Apr 22
lead qualification bot

AI Lead Qualification Bot | How It All Started at CloseBot

The AI Lead Qualification Bot | Where it all Started

Many people know that I used to work as an engineer at Boeing in Washington state (I’ll get to that later), but few people know that I grew up on a farm in Nebraska!  Yes, a small town Nebraska kid is the one who dreamt up this AI lead qualification bot.  It was literally my job to scoop poop at a cattle feedlot through high school 💩 So how did I end up building the best low-prompt AI lead qualification bot application?  Well my upbringing in Nebraska plays a huge roll in that.

I grew up in Broadwater, NE.  This town of 150 people didn’t have a school I could attend so we had to drive to the next closest town, Bridgeport, NE for school, and this town only had about 1,500 people.  About 10% of those 1,500 people were my relatives including the football coach, some of the school staff, and owners of many local businesses.  I didn’t know until moving away how unique this experience was.

Here I learned about hard work and the value of your word.

Hard Work

Living so far out of town from school, my brothers and I had to get up early from a young age.  Like 5:30am early.  And we rode the 26 mile journey in a school bus that would leave us if we didn’t show up out the door on time.  This taught me from an early age how to manage my time and the importance of being on time.  I was the oldest of my two brothers, so it also became my job to make sure they didn’t make me late either.  They still have horror stories of me yelling at them to hurry up I’m sure.

As I grew up, it was time for me to get a high school job.  If you were a country kid (me), you worked on the farm.  Really no negotiating there.  My parents made it abundantly clear that they didn’t want me to make it my primary objective to take over the farm when I got older.  Not that there was any shame in that, but they wanted me to at least be open to venturing out and finding other work eventually… so they found me a job they knew I would hate 😂 (partly joking).  I worked at a nearby feedlot as a professional weed mower and pooper scooper.  Freezing winters breaking ice in the cow tanks and blazing summers scooping boiling manure out of the feed bunks.  Sounds like a good time right?  Well, it wasn’t bad when you didn’t know any better and you were in good company.

bridgeport ne

Bridgeport, NE

Now the hard work I was raised with carried into academics as well.  I got the perfectionist gene from my mom and got all A’s throughout high school.  Advanced classes were limited so I took several of the advanced classes twice just because there wasn’t anything else I could take.  I even taught a few math classes when the math teacher ran out of ideas for me.  I ended up graduating with a class size of 32 as valedictorian (not many kids but still proud!).  None of this is to boast, I’m just painting a picture of how important it was to me to do my best and to learn.

Value of Your Word

Building a business is as much about your values and reputation as it is about your talent and drive.  I learned about the value of one’s word in the small town.  Everyone knew everyone and there were no secrets.  If you did something, it was best to be forthright about it because the whole town would find out soon enough anyways… so there was no escaping the wrath of my mom if I messed up 😅

You get bored in a small town, so no matter how many extra-curricular activities you’re in, you still find time to get into mischief.  And when I got into mischief, I got into the habit of fessing up about it.  I learned that honesty is the easiest and surest way to retain your reputation.

College Years

Something I’ve learned about myself is that I’m quite impulsive.  When presented with something that seems like a good idea after initial analysis, I execute.  So when a board member came to speak to our high school science class about attending South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, I committed.  I didn’t visit other schools.  I didn’t apply to other schools.  That was it.

SDSM&T is where I met my lovely wife, Laura, and where I learned that I really love to learn.  I cemented myself in my studies because I was a perfectionist, but I loved my time studying.  My ability to do something that may seem monotonous to others because I enjoy learning is something I’m grateful to have picked up early.

When it came time to start looking for jobs, my impulsivity took over again (partially because we had a baby on the way).  I accepted the first job offer that came my way that would move our little family to Everett, WA for me to start my career at Boeing.

Boeing Career

Small town kid moving to the big city to work as an engineer at Boeing.  I was nervous and excited.  I’m sure my parents felt the same way.  In my mind I would be working with the best of the best at Boeing and I thought I would be pushed to my limits.  However, I quickly found out that corporate is slow.  I found out people weren’t rewarded for achievements as much as they were rewarded for tenure and political moves.  For someone who was raised in a way that rewarded you proportional to your efforts, I was not happy.

After about two years stumbling around at Boeing in mechanical engineering, signing papers and doing meaningless other computer admin tasks, I finally found a position at a prototype software branch of the company.  I fell in love with software.  Then the learning spark ignited once again and I dove into studies both at work and at home.  I bought books on algorithms and new frameworks and found a mentor at work who taught me about software architecture.  Finally, I was happy with the work I was doing.

Some Side Hustles

There was still something missing at this point even though I loved the subject of my work now.  I’m internally driven by nature and wanted to be able to self-start my own initiatives.  At this time I was into language learning and was able to achieve fluency in both Italian and German (I’ve since lost German).  I wanted to put my software prowess to the test and I developed my own language learning platform called Finite Languages.  It was a site that used early AI (Natural Language Processing) to compare your article-writing in a foreign language to that of a native speaker’s writing style.  Despite my best efforts, this business failed miserably.

Soon after losing interest with Finite Languages, I got more serious about finding quicker ways to make money outside of Boeing.  I loved software development, but grew less and less satisfied working in corporate.  My wife, Laura, had started working as a realtor so I figured I would try my hand at Real Estate.  After about 9 months grinding away at cold calls, door knocking and other sales stuff I was able to make the leap to quitting my Boeing job.  It was scary, and my parents thought I was nuts, but I did it!

Not long into my real estate career, I realized how much I also disliked sales… I leapt from one job I didn’t like right into another.  Naturally, I tried any way I could to avoid doing sales.  I poured my time into building my own CRM that would use AI in tandem with my virtual assistants to automate outreach.  Ultimately, that focus I poured into the software of my real estate business ended up taking it down along with the post-COVID real estate crash.

Here’s a look at the CRM I had built for our team.

ai lead qualification bot early days

CloseBot was Born

At this point, I had tried and failed many times.  But with the emergence of OpenAI’s tools in November 2022, I knew what I had to do.  Laura was hesitant to support my decision to start yet another business, but she is always on my side when I’m focused on something.  I had my experience building my custom CRM and weaving AI into it.  My sales experience while working in real estate taught me about conversation scripts.  Building a language learning site taught me about language processing tools.  I knew exactly how to leverage ChatGPT in a novel way, given my unique life lessons up to that point.

It hasn’t been without great struggles and failures along the way, but now CloseBot is the leading AI lead qualification bot in this space of low-prompt tools.  There is still a lot of road ahead of us, but we have some of the best users who are helping us further improve this amazing tool.  It’s literally changing the lives of business owners.  And I finally love every part of what I do.  If you want to check out the power behind CloseBot yourself, head over to our home page and register for a free trial account now!