Juggling Hustles: Inside Jakob Hardman’s World

In today’s episode of Kanawha Valley Hustlers I’m at Meetup 64 in Huntington. Here, I meet Jakob Hardman, who tells me about his various roles and endeavors. Jakob is the CFO of West Virginia Integrated Al Solutions, an accounting student at Marshall University, and the facility administrator of the Nitro Athletic Complex. I am curious about how he juggles these roles and which one occupies most of his time. Jakob reveals that the Nitro Athletic Complex is his primary focus.

Jakob shares that the Nitro Athletic Complex is hosting the Metro 911 program, Serving for Safety, pickleball tournament from July 11th to 14th. Jakob tells me that last year was the inaugural tournament, with 220 players, making it the largest pickleball tournament in West Virginia history. This year, they expect even more participants.

I ask Jakob about the popularity of pickleball, and he attributes it to the sport being easier than tennis, which resonates with many people. Jakob admits to playing a lot of pickleball, even during work hours, as part of his role as the facility administrator.

We then discuss his other roles. As an accounting student at Marshall, he spends a lot of time studying when he’s not at the athletic complex. His position as CFO of West Virginia Integrated AI Solutions is another major responsibility. He manages the finances and external reporting for the company. Jakob explains that the financial aspect of the AI solutions business involves a lot of cost accounting. Despite their low overhead, pricing strategies are crucial.

Starting a new business has been both exciting and challenging for Jakob. It’s his first time running a business, which he finds daunting. The biggest challenge he faces is managing people’s expectations about artificial intelligence. Many people have misconceptions about what AI can do, often expecting miraculous results. Jakob and his team spend a lot of time explaining the realistic capabilities and limitations of their AI solutions.

I relate to Jakob’s experience, noting that new and novel businesses often require extensive explanation to potential customers. People are familiar with traditional services like roofing or car mechanics, but AI solutions need more groundwork in terms of education and expectation management.

Jakob’s role includes translating technical details into layman’s terms. For example, while his CTO might explain the intricate workings of an AI tool, Jakob simplifies it by focusing on the end result – what the tool can achieve for the customer. This approach aligns with marketing principles: emphasizing the benefits (results) over the features (technical details).

We conclude our conversation with some marketing insights, highlighting that people are more interested in the results rather than the intricate workings of a product or service. Jakob acknowledges this, noting that their clients are primarily concerned with the effectiveness of the AI solutions.

I appreciate Jakob’s time and insights. For those interested in learning more about West Virginia Integrated AI Solutions, call 304 4378648 or for the Nitro Athletic Complex visit https://cityofnitro.org/

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