In Quora’s pursuit of relevance: The reasons CEO Adam D’Angelo has made a major investment in AI

Why CEO Adam D'Angelo has put all of his faith in AI as Quora tries to stay relevant


After nearly 15 years, D’Angelo wants to recreate Quora around AI with Poe, his second venture, before Yahoo Answers does.

“Can I demonstrate?” Adam D’Angelo says before sharing his Zoom screen.

The Quora CEO is praising Poe, the company’s platform for multi-AI model chats. However, the service glitched during a test earlier that day for designing a logo using my name. D’Angelo immediately starts troubleshooting. He thinks I hadn’t set up Poe to access an image-generating model.

At an AI event last year, D’Angelo said much of the company’s attention is going toward Poe, a tool that lets users compare several AI models and bots built on them. Quora, D’Angelo’s almost 15-year-old Q&A site launched after leaving Facebook as CTO, will receive less attention. D’Angelo is so thrilled about AI’s possibilities that he’s tried the company’s new product, which has its URL separate from Quora.

“Poe needs more of my attention because it’s in this more rapidly changing landscape,” D’Angelo told Forbes. The question has been around for years. No need to adjust. It need not alter weekly.” He stated Poe’s goals are every two weeks and Quora’s quarterly.

Both goods are different. People answer questions like “What did Marilyn Monroe carry in her coffin?” on Quora. “What is the best Gambia small business to start?” Poe, which stands for “Platform for Open Exploration,” is a freemium $200-per-year membership service that offers OpenAI’s GPT-4, Anthropic’s Claude, and Google’s Gemini. Users may compare how different models handle the same prompt using the service. Developers may construct bots on those models, such as vacation booking AI or school coloring book AI. AI tool developers can earn each inquiry, offering another income source. Poe, like Netscape three decades ago, makes AI more approachable, according to D’Angelo.

Poe and Quora appear unrelated. However, D’Angelo claims that Poe was formed from two years of AI experimentation using OpenAI’s GPT-3 to answer Quora queries. While AI-generated responses were not as excellent as human-written ones, the corporation identified a sweet spot for them: unique topics no person had ever answered. He decided that a lower-quality AI answer was preferable to waiting for a person. D’Angelo noticed the experience was more like a private conversation than an open forum, therefore the business built it.

D’Angelo uniting Quora around Poe is confusing. Since 2010, it has survived where Yahoo Answers and other late Web 2.0 sites failed. However, it hasn’t kept up with competitors like Reddit, which went public in March and became an online cultural hotspot. Who still uses Quora? Hard to say, but anecdotes are weak. Quora died earlier this year, according to Slate. Since 2017, Quora has been questioned “Is Quora dead” countless times. One respondent said, “Maybe Quora [has] just run its course, sort of like Yahoo or MySpace.”

D’Angelo wouldn’t comment on Quora’s income, although the firm claims 400 million monthly users.

Poe, a seemingly unrelated Quora product, has clouded the company’s path. Is it a Reddit-like social forum with an advertising business model, or will it enter AI? D’Angelo says it’s ready for that. Poe received $75 million from Andreessen Horowitz in January to expand.

Due to his board membership at OpenAI since 2018, when it was a charity, D’Angelo has seen the generative AI boom firsthand. This put D’Angelo at the heart of the AI cosmos amid one of the most dramatic boardroom power clashes in recent history. For lack of “candid” communication, ChatGPT’s board ousted CEO and founder Sam Altman in November. Silicon Valley erupted after the shocking revelation, and the board rehired Altman within five days. In the reinstatement, OpenAI replaced all board members except D’Angelo.

Industry experts have speculated about D’Angelo’s participation in the coup since Poe overlaps with OpenAI’s GPT Store, a marketplace for customizable AI bots introduced less than two weeks before the fall. D’Angelo labeled that supposition “conspiracy theories” and cited the published report of an internal probe that concluded the board fired Altman “within its broad discretion”. He refuses to answer OpenAI queries.

Quora has had numerous AI problems, mainly over machine-generated responses. Users say the site’s material has degenerated into AI garbage. One viral AI-generated Quora response said eggs might be melted. Google boosted the Quora answer in its answer boxes.

D’Angelo dismissed the criticism. He remarked, “There’s always room to do better on showing better answers.” “It won’t always work and people will be unhappy. However, we believe Quora has benefited from AI replies on average.”

Poe differs from Quora, but D’Angelo never considered launching a new firm to pursue his AI goals. “couldn’t leave and start another company: it was my full-time job.

Instead, D’Angelo wants to use Quora’s skills and structure, especially in the fast-paced AI context. Some of his Quora source code is also in Poe’s foundation. “If it was a new startup, starting from scratch, you might spend the first year building a team that good,” he added. We needed to respond quickly during this technology surge and opportunity.

The plan is growth. D’Angelo told Forbes that building Poe was like “graduating” to a two-product firm, like Google’s initial moves beyond online search. The corporation had to overcome its years-long “organizational inertia” to succeed. After learning to handle change, he wants more.

He remarked, “It took a lot of willpower.” Long-term, I want us to be more than a two-product firm. We should keep making products.”

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