BluShark Digital 0:00
Welcome to the SEO Insider with your host, Seth Price founder of BluShark, taking you inside the world of legal marketing and all things digital.
Seth Price 0:11
Welcome, everyone. We’re here with Pooya from Intaker, welcome.
Excited to be here, Seth.
Seth Price 0:18
So look, you bring two things that are both fundamental to the legal marketing industry, chat, as well as what is cutting edge, probably, you were talking about this and had a business with this before chat GPT, which is AI, and you brought them together. Because for many of us in the digital marketing space, chat has always been like a necessary evil. You know, you needed it. There were a bunch of companies out there that were giving you the options, that they all kind of misled you and told you they were US people doing it. Instead, it was somebody off in the Philippines answering the chat not particularly well. And it’s one of those things that nobody had innovated until you came along and sort of upset the industry, which is pretty cool to see. Tell me a little bit about how that came to be?
Well, Seth, we’re not we’re not lawyers, you know, we are a couple of tech guys, we were working on other natural language understanding projects before this. NLU is like the mother of Chat GPT. Basically, before large language models, people were very interested in those. That’s how Siri, Alexa, Google Assistant, those kind of products work. We were working on those things in 2015. 2016. Mostly, it didn’t really work out because it was too soon to the market. And the tech wasn’t there. So this was a pivot from the other startup we were working at, we worked at court in space. And there was a lawyer right next to our office. And we created a prototype for that lawyer and talking to another lawyer in the same court in space, he kind of came to us and he was like, Oh, you guys may be up to something because obviously had no idea about this whole landscape that we’re in right now. But he educated us a little bit more. And we ran some ads got some people on our waitlist, and now we serve more than 1000 firms, Seth.
Seth Price 2:24
That’s amazing. And look, it makes sense. As I said, I feel like you’ve upset an industry where, I didn’t like my chat. It’s not good. But you needed to have it because some people, like look, I always say somebody’s talking to their spouse, there’s so many spouses asleep next to them. They don’t really want to pick up the phone and say, hey, I got I got a DUI, who should I go to? Or they’re doing their own independent research on an injury matter. Or whatever it is, that the ability to get instant gratification. And the piece that I disliked about the chat industry, was the fact that you were waiting for response, you know, when we started, you know, you know, you’re you’re a young one. But you know, movies were two hours, TV shows were 30 minutes, my kids haven’t watched broadcast TV, they didn’t know what MTV was, you know, the world has changed the point where the the attention span is a couple of milliseconds as you’re scrolling through a TikTok or Instagram Reels, that people’s expectations of that interaction have changed. And that while AI may, still developing and may not be perfect, in all senses, that the ability to get the ability to get instant gratification or even faster gratification, I think is part of the secret sauce. That’s you know, you, your AI is continued to improve as AI will do, right that, that the idea that you’re not waiting in rotation for somebody overseas to type back a response really seems like a po- powerful innovation, just as far as you know, is that the piece that I’ve always been curious about is when and again, I’m dating myself, but all the phone trees that the airlines and credit card companies use when you do need to speak to an actual person is that ability to push somebody there because as we know, AI is not perfect. Neither is chat. But there are times when the answer is we need to get to a lawyer, not a chat agent, not an AI chat agent. But figuring that piece out because once that’s there, everything else to me is gravy.
No, that’s that’s actually very true. And frankly, what you really need with those phone trees if you create, so we might get a little bit technical here but it’s we have decision trees right and hey if this and that, which is how most chatbots function. And we have like kind of open chat, which is more like Chat GPT more like the old school Siri that hey, you can have a whole bunch of different intents walking into these different conversations. And frankly, I think, for the for the lead capture process, the decision tree, the the unsexy kind of thing that’s like so easy, it’s predictable, it’s fast, it doesn’t need to analyze anything that works actually better. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t use AI for reasoning, and eventually even decision making. Using that content that comes from a decision tree, that doesn’t mean that, but we can maybe explore this a little bit more, because I don’t think it’s going to be the way that people think about AI is using it in conversations. Frankly, I think that’s the most kind of lack of better word, naive way of thinking about it.
Seth Price 5:50
Its’s the last place where it’d, be the first place is not conversation but finite, AB’s, zero’s and one’s.
lt’s descision making, like, hey, here is a conversation that was very fast, using a decision tree. Now tell me based on all these criterias that I have for my firm, now tell me what would be the next kind of thing to do? Would it make let AI make the decision for you, and then maybe give you maybe pri- at first, maybe let AI give you some reasoning, so you can operate faster, and then down the line let AI make the decision of like, hey, do we need to send a retainer? Or do we need to send a scheduler? Do we need to kind of transfer this to somebody else at the firm because it’s the opposing party or the opposing party’s lawyer calling that all of these things, but let AI make the decision on what’s the best route to take? And I think we’re not that far from it Seth.
Seth Price 6:48
No, I agree. Because the idea is, like, for myself, I do a lot of different areas of law at Price Benowitz, and a lot of a lot of clients of yours do one specific type. But once you can identify what the issue is, is it an injury case? Is it a criminal case? You know, and then once you can sort of figure out is there, at you know, what jurisdiction, we figured out jurisdiction, that’s pretty, you know, these are ones that can be customized, you get to the point where you’re not that far away from actually being able to get a retainer, are you see it in mass torts being rolled out, there are problems with it, but the idea that we can get to somebody who could help that much faster. And you’ve seen companies, Amazon has been doing a great job of this for years, but what they always have, which is what I want as a lawyer, my job with chat, was to get somebody on the phone, old school me felt that nobody was ever going to sign a retainer, without speaking to somebody, I’m not sure if that’s been changed or not, but it’s getting there. My kids don’t talk on the phone, my employees don’t talk on the phone. So, I’m old, but the idea that you can get to the point where you know, that this is a monetizable widget, that’s really freakin powerful.
It’s it’s powerful. And it’s not just about adding efficiency for the firm’s it’s also about bringing, bringing the service to the to the masses. Because if you can analyze a whole bunch of different case, the problem is right now, for every case, that is real, you have to kind of swim through maybe eight or nine, there are not really real cases, you just have to kind of screen them. Right. So this is the main issue. So right now about I believe there’s about 70% of cases that are not even being pursued. So maybe they reach out to a lawyer, they never get a response back. Maybe they don’t, they’re not even kind of convinced to reach out. The issue is, unfortunately, the legal market does not have the right tools, or maybe the right innovations in place to be able to serve everybody, there’s so much
Seth Price 9:10
Agreed, access to justice, huge issue. And ironically, as much as I like it for my PI shop, or my criminal shop, and I do I’m excited about a new newfound fan and customer. But the idea that the, the world that the, there’s a transaction cost, I get so many phone calls about issues that are non monetizable, meaning no lawyer out there can really make money, there might be a nonprofit to help, but that there’s an entire 90% of the market if you have a dispute for less than $20,000. Given the value of your time. There’s no solution. You’re not going to go to small claims court yourself for days at a time. You’re not going to go and hire a lawyer for a modest hourly fee. You’re going to let it go. And the idea that I hope that with brilliant people like you who can create these decision trees, that you will do two things, one, those things that can be helped, hey, here’s the small claims form, if you want to do it yourself, here’s the lawyer, this is there a fee, you know, but I’m guessing that with AI, and this is not your current business, that you will be able to filter a ton of potential cases, not the ones you’re doing right now, because people like me pay you money, because we want the gold. But there’s so much out there, that good that could be done to the civil justice system, if people were able to gain answers and find resources, because nobody can afford to take the time to speak to them, because they’d be out of business speaking to all those people that don’t make any money.
Totally, totally. And the other side of a business like you. And if you think about maybe smaller firms, they get tired of kind of seeing all those I would say inquiries, but not real cases to them. And then as it increases, it decreases their efficiency while they’re swimming through all of this. And if if you can kind of figure out a way to make sure that we use AI to kind of do some level of scoring and predictive lead scoring to bring the good leads that they want, not just the good leads, we think they’re good, but based on the firm’s criteria, bring them back up, and make the front face of the products really attractive and sexy so that mass crowds can use them. And they’re totally scalable. It’s not like, oh, I have a call center of 20 people, in order to serve more or double what I’m serving, I need to hire 20 more people to do this. This is one of the area’s going back to the justice gap. I think this is one of the areas that makes total sense to use AI, because the good on the other side is massive.
Seth Price 12:06
No, and look, I could see a future where hopefully, it’s good enough that it actually gets sent to the right person, not your firm, so you’re not paying for the contacts beyond AI and that the ones that are monetizable will be contractually so so that you’ll get the referral fee, so that people who have a national base are able to sort of say, oh, there’s an injury case, this is going to somebody in Colorado, there’ll be a referral fee coming back on that God willing, and that you could start to get some, it’s not just helping people, it’s not just getting them access, which is good. But it is it is it’s frustrating, because most people don’t, intake is so difficult. Intake beyond Intaker. Intake is so difficult. So precious, so expensive, so hard to do well, that anything that can get rid of nonsense and bring you something pre vetted, is worth so much. And that generally I’ll tell you with the non AI, my only goal is to get a phone number. Really, that was my old school, when I started the firm 15-20 years ago, and chat came in what like 12 years ago, I was like, okay, just give me a phone number because I know that we can’t close it, if we’re able to start figuring out what’s real and what’s not. Because I always talk about this. And again, you sort of see this, there are leads that come to you for Intaker where it’s a law firm, or a business or whatever, where there could be a widget. There’s also a bunch of stuff where it’s a kid from overseas who’s doing a research paper. And not that you don’t want to be helpful there. But that’s not going to make you any money short term. And not that you don’t want a percentage of that. But if you can make your show your sales team isn’t weeding through noise, but is getting to that monetizable piece. Again, there’s always a pull and tug. Because you need to make sure that you’re not alienating a potential person. But I hope and and believe that as AI gets better that less people are going to be dissuaded that they play the game. I see it with Uber and Lyft you can get their AI is pretty good. It’s an Intaker version of that. And there are times when there’s no good answer. They have stuff that doesn’t hit anything. And that is frustrating. And you know what, that the 5% of times there’s something that falls outside of that category. But part of the reason they don’t want that information, it’s not making them any money. They know what the real issues are, safety concerns, mischarged bills, but anything else that’s nuanced. Well, they’re gonna they’re gonna pay somebody to listen to you? If they can avoid it, they will, and the idea that they’re able to get okay, we really need these ones. These ones can be done digitally and able to slice and dice before it gets to you. And I think the question is, you know, how what do you how do you respond to somebody who says we’re losing that personal touch? You know, is that is there something to that, or is it like the answer is both if you want a phone call, there’s a button next to the thing, it’s easy to get a, get a phone call. But if you want to chat, let’s let’s have that conversation in real time 24/7 and get you the viable cases.
So Seth, this is actually I think this is what people know us for. One of the main concerns coming in, like just walking into 2017, 2018, one of the biggest concerns that I personally had with automation was like, okay, we can automate to a crazy level almost anything, right? You can build software for anything automated, it’s going to be faster and more efficient. But the number one concern, especially from small, medium sized businesses, like law firms is like, Hey, how about the personal touch, what’s going to happen to the personal touch, because we sell personal touch as an SMB versus an enterprise solution out there, that’s, that’s what we sell. And now that like, the tools are out here, for us to automate things, one of the biggest concerns barriers, to kind of, for us to walk in is like, hey, we don’t want to lose that. This is like, you know, the, the idea of thinking, I have a client base, it’s my village. And I kind of give first and the people know me, people, I know my clients with their first names, and they know their lawyer with them. You know what I mean? So the personal touches is massive here. And I think it requires a whole bunch of innovation in the space, like the one we did with video. It’s not It’s not rocket science, right? It’s not rocket science. But we were like people are walking into a conversation, how about the managing partner, gives them like an under 60 second pitch, whatever they say on that phone call, every time they’re talking to a new lead, or gives them welcomes them to the page, tells them you’re at the right place, this is the right, you have an issue, we do this all the time, we have helped plenty of people like you, and we would love to help you as well. So walk into our automation and give us some more information so we can help out, you know? This is like the kind of the UX part of things, the user experience, part of things that are not really like we’re not using fancy AI in the process, we’re just building a smart experience for people to use automation, but at the same time, kind of have empathy. As part of it, it’s not gonna be like, it’s going to be more efficient, it’s going to have all the perks that automation brings on. But on the other end, you can still sell your personality, you can still show the personality behind the business. And I think having more of these, not just this but having more of these. And in automated experiences and more innovations like this is the ultimate answer to kind of using automation without losing the personal touch.
Seth Price 18:13
Absolutely. So let’s let’s pivot for a minute out of like today to AI right, incredible. The future is mind blowing. At the same time. It’s pretty scary if we go too far into the future. Like it starts to you know, you’re already seeing it, you’re seeing the funny, Biden Trump videos, but we’re getting to the point will we know what’s real and what’s not real.
Yeah, it’s it’s it. I’m excited. I think. I mean, I kind of if want to tell you one thing, I think over the next few years, whoever that was around for, I wasn’t. Lisa was not I was very young. But internet, you know, the paradigm shift [inaudible].
Seth Price 19:05
In the late 90s. I was in New York, during the first.com bubble, you talked about being ahead of the curve on something. I was at a company called uslaw.com. We had raised 10 million we had 30 million on the table. The bubble burst. It was essentially what Legal Zoom and Fielaw became, but it was just, it was too soon. A friend of mine during that same time, had something called The Square. It was Facebook in 98/99. To be to be scary and at just tell you, it was all young Asian women who are on it. I went to one of their parties. That’s, that was who was interested in social networking. The world wasn’t ready for it. The bandwidth wasn’t there. Nobody got it. Another guy Six Degrees, same thing. It was there. But it’s not just the right idea. It’s the right moment when the work the bandwidth is there and people are ready to adopt.
Exactly so whoever that goes through one of these paradigm shifts knows how incredibly surprising they are. If you think about it, the combination of cloud and mobile phones brought us Airbnb, Uber, all those mobile first apps that we now can’t even imagine living life without them, right? We’re going through the same thing, maybe I think bigger than bigger than Internet, bigger than the emergence of anything we’ve seen so far. Because this is, this is us, this is what we do. This is not a tool. This is ultimately it’s going to be going back to my first point, it’s going to be reasoning and decision making over things, it’s probably going to make decisions better than us, better than a CEO. Some people think, oh, it’s going to be the grocery stores or sales reps or support reps that are going to be, no this is going to be this is it’s going to do the CEO job much better because it has all the data, it can make decisions. And I’m not talking now, but-
Seth Price 21:06
We’re at least or at least, I’m thinking short term, at least be a powerful tool that you have to overcome. Look is it any different than Moneyball, if you’re a baseball fan, what they went what baseball has gone through, instead of having old coaches that knew instincts, it was numbers. And as you can put zeros and ones into a formula, the question it’s all about data in data out if you get the right data in God bless. If you don’t you come out with garbage.
Yeah, and it’s it’s going to enable, I would say nobody knows what’s going to happen. But I think it’s going to happen so quickly, sooner than a lot of people think, cuz guess what the tech is there. And I was watching them as, just going all over the place now, I was watching this new movie about blackberry and how what had happened, how it happened that the I don’t know if you watched it yet or not. But it’s
Seth Price 21:56
I really, I got to watch it. I loved my Blackberry.
The story is fascinating. Because it’s, it basically walks you through walks you through what happened when iPhone came out, and how they were kind of relying on their initial kind of innovation, that which was like sending out emails on the GSM network, and kind of making making those sending those small packages of data in a way that the network doesn’t get affected. But then 3g came out and data and carriers stopped charging per minute, because guess what, there was a certain number of minutes in a day and you can’t go beyond a certain point, and then started selling data, which is basically unlimited. And then it walks you through how folks at Blackberry did not really see this coming. They, they they try to hold their kind of the their initial innovation, they tried to defend it and say, Hey, world’s gonna be big, they did not expect something like this to happen. I think it’s something-
Seth Price 23:10
I gotta watch, because you’re like me, and I have friends. I have one woman who until a couple years ago, still jerry rigged her Blackberry. There was a moment when I think it was Ashton Kutcher. Somebody else came out with a Blackberry for smartphones, like a case that you could put it, didn’t work it was through Bluetooth. But like, if you if you were old enough to have used a Blackberry, it was a game changer. Like you could do things with it. And the fact that we lost, that nobody ever came out with that. You know, the, the the mermaid, the half smartphone, half Blackberry, it just makes me so sad.
They have, they came out with it. It was just too late. I think it was called BlackBerry Bold, if I’m not if I’m not wrong,
Seth Price 23:54
I tried everything and it didn’t do it.
And at some point, we, just some clarity at some point this company Hold, holds a 45% market share in the country. 45% I don’t know if iPhones like kind of I think it’s where iPhone is right now, which is crazy to think that it’s all gone now, all gone. So I think what we’re gonna see over the next few years going back to AI is going to be fascinating. There are going to be two sides of this coin. A lot of companies like us, frankly, SAS companies, agencies, software tools, that a lot of these companies are going to lose, they’re not going to exist in five years because there’s so many things coming out like in the space of CRM, for example. If you don’t knock it down, kind of go back and you’re not bold enough to go back and kind of rethink everything because a lot of things has changed. The user experience will change using AI in every bit everything basically.
Seth Price 25:01
Right as people, it’s like the web, US law, we had to convince somebody to put an ad on the web, once people are used to it, the game, the world changed and you needed it. And that’s partly I think, Legal Zoom waited till consumers were savvy enough to to navigate, and then put that product out was really, really smart.
It’s-and you see this, like, there are other companies that are kind of merging. Even up as an example, in legal, that like they were cooking something and nobody knew about it, or but at some point they were like, they, they were explosive, because they kind of waited for the wrong, right time. They were lucky and they had the right thing. And it happened. And it’s the same thing I think for for other companies, it’s the same thing you can either you’re either on the winner side of this, if you think bold and smart or mean, you’re gonna kind of you’re gonna be the Blackberry of this story. It’s going to be like, hey, we do what we do we do, we spent 15 years, 12 years, no matter how big your customer base is, it’s not bigger than Blackberry. So if if you don’t do act, if you don’t act from now and act bold enough as a software company, I think it’s it’s a big threat. Going back to your point about this being scary. I think we just need to be bold enough and start from scratch on a lot of grounds and kind of build stuff that are have AI and every single bit of them.
Seth Price 26:37
Well, look, I this is fascinating. The fact that I get to travel some of the most beautiful places in the world and continue this conversation with you personally, is near and dear to my heart. But I thank you so much and, you know, excited that you made that pivot and excited you’re along for this, this global journey that we’re all on.
I’m excited for, for it to Seth, and thank you for having me on your podcast.
Seth Price 27:02
BluShark Digital 27:04
Thank you for tuning in to the SEO Insider with Seth Price. Be sure to check back next week for fresh insights into building your brand’s online presence. Episodes are available to stream directly on BluShark Digital’s website.