— x.ai Pros And How They Do It — Dr. Gail Barnes of Personify

Gail BarnesName: Dr. Gail Barnes
Title: Managing Partner
Company: Personify LLC
Location: Chicago
Twitter handles: @ZAGrrl / @DrGailB
One word to describe yourself: Passionate.
x.ai Boss since July 08 2015

Dr. Barnes, what’s your story? Tell us 3 fun facts that we should know about you.

My company, Personify, has just had its third birthday. We offer consulting services for sustainability, processing and packaging technologies, product innovation and…social media.
1. I spent most of my career working for large multinational companies in Africa, Europe and North America, hence the strong focus on technology for the consulting services we offer. I fell down the social media rabbit hole after a presentation by Craig Newmark about Twitter at a LA conference I was attending. It was 2009, so early Twitter days, and I was hooked.
2. I made an amazing variety of friends in the early days of Twitter, including a hip hop band from Kalamazoo, MI. It was as a result of a tweet to my band friends about Moonalice’s “Twittercasts” that Roger McNamee aka @Moonalice found me on Twitter, and, as the expression goes, the rest was history…I stepped even further through the social media looking glass.
3. I attended my first rock concert in 2009, which by a strange co-incidence was a Moonalice concert in NYC. When I founded my company, Moonalice became my first client. Which explains why we now offer consulting services in the technology as well as the social media/entertainment/news space. My run of luck on social media continues…it is how I found Amy and x.ai…

What do you enjoy most about your job?

I have always wanted to be an entrepreneur and work at an early stage company…now I do, both within my own company, and with some of the most innovative companies in the world.

Best part?

Being able to create a holistic work environment focusing on physical as well as mental wellbeing. Our group working area not only has traditional work stations, we have a treadmill desk as well as a bike desk. Anyone coming for a meeting can choose whether to sit at one of the chairs at our team table, or participate while using either the treadmill desk or bike desk. I am writing this while walking at 2 mph on the treadmill desk. There is also an area for yoga/stretching. Rock posters from our entertainment clients cover most of the walls making for a space that feels more like fun than work.

Worst part?

There is no worst part. I am doing what I love with people that I love.

What type of meetings are you having?

My client base is worldwide, so the majority of my meetings are phone conferences. Keeping track of time differences is really important as well as remembering that working weeks are different in different parts of the world.

About how many meetings do you do per month?

I have regular weekly scheduled calls with most of our clients. Non-scheduled calls tend to be consulting/new project or business development related.

How are you using Amy?

In exactly the same way I would a human PA.

How do you intro her to new people?

In my mails I introduce Amy as my AI PA. Most folks don’t get that though and I can see from their replies that they think she is human. Even when I explain she is not, I have still had someone ask if she could speak to Amy! I wrote this post on LinkedIn to share with clients: My Personal Assistant is an Artificial Intelligence

What skill do you wish for Amy to learn that she’s not able to do now?

Finding best travel options! I spend so much time doing that! Simpler stuff would be things like reminders.

Any Pro-Tips you’d recommend to Amy’s other bosses?

Read the Pro-Tips on the x.ai website. It’s very informative!

What’s the one book you’d recommend to a friend?

The Wind In The Willows. It was the first book I ever read and the start of my lifelong love for creatures great and small – which is why 20% of my company’s time is spent working pro bono on conservation projects for not-for-profit organizations like Tembo Preserve.


If a kid walked up to asking for your advice and you only had a few minutes to give ‘em your best tip, what would it be

Follow your dreams, don’t let them slip away…be the best you, you can be, and never give up!


What’s your favorite quote?

Favorite quote is from another original Moonalice song, “Nick Of Time,” also written by Roger, “Follow your dreams, don’t let them slip away. Good things happen in the nick of time.”


Favorite song?

My favorite song is “I’m Glad You Think So” an original song written by Roger McNamee of Moonalice. There is very little to beat your favorite band dedicating your favorite song to you at a concert!