How AI is transforming what we think about productivity

By optimizing the meeting lifecycle, AI will maximize the effectiveness of every meeting.

Stephen Hsu

Stephen Hsu
Sep 28, 2023

5 min read

How AI is transforming what we think about productivity

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We’re used to thinking about automations, essentially, as integrations across different systems. And while automations backed by AI certainly can and do make us more productive, AI requires us to think much bigger. 

AI broadens the definition of productivity itself. It asks us to look at how humans partner with systems — not just to increase efficiency, but to …

… fill information gaps.

… ensure accuracy.

… reduce bias.

… create richer experiences.

… empower people to have greater autonomy and impact in their roles. 

… and more than that, some of which we’ve only begun to dream of. To be among the first to know what we’re dreaming up here at Calendly — more on that in a moment! — join the waitlist.

More than productivity, more than automation

Right now, we do our best to stitch together our most frequently used platforms to help us automate as many actions as possible.

In an AI world, though, it hardly matters which platforms you choose. AI functions as a central nervous system, performing all those automations behind the scenes, aggregating data and insights and putting them in front of humans at the right place and time. The real game changer comes when AI is on autopilot, alerting its human partners when it’s time to engage. Rather than requiring endless integrations where data flows break down, transformative AI calls for people and technology to work hand-in-hand — the result being a better, more seamless experience for you and your users.

I don’t say all this cavalierly — AI is a big shift that requires a significant mindset reset. When calculators were invented, mathematicians panicked. When tractors were invented, farmers revolted. Of course, it’s easy now to acknowledge how these advancements created opportunities, versus removing them. We can’t see it yet with AI, because we’re still in its early days. But I’m confident it’s going to be a similar story here. 

AI isn’t going to replace humans, especially in scenarios where human interaction matters most (such as directly engaging with customers). Rather, AI is going to be a partner that enables and enhances human relationships.

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Fortunately, Calendly is used to big shifts

At Calendly, we see AI as a natural extension of our well-established ethos — we’re no strangers to asking people to change their behavior. That’s what we did a decade ago, by suggesting people start sharing scheduling links to find time together, versus going back-and-forth via email ad nauseum. (A few folks still aren’t sure about it. But most people have come around — 100k+ organizations and counting agree it’s a far more respectful use of everyone’s time.)

Calendly has always delivered the scheduling automation solutions our customers are asking for. Nothing has changed there.

GIF showing quotes from Calendly customers asking about future AI features.
Our customers are asking for AI, and as always, we’re listening.

We’ve always built with the user experience at the forefront — pleasant, intuitive, platform-agnostic, powerful, goal-oriented. Adding a new layer to create a more intuitive platform across the entire meeting lifecycle is the natural next step in our product evolution.

What this means for Calendly

Sure, AI will boost productivity. It’ll let CX teams instantly triage support questions, improving retention. Marketing teams will be able to create more specific, personalized paths for each prospect and customer, producing more leads that convert to sales. And so on.

But AI allows us to go beyond correlating activity with success. We’re not just talking about being able to send out more emails — we’re talking about the quality of the productivity. Metrics around “activity” become obsolete in a world where AI, for example:

  • Knows and acts upon your business priorities based on your weekly calendar, optimizing your schedule and interpreting the data from connected systems (such as your CRM or ATS) so you focus on ROI-producing activities. 

  • Enhances touchpoints throughout the meeting lifecycle — before, during, and after every meeting — so attendees have the most effective, strategic meetings possible.

  • Gives workers the support they crave in the struggle to manage their time, allowing them to focus on meaningful activities (e.g., holding richer and more personalized conversations with customers and co-workers; immediately accessing useful information for prep and follow-up; etc.) 

These are the kinds of business and productivity outcomes we’ll be optimizing with AI — innovations carefully crafted around the human experience, and our innate desire to achieve and progress as individuals and as teams. 

What AI means for Calendly is a comprehensive meeting lifecycle platform that maximizes the effectiveness of every external meeting by helping you better schedule, prepare, engage, and follow up. Every user will have access to the most relevant information at exactly the right moment, so every meeting is as effective as it can possibly be.

When we’re able to focus on what’s meaningful about meetings, we’ll realize the full potential of their ultimate value — we move toward a world in which people actually love meetings.

I can’t tell you how excited I am for what’s ahead. If you’re excited too, I’d like to personally invite you to join our waitlist, so you can be among the first to know when AI comes to Calendly. 

Stephen Hsu

Stephen Hsu

Stephen oversees product vision, strategy, and roadmap to serve solopreneurs to the world’s largest organizations with end-to-end scheduling automation. His career spans nearly two decades at tech companies delivering digital transformation and enterprise innovation at scale. Stephen is a former SVP of Product and General Manager at Salesforce, where he led the $1.8 billion Integration Platform, API Management, and Data Integration product organization at MuleSoft. Prior to that, he was Salesforce’s VP of Product Management for Sales Cloud, overseeing the sales engagement and productivity product portfolio. Before joining Salesforce, he was the Head of Product at Directly. He is currently an investor and advisor for Firsthand Alliance and an investor at Hyphen Capital. A proud father of two and avid traveler, Stephen’s favorite quote naturally reads, "The world is a book, and those who do not travel, read only a page."

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