Creating The Honest Guide to AI for Risk

TLDR: Basis Tech needed a killer thought-leadership e-book on AI and anti-financial crime, so I created one from scratch. It earned media placements, became a top sales asset, was the most downloaded piece of content the firm ever produced (until I wrote their next e-book), and created the foundation for a conference series. (Plus, a big-time U.S. regulator liked it so much that he sent me handwritten note like it’s the Victorian era.) 

Basis Technology, an AI tech firm, wanted a thought-leadership piece to make some noise in financial services—specifically, anti-financial crime.

They wanted to start selling into this space but lacked cornerstone content and a compelling message. So, I came up with a proposal for The Honest Guide to AI for Risk: a no-nonsense account of AI, its history, mechanics, and potential impact on financial crime risk management. 

Financial institutions have been riding the AI-marketing-hype cycle for years, and this piece would position Basis Technology, a 25-year firm, as a truth-teller and trustworthy technology partner in a sea of pretenders.

I conceived of the piece, stem to stern. I performed all the research, drafting, layout, and design management. I even drew the sketches that the designer (the wonderful and incredibly talented Liz Emmert) adapted into the e-book’s art:

Resized cover sketchResized Cover Final

Cover art, sketch to final

Size Changed Chapter 1 SketchSize Changed Chapter 1 Final

Chapter 1 art, sketch to final

The 44-page book was an instant (and sustained) hit:

– Outside of the product brochure, it became the #1 most-used piece of collateral by the sales team.

- It was featured in The Financial Revolutionist (120k subscribers), the RiskTech Forum (run by Chartis Research, the #1 risk technology publication), and the Open Data Science blog (~50k subscribers).

– It also became the messaging and branding foundation for The Honest Talks, conferences that the firm put on in 2019 in New York and Tokyo—the first of the firm’s conferences to target the vertical.

– Finally, it generated hundreds of qualified leads at financial services firms.

And readers loved it. Not long after I had handed a copy to Ken Blanco, Director of FinCEN, he sent me a handwritten postcard:

Kenneth Blanco Letter resize

Please ignore hand shadow…it’s the only pic I have of the postcard…because the original got destroyed : (