Scientific Mavericks is HIVERY’s official podcast channel showcasing discussions on AI, technology, culture, innovation, and the future. It features our team of experts, academics, business leaders, and maverick thinkers. At HIVERY, we are passionate about bringing to life new thinking, ideas and the technology behind them. We believe this can help change attitudes, lives, and ultimately the world.

HIVERY is pioneering hyper-local retailing by combining AI, operations research and human-centered design models to help CPGs and retailers generate a return on physical retail space investment. From a societal perspective, our AI-driven recommendations are about allocating the planet’s resources optimally. We do this by simultaneously optimising and localising product, price, space, and promotions. Our applications use technology that originated in the CSIRO and its data innovation affiliate, Data61, laboratories.

Hosted, produced, and edited by Milena Salmon; created and directed by Franki Chamaki, HIVERY’s Co-founder and Head of Marketing & Design. Academia-focused episodes feature co-host Dr Alvaro Flores, Mathematician and Data Scientist at HIVERY.

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17 June 2020

Melinda Wienand on revenue management, the power of analytics and the future of trade promotion

The future of trade promotion optimization is here, but can an AI approach, with all the complexity of creating a promotional calendar, really work? Melinda Wienand, a Revenue Management professional, talks about it and offers some thoughtful career advice in the process.

In this podcast we will cover:
• How it is important to partner with stakeholders such as sales teams to show them the power of new analytics and its ability to transform the business and relationships.

• New trends in the food and retail industry: personalisation, convenience, and digitalisation. How understanding your customer at a granular level while leveraging data with analytics can help determine product resilience in unprecedented times.

• Learn what led to Mel’s decision to look for a better way in trade promotion creation and the birth of HIVERY Promote: 3-year research & development partnership.

• Learn what it’s like working in a relatively new field of Revenue Management; juggling time vs stakeholders’ needs all the while determining the ideal promotional strategy. Mel shares how she was often limited in time to explore different promotional scenarios to determine the best action to take. She explains, how the moment you agreed on an “ideal scenario”, the model’s results would become obsolete. In the pursuit of finding a better way, Mel and her team needed to master two fundamental things: 1)ensure the price demand elasticity model kept learning with live data (so it would never become obsolete), and 2) allow the team to run many more scenarios more rapidly.

• What is the difference between the old school way of creating trade promotion calendars vs the new way? With the ‘old school way’, you would not only need to forecast the “demand elasticity” of a promotional group but also determine the revenue impact of that proposed promotional calendar. Due to the labour-intensive nature of creating each calendar, the team would often see the impact of a promotional calendar through a single lens (i.e supplier or retailer) rather than three lenses simultaneously (supplier, retailer and shopper). Moreover, a team would also need to ensure that the calendar was executable in trade with all the important constraints being considered as well as concisely communicate it to all stakeholders involved. This is very hard to do following the ‘old school way’ of trade promotional calendar creation process.

• Mel talks about three things that make HIVERY Promote different from other solutions in the market: 1) dynamic price elasticity modeling or often called the “dynamic demand forecasting engine”, 2) prescriptive promotional calendar engine that optimises for custom KPIs, and 3) simple-to-use interface.

• While mathematics is important to the business, Mel talks about how our ability to easily explain the results to stakeholders is equally critical. Often times people’s concern over AI is not its recommendations BUT the lack of ability to understand why such recommendations were made.

• Finally, Mel kindly provides thoughtful career advice on how people can get into this fascinating and emerging area called “Revenue Management”; hint: background in say sales or finance are key pathways to getting into this field!

9 June 2020

David Kenney on business scaling, the importance of mentorship and how it all relates to HIVERY

What does comedian Eddie Murphy and David Kenney have in common? Check out this episode of Scientific Maverick podcast to find out.

David Kenney, Partner at Hall Chadwick, is one of Australia’s most reputable and capable strategic business advisors. David’s wealth of experience spanning many critical disciplines of business management and growth has equipped him with the stand-out capability to significantly impact Australia’s start-up as well as mature business owners. In this podcast, he shares some important business advice and gives just a taste of his up and coming new book.

What you will learn:

• What makes a mentor? More importantly, what makes a good mentor? Hint: Better questions and encouraging “third-level” thinking.

• What makes a good mentee and what did David really think of HIVERY founders in his initial chats? What makes HIVERY different given David has 20,000+ conversations in his career?

• David talks about an important step in scaling up a business: building the team and why a collaborative approach with brutal honesty is essential for effective long-term relationships.

• How a “flywheel of feedback”, while powerful, can only be achieved through one thing. Find out what that one thing is and how just 5 words can make you think differently.

• Finally, David shares a few important tips for business owners to consider.

27 May 2020

Dr Toby Walsh on how we can prepare for the Fourth Industrial Revolution

In this special edition of Scientific Mavericks, we speak with world-renowned artificial intelligence (AI) expert Toby Walsh about all that is AI. We cover a lot of interesting areas from killer robots to ethics to the 4 Ds of AI/robotization and the year 2062. This podcast edition has two parts, both now available for your enjoyment. We recommend listening to Part One first before diving deeper.

In this exciting jam-packed section we will explore:
• How AI is currently being used in everyday tasks: from voice assistance and recommendations for movies and books to routing and logistics.

• How can businesses, especially retailers and CPGs, find the balance between using AI to maximise sales and give consumers what they desire vs ethical considerations? For example, if an AI model learns you like sugary drinks from your purchase history, what are the ethical (and health) implications for implementing such recommendations? Should we intervene? How transparent should AI recommendations be? How can we build more desirable feedback loops for both retailers and consumers?

• Learn about The 4 Ds of AI/robotization – Dull, Dirty, Dangerous, and Difficult – and what they mean.

• With the onset of The 4 Ds, we explore what skills employers (and even parents) need to start helping and encouraging their people (kids) to develop in the future? You can learn more about the 10 skills you need to thrive in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Toby shares a simple triangle framework starting with:
1. Data skills and data literacy (i.e. Presentation Skills, Data Visualization, Python–Statistical Programming);
2. Emotional intelligence (the key ingredient for working with people); and
3. Creativity.

• We also look at what the education system needs to do to help shape this new thinking and facilitate new skills creation for our younger citizens. Discover what Finland is already doing to educate its citizens, with 10% of their population already educated in AI. Finland’s goal is to educate at least 1% of European citizens by 2021. Join over 410,000 other people learning about the basics of AI.

• Toby highlights that the more we understand AI, the less we will see it as “black magic”, and the better decisions we will make.

• Finally, we share a few insights on how a business should start with thinking about leveraging AI, including whether to buy or build and the importance of investing in your people.

This episode is a part of academia-focused series featuring your usual host Milena Salmon and guest co-host Dr Alvaro Flores, Mathematician and Data Scientist at HIVERY. You can listen to Alvaro’s podcast on his PhD and HIVERY transforming promotional calendars here.

Toby Walsh: The AI future is here and what this means for education
Elements of AI
How can you stop killer robots | Toby Walsh | TEDxBerlin
Toby Walsh: Computers making life or death decisions
AI and Ethics | Toby Walsh | TEDxBlighStreet

Toby’s Books:
2062: The World that AI Made
Android Dreams: The Past, Present and Future of Artificial Intelligence

6 May 2020

Dr Toby Walsh on AI, its future, ethics and how we must adapt

In this special edition of Scientific Mavericks, we speak with world-renowned artificial intelligence expert Toby Walsh about all that is AI. We cover a lot of interesting areas from killer robots to ethics to the 4 Ds of AI/robotization and the year 2062.

In episode 1 of 2, we cover:

• What do killer robots and autonomous cars have in common?

• What problems can AI be used to solve?

• Ethical engineering: understanding the ethical dimensions of AI, what are they? Why should we care about them? Think about this: there will be a time in the future when AI will make decisions that we humans just cannot understand, so having Transparency & Explainability (one of 8 Core Principles of AI) built into algorithms is going to be important, right? Maybe.

• Challenges we face in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Do we need to add another “A” to AI? Why autonomous is the basis of AI’s future.

• What is the future and relationship between AI and humanity? Are things such as universal basic income and taxing robots the way to go.

This episode is a part of academia-focused series featuring your usual host Milena Salmon and guest co-host Dr Alvaro Flores, Mathematician and Data Scientist at HIVERY. You can listen to Alvaro’s podcast on his PhD and HIVERY transforming promotional calendars here.

In 2015, Professor Walsh helped launch an open letter calling for a ban on autonomous weapons or ‘killer robots’ that was signed by more than 20,000 AI researchers and high profile scientists, entrepreneurs and intellectuals, including Stephen Hawking, Noam Chomsky, Steve Wozniak, and Elon Musk. He has since been invited by Human Rights Watch to talk at the United Nations in both New York and Geneva. You can sign the petition to ban lethal autonomous weapons using Form 1 & Form 2.

Toby Walsh, A.I. Expert, Is Racing to Stop the Killer Robots
The danger of predictive algorithms in criminal justice | Hany Farid | TEDxAmoskeagMillyard
Algorithmic Bias and Fairness: Crash Course AI #18

Toby’s TED Talks:
How can you stop killer robots
Computers making life or death decisions
AI and Ethics

4 May 2020

Roy Cooke on scaling a business and KPI hierarchy

In this podcast episode, you can learn about:

• Common mistakes when scaling a business from a team of 25 to 30 or more. Roy talks about what to expect and what to look out for, including setting up the right management, right metrics and right sales team.

• As a business leader, find out what you need to do to engage and redirect the company’s attention; big hint: Data has a better idea.

• Determine which KPI matter. The often forgotten significance of “unit economics” – the direct revenues and costs associated with a specific product or business model. This is a basic measure but often missed as companies, new or established, scale getting lost in vanity metrics. Measuring unit economics allows business leaders to make better decisions, from agreeing to “proof of concept” to winning a new customer and comparing it to the opportunity cost of developing your product roadmap.

• Why is it important to get different perspectives, including speaking to other founders, investors, and advisers before making a strategic decision?

• What does it mean to be “decisive”? How the effective management of natural biases and irrational thinking makes better business decisions. First, determine a wide range of options, then asses the validity of the assumptions behind them.

• Lastly, Roy covers the use of “strategic partnerships” and why the earlier you establish them, the better. HIVERY, for instance, had a natural strategic partnership with The Coca-Cola Company and Data61/CSIRO (as investors). Leading to the scaling and expansion of both the number of locations (USA and Japan) as well as a wider range of new products.

8 April 2020

Andrew Purchas on the simple key to successful product commercialisation

In this podcast episode, you can learn about:

• With the onset of new technology, Andrew highlights the need to determine how to best leverage AI within your business; whether you should consider “buy or build” strategy, and how to embrace an agile mindset while managing intellectual property across internal and external teams.

• Andrew discusses how major companies need to adopt new approaches, including having a “new breed” of staff or upskill them to get the most of what AI has to offer.

• What it takes to make a successful commercial deal, especially when it’s a totally new product where the product-market fit is still being validated. Here Andrew shares his expertise in understanding the importance of customer-centricity, co-designing together, being transparent around the process and avoid jargon! Andrew highlights there is more to deal with than just the financials, and sometimes strategic fit needs to be considered.

• What is the secret ingredient in finding the right customer for a fruitful partnership, especially when you are co-designing a lot of features together? Andrew shares his thoughts on this interesting topic as well as the sales process we follow to co-design together.

• Is customer feedback worth it? It’s important to consider customer feedback but you also need to validate it. It can be a mistake to take all feedback as equal. By really defining the problem with your customer, embracing strong customer empathy; you soon realise that not all feedback is indeed equal.

28 March 2020

Shantanu Pasari on how the vending industry can adapt and respond to coronavirus (COVID-19)

In this podcast episode, you can learn about:

• How can vending and vending machines help with our lives in a virus pandemic? Shantanu, HIVERY Enhance Director, provides insight into the benefits of vending machines in these totally unprecedented times and why having the right product assortment and stocks is more critical than ever before.

• HIVERY holds data from some of the world’s greatest vending machine fleets across the globe from Australia, Japan, and the USA. Shantanu shares some interesting industry trends: which segments are seeing unexpected sales changes (at work vending machines, colleges and university campuses, amusement parks, nursing homes, and hospitals).

• So what can vending operators do? Shantanu highlights some practical strategies to help their business, including re-thinking space-to-sales, routing, and assortment. For HIVERY Enhance customers the good news is that the solution is just a matter of a few clicks.

• What other counties are doing different with vending machines? There is one product category specifically that could really reduce panic buying.

10 March 2020

Hideaki Yoshimura on challenges and strategies to enter the Japanese market

In this podcast episode, you can learn about:

• What does it take to enter the Japanese market? There are many aspects of doing business in Japan that matter. Getting to product-market fit, finding good bilingual/bicultural talent and the need for patience. Entering Japan is about “learning” how to do business in Japan and filtering through what product customization is important and what is not.

• What is it like working in Japan and working with Japanese clients? Is it possible to pushback on clients’ demands while remaining customer-focused?

• How Japanese customers make key business decisions to partner with Western companies and startups? Often times, we are told it takes a long time to secure a Japanese customer. However, in reality, it’s all about building credibility and trust. Once this is established, Japanese customers tend to move very fast and are very loyal to their business partners.

• How the strategy to create a beachhead in Japan is critical to success. It’s all about finding product-market-fit first, focusing on one product, one core customer and building credibility and trust.

Inspired? Got the scientific maverick itch? Get in contact with Hidi on Linkedin (

26 February 2020

Ryan Wong on software engineering, mamba mentality and why a growth-mindset trumps a result-mindset

In this podcast episode, you can learn about:

• The importance of keeping a healthy body, mind and how good habits during your university life will make you a competent software engineer during your work life;

• Why getting fantastic results at university may not be the best strategy for your future career as a software engineer;

• His inspiration behind Kobe Bryant Mamba mentality in a quest for “infinite curiosity” in self;

• Why you should not compare yourself with others BUT compare yourself with yourself;

• Great list of references for any software engineer to get into the right mindset (some might feel counter-intuitive);

• Why having outstanding technical skills are not enough for you to succeed as a modern-day software engineer.

27 January 2020

Shantanu Pasari on from interning to leading HIVERY’s world-first AI software in vending

In this podcast episode you can learn about:
• Shan’s journey from India to Serbia, Switzerland, Australia, Japan, and the USA; and how working and living in different cultures impact one’s view of the world;

• how Shan moved from interning to being the director of Vending Analytics, HIVERY’s flagship and first product, in 2 years. Vending Analytics is the world’s first artificial intelligence solution in vending machine management. It allows users to optimise their entire vending machine fleet and individual inventory (space and assortment) in seconds;

• how Vending Analytics and AI in it actually thinks. Shan shares some real-life examples from shopping malls to hospitals;

• what it is like working at HIVERY, and opportunities to explore interests beyond your current role;

To learn more about Vending Analytics tune in Artem Golubev’s podcast on engineering and how it influences leadership.

22 December 2019

Tanvir Hossain on beyond just coding as a software engineer

In this podcast episode you can learn about:
• what it’s really like being a software engineer at a startup vs at a corporate organisation. The good, the bad and the ugly. Hint: passion and adaptability is key;

• what it is like to get a chance to explore beyond your immediate skill set. With Tanvir, it was his chance to explore what it is like to try DevOps for a while and in the process become an AWS certified cloud practitioner!

• why doing side projects is more than just about having “fun”. Not does it solely aids in your learning process but it also makes you more “employable”. Building for fun builds your credibility!

• what resources to look for as a software engineer to develop your curiosity and skills;

• how to prepare for any role and have the confidence to go for it;

• what it’s like working at HIVERY and what support is available to develop your skills and why learning and experimenting is so much encouraged;

• Tanvir’s secret way of coding. Hint: developing a customer-centric mindset and visualization is the secret ingredient in any software developers toolkit.

16 December 2019

Alvaro Flores on his PhD and HIVERY transforming promotional calendars

In this podcast episode you can learn about:
• how maths and operations management inspired Alvaro to devote his career to data and solving business problems with mathematical models;

• how HIVERY has developed a completely new way of generating calendars, combining machine learning and operations research;

• how optimisation is used in our new retail promotions calendar tool, often referred to as “Trade Promotion Optimisation”;

• what Alvaro wanted to solve with his PhD. Hint: It’s a new way of thinking about the traditional “customer choice model”. Why new thinking? Learn why stocking the products on “most revenue”(i.e. by demand), may not be the right strategy;

• why working at HIVERY and studying simultaneously was the ideal way to both gain commercial experience and apply academia in a practical way;

• what Alvaro is working on – an exciting new podcast that sheds light on innovative scientific research. Stay tuned for the link!

3 December 2019

Carlos Aya on mathematical models and using them to solve real problems

In this podcast episode you can learn about:
• the latest methods in statistical analysis (ex. nearest neighbor);

• the exciting R&D being done at HIVERY in developing the world’s first AI trade promotional solution for CPGs and retailers;

• how Carlos (and his team) works through a sophisticated AI model design to solve a customer problem where, given the number of different business goals, product SKUs and constraints, there are more possibilities to solve it than literally the number of atoms in the universe;

• the importance of relationships between data scientists and software engineers (similar to UI designers and software engineers, listen to Luke’s podcast);

• tips to transition from software engineering to data science. Key ingredient: Passion;

• the balance between study and work at HIVERY

30 October 2019

Artem Golubev on engineering and how it influences leadership

Artem Golubev shares his story on becoming a software development team leader at HIVERY. Artem joined HIVERY as a software developer in late 2017, deciding to combine his interest in Machine Learning with the culture of a start-up. Having navigated the corporate space for many years, Artem decided it was time to pursue his interests further in a more fast-paced and flexible environment, where things are done much quicker with less regard for the status quo. Artem believes this allows one to witness results much quicker. When combined with having access to cutting-edge technology, it creates more opportunities to work with the latest and greatest. Artem also belives that start-ups facilitate an individual’s growth due to much broader responsibilities and opportunities to wear multiple hats and learn more.

2 September 2019

Sarah Banek on being a pirate and HIVERY culture

As the Head of People & Culture, Sarah supports the continued growth and development of the Hivery team, integrates structures in place to scale up globally and to support an autonomous, integrated, flexible working environment.

7 July 2019

Ben Henschke on taking HIVERY and AI to Japan

Ben Henschke develops machine learning and optimisation algorithms that underlie Hivery’s flagship product, currently deployed in three continents. Ben also manages the localisation of Hivery’s major product for the Japanese and Chinese markets. In this interview, Ben shares his insights into transferring to Japan to set up the office and build the technical team for Hivery’s Japanese subsidiary.

24 May 2019

Luke Barnes on building AI UX Design

From pursuing architecture to building product design and software frameworks, Luke Barnes shares his insights into building Artificial Intelligence User Experience Design.

13 May 2019

Franki Chamaki on creating HIVERY and revolutionising retail space

From mouse traps to dating apps to single origin coffee, Franki Chamaki, co-founder and COO of HIVERY talks about the creation of the company, his innovative spirit and the need for companies to look at three innovation horizons.

6 May 2019

Between Worlds – Jason Hosking on building the retail AI stack

Podcast with Mike Walsh the futurist and keynote speaker of NAMA 2019.

“I met Jason in Las Vegas while speaking at the National Automatic Merchandising Association show. The vending industry is uniquely placed to be a testing ground for the intersection of data, consumer behavior and autonomous retail solutions. Jason, who is the CEO of AI startup Hivery was originally selected as part of an innovation accelerator organized by the Coca-Cola Company in Atlanta. Tasked to take Coke assets and create a new business model, they came up with an AI platform designed to transform retail decision making. Catching up backstage in Vegas, we spoke about the future of machine learning, and what it might take to build a complete retail AI technology stack”

The original post can be found here: Mike Walsh Podcast