Why I Am Joining HumanFirst

And why I believe HumanFirst finds itself positioned to be a core piece of the AI/natural language puzzle

Cobus Greyling
6 min readSep 9, 2022



  • I am happy to announce that I am joining HumanFirst as Chief Evangelist!
  • My writing and ongoing contribution to the Conversational AI community will continue uninterrupted.
  • The philosophy of HumanFirst is that a rising tide lifts all the boats, and allowing me to contribute to the community will continue to benefit Conversational AI in general.
  • I believe that Conversational AI is at an inflection point, from where we will see fragmentation of implementations in terms of technology together with products in certain vertical vectors excelling.
  • HumanFirst finds itself in a unique position; The HumanFirst studio is a latent space with no-code, data-centric tooling. Addressing market ailments identified by Gartner.

During the last six months I have received numerous career opportunities from exceptional organisations, for which I’m immensely grateful. I certainly do not take it for granted.

Recently I wrote about the fact that I have worked for a few failed startups and the desire I have to join a startup again…

Leaving the corporate world recently was a leap of faith and was definitely daunting considering my past experiences…😅

But I knew a few things…

I knew that eventually I would need to join a company again, while I had a blast being independent, but I always knew it would end.

I knew another career change was definitely not an option, and that I wanted to work in Language Technology in general and Conversational AI in specific.

I knew I wanted the freedom to continue writing and have a valued opinion on the market. Hence the option to work for a more focussed Conversational AI company was top of mind.

And I knew that I needed to work with the right people building an amazing product in an exciting market.

Hence, I am happy to announce that I am joining HumanFirst as Chief Evangelist!

I will have the freedom to continue what I’m currently doing and I see this as an extremely generous gesture from HumanFirst. So obviously this was very important in my decision to join HumanFirst (along with the 4-day work week they recently announced. 😉)

The philosophy is that a rising tide lifts all the boats, and allowing me to contribute to the community will continue to benefit Conversational AI in general.

The HumanFirst People

I’m a firm believer that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. One of the parts being the people, and the greater the people are, the greater the whole will be.

Greg and Mathieu are seasoned at founding and running a start-up. Thinking of a startup, two terms always come to mind, humble-n-hungry and lean-n-mean.

Both of these traits I see in Greg and Mathieu, there is a great sense of humility, and there is also a hunger to succeed, but in the right way, with empathy and a sense of togetherness.

They have both seen a successful exit in a previous startup and know what it takes to build a meaningful product in a very efficient world.

I think of lean-n-mean in terms the approach to finances and focusing on remaining default alive. This approach should always be a great sense of comfort for employees.

I like the Finnish concept of Sisu

The ideals of Sisu are born out of a harsh environment which demands resourcefulness and laser focus on what is important to merely survive.

These notions moulded me into a person who seeks out people of a kindred spirit, with a likemindedness and the same sense of Sisu if you like.

I see these traits in the people of HumanFirst. They are kind, determined, resourceful, highly intelligent, unassuming and empathetic.

The HumanFirst Product

A successful startup needs a product which can grow, be leveraged, and that won’t be eclipsed by other emerging technologies, or easily superseded by established technologies.

The product needs to be able to scale easily in terms of users…

The HumanFirst studio is a latent space with no-code, data-centric tooling. With latent space, I mean that data can be compressed by means of detecting semantic similarities in intents and entities. In both a supervised and unsupervised fashion.

The HumanFirst studio can be used to leverage the HF NLU, but integration exist to other NLU’s and even Large Langauge Models.

Below are the seven vertical vectors of innovation I think we will see significant growth in. HumanFirst is currently innovating in four of those vectors, with the size of the logo indicating where HumanFirst is excelling and leading.

The current Conversational AI Landscape

Here I see HumanFirst acting as the catalyst and a portal for leveraging, managing and productionising LLM’s.

And while HumanFirst has been operating quite under the radar, they have amassed an impressive roster of major enterprise customers that absolutely adore their product. I'm looking forward to telling that part of the story sooner rather than later. 🙂

And Lastly

Over the last few months I have validated that AI data life-cycle management is one of the biggest pains, but also the biggest vectors of innovation for organisations building NLU/NLP.

HumanFirst is currently leading the way in terms of data-centric tooling in the natural language space. I don't know of any other solution that is addressing the problem with the capabilities and vision they have for building the Excel of NLU/NLP data.

The only other data-centric tooling solution I've seen that can be compared in terms of full end-to-end data life cycle management is Snorkel.AI…they were recently valued at unicorn status, which bodes well for HumanFirst's potential and future. 🙂

Here's to the next wave of innovation in AI and langauge technologies…



Cobus Greyling

I explore and write about all things at the intersection of AI & language; LLMs/NLP/NLU, Chat/Voicebots, CCAI. www.cobusgreyling.com