We had the good fortune of connecting with Susan Sly and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Susan, how do you think about risk?
There are varying degrees of risk in entrepreneurship, much of which can be avoided with preparation, the right team, and sage advisors. With large decisions, I do a significant amount of research myself and empower my team to do so also. If a decision seems very risky, I ask the team if we have enough information to make a solid decision. If we feel we do not, then I ask them what information we require in order to make the best decision for the company. I share the role of CEO and my Co-CEO, Aykut and I are very hands on in terms of rigorous preparation to de-risk our decisions.

Have mentors and advisors is extremely helpful. When I am unsure and perceive that something might be risky, I lean on people who have been in similar situations. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of surrounding yourself with great people.

At the end of the day, risk is perception. What looks risky might actually be an action taken after extensive due diligence, guidance, and a concrete plan.

Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
At RadiusAI (RAI), we are building human-centric artificial intelligence in the computer vision space. Inherently, what this means is that our product focus is designed to help humans in their day-to-day jobs in both retail and health care. Three and a half years ago, we were an idea on a PowerPoint. Today, we have almost one hundred employees and consultants working on three continents. We have strategic partnerships with Lenovo, NVIDIA, Intel, Securitas, Hanwha, and many other large enterprise companies.

RAI is part of the 2% of tech companies in the United States that have at least one woman who is a founder or co-founder. We are proud to be in the 2%. My role as Co-CEO and Co-Founder is to represent RAI in the media, at events, build business relationships, liaise with investors, and work with Aykut Dengi, my counterpart, to oversee the vision and day-to-day operations of the company.

We are also tremendously proud to be based in Arizona and hire from the depth of local talent we have here. We have been incredibly supported by Governor Ducey, The Arizona Commerce Authority, Intel, ASU, and other local entities. As we continue to grow, we intend to build a company that Arizonans will feel proud of.

Prior to RAI, I spent decades in sales and marketing building significant teams. I have been an entrepreneur since age eleven and it is really ingrained in my DNA. Entrepreneurship is challenging. People look at the end result – the success, however what they often fail to see are the late nights, the early meetings, the endless travel, and the investment of personal resources to get a company to the place where you can finally breathe a little. There is a famous saying, ‘you only see the glory, you don’t know the story.’ We tend to highlight the glory of entrepreneurship but not the raw and real day-to-day grind.

61% of people say that they want to start their own business. Less than 10% actually do. I started my podcast, Raw and Real Entrepreneurship to help those with entrepreneurial dreams navigate starting, growing, and scaling their business. We are almost at 300 episodes. I have interviewed Bulletproof Coffee founder, Dave Asprey, 12-year old cosmetics founder, Shadi, and a range of interesting entrepreneurs who illustrate my belief that anyone can start their own business.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I confess to living at Spa Avania at the Hyatt on Doubletree. They have a local’s discount and it is my go-to place to be alone, think, and unwind. I have solved many problems in that steam room. Their massage therapists are all exceptional and the staff are all friendly.

We live in Scottsdale and love the great restaurants. For date night, it is Ocean 44, Steak 44, or Elements at The Sanctuary. For dinner with the kids we go to Pomo or Rita’s Kitchen. For business dinners, Mastro’s City Hall is a favorite. My best advice is to book in advance. When we first moved here, it was easy to get a same day reservation. Good news spreads fast and reservations, especially those at primetime, require more advance planning.

Running in the Phoenix Mountain Preserve is another thing I do to unwind. I never tire of the beauty and the wonderful people I encounter on the trail. You can go for miles and feel like you are not even in the city.

On Sunday, we are at Impact Church at Thunderbird and Scottsdale. The worship team, the people, and the energy will leave anyone feeling better about themselves as a person and about the world in general.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Jim Rohn, the late business philosopher once said that only 10% of people ever read a recommended book and less than 10% of those actually finish it. The average millionaire reads 1 book per month on personal development and/or business. The average billionaire reads 2-4 books per month. Readers are leaders.

I credit going from losing a business, being homeless, and emotionally devastated in 2000 to what I have achieved today to three things – my faith, my family, and applying what I learn. I read 2-4 books every month and am currently enrolled at MIT’s Sloan School of Management where I have been studying for the past three years. MIT has helped shape me as a critical thinker in the world of technology.

In terms of books, I have read approximately 1,000. Naturally, I have classic favorites such as Think and Grow Rich, The Richest Man in Babylon, and The Science of Getting Rich. A recent book I love is Atomic Habits by James Clear.

Website: www.susansly.com

Instagram: @susansly

Linkedin: @susansly

Twitter: @susan_sly

Facebook: @susanslylive

Youtube: Raw and Real Entrepreneurship

Image Credits
With Governor Doug Doucey. With RAI Co-founders Jeff Cox and Bobby Chowdary. With RAI Co-founders Jeff Cox and Aykut Dengi.

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutArizona is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.