Momentum is the operating system of work

Companies sense the world, make decisions, and act on that information. They also coordinate between those functions. Momentum makes the functions simultaneous and removes the need for coordination.

Sensing, acting, and deciding must be coordinated

Companies have outside-facing functions and inside-facing functions (Fig. 1). Sales and marketing are examples of outside-facing functions. They are the company’s sensors. They bring information into the company to help with product development and decision-making. Engineering and design are examples of inside-facing functions. They allow the company to act on outside information by creating products and services. Program or project management are cross-functional groups that coordinate this information flow. According to a study by KPMG, executives cite coordination as the number one challenge for their companies.

Coordinating human workers and AI agents is even more complex. Researchers like Andrew Ng describe how AI agents will perform many workflows in the future. According to the venture capital firm NFX, “US businesses spend upwards of $5 trillion on knowledge workforces. By comparison, companies spend about $230 billion on B2B SaaS.A system that harmonizes the outputs of humans and AI agents is the key to unlocking the value at the intersection of knowledge work and B2B SaaS.

Figure 1: Sensing (e.g. marketing and sales), acting (e.g. design and engineering), and deciding (i.e. executives) are separate functions that must be coordinated.

Companies have shortened the loops between sensing, deciding, and acting through agile software development. In agile, products are developed iteratively through cycles of building and testing. Agile can help companies arrive at product-market fit (PMF) much faster, especially when implemented alongside a strong product vision. Companies that do not expose themselves to user feedback until product delivery often fail. Steve Blank, the legendary Stanford entrepreneurship professor, says that “there are no facts inside the building.” He implores students to interact with the outside world (customers, suppliers, partners, etc.) as much as possible to feed their product and company development.

Bringing world data into the company is also critical for strategic decision-making by executives. These decisions may involve mergers and acquisitions (M&A), supply chains, partnerships, manufacturing, etc. Strategic decisions are generally made by executives at the top of the organization, and tactical decisions are made at the bottom by individual contributors (ICs) or managers.

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Momentum removes the need for coordinating

This inside/outside dichotomy existed where sensing, acting, and deciding were separate activities. What if they became simultaneous and synonymous? In such a world, companies could sense as they were acting and act as they were sensing. These companies would react and change directions instantaneously in response to stimuli.

Nature provides helpful analogies for our product (Momentum). A cheetah chasing a gazelle does not waste time thinking during the chase. It also does not waste energy by acting without purpose. Doing so would diminish its limited resources. The cheetah chases after its goal, and it changes directions instantaneously in response to new information. It senses, decides, and acts simultaneously. There is no separation between inside-facing and outside-facing units of the cheetah. The cheetah’s sensing units (eyes), its acting units (legs), and its deciding unit (brain) are all connected as a single system through its central nervous system (CNS).

For the first time, Momentum’s AI gives this capability to companies. I wrote earlier about how we built an AI prefrontal cortex (PFC) to capture the company’s world model. We build this model using information sensed inside and outside of the company. Some of these sensors are Generative AI systems, which allow us to capture the contexts of text, images, videos, and other pieces of information. The world model automatically updates goals in response to the streams of information it receives. Sensing, acting, and deciding turn into a unified process. It also integrates into all of the company's tools, allowing the company’s workers to react to updated goals immediately. The cheetah becomes one of the “auto communicators” about which I wrote previously. In this article, I describe “what” we are building. In a future article, I will describe “how” we build it.

Our company has learned from nature and modeled many of our systems on natural phenomena. However, our imagination and the power of AI have allowed us to go further than the limitations of a single physical body. The cheetah can only resolve its needs serially. It can hunt, drink water, rest, or find a mate one after the other. There are no such physical limitations in the digital world. The digital cheetah (company) can simultaneously receive help from multiple AI agents (Fig. 2). The company pursues its goals while its agents find new opportunities, resources, partnerships, threats, etc. Information from the world is invaluable for making decisions. Momentum constantly aligns the goals of the agents with those of the company. This paradigm is the world of harmonized auto-communicators that I described earlier.

Figure 2: Momentum aligns the goals of the company’s AI agents so that they can discover new market opportunities, resources, partnerships, and threats.

Momentum is building the operating system of work

According to the Wall Street Journal, workers spend 57% of their time coordinating with each other, instead of discovering or acting on information (Fig. 3). They find this coordination work frustrating, and they feel that they are ineffective at it. We spoke with 1000 professionals last year (600 executives and 400 ICs) to understand the barriers to productivity. The frustration with coordination was clear at every level of the organization. Companies like Microsoft have developed tools like Copilot that are intended to improve the productivity of individuals. However, the real barriers to productivity are organizational, not individual.

What are workers doing when coordinating? They are aligning information flows (sensing), decision-making, and execution (acting) around company-wide and individual goals. Solving all of these issues simultaneously is the only way to solve them properly. It is also the only way to build the immediate feedback loops of the earlier cheetah analogy. We are building the operating system of work to remove the need for coordination, and simultaneously solve the problems of sensing, deciding, and acting within companies. We refer to it as an operating system because it handles all of the coordination necessary between workers, tools, and AI agents. Using Momentum, workers can focus all their attention on creativity, which they strongly prefer over coordination.

Figure 3: Workers spend most of their time on coordination. Momentum is building the operating system of work, which removes the need for coordination.

How engineers experience our operating system of work

The demo video below shows how a software engineer experiences this operating system of work. Most of the obstacles that engineers face are about coordinating information flows. The engineer needs code documentation, vendor APIs, open-source project updates, and details of new technologies from outside of the company. At the same time, he needs recent goals, engineering dependencies, updates from peers, and details of the code base from inside the company. Finally, he needs to use his available tools to develop code, document it, communicate it to peers, and receive feedback. The description above shows some of the sensing, deciding, and acting necessary for the engineer to complete his work.

The video shows how Momentum relates this engineer’s individual goals to the company’s organizational goals. It also shows how the system provides the right external and internal information to the user at the right time to make decisions without sensory overload. Finally, the video shows how Momentum integrates with all of the tools required by the worker. These pieces remove the need for coordination, and they reduce friction to the point that sensing, deciding, and acting become continuous processes. Taken together, Momentum acts as the operating system of work for this engineer.

Other functions (design, sales, marketing, etc.) require their own information flows and custom views of the Momentum operating system. Momentum connects all of these information flows to create a single unit that simultaneously senses, decides, and acts. This unit has AI agents outside that help with sensing information from the world, and AI agents inside that help with acting on this information. Harmonizing the goals of these agents is key to Momentum’s approach. Humans are in the loop at each step to make decisions and evaluate the work of agents.

Limerick summary

"In the dance of work, coordination's plight,
Agile shortens loops, but still, a fight.
Momentum, the OS, brings harmony's light,
Sensing, acting, deciding unite.
From engineers to execs, productivity takes flight."

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From Tehran to Tennessee

empty of love and anger,
empty of self and other,
floating delirious,
between being and non-being."
~Khali (Empty) by Ebi

A combination I like

A scene I like

Jack: “Is that what a man looks like?”

Tyler: “Self-improvement is masturbation. Now, self-destruction?!”

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