Digital Revolution: David and Goliath in the time of AI. The rise of iGenius

The portentous rise of i-Genius, the innovative Milan and New York City based company, founded in Italy 20 years ago by Uljan Sharka, which produces data-driven analyses of a higher quality than ChatGPT

Uljan Sharka

by Robert Crowe

The world of IT and everything that revolves around the new trends originating in Silicon Valley is experiencing a great euphoria fueled by the new opportunities arising from Artificial Intelligence and the highly-sophisticated algorithms that enable it to function. The new technological era that we have entered thanks to the sudden acceleration of applications based on Artificial Intelligence is in fact fueling feelings and expectations similar to those we felt at the turn of the 1990s and the early years of the third millennium with the mass diffusion of the Personal Computer, the Internet, and lastly, mobile telephony.


The triggering factor of this new technological ‘hype’ is undoubtedly the Generative Artificial Intelligence that underlies the phenomenon of the moment: ChatGPT. It is a ‘virtual assistant’ capable of autonomously producing complex mathematical calculations, newspaper articles or complex texts on the most diverse topics in a matter of seconds, through simple written or voice commands provided by the user.

Like all new-born technological innovations, this one too still has several unknowns linked, for instance, to the inaccuracy of the sources these virtual assistants draw on online to produce texts. In fact, a couple of weeks ago, Google had to run for cover and revise all the programming of Bard (the ChatGPT antagonist that Sundar Pichai’s company is working on) due to an incorrect answer given by the electronic brain during a public demonstration on Twitter (causing 100 billion dollars of losses on the Alphabet stock market in a single day).

For some observers, these are inevitable youthful mistakes for technological innovations with such disruptive potential, but at the same time they point to a peculiar aspect of this phase in the history of technological progress. For the first time in the last twenty years, the Silicon Valley bigwigs are not the ‘front-runners’ of innovations with disruptive transformative potential.
Chat GPT was in fact created by Open AI, an example of those small realities that have risen to prominence and are currently demonstrating greater capacity and flexibility in responding to market challenges (it is not by chance that Microsoft has entered the capital of Open AI and is working to include Chat GPT in its search engine).

Another example is i-Genius, which stands out from the big players in the international technology market not only for its size but also for the country in which it is based, Italy, which in the collective imagination is characterized by art, culture, fashion and design but certainly not by a deep-rooted hi-tech tradition (Adriano Olivetti is now a distant memory).


With headquarters in Milan and offices in New York, i-Genius is an entrepreneurial story that would have appealed to the great 19th century French novelists such as Zola, Flaubert and De Maupassant. It was founded ten years ago by the then 20-year-old Albanian Uljan Sharka, who moved to Italy as a child with his family. After two years spent making his bones at Apple, Uljan decided to create a product of his own based on a basic idea: traditional data analytics and business intelligence systems have always been designed without thinking about who uses them, focused exclusively on the technology needed to make them work and not on the people who have to make a company’s management decisions depend on that data.

The idea has become reality thanks to Crystal, the virtual assistant based on generative Artificial Intelligence at the service of corporate Business Intelligence, which has already attracted the attention of several companies that consider it the ‘ChatGPT of B2B’. Indeed, Crystal is able to help them manage one of the most important challenges in the markets of the future: the management and interpretation of the enormous amount of data in their databases.

Unlike Chat GPT, which ‘creates’ content by trawling the web with all the associated risks of drawing on incorrect information, if not outright fake news, Crystal is able to produce in-depth readings of company data and business development proposals by simulating future market conditions and risk analyses using the companies’ management systems, thus guaranteeing the reliability of the information used, certified, stored and continuously updated by the company itself. In addition, it makes it possible to achieve in a few seconds, with a simple command (written or voice), what until now required days or weeks of work by large teams of data analysts.


Sharka’s declared intention is to ‘humanize data’ by bringing to the world of B2B the experience gained in Cupertino in terms of simplicity of use, usability and intuitiveness of the product, combined with that typical attention to design and aesthetic sense that characterizes Made in Italy. In this sense, the logo and the entire layout of Crystal were conceived after lengthy research that led to the creation of a graphic design, which characterizes the entire interface, capable of stimulating relaxed navigation thanks also to references to meditative techniques.

Chat GPT and iGenius are just two of the many examples characterizing this new phase of profound technological transformation in which the ‘Goliaths’ who have led the sector to date must watch their backs against the ‘Davids’ who are demonstrating particular competence and speed in interpreting the opportunities (still to be discovered) that Artificial Intelligence can offer. After all, as marketing guru Philip Kotler says, “The only sustainable competitive advantage lies in the ability to learn and change faster than others.”

(Associated Medias) – All rights are reserved