Square’s CEO ditches: Startup success sans MBA, thank Gen AI.

Alyssa Henry, the recently departed CEO of fintech firm Square, has stated that generative AI is shifting how startups operate and thrive, benefiting tech-focused founders in particular. Henry suggests AI can streamline a variety of back-office operations, negating the need for smaller startups to employ MBAs. Use of tools like ChatGPT for content generation and Adobe Sensei for editing videos can be cost-effective alternatives to hiring marketing consultants.

  • Generative AI is having a transformative effect on fintech startups, according to former Square CEO Alyssa Henry. She argues tech-focused founders are reaping the most rewards from these tools.

  • AI can streamline numerous back-office operations, such as employee management systems and finances, making processes simpler and less time-consuming.

  • Smaller fintechs can also leverage AI for content generation and marketing. Tools like ChatGPT for drafting copy, and Adobe Sensei for editing videos, serve as cost-effective and efficient alternatives to hiring marketing consultants.

  • Henry sees the “next phase” of AI in productivity. As we progress towards a phase of ‘bundling’ workflows, AI can help streamline these processes, keeping them interconnected, and minimizing manual labor.

In the podcast, Henry mentioned that start-up owners and founders who prefer working in their businesses rather than on them would benefit the most from these technologies. Further, she highlighted that most of these owners are not MBAs. AI tools could, therefore, remove the requirement for an MBA or a co-founder who has one.

However, Henry cautioned against relying solely on AI to manage business operations. She recounted her experience of working long hours — up to 78 hours per week — while running Square and emphasized that AI can’t replace all the work required of a CEO.

Following her departure from Square, it is unclear what Henry’s future holds. She is considering retirement or a long sabbatical. In the meantime, Block and Twitter founder Jack Dorsey has stepped into the role of Square CEO.