacking one, yeah so the thought of there being black swans was just….

Elliot Moss
What I find fascinating though, and tell me if this is still true for you, you were doing stuff; you were coding, you’d learnt HTML, you’re building websites back in the day. Do you still keep close to the product? Are you still inside the data, rather than just managing the business?

Steve King
So up to about two years ago I still liked to get my hands dirty as we call it in the industry, and to be fair at home I do build prototypes and play around. I’ve got kids now and I’m teaching them to code, but I am not allowed near anything live anymore. The truth is I was never really very good at it, I just had all the enthusiasm and an ability to copy and paste, so now I’m literally not even allowed the admin passwords to go on the servers.

Elliot Moss
But you do, I imagine though I’m sure you’re being humble to a point, he’s probably going “no Elliot, I’m really not a very good coder” but I imagine that you understand or you know, you can see the Black Swan thing, the thing that’s unusual and then you can say find me, find me the programme that builds me that. Is that right?

Steve King
Yeah absolutely, and I love… I can get my way around a database and around data, so I can see where we need to get to, but yeah, there’s much cleverer people than me now, because we’re dealing with such big, big data now, you know.

Elliot Moss
What is the most important thing though in what you do? If you actually had one super skill that everyone who comes through your doors has to have in order to do their job brilliantly, what would it be?

Steve King
So it changes, so when it started it was technology and understanding and vision about where we were going. Now I’m useless, you know, I am no longer the product, you know, the guys who work for me in Black Swan they are the guys who are doing it and they’re the team, they’re the important people. My job is really just to help facilitate that product, do everything I can do to make sure they have what they need, so they can do the mission. That handed over a couple of years ago.

Elliot Moss
But in terms of those people in that team, what are the skills that you look for in them, if there was one common thing?

Steve King
We’re really, really strong on values but I guess the one which is most important for work is inquisitiveness. We need people who are like “hang on a minute, what if I…?” You know, they’re the moments which are really sort of driving us forward.

Elliot Moss
Asking the best questions. Stay with me for much more from my Business Shaper today, that is Steve King, CEO and Co-Founder of Black Swan. Much more coming up from his shortly, but first we’re going to hear from one of our partners at Mishcon De Reya with some advice for your business.

There are many ways for you to enjoy all our former Jazz Shapers all the way back I think to 2012, and indeed you can hear this programme with Steve again. Just ask Alexa, a natty bit of tech, to play Jazz Shapers and there you can hear many of the recent programmes. Or if you pop Jazz Shapers into iTunes or your preferred podcast platform you can hear them there too. But back today, it’s Steve King, Co-Founder and CEO of Black Swan the data-science startup that uses artificial intelligence to predict trends in consumer behaviour, that’s quite a mouthful isn’t it?

Steve King
Mmm.

Elliot Moss
In terms of the values, you touched on it before the break. We were, we were talking about what’s important. We ascertained that obviously inquisitiveness is important, asking the right questions, you actually said before that and the values. Tell me about the values that have informed the way that you go about your life and that have informed the way that Black Swan has been created.

Steve King
Yes, you all have your own little, you know, where you do things. I’ve always liked to have a little bit of balance and I’ve had some interesting times in my life which has made me see it a bit clearer that you need to have a bit of a long-term view and look at people around you as well as, you know, sometimes be selfish and do things. I feel like after the kind of rocky maybe 20s and 30s I’ve got myself to a good place, but the company really just grows it’s own values and it’s like it’s wonderful to watch, so my values are like leaving the world in a better place so we can find it, that gets interpreted every year by new swans as they come in, making sure we listen more than we talk is something which is consistent because always in Black Swan people they will be listening to try and take things in. These little things just shape the people who join us, and just allow us to, you know, be very clear about what we’re happy to accept when people join us in Black Swan and know what we like to see from people.

Elliot Moss
Just tell me a little bit, you said 20s and 30s were a bit rocky, is that just because there was stuff going on for you? And if there was we can talk about it or you don’t have to if you don’t want to, but if there was, what did you learn from it?

Steve King
Yeah, I think I did the same as most people do, and you sort of, you know, whether it be the relationships you get in or, you know, you end up doing drugs or you end up drinking too much. I pretty much did all of those things and, you know, and sometimes you can get to pretty dark places and then it’s really, you know, how you come back from that and how people around you help you come back from that, and I think they’re the things then which, you know, they forge that steel inside you, or they forge that ability not to make a short-term decision or agreed a decision because you’ve kind of been in that place before and you know that you don’t want to go back there, and you don’t want let the people who got you back up again, down now they’ve got you back up on their feet.

Elliot Moss
Is there a sort of level of appreciation that you have for when the days are good as well? Because I mean there’s a whole slew of things around mental health and wellbeing and stuff, and I think often when people are going through that and every business has it’s own way of helping people, people often try to give people perspective again and think about what they’ve got and what they haven’t got. It sounds to me like what you’ve got now is fabulous, and maybe it wasn’t quite as fabulous then. I don’t mean in financial material terms, I mean in your head space. How have you, you talked about support, but how else have you - do you think this thing works? How else is it that you can get up out of bed every day and go, “I’m feeling pretty good today?”

Steve King
Yeah, the good times are weird aren’t they because you want to enjoy them, but then you get this guilt and you think that something is going to, you know, that you’re doing something wrong or maybe you’re taking advantage and you start to look over your shoulder. I think, and you’ve had some amazing people on this show, probably the thing I can hear from them and I hear from myself is just getting up. You know, I remember my dad saying when I’d spent his pension, “just get up and get on with it” and you know just try again, and I think that’s the thing is, no matter how bleak things get sometimes and we’ve… I’ve been crying in my bed thinking I couldn’t make pay roll later on in the afternoon, you know, you’ve just got to get up. You’ve just got to keep trying and it’s amazing, you know, that people will find a way to help you out, you know, be honest, be open and then, you know, it’s amazing what humans can get through.

Elliot Moss
As you’re talking you remind me of when I chatted with Jimmy Mulville a couple of years ago and he literally just said some days, and he’s, you know, he’s been very open about his own depression and, you know, abuse of substances and so on and so forth, he just said: “Jimmy, you’re not feeling good, get up, have a cup of tea. Before the tea, open the curtain - open the curtain, Jimmy.” I mean it sounds a bit like if you just do that, and I’ve read somewhere again, you said life shouldn’t be, on those difficult days the thought of a phone call is difficult, let alone anything else. How have you powered through it? How do you continue to do it? Is it just the same drawing on your inner strength?

Steve King
I think it’s a bit of that and I love that idea, you know, sometimes it is a step at a time but I have a responsibility, you know, you know I can’t, sometimes if I don’t feel like I want to call an investor and have a tough chat I’m doing it for 300 people now, so I don’t really have a choice in that. That helps me when I, you know, when I walk around the office and I see people doing amazing things, that just helps me go, you know, “no, come on, you can do your bit.”

Elliot Moss
You talked incredibly openly a few minutes ago, tell me about and I am assuming this is a part of your leadership style, but what else informs the way that you lead, if indeed you think about it in those ways, or are you just a bit more natural and spontaneous than that?

Steve King
I am trying to be a bit more structured. I think it’s very easy to, well it’s not very easy but it’s a different kind of leadership when you have a small company, you know, less than 50 people, because you can just go and see everyone, stay out with them ‘til them 4.00 o’clock in the morning, then we reach 300 it gets a little bit tiring.

Elliot Moss
You’re getting on, Steve, you’ve got to look after yourself. You can’t do that every night.

Steve King
Yeah, and 40 is not good to be seeing 4.00 o’clock in the morning so I told myself last night. But I think learning skills, I’ve been trying to learn some management skills because what happens, even if you’ve got the best heart and you really want to do things the right way, you can still crush someone in your organisation if you haven’t got the right process for their workload, you know, and we’ve seen it, it’s terrifying and you know you’re not the person who wants that, but you’re two steps away from them, so how do you make sure that that’s not going to happen, you know, that is unfortunately just boring management stuff and learning how to set the right kind of values and processes up to make sure things are, you know, it’s all balanced. But that, you know, I didn’t have any of that when I started, I just catastrophically messed it up!

Elliot Moss
But did you really, because you seem like a really genuine guy, you’re not pretentious at all, very, very grounded, so I’m assuming that as you’ve got, this company’s got bigger, people will value that in you, and you don’t want to change that and become some sort of an automatron of business, you know, business leadership courses do you? How do you use that training to ensure that it’s the best version of you rather than someone else?

Steve King
I think the values are hugely important. So you need to go through the structure otherwise, you know, suddenly someone’s got five days’ work in one day and they’ll, you know, and you will make them cry and you’ll make them not want to come, so you have to do that stuff but the values, and if you are, I just think authentic, if you really live by your values, no matter what, never falter on them, then they will, everyone who works for you then will then carry that on to the next person. If they see someone, you know, who’s really upset they will realise it’s more important for that person to be right than the work to be right, so you need to mix the processes I think, and then also you just need to live the way yourself, the way you want all your other managers to live so that they can, they can pass that on. But it’s by no means an exact science and I definitely haven’t got it right many, many times.

Elliot Moss
Talking about values and living by those values, rather than them just being written down or people speaking about them, the White Swan business, I’m going to call it a business – organisation. Tell me a little bit about that and I read about your sister and her illness and how your application of your core skill of applying data to problems has solved a major problem, which is very moving, but just explain a little bit of how that came about in your own words and where it is now?

Steve King
Yeah sure, and again I guess when we’re talking about getting up and doing stuff, my sister is a great case for that, Julie, she was very sick for about six years. She had an undiagnosed disease she was given as ME and we, we tried everything, you know, and the doctors were amazing but they’d got eight minutes effectively and you’d need 120 years of training to see all the rare diseases, so the system isn’t really designed to help catch the outliers of the rare diseases, and one day we went in and she had a really strange thing - she would be fine in the morning, by lunch time she’d be in a wheelchair, and by the evening you’d have to feed her and she’d be carried to the toilet and the doctor said. “look, just one night she’s just going to swallow her tongue and she doesn’t have the strength to be able to stop that, so you need to prepare” and that just, it was, I couldn’t say what happened in my head but I was down in Wales at the time so we had two weeks where we had time with Julie. We had, I had access to amazing developers in our technology and we started to think about what she said her symptoms were and the problem is if you put that into Google, and like “I get tired through the day…” you never get anything, but using an LP, a natural language processing. You can look for patterns, so we were saying what’s the patterns of Julie’s behaviour compared to what other people are saying on the internet? And suddenly we were finding these blogs where people had exactly the same thing as Julie had, so we bombed a load of them and said, look, you know, this sounds really familiar. I put a video up of her and all the stats, loads of stats which we had put together and we had over 12,000 responses from people just talking about, ‘look I think it’s this, that and the other’ and that eventually when we talked to the doctor about all this, he then was kind enough to like listen to us and sent her to a specialist. She had early onset Parkinson’s which is, you know, treatable with Parkinson’s drug and Julie amazing, you know she is now running. Unfortunately for me because you can see I’m not really the athlete, maybe I might have been at one point, so she’s got marathons and the like, she is incredible and I know that the way that technology is moving, you know, in that kind of space that she’ll always be ahead of it now. So I feel that, yeah, we were just very lucky. And then when I went to the office and I thanked everyone and I stood up and we explained the story, people put their hand up and said, “we need to do more.” So about half of Black Swan take their evenings and weekends now and we’ve created a charity. We’ve also now, we’ve raised some funds as well and recently on the NHS accelerator programme too, to try and help doctors find other people having similar conversations. Yeah, and like it wasn’t me, you know, it was everyone responding and you know, White Swan is now doing some amazing things across a variety of illnesses and just trying to help people get to their diagnosis or cope with their diagnosis.

Elliot Moss
It’s amazing the proper use of the internet, rather than the improper use. Stay with me for much more from my Business Shaper and my final chat with him, it’s Steve King, plus we’ll be playing a track from Horace Silver, that’s in just a moment, please don’t go anywhere.
That was Horace Silver with Song For My Father. I’m with Steve King just for a few more minutes. We’ve been talking about data, about values, about asking questions, about listening more than you talk and other really smart stuff. So the business is now, it’ll be eight and a half, nine years old. You’ve been funded to the tune of around £13m. Turnover’s looking I imagine going up rather than down, Steve? He’s nodding.

Steve King
Thank goodness.

Elliot Moss
Yes, that’s a good thing, you’ve got growth there. How important is the money to you in all of this?

Steve King
I think, I like things, so definitely it’s a, you know, I like making sure I can look after my family and I enjoy like phones and the like but it’s not….

Elliot Moss
You sound like my 13 year old son, “I enjoy phones, I want the iPhone 11 at least, it’s got 18 cameras on it.”

Steve King
Yeah I don’t think I can afford that but…

Elliot Moss
He can’t either!

Steve King
Yeah I think money is really important, because it’s a thing we need in order to do what we need to do, but I think that’s where it ends really, you know, the Black Swan thing, you know, there may have a thought, wow it would be brilliant and I think we actually said it would be amazing, we can like make a £10m company - that’s like years ago. We’ve passed that, so it’s not really about that any more now, it’s really about the mission and like the enjoyment of being there with people doing it. So, yeah, the money is important and I really hope that one day, you know, everyone in Black Swan makes a good amount of money from this, but at the moment we’re just too busy to worry about it.

Elliot Moss
Was it easy to raise the money along the way, looking back now? Because you have an unusual, or rather an of the moment proposition, or did it make it harder because data is, you know, everyone talks about big data being the new thing?

Steve King
I think it was relatively easy, you know, as long as you’ve done your numbers and you can show the rate of growth, we were all really well supported by our now current investors, you know, and we didn’t really have much. We just had an idea back then and a couple of customers so, you know, I think we’ve been supported really well.

Elliot Moss
And what happens if someone like, you know, a big top four consultancy comes along and says, “here’s a ridiculous cheque and we want to buy you?” What happens then?

Steve King
We’re not really interested at the moment. The mission at the moment is to revolutionise primary research, so there’s less guess work, that people can make products that everyone likes, and then after that we’d like to raise our own fund and start buying our own businesses and written products. I can’t really see the offer is going to be worthwhile at the moment, so, you know, but you never say never, but I just think it’s so much fun at the moment, it would be such a shame.

Elliot Moss
And you’ve just increased the value by so much by saying, “we’re not for sale” it’s brilliant, Steve, you do know what you’re doing. The other thing is the world of data of governance. Governance is absolutely critical and we hear a lot about whether you’re abusing or not abusing data. What do you think is important going forward in terms of creating the right framework for that, because obviously that’s your business?

Steve King
It’s the right thing to talk about. I mean we’re very lucky in that we’ve based our business mostly on public views where people are made very public, but it’s really sad really how little guidance there are for companies who use AIN data, and Cambridge Analytica didn’t mean to do what they did. What they did was terrible, but there was no guidelines. That wasn’t technically against the law really, it was a few privacy issues. There’s no real guidelines for young companies, and so these young companies are playing God because they don’t have guidelines. So I think the key thing really is just for the Government to focus and get up to speed with the technology, you know, work out what it can do and then help us by just being a rule, because at the moment we - obviously we’re humans so we try and do it the best way, but, you know, without that kind of firm structure to tell us what we can and can’t do it’s, you know, it is just what we think is right and I worry about that.

Elliot Moss
But it sounds like Silicone Six and businesses like yours ought to be involved in that consultation with Government, because obviously you’re going to know a lot more about data than any minister or, you know, international minister is going to know?

Steve King
I think we’d absolutely love that, and it’s not that, you know, they know a lot of things we don’t know, but the technology moves so fast, they can’t keep up to date with it, you know, we get paid to do that, so I’d really welcome that.

Elliot Moss
Well I hope that’s what happens next, and I hope you’re involved. I’ve got a feeling you will be and if you’re not and someone’s listening that ought to be getting involved, then get him involved. Just before I let you go, what’s your song choice and why have you chosen it?

Steve King
So it’s Nina Simone and My Baby Just Cares For Me, for my wife who just puts up with so much rubbish, but just consistently still loves me.

Elliot Moss
That was Nina Simone with My Baby Just Cares For Me, the song choice of my Business Shaper today, Steve King. He talked about being responsible, having responsibility as a leader has brought the very best out in him. He talked about creating a company with values, of authenticity of openness, of honesty and he talked about the importance of inquisitiveness. If you’re going to find the right questions, you are probably likely to find the right answers. That’s it from Jazz Shapers this week, it’s really good to be back, catch you next Saturday.

We hope you enjoyed that edition of Jazz Shapers. You will find hundreds of more guests available for you to listen to in our archive. To find out more just search Jazz Shapers in iTunes or your favourite podcast platform or head over to mishcon.com/jazzshapers.

Steve King is the CEO of Black Swan - the data-science start-up that uses artificial intelligence to accurately predict trends in consumer behaviour.

Highlights

I was really passionate about how people think.

Cognitive science is about how people think and potentially how machines could think in the future.

If you really live by your values, no matter what, everyone who works for you then will then carry that on to the next person.

My job is really just to help facilitate the product.

People will always find a way to help you out.

We’re really, really strong on values but the one which is most important is inquisitiveness.

Be honest and be open. It’s amazing what humans can get through.

You need to be able to have a long-term view and look at people around you, as well as being selfish sometimes.

No matter how bleak things get sometimes, you've just got to get up.

The mission at the moment is to revolutionise primary research.

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