Meet the Man with a Purpose – Exclusive Interview with OSA DC CEO Alex Isaiev
OSA DC is a company that with its sights set on improving the Retail industry by using an AI-driven blockchain-based platform to help overcome inefficiencies in inventory and supply chain processes for retailers.
It does this with the company’s proprietary OSA Hybrid Platform, an AI-powered platform helping retail stores maintain optimal levels of shelf availability in real-time, an impressive feature unique to the platform.
Unlike other projects, the OSA HP has already been in use since 2016, with the platform generating impressive returns for large corporations and businesses like Coca-Cola, DANONE, L’Oreal and Mars.
Although businesses benefit from the platform’s various features, others in the industry, such as data providers and end consumers, can also enjoy the advantages of OSA HP. This is because the platform offers solutions for the entire industry. In fact, those who benefit the most are the end consumers themselves, so there’s really no bias in the company’s approach.
Aside from overcoming the challenges of both over- and understocking, OSA DC is also seeking to improve supply chains. The goal is to help businesses accurately and quickly track products from the moment they leave the warehouse to the moment they reach a customer.
We recently sat down with OSA DC CEO to chat about the project and learn more about their thoughts and insights.
Alex Isaiev is the OSA DC Co-founder, Business Development Lead With over 17 years of experience in 57 countries, Alex is an FMCG retail and duty free industries veteran who has served in just about any role in the industries (sales, key account management, trade marketing, marketing and supply chain). Alex spent 14 years with Japan Tobacco International in marketing and trade marketing roles, with a focused responsible for CEE and Central Asia markets and promoting shopper loyalty and category management. In 2014, Alex founded Mania Business Simulations, one of the world’s top business simulation training providers that offers its services in 16 countries. From 1990-2002 Alex created and grew businesses in various industries: food production and distribution, automotive spare parts distribution, catering services, patent registration services, video production. Alex has university degrees in economy, sociology and marketing.
Hello there! Thanks for joining us today. Can you tell us more about OSA DC?
AI: I’m excited to turn our excising AI-driven Big Data platform into a decentralized solution for the world of consumers, and I’m happy that OSA is becoming a leader in the decentralization movement by developing and deploying real life applications. OSA DC is a decentralized marketplace of AI solutions for consumers, retailers, and manufactures. We unite various disconnected parties, such as data providers, data science and IT development teams, computation power providers (such as mining farms), and others, into one powerful force.
OSA’s ecosystem aims to develop AI and Blockchain-driven solutions to improve Retail industry inefficiencies. Currently, our main focus is the development of a personal digital assistant for consumers, which will provide them with the choice of making conscious and educated purchasing decisions.
Our application will be used by millions of shoppers daily. As a benefit of using OSA’s service, shoppers will be rewarded with OSA coins, and large brands will grant cash back to shoppers with OSA coins. An important element of this reward system is a wide range of possibilities for shoppers to use OSA coins, including buying products in the stores of our retail partners.
We are committed to engagement in the world of cryptocurrencies, with thousands of retailers, millions of manufacturers, and billions of shoppers!
Tell us about how you came up with the idea of OSA DC. Did you personally face a problem within the industry or do you think there is a gap in the market for OSA DC to fill?
AI: First, I have been working in the consumer product Retail industry for 17 years, in 57 countries around the globe. Throughout my career, I saw many issues with inefficiencies in Retail from both the manufacturer and retailer side.
Three and a half years ago, we decided to develop an AI-driven solution for product availability issues. Once we successfully deployed our platform, we received many requests from manufacturers and retailers to improve other challenges. At the time, we were a startup of less than 50 people and we lacked sufficient resources to fight against the difficulties in retail. We decided to unite with other teams worldwide and pool our resources together.
Second, I am a shopper and I am on a diet. I do not eat sugar or salt, and I also have 3 daughters, 3 beautiful princesses. As a responsible father, I want to feed my kids healthy food. You can imagine how shopping has become a nightmare.
Just imagine shelves full of thousands of products and I need to read tiny text on each package to find the products I want. I lose hours and hours of time. I also noticed that many ingredients that are dangerous for our health are still used in product manufacturing.
I am proud that OSA has developed technologies that can be used to help consumers like you and I.
What do you think is the biggest problem OSA DC will solve and why is it important to solve it?
AI: Our digital assistant will deliver the most important thing to people: a prescription for how to live longer and healthier lives, provided by our AI technology. We are committed to significantly reducing product waste.
An impressive bonus of OSA DC is that the more clients that use the platform, the cheaper it’ll be for the clients. Does this savings affect new clients or do they affect all clients in the platform and is there a point where the cost reduction stops?
AI: These savings affect our first adapters, companies who believed in us when we were just starting out. We are extremely thankful to the companies and individuals who supported our idea and stood behind our project. Special thanks to the teams from Mars, Efes, Coca-Cola, Loreal, JTI, Danone, and X5 Retail Group.
Is this sustainable in the long-term in terms of finances for OSA DC? Surely it’d lose the company money if the price of the platform’s services drops more and more every time?
AI: The beauty of the story is that prices can be regulated by the market in a decentralized way. It’s important to understand that the only resource which becomes cheaper over time is computation power. AI solutions dramatically improve the efficiency of key business processes, and we are only at the beginning of the greatest wave humanity has ever seen. This wave will totally revolutionize not only the way we live and work, it will change the way we think.
An interesting part about OSA DC is the use of image recognition to help retailers manage their shelves and inventory. How did you come with the idea of using image recognition as a tool in OSA DC? Are there any significant advantages of using image recognition over not using at all for retailers?
AI: Image Recognition can be limited due to human-required actions. When we deployed our service and our AI was sending tasks in real time to the store’s employees, 50% of the employees did NOT execute the tasks properly. Quite often, they simply lied by providing incorrect reports. We then started to use IR to control employees’ functions. Just imagine – AI sends tasks to a human operator and another AI controls the human’s actions. Unfortunately, I’ve come to the conclusion that manual actions are ineffective in retail processes.
Additionally, IR helps us gather information about product availability of slow-moving items.
How does OSA DC prevent fake or wrong info from being used on the platform? For instance, a product may be wrongly tagged as damaged when it’s perfectly fine. Are there any procedures or processes to verify that a piece of data is correct in OSA DC or do errors not happen on the platform?
AI: We don’t trust any data that we collect. All data is considered “probability data”. Our Machine Learning models analyze this data, find any anomalies and enrich them by making any necessary corrections. Our current solution is far from perfect, yet it is capable of catching any major issues and is also the most cost-effective way to clean the data.
Tell us more about the dynamic reputation rating. It seems like an interesting feature that’d definitely help businesses with their customers. Can you explain what it is and how does it work in OSA DC?
AI: A rating system – whether for a product, store, or manufacturer – is the most complicated element of our technology. It’s critical to build a system that is protected from manipulation and remains 100% reliable. We have found one of the best “brains” on the planet to help us succeed with this task. Our AI Advisory Board consists of leading experts in both AI and Game Theory. We have already begun to develop the foundation of this rating system, using Game Theory to design Machine Learning and Blockchain.
To create a product rating is a detailed and complex task. We use ingredient data, consumer feedback, sales data, switching patterns, independent chemical laboratory reports, and so on.
We believe that product ratings will become a highly valuable currency in Retail consumer products. Manufacturers will be focused on improving their product ratings instead of decreasing the quality of ingredients in order to cut costs. As our Vision lead, Maximilian often says, “Imagine yourself in a hypermarket. Today, it’s like the Internet, with huge amounts of data, but without a search engine like Google, Yahoo, or Baidu. What we do is create a search engine with a rating system similar to booking.com.”
With all of the features and tools in this massive project, it must be a task for you to manage the team. How do you ensure that the team meets its goals while at the same time, maintaining the quality of the platform so that clients are satisfied with the level of service. Is this a hard thing to manage?
AI: Over a year ago, we decided to implement a flat corporate structure. We do not have presidents, vice presidents, etc. I personally believe that titles and traditional hierarchy structures must become a thing of the past. Today, our IT and DS departments work as self-managed teams, and as a result, the level of motivation and engagement has increased dramatically. I’m very proud of our staff and how much we have achieved together. We still have challenges with some business units to switch them to a fully self-managed organization, but we are making progress every day.
The most important aspect of a self-managed organization is the level of effort of each team member. And this is the most difficult thing – to find an expert in a particular field with a high level of experience.
We are now implementing a holacracy and turning it into a “LoveCracy”. I believe that the most important thing in our lives is love. We came here to collect the experience of love. Whatever we do – we do with love.
A Socrates expression that I love is this: “There is a sun in everyone, just let it shine!” My dream is to create a corporate environment in which each person in our organization can shine.
Our company values are trust, love, and courage.
While working on the project, what’s something that you believed to be true for a long time until you found out that you were wrong, or if you don’t like the dichotomy of right versus wrong, what’s something significant that you have really changed your mind about over time?
I came from the corporate word and believed in long-term strategic planning. I spent days creating beautiful, detailed, and professional presentations, but it was a waste of time. What I realized was that the most important thing is CULTURE. As a great man said, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” We pay a lot of attention to the culture of our team.
- Courage (dead game)
An important insight for me is the following: the biggest end in the universe is the end of dreams and ideas. There are a billion ideas that people think of or hear about from family or friends, but there are only a few that are implemented. It’s a small number of people or companies out of the many who succeed and get real results. They fight until they achieve the result they want. I call this the “dead game”, the act of fighting every minute of every day to make it happen.
My philosophy is that no matter what you achieve, it only matters who you become once you achieve your goal. Just think about it for a minute – who you become!
- Do mistakes and learn
Make mistakes and learn. No matter how many mistakes you make, no matter how tough it is, I don’t believe that someone becomes a professional by learning from others’ mistakes. Doing this causes them to become a “Theoretical Expert”. My approach is to act every day and learn, learn, learn. Stay naive and stay hungry.
- FOCUS on ONE THING:
This is my personal challenge
What is the current progress of OSA DC’s partners?
Are there any interesting partnerships that the team is working on?
AI: I wish I could have 48 hours in a day, or even better, 72. We are meeting many companies who would like to partner with us. We meet them in the United States, Asia, and Europe. We will proceed with partnerships after finishing token sales. Right now, we are focusing on ONE THING.
What do you think is the biggest challenge or obstacle OSA DC will face?
How do you plan to tackle that challenge?
AI: The biggest challenge sits inside us. I am the biggest challenge for myself and our company is the biggest challenge for our team. The main obstacle we face is staying focused while growing the team by gathering the brightest minds and strengthening our culture.
The world is changing as much as we change individually. To change the world, start with yourself.
Moving on to more personal stuff, what does a typical day in your life look like?
AI: I believe in the philosophy “you are what you eat”. My person version is “you are what you think.”
Yes, I am a person who has a “typical day” I wake up as earliest as possible. Then I have almost 2 hours of personal exercises – meditation, kiss my princesses, sports, healthy food, plan my day. Then I run meetings, make calls, and handle many business tasks. I love meeting people. It’s exciting to observe your colleagues and partners and learn from them. It’s an interesting game we have here on Planet Earth. In the evenings, I try to relax, but during business trips abroad, I go to sleep late, usually around 2:00-3:00 am.
Right now, I’m missing the most important part of my life. While traveling around the world for more than 3 months and not being home with my princesses (my wife and 3 daughters), I miss my family very much.
Can you express one personal opinion of yours about the blockchain? It doesn’t matter if it’s negative or positive, we just want to hear your thoughts on it.
AI: I don’t think about blockchain or AI from a technology point of view. For me, the most important thing is the pain that technology solves or the VALUE it creates. Blockchain creates TRUST, and this is the key to economy growth. I am a fan of Game Theory, and it shows in a very simple way the importance and significance of TRUST. The second thing, which blockchain and smart contract enable – is DECENTRALIZATION. As I previously mentioned, I support the decentralization wave. It’s coming. In a number of years, a large number of today’s corporate giants will be shaken and forced to dramatically change the way they do business.
Finally, what other personal goals (besides your career) do you have in life?
Is there anything else in life you want to achieve?
AI: I have 2 goals, but I’m not sure that 1 life is enough to achieve it.
- Become more conscious about life each day.
- Reach unconditional love. Create, express, and share love, and BE loved.
One of my teachers told me that someone asked him, “Maestro, how do you behave with enemies?
His answer was, “I do not have enemies. All people and nature around me are my teachers. If someone does something bad to me, I give him love back. If someone says something bad to me, I give him love.”
That concludes our Interview with the founders of OSA DC