The Art of Intelligence: JD Rico’s Strategy to Merge AI with Global Consumer Insights

Hua Wang
May 5, 2024

In the rapidly evolving landscape of global business, JD Rico, founder and CEO of QI, is steering his Los Angeles-based company to the forefront of the digital revolution. QI is an AI-powered software platform transforming the way companies harness consumer insights, content analytics, and customer intelligence.

Digital Innovation at the Core

At the heart of QI is its use of digital technologies. QI operates a multi-cloud, multi-tech system, integrating services across major platforms like Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, and AWS. This robust digital foundation enables QI to leverage large language models including Meta LLaMA and ChatGPT, and develop proprietary AI algorithms in partnership with NEC Corporation. This blend of external and in-house technology powers QI’s advanced natural language processing capabilities, crucial for parsing vast amounts of data from diverse sources like social media and blogs.

Rico explains, “Our platform is designed to streamline the complex data brands encounter daily, transforming it into a structured format that’s easy to interpret and act upon. This helps our clients tailor their market strategies more precisely and responsively.”

“We’re dedicated to assisting global companies that manage multiple brands across various markets, often dealing with hundreds of products and numerous social media posts monthly,” says Rico. “Our goal is to personalize these interactions for diverse audience segments to mitigate the risk of negative social feedback, a costly issue for corporations worldwide. Recent incidents have shown how social missteps can lead to losses in billions of dollars due to poorly received communications.”

Bridging Global Markets through AI

Rico’s background as a data scientist and cultural anthropologist is pivotal in navigating the complexities of international trade and policy. With experience in over 12 countries and working with global brands like AB InBev, Coca-Cola, Mitsubishi and Philips, as well as organizations such as Inter American Development Bank and World Bank, Rico brings a nuanced understanding of global markets to QI. This international perspective is vital as QI helps multinational corporations in US, Mexico, Columbia and other countries personalize interactions across diverse consumer bases, mitigating risks of social backlash—a significant concern in today’s reactive digital landscape.

“Our mission is to enhance the digital interaction between brands and consumers, making these exchanges more transparent, personalized, and less prone to misinterpretation in a market fragmented by diverse tribes and identity groups,” says Rico.  This complexity in communication often means that a message resonating with one group might fall flat or even offend another.  “Our tools help ensure that our clients’ narratives resonate positively across different cultures and demographics,” says Rico.

Leveraging International Talent

The QI team spans across the US, Mexico, Colombia, and Venezuela, harnessing a rich diversity of skills and perspectives. “Building a team internationally, particularly in Latin America, taps into a wellspring of untapped talent, especially in software development,” Rico explains.  “As a Colombian who moved to the United States nearly a decade ago, I have firsthand experience with this exceptional talent pool.”

“We’re seeing continual growth in talent, especially through connections with local universities and software development programs.” This not only enhances QI’s capabilities but also aligns perfectly with the needs of the burgeoning markets in these regions.

“Colombia and Mexico are not just emerging markets; they are thriving hubs for technology and innovation,” Rico notes. “Mexico, in particular, represents one of the largest markets globally, especially for consumer goods, which aligns directly with our business focus.”

Policy Insights for a Connected World

“For a young company like ours, agility and speed are paramount. Yet, excessive regulations can significantly dampen these advantages,” Rico explains. “With experience founding three businesses, I’ve observed firsthand how some regulations can burden small enterprises disproportionately.”

“We find ourselves in a constant battle to maintain efficiency amid growing red tape,” Rico continues.  This includes not only the direct costs of taxes but also the expense of hiring specialists to navigate these complex policies. “Every minute and dollar spent understanding and complying with these rules is a minute and dollar not spent innovating or growing our business.”

“For small businesses, streamlined regulations could be a game-changer, allowing us to thrive and respond to market needs with the nimbleness that larger corporations may not require as urgently,” Rico asserts.  “The goal,” Rico stresses, “is not merely to cope with the current demands but to foster an environment where small enterprises can flourish without undue hindrance.”

Championing the WTO eCommerce Moratorium

Reflecting on the significance of the WTO e-commerce moratorium, Rico emphasizes its crucial role in fostering a thriving digital economy. “The moratorium isn’t merely advantageous; it’s vital for ongoing growth and innovation in e-commerce,” Rico points out. By preventing economies from imposing customs duties on electronic transmissions, it notably lowers the barriers for businesses of all sizes to compete on a global stage.

Discussing the inherently borderless nature of the digital realm, Rico highlights, “Imposing tariffs on electronic transactions would introduce needless financial and operational barriers.” This stance underscores the importance of tariff-free digital transactions to promote inclusivity and accessibility in the global digital market.

Additionally, the moratorium aids in the development of digital infrastructure in economically less developed countries. “By eliminating the burden of additional costs, we empower these regions to enhance their digital capabilities, integrating them more fully into the global economy,” Rico explains.

“The push towards a digital tax by some governments is misguided,” Rico remarks. “It reflects a broader, troubling trend of governments perennially seeking new revenue sources without a clear understanding of the detrimental impacts.”

Expressing frustration with the potential for new taxes, Rico notes, “It’s irrational. Governments are inherently set to expand and look for new things to tax, but they often lack a practical understanding of the consequences. Why this eagerness to tax everything? It’s a counterproductive stance that could stifle innovation and economic freedom.”

Future Outlook: Ethical AI and Beyond

Looking ahead, Rico is committed to ethical AI practices, aiming to make the internet a healthier space for brand-consumer interactions. His vision includes transforming advertising into more engaging, informative content, enhancing the user experience online while respecting consumer privacy and preferences.

QI exemplifies the potential of digital technologies to not only reshape business strategies but also to forge deeper, more meaningful connections across the globe. As it continues to innovate at the intersection of technology, culture, and policy, it sets a precedent for how businesses can thrive in an increasingly digital and interconnected market.


JD Rico