On A.I. & Building Success: First Georgian Man to Graduate Harvard

Exclusive Interview

Archil Cheishvili is the first ever Georgian man to graduate from America’s prestigious Harvard College. Since then, he has worked at the largest hedge fund in the world - Bridgewater Associates and is today CEO of his own company ‘Palatine’, which develops next-generation A.I. technology. The company gathers data about employees through peer-to-peer employee feedback and polls and then predicts their future performance. GEORGIA TODAY met with him this weekend to talk about getting into and studying at Harvard, his company and his thoughts on the future.

How did your life in Georgia lead to studying at Harvard?

In elementary school, some people want to become police officers, doctors or astronauts, but I dreamed about one thing: business, business, business! I wanted to create a global company that would reshape the world. I wanted to have an impact on people’s lives. I realized that a good education would help me to get there and started researching schools in America and, with the help of God, family, teachers and friends, I ended up going to Harvard. My class was very competitive, I remember losing the college president election twice before winning it. Losing those elections gave me a burning desire to become 1% better every single day.

How did you learn a sufficient level of English to prepare for study in America?

Languages have never been my strong point. It took me many years and countless hours to study English. To do well at my American university entrance exams, I had to focus on developing my reading and writing abilities. I learned how to read and comprehend one page of material in under 15 seconds, and learned how to write long essays in less than 30 minutes. However, I didn’t have a lot of practice speaking, so, initially I had trouble speaking English.

How did you find studying in a foreign country in a different language and different education system?

The first month was challenging and I had no idea how well I would do on the mid-term exams, though I was preparing for them day and night. I recall telling my two brothers that if I continued this way, then I would probably be seeing them a lot earlier than anticipated! It was hard to get used to the American education system. However, after I did, I overcame barriers and started to love it.

I recall my first day at Harvard: I walked through the gate which has a message inscribed at the top. It read “enter to grow in wisdom”. When I graduated, I left through that same gate which [on the other side] read: “depart to serve better thy country and thy kind”. Harvard gave me the inspiration to use all the resources around me to create something meaningful.

Tell us about your company

I’m a co-founder of a company called Palatine Analytics that develops next generation Artificial Intelligence technology. We’re planning to revolutionize the ‘people analytics’ field by building an intelligent software machine that is smart, unbiased, and which can synthesize millions of data points and predict the future. Currently, we have companies using our software around the world and have two offices: one in Boston and one in New York City. Our web-platform collects data about employees, providing feedback to fellow employees, goal-setting and completing weekly moral surveys. Then, our statistical models analyze data and provide insights regarding the employees’ present, past and future performance; 75% of times, we predict this accurately.

What are your thoughts on the future of your business?

We would like to create A.I. that is so smart, it can predict employees’ future performance accurately 90% of the time or more, making it the employees’ personal coach which assists them in their daily work. This will result in smarter and fairer promotions, whilst helping employees to reach their full potential. We envision a world where promotions and terminations are made accurately by a machine that is intelligent, fair and unbias.

What one piece of advice would you give to achieve such a high level in business?

In order to achieve a high level of success in the business world, you should set ambitious goals, realize the mistakes you are making and don’t accept them. Understand what the root causes of those mistakes are, come up with a way of fixing them, and have the discipline to work through them. Dealing with the weaknesses will be tough, but it’s the only way to truly succeed. The burning desire to achieve your goals is a necessary prerequisite for being able to execute your plan.

Tom Day

11 December 2017 18:18