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Square's departing CEO on Gen AI: You don't need an MBA to run a startup

Generative AI is changing the face of fintech, not just for established names, but new and growing startups too. Speaking on the No Priors podcast, Square's recently departed CEO Alyssa Henry said these tools stand to benefit tech focused founders the most. 

Henry says AI is particularly useful in the back office, from "employee management tools and communication to finances." By fast-tracking them with AI, those processes become "easier to operate with better expertise and less time."

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The founders and business owners reaping the rewards are those that "like working in their business, not on their business." Henry says that "most of these owners, they're not MBAs" and AI tools will mean they won't need one (or a co-founder with one).

It's not just business areas smaller fintechs can leverage AI for. Henry notes content generation and marketing as another key area. Using ChatGPT for copy or editing videos with Adobe Sensei can prove vital for fintechs when it's "too expensive and too hard to go find and hire a marketing consultant."

The "next phase" of AI for Henry is in productivity. She says we're moving into a phase of "bundling" workflows, which AI will help with. Workers of today "have multiple browsers open, they're cutting and pasting from one tool to another," and even have some non-digital workflows. AI should be able to streamline those processes and keep them interlinked. 

Don't expect AI to do all the work for you as a CEO, though; Henry says that she worked "78 hour weeks" while running Square. Her future is unclear, torn between retirement or an extended sabbatical, while Block and Twitter founder Jack Dorsey assumed the role of Square CEO when she left. 

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AUTHORAlex McMurray Editor

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