Arvid Kahl talks about starting and bootstrapping businesses, how to build an audience, and how to build in public.
Welcome to the Bootstrapped Founder. My name is Arvid Kahl and I talk about bootstrapping, entrepreneurship and building in public.
Today we will dive into what we can do to stay relevant with whatever we write in the world of generative AI.
It doesn't matter if it's headline copy or newsletters or books or internal memos. JetGPT is coming forwards anyway.
And we need a shift in the few paradigms that we work under to stay afloat.
And before we get to that, let me thank the sponsor for this episode, Acquire.com.
Imagine this. You're a founder who's built a really solid SaaS product. You acquired customers and it's generating consistent monthly revenue.
The problem is you're not growing. And there can be many reasons for that. Lack of focus or lack of skill.
You just don't know what to do or you just don't care, don't have any interest anymore and you feel stuck. What should you do?
The story that I would like to hear at this point is that you really buckled down and reignited the fire.
You got things going. You got past yourself and you started working on the business rather than just in the business.
And you start building in a audience, a really big audience and you move out of your comfort zone and do sales and marketing with and to that audience.
And in six months you've tripled your revenue. Wouldn't that be nice?
Well, reality, not that simple. And this situation is really different for every founder who's facing this crossroad.
But too many times this story ends up being one of inaction and stagnation until the business becomes less valuable or worse, worthless.
So if you find yourself here or your story is likely headed down a similar road, I offer you a third option.
Consider selling your business on acquire.com. Capitalizing on the value of your time is the smart move.
You don't need to keep building if somebody else could use this business. So acquire.com is free to list.
They've helped hundreds of founders already. Go to try.acquire.com/arvid and see for yourself if this is the right option for you at this time.
And now let's talk about writing and about writing ourselves out of a world full of machines.
Because the question really is, should you even write in the world that's dominated by generative AI?
Isn't your one brain competing with data centers that can do trillions of calculations per second where you can barely hold a single thought in your mind, let alone put it onto paper?
Don't all these massive language models know way more than you could ever learn?
Well, that's quite the competition for an aspiring writer, for sure. And that's just a problem with your input at this point.
Now you also have to wonder what happens to your thoughts after you publish them on the Internet.
Because many fear that their content, once it's consumed by generative AI systems, just like chat GPT or even Mid Journey if you're a visual artist, that content will be used to create free or cheap content for others.
Kind of derivative works. And since there is no attribution in the base GPT models, for example, you're right to question the worth of spending time on creating content that might just be absorbed by these automated systems.
And that happens against your will and without your permission. Sounds pretty desolate, right?
AI isn't just performing better than you, but also taking your job? Well, not quite, fortunately. Neither of these, actually.
I believe it's definitely worthwhile to keep writing, mainly because we're talking about different kinds of writing here, or rather, different agents of writing.
Yes, both you and the AI come up with strings of words and sentences and text, but the process couldn't be any different. And that matters. It matters to people.
One key development that is emerging in the social media communities that I'm part of right now is that as AI created content becomes more or less indistinguishable from human generated material on most levels,
the identity of the author becomes incredibly significant because a person is someone you can trust, someone you can innately understand as the originator of a thought or of an opinion, but not so much with a machine.
Many people actually prefer imperfect but human written, clearly human written pieces over these flawlessly polished ones that were possibly crafted by an AI you never really know.
It could be written by a really great writer. Sometimes it's really just AI. Generative AIs are effectively gaslighting machines.
That's what I consider them to be, because to be successful as products, they need to produce convincing and mostly generic text that works for most users that use it, right?
It has to be a product, it has to appeal to a mass audience. The consequence is that those results are rarely substantial or interesting. They're good, but they're not great.
They're fulfilling expectations, but they will never surprise you. Surprises like this one.
So if you ever roast a duck breast in the oven, try covering it with half an inch layer of marzipan and some aluminum foil after searing.
I tried this out, I found this out a couple years ago, it's spectacular. It creates this kind of really nice sweetness from the almonds and the paste and it also develops this fun crust on top of the duck, it's wonderful.
And you'd think it's just a winter taste, but it'll work at any time of year. Now, ChatGPT would never give you random but life-altering culinary tips in the middle of a text all by itself, right?
But I will. And even though you might not follow me for my cooking advice, there's likely something about me you like.
So you follow me and you read my stuff and you listen to what I have to say and you watch my videos.
There's nothing about ChatGPT you could like. It's a language model, it's not a person and that's all it will ever be. A machine.
So I advocate for us to continue writing and talking about ducks if you want to as our authentic selves, even though our work might get eventually appropriated by AI systems.
So what if they repurpose your thoughts into these bland yet generically compelling pieces of text?
That's theirs, we have ours. People come to us for that.
And there'll likely be a period where this won't prove profitable for most writers because the AI craze will for sure take away earnings just because some execs somewhere feel like they're really making smart choices by using AI over people.
But in the end, they will see that people, their customers, ultimately seek connections with other humans rather than machines or smart systems.
I'm reminded of just how unfulfilling these systems are whenever I try to talk to my smart home, like the devices that I have.
After two attempts of getting it to list the ingredients of a recipe, which is horrible from these kind of voice chat systems that we have with Siri and Google Home and whatnot,
I go to an old fashioned cookbook because I can't stand online recipes either with the SEO optimization. Everything is kind of messed up. Isn't that bizarre?
I take a cookbook that a human being wrote and I use that instead. Old fashioned? Sure. But do I trust them more? For sure. And it's much more usable.
So as more businesses use AI produced copywriting because they immediately save time from its effectiveness and convenience,
they will shift into this genericism, right? The stuff they put out that will be generic. The creative spark will fizzle out and people will notice they already do.
That's why we can also expect increased demand for authentic human to human interactions, because we also see this already happening.
Look at social media. People have this sense, this radar, right? They notice when something isn't authentically human and they stop engaging with it.
We're seeing this trend through personal branding on social media. People are drawn towards these individuals rather than faceless corporations.
People want to interact only with real people. Brands that are willing to share not just their expertise and products on this kind of distant level,
but also share the journey, including their failures and successes and everything that happens along the way.
They start fostering stronger bonds with their audiences. And that's why building in public is such a big deal.
It's a trust building action that is aimed at long term relationships.
The exact opposite of having a robot come up with some copy within 20 milliseconds. It's not the same.
And these meaningful connections between people, they enable readers, listeners and viewers to discern between valuable human originated content
and machine generated pieces designed purely for mass appeal.
We've developed this sensitive radar for ads and product placement over the last 30-40 years with TV and movies. We feel when things are pushed into our face.
And we will develop the same thing for AI generated works.
Satisfied followers who view you as standing out amidst the sea of impersonal algorithms,
they will always recommend you more to their equally real and human peers than the stuff that machines wrote.
So yes, keep writing. Show just how much more than an algorithm you are. Writing broadens opportunities.
They come from you, right? And they happen among your very much human peers.
It's an exquisite way for you to be yourself and become better at that too.
Write the things that Chad GPT would never write, but a thin layer of marzipan on top. It'll be sweet.
And that's it for today. Thank you for listening to the Bootser Founder.
You can find me on Twitter at @ArvidKahl, A-R-V-I-D-K-A-H-L. If Twitter is still around, you never know.
You'll find my books and my Twitter course there as well.
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Thank you very much for listening and have a wonderful day. Bye bye.