We humans have always been social apes, especially the more well-dressed amongst us.
The original idea of our species was a clever upright ape with a disrupted-digit (1) that roamed the African savannah in small troupes. Times were lean, but we survived somehow, being an intelligent social species. We haven’t evolved much since then. The original humans from 200,000 years ago could be dropped into our suits and no one would know the difference as far as hardware and social skills are concerned. We haven’t pivoted much from our MVP (minimum viable product 2). Our human hardware has remained the same but, being man+machine, we have continued to evolve through technology. Each time we pivot by adding new technology to extend ourselves: fire, wheel, language, tools, culture, machines. We have succeeded because technology has allowed us to go far beyond our DNA. It would appear that there are no limits to human capability.
But there still are limits; our glutinous network of tight social relationships made us a successful species, and we remain a small-tribe species. Dunbar calculates 3 that human brains evolved to only maintain 150 relationships. That limit was enough for us when we were in the savannah, and has continued to be just about alright as we became cave-painters, mammoth-hunters, rice-farmers, silk-traders and hipster urbanists. But now we need an upgrade. Dunbar’s number is clearly not enough for us anymore. There are just too many humans, and too little brain. We face the limits of what our innate capacity for relationships can do for us.
Sales professionals in B2B companies have the worst end of this bargain. First, we have to wear uncomfortable suits. Second, we’re subjected to the ignominy of air travel, what with the long lines, shoe-removal and tight seat pitch. And if that isn’t enough, we have to build professional relationships with an inhumanly large number of prospects and clients. We may be connected with 700 contacts on LinkedIn, have 300 contacts in the CRM, be juggling 10 deals with 30 key contacts, and have extended relationships with hundreds of friends from school, work and professional networks. We fail miserably.
We fail to manage our social network even though we are born a social species. We fail at being human.
This is why I’m excited about company that I advise — Relatas. Relationships are ripe for AI, and Relatas is the first relationship AI software that works for professionals. We can finally trust a machine to extend the human capacity for relationships. No more waking up at night in cold sweat thinking about who you might be losing touch with. No more scratching the head to think about who you could meet when you’re visiting San Francisco. No more thinking about what’s happened since you met with Juanita last. Now many times more relationships can be managed with the same human warmth that made us a successful small-tribe-species. By letting Relatas AI extend the human limits of relationships, we can extend our humanity and reap the rewards of successful human network maintenance.
With better relationships, we will become better salespeople, of course; we will also become better people.
Amen to AI!
This post was written by Gaurav Rastogi - Advisor to Relatas.