In this article, we’ll briefly review some business insights based on press mentions and interviews I gave over the past quarter. This will probably become a regular segment around the end of each quarter going forward. As my book on the business use of AI came out in February, and AI was the hottest business topic during the first half of the year, a good chunk of this content is AI-related.
AI & Marketing
Date: March 29, 2023
Commentary: Marketing will be radically altered by generative AI. Historically, marketing departments and agencies took significant time and money to create ad campaigns. The deflationary pressures of AI technology will take a huge bite out of these functions because it’s now so cheap and easy to do a lot of the creative work yourself. Professional marketers will need to shift focus onto leveraging and polishing AI-generated work, while the need for full-service marketing agencies and in-house staff will reduce.
Web3 and the Future of Business Governance
Article: “What are the Best DAO Use-Cases?”
Publication: E-Crypto News
Date: April 17, 2023
Commentary: People stopped talking about Web3 over the past 6-9 months as the focus shifted onto AI, but Web3 isn’t going away. Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAO’s) are an emerging structure that uses blockchain technology to implement and enforce organizational policy, and it’s quite possible that this will become the predominant business structure in the future. What it won’t do, however, is replace the day-to-day need for some type of management. Involving large groups in tactical decision-making is unfeasible (unless your goal is bureaucracy and inefficiency). Even in a future where businesses are governed strategically as DAO’s, some degree of management under the governance layer would still be necessary.
AI & Job Loss
Date: April 20, 2023
Commentary: Fears over jobs being lost to AI are overblown and wrong-placed. While the technology is powerful and advancing quickly, we’re nowhere near robots replacing significant amounts of the labor market. But it’s true that some jobs will start to phase out, and overall that’s a good thing: society can’t advance technologically if obsolete jobs are kept just so certain people can stay employed without needing to upskill. The key is to leverage the trend. Instead of being overtaken by technological innovation like AI, learn to use it to enhance your work or business; that’s how you future-proof your labor.
AI Image Generation
Date: April 21, 2023
Commentary: Many people are familiar with ChatGPT and text-based generative AI, but these technologies can also be used for image creation. Some companies (especially startups) obsess over things like logos and spend excessive amounts hiring professional designers, which can be a huge distraction and cash drain for an SMB. Generative AI can now create logos and other visual marketing collateral for a fraction of the time and cost. Will it be as good as a human designer? Probably not, but if you learn to use it well, it can be close. Then you can bring in a professional for a lot less money to revise the AI-generated content and take it to its final form. Due to the uncertain regulatory framework, using generative AI may eventually lead to potential copyright or trademark infringement claims. If you are going to use it commercially, you should keep good documentation showing how you co-created your designs with the AI, and consult an attorney who is current on both this type of law and the state of generative AI technology.
Using Signs Effectively in Retail
Article: “Messaging Through Better Signage”
Publication: American Coin-Op
Date: June 2023
Commentary: This article appeared in a trade magazine for laundromat operators, but the principles apply to most any brick & mortar retailer. First, make sure your signs use good grammar and correct spelling. It’s easy to fix mistakes digitally, but if you mess up a sign, you’ll need to either tolerate it or do another print run. Next, get to the point. People aren’t going to stand there and read walls of text. Think about what your customer needs to know and tell them that; no more. The one caveat is when customers need to actually do something themselves (e.g., operate a machine). In that case, don’t make assumptions; be very clear and explain it step by step. Finally, consider your customer demographics (like primary language) and design signage accordingly.
Solving Communication Breakdowns
Article: “When Your Communication is Confusing”
Publication: Communication Intelligence Magazine
Date: June 24, 2023
Commentary: When someone doesn’t understand what we’re saying, we often assume the problem is with them. But communication is difficult, and it’s a two-way street. The simile here is to think of it like a factory: materials go into an assembly line, they get processed, and a final product comes out. In the same manner: you think, you speak, and the other person hears. If what you thought doesn’t align with what was heard, go back and analyze each step to figure out where the miscommunication is happening. Maybe this is obvious, but people rarely do it.