May 2021

Forbes: Thomas Tull on Modernizing Businesses with Advanced Technologies

Thomas Tull, founder and CEO of Tulco, a holding company that seeks to modernize undervalued businesses with advanced technologies, has been lobbying Congress for greater government funding of artificial intelligence and quantum computing.

At Tulco, he has created an AI lab that employs 40 scientists from Carnegie-Mellon and MIT to create operational efficiencies in companies struggling to attract tech talent. A model similar to one he developed at Legendary Pictures, a movie studio he founded in 2000.

“Back then, movies were still being divided into four quadrants: older males, younger males, older females, younger females, which wasn’t very effective,” Tull told me. In 2012, he teamed with analytics whiz Matt Marolda and created the Legendary Analytics division to improve the strategic marketing of films.

“By shifting to segmenting with psychographics (attitudes, lifestyles), we were able to find persuadable people and filter out those not interested. It proved to be impactful and turned out many hits.”

Tull continues to make investments in transportation, supply chain, and manufacturing, among other areas, and is aiming to become one of the white knights that rescues American industry. Some of his smart bets have included Zoox, the robotaxi startup acquired by Amazon for $1 billion last June.

As to whether AI will continue to drive record valuations, he said, “To me, it’s still early days where expectations of what’s possible can be unrealistic, but it’s also one of those things that when certain codes get cracked it can compound quickly. That’s how technology goes, sometimes it’s a lot slower to develop than you think. And then it happens — rapid deployment — and that changes everything.”


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