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Quora CEO Adam D'Angelo on AI, Poe, and OpenAI

D'Angelo's significant developments at it's own company, Quora, as it made strides in the field of AI
May 6, 2024

Adam D'Angelo, the CEO of Quora, found himself in the eye of a storm last November. As a board member of OpenAI, he was part of the decision to dismiss CEO Sam Altman, only to reinstate him days later. Despite the turmoil, D'Angelo remained a constant presence on the board. This was a tumultuous time for OpenAI, but it coincided with significant developments at Quora, the Q&A platform D'Angelo co-founded and leads.

In February 2023, Quora launched Poe (Platform for Open Exploration), its AI platform, amidst a $75 million fundraising round, valuing the company at $425 million. Poe enables users to interact with a variety of chatbots, develop their own, and participate in a bot marketplace similar to OpenAI’s GPT Store.

As AI becomes increasingly integrated into our digital landscape, Quora faces challenges in maintaining its position as a premier Q&A platform. With search engines like Google and Bing utilizing AI to provide more sophisticated responses, and tools like ChatGPT and Perplexity becoming more widespread, Quora must adapt to remain relevant. The platform must answer fundamental questions: Does the world still need crowdsourced Q&A, and how can Quora ensure its place among the top information-sharing websites?

D'Angelo, a significant figure in the tech industry for years, has always been interested in tapping into the collective knowledge of the internet. From his high school days with Mark Zuckerberg, where they built a digital music suggestion service called Synapse, to his tenure as CTO at Facebook, and finally, co-founding Quora, D'Angelo's journey has seemingly led him to focus on AI tools.

Despite the rise of AI, D'Angelo believes human knowledge remains invaluable. Quora has always centered on the belief that humans possess knowledge not available online. While AI can provide answers, it cannot access this unique human insight, preserving the value of human input.

In a recent conversation, D'Angelo discussed the challenges and opportunities in AI today, the importance of supporting developer communities, and the role humans play in sharing and accessing knowledge. Here are a few key takeaways from our discussion:

D'Angelo believes humans still outperform AI in providing answers, for now. Despite the proliferation of AI tools, Quora continues to see record user numbers. While AI can provide answers to certain questions, there remains a significant gap that human knowledge fills.

Quora aims to support developers by providing them with a platform to reach millions of users. Poe offers developers the opportunity to monetize their bots through subscription referrals and per-message rates. However, challenges such as bot discovery and spam remain prevalent.

Unlike some AI-powered platforms, Quora has chosen to forego ads on Poe. Instead, the platform relies on a $19.99 per month subscription model. While Poe's user base is smaller than some competitors, it is steadily growing.

Quora is experimenting with AI-generated answers, supplementing human responses. However, D'Angelo emphasizes that Quora is not merely an "answer engine." AI is meant to enhance, not replace, human knowledge.

Despite potential overlaps, D'Angelo sees OpenAI as a collaborator rather than a competitor. Quora remains a significant customer of OpenAI, relying on its models for Poe.

Quora's journey with AI is just beginning. With ongoing efforts to improve bot discovery, address spam, and integrate AI seamlessly into its platform, Quora is adapting to meet the challenges of an AI-driven world.

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