ChatGPT For AI-mazing Business Growth (See What We Did There?)
Published DateAuthorStrategic Coach Founder Dan Sullivan and Gord Vickman
ChatGPT is on everyone’s lips and on everyone’s screens, but as an entrepreneur, you might be asking how it can help with your business growth. Dan Sullivan and Gord Vickman share how to tell if the current crop of AI tools is useful for your business or just the latest futuristic distraction.
In This Episode:
ChatGPT is the next level of written communication that started with the teletype.
AI has not yet reached the level of being able to tell a good story.
Great teamwork is completing any project through greater productivity and achieving greater profitability.
If you’re wondering how an AI tool can be useful to your business, first ask how it can help make your team more productive, and second, ask how it can help increase profits.
How to decide how or if you should use ChatGPT or other content-generating AIs:
1. Pick an upcoming project that will be more profitable than any current project, either for the company or clients.
2. Review the current process to produce that profitability.
3. Ask: “How can we improve productivity in this process?”
4. Ask: “What is the communication we would need to support that productivity?”
5. Ask: “Can that communication be more easily generated by an AI than by you?”
Garbage in, garbage out: AI results are only as good as the instructions.
Dan points out that ChatGPT’s response is strictly positive because the company OpenAI is most profitable when we see its benefits and consume its service.
Gord and Dan wonder what exactly we’re being sold. Is this just a toy to generate meaningless social media content or a tool that can allow anyone to be a creator of useful material?
No matter what new technology comes up, Dan’s approach is always to keep a very smart human between him and that technology.
AI might generate the first 80% of the content, but a very smart human can take it to the next 80%.
Gord Vickman: Welcome to this episode of Podcast Payoffs. My name's Gord Vickman here as always with my podcast partner, Dan Sullivan. Dan, welcome to the show.
Dan Sullivan: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you very much.
Gord Vickman: Dan, we're post holidays here, Christmas or whatever you are celebrating. Hope you had a great one. And here we are into January. The belle of the ball was, and is, continues to be ChatGPT. Now you have a podcast with our friend, and one of your collaborators, Mr. Mike Koenigs, and you've recorded some episodes before Christmas in which you integrated ChatGPT right into the podcast itself, almost as if a third co-host existed. Because here on Podcast Payoffs, we discuss the collaboration and the links between teamwork and technology. So I figured this, being quite possibly the most powerful tool that will assist teamwork by integrating technology is upon us right now. So I thought what better way to introduce the show than to have ChatGPT itself explained to you, our listener, and those interested what it is.
So I said, explain yourself, Mr. GPT, or Mrs, depending on how you envision this. ChatGPT is “a powerful language model developed by open AI that generates human-like text. In this episode of Podcast Payoffs, we'll be discussing some of the exciting possibilities and potential uses for ChatGPT to level up your teamwork. Join Dan and Gord as they dive into the world of ChatGPT and learn more about this exciting technology.”
How do you feel about that copy written by the AI? That was not me.
Dan Sullivan: It's another, what I would say, a level of communication. I mean, I've been through a lot since I started working. When I first got into the work marketplace, it was in the 1960s. Basically all written communication was done with typewriters. Well, and the typewriters were not too different in the 1960s from what they had been probably in the 1920s. But you had an incredibly skillful people. I mean, you had typists who could do 120, 130 words a minute flawlessly. One of the electric communication systems was teletype where people would be at a, what looked like a typewriter, but it was actually connected to the phone lines and you would type out and they would send teletype across vast distances. And these people were superb. For the day, they were, came at top dollar in terms of how much you paid for them.
What had happened is that the typewriter came along, and then the typists got better and better and better and better. And the question was, you can't guarantee that you're going to get a great typist. So is there a jump up that we can make with the typewriter in such a way that you can be guaranteed of what the correct version of the typewriting is? And then you can program that in on a tape. You can put that into a tape into the typewriter, and you could have someone who's not particularly good, but they could actually create the tape document to make sure it was error-free. The spelling was correct, the grammar was right. And then you just press a button and this was the IBM Selectric typewriter, and you got it all right, and you ran a test copy on a blank sheet of paper, and you had a perfect letter and then you pressed the button and you put it on the letterhead, and you came out with perfect letters.
And that was the end of the days of the great typist, because you didn't need a great typist anymore because that was the first programmed, where you could create written communication, but you still needed people who were great communicators to write the message. In other words, it wasn't just a matter of having the grammar right and the spelling right, could you actually tell a story? Could you write a pithy, sort of catchy, sort of bouncy little message like the one that you started the program off that the AI program had done. You had probably programmed in there, give me sort of a really fast, sort of catchy, attention-getting bit of copy that doesn't give too much away, but kind of talks that there's something new that's very exciting. Should be able to be read in about half a minute or 40 seconds just to grab someone's attention so that on this particular episode of Podcast Payoffs, you'd know exactly what you're getting just by reading the description of the podcast and you would go in and do it.
But part of the reason why that worked was that you've done a lot of this of setting up the correct context and the catchy value of a particular podcast, and you were able to give the instructions to the AI program.
So this is a level above getting the grammar right, and getting the spelling right, and getting the sentence structure right. This is getting the meaning right and getting the message right. So I think it's taken a jump above what we had with the Selectric typewriter.
And then of course we moved into word processing where computers could do that and you could do the correcting right on the screen and get it right. But that still didn't make it a great message, didn't make it a great communication, didn't make it a great writer. So every new technology you have the, what I would say, the written communication is filling up with more enhanced communications, but there's still a figure in the corner of the room who's a terrific communicator.
Gord Vickman: And that's one of the things. And again, the technology is amazing. I know Dan, you've had a chance to kind of fiddle with it. I was fiddling with it over the holidays, and the copy that it does spit out, it does have sort of a Willy Loman, Death of a Salesman, kind of like 1950s, very hokey, just bad copy, you know what I mean? I think you described it when you were speaking with Mike Koenigs on your show, “Capability Amplifier.” It was like, the best copywriter from 1971 just infected my computer. And that's sort of what it sounds like. It's a little bit grandiose, and it's not slick by any stretch, but I'm sure it will get there.
And I was thinking of some of the applications, because our show covers technology and teamwork, and this is what it is, right? They want you to work with technology. I'm sure there are people with expectations that AI programs like this are going to replace some people. That is true. But if we're using it properly, human beings still need to have a presence, at least they do right now. So I asked the AI what is good teamwork? But before the AI tells me what it believes is good teamwork, Dan, teamwork is the foundation of Strategic Coach and has been for over 30 years. So in your experience, if someone were to say to you, as I am right now, what is great teamwork?
Dan Sullivan: Well, great teamwork starts with a great future project that's going to produce bigger, better results. And this could be any kind of project, but it requires the skills of more than one person, and you have to put various skills together. Okay? Our project that we're doing right now requires two skills that in no way duplicate each other because I really don't have the feel for the technology of doing podcasts and how they get edited, how they get packaged, how they get presented out on the internet. You do, okay? And you have an enormous amount of radio experience and you have documentary film experience. So you know what things are when they look packaged correctly and they're out on the marketplace.
I, on the other hand, am really good at creating intriguing sort of counterintuitive ideas for entrepreneurs that if they grasp the idea, they can think through things much more quickly, make better decisions, and can attract the teamwork that actually produces bigger results.
But teamwork is about any project that you can do that creates greater productivity. You get more results with less time, less effort, greater profitability that you make money on it and each time you do it, you make more money, that's above and beyond the cost of actually doing the project. Okay? Think about teamwork and Strategic Coach, it's about two things. It's about productivity and it's about profitability. And that would be it.
So if a new technology, like ChatGPT, is going to be valuable, you have to start with, “Well, how does this make us more productive, and how does this make us more profitable?” And if you can't answer that question, then it has to go in the closet.
Gord Vickman: Okay. So that's a wonderful segue to the next point that I'm going to present, because if we're going to see how self-aware ChatGPT is, and there's something very critical that you brought up that the AI did not bring up, and that's the issue of profitability. Now I want to be very crystal clear that I did say, tell me how you can assist teamwork in entrepreneurial settings, in business settings, and the word profitability or any mention whatsoever of profitability, money, wins and losses, gains, in the red, in the black, never even came up.
So here's how self-aware ChatGPT is when prompted, “How can ChatGPT, and other AI programs, assist teamwork in entrepreneurial environments?” It said “Collaboration: By generating text that can be used as the basis for group discussions in brainstorming sessions.” Okay? It's fairly straightforward.
“Meeting summaries, to generate summaries of meetings providing quick and easy way for team members to stay up to date on the latest developments and decisions. Project management: Integrated into project management software to generate reports, update task lists, and communicate progress. Translation: To translate text from one language to another, making it easier for teams to communicate and collaborate if they speak different languages.” All right.
“Documentation: Generate documentation for projects including user manuals and technical documentation.”
Now these are all very text-, because that's what it is, text-oriented. But it's interesting that the self-awareness ended before it got anywhere near the subject of profitability. It wasn't even thinking about that. It was thinking very, very, we're talking like the deepest Back Stage that you can possibly generate, right? At Strategic Coach we have a Front Stage/Back Stage model. Maybe you just want to touch on that for a moment and then give your thoughts on, I mean we can't delve into the mind of the AI, but I'm curious to know.
Dan Sullivan: Well, first of all, the AI has no mind.
Gord Vickman: Yes.
Dan Sullivan: Yeah, I mean that's a good starter for that discussion is the chip-
Gord Vickman: The chip. Wonder why money even came up.
Dan Sullivan: What there is, is an increasing body of examples of other forms of communication that people have done around different situations.
So bringing it back to ChatGPT, what we're faced with is that there's no question that you can pump up more communication with this, okay, but the question is communication about what?
Gord Vickman: Exactly. Yeah.
Dan Sullivan: In other words, you can become incredibly productive, far, far more productive, 10 times more productive at doing activities that are not profitable.
Gord Vickman: See the whole all summary changes into a sort of comical summary. If you put the words “really bad” in front of all of the things that it said that were inputted by the humans: “Collaboration: Generating text that can be used as a basis for really bad group discussions. Really bad brainstorming sessions. Generates summaries of really boring meetings, providing quick and easy access for boring team members to stay up to date on the latest really bad developments and horrible decisions.” So it's taking all that information and summarizing it, making it easier for people to act upon the things which will not be profitable in the future.
Dan Sullivan: Yeah. Yeah. So the thing that I have to start with here is what is the future project that we're planning that will be more profitable than the project, any project that we're working on right now, and profitable for us, but also profitable for our customers, our entrepreneurial customers. Okay? So once we get clear about the profitability, then take the look at the best that we're doing right now to produce that profitability, and then ask ourselves, “How can we be more productive in doing this profitable activity so that it's even more profitable?” And then “What is the communication that we would need to support the productivity?” Okay? And this is where you get back to the written communication and the teamwork. And it could be written communication that's turned into voice communication, or into animated cartoon communication, all sorts of different things. But the thing that you have to realize is that the program is only as good as the instructions that you put into it. And those instructions have to be based on a lot of wisdom about what produces profitability and productivity in your setting.
So the thing is that I'm not saying it's not valuable. My computer is valuable. Okay? I get far, far more done with my computer than I did when I didn't have the computer. And the model of computer I have now is a hundred times more productive than the one I started with in the 1980s. So I'm not saying that there isn't an enhancer here, but the other thing that's gotten a lot better over the last 30 years is that I'm a lot smarter.
Gord Vickman: More wisdom, more experience.
Dan Sullivan: I know where the dollars are.
Gord Vickman: And ChatGPT clearly does not.
On that note, one of the things that came up as well in your podcast with Mike Koenigs, which is “Capability Amplifier,” which is a fantastic show, if you haven't checked it out, you can get it on our network page, Strategic Podcasts with an S. strategicpodcasts.com. Mike was saying, “There's consumers and there's creators.” And one of the things I wanted to ask you is ChatGPT, one of the thoughts that I had when I was messing around with it was, it's possible for the first time for maybe someone to become a consumer and a creator at the same time, because that's what people are doing. When they're going on ChatGPT, which as far as I've seen right now, it's a college essay plagiarization machine, and a fart joke generator, and a meme generator, and it's provided limitless Twitter content by people asking it stupid questions and then posting those on Twitter right now.
So I'm thinking, the lines are getting blurred between consumer and creator because not only are you consuming something by going on and consuming what the program has to offer, but you're creating something at the same time. I can't really think of anything which makes it as easy as this program would.
So turn to the GPT to see what he or she has to say, it has to say, and I asked ChatGPT, “Where is the line and are the lines being blurred between consumers and creators, and will programs like you,” I basically said “you”, even though “it”, “how will you assist people interning from consumer to creator?” Because consumers are those who are not creating much, if anything, and creators are the ones who are generally creating things and profiting from them.
So it replied, “AI tools have the potential to turn consumers into creators by allowing them to create and customize products and services to their preference. For example, AI-powered design software that can enable consumers to design their own clothing, furniture, and software, allowing them to create unique, personalized items tailored to their needs. Overall, AI tools have the potential to give consumers more control and autonomy over the products and services they consume, allowing them to more actively be involved in the process.”
So Dan, in your experience, will people do this? Will this technology, or others that are in the pipeline, ever have the power to turn lifelong consumers into creators? Is this going to be the epiphany that they have to put down the cat videos and start making something? Or is this going to turn into yet another tool in their arsenal to create more fart jokes on the internet?
Dan Sullivan: Well, the whole point is that it doesn't change human nature. Okay? It's very interesting, a favorite thinker and commentator on world affairs right now says that there's a problem that is not solvable. And he says, and that is that we don't know what human consciousness is.
I remember talking to Ray Kurzweil, who is a great advocate of the fact that the speed with which computers are increasing will get to the point where from an information-processing standpoint, computers will be incredibly faster than humans at information-processing. But that's already true. I mean, that's been true for ever since you had thermostats, that a thermostat can think through the problem of heating of your house infinitely faster than you can. So there's all sorts of little meters and little measures that have been built into our technological environment that alert us to things that we just can't process the information that's necessary for this.
And so, my sense is that the whole point here about whether something's useful or not, if your goal is to create a machine that replaces human beings, it's easy to do, because there's a lot of replaceable human beings, but they're being replaced by all sorts of other things. They're being replaced by changes of schedules. They're being changed by changes in what people are willing to pay for certain type of activities. So the replaceability of human beings has been going on since the start.
So I'm not entirely sure what's being sold here. And you have to understand that the copy that you just read out to me about artificial intelligence comes from an organization called Open AI, which is in the business of selling artificial intelligence. And I would be shocked if they had something negative to say. Like, “Yeah, well when it comes to AI, don't go overboard about this. We're really in the rudimentary stages here. So don't bet the ranch on this.” And everything else. I wouldn't expect that to come from an organization, because they happen to know what profitability is for them. And that's to convince us to imagine that we're being creators, but we're actually being 10 times greater consumers of a particular product that they're selling.
But I think we're still back up against it when it comes to consciousness. One is we don't know what it is, but we do know it when we see it. We do know it as human beings when somebody comes up with an idea that just has all the other humans suddenly say, “God, I hadn't thought about that before. Where'd that idea come from?” I've never had an experience with technology where I had that experience of suddenly saying, “My golly, I hadn't thought about that before.”
Gord Vickman: Yeah, it's interesting. As we wrap here, Dan, I know you don't like making predictions, so I won't ask you to make predictions. But I was at a New Year's party and ChatGPT came up, seemed to come up a lot and with friends and family over Christmas, and a friend of mine said something that I thought was pretty insightful. Wanted to bounce it off you to see what you thought about it. And I guess if we can divide the population into two segments, where you'll have adopters of the technology and avoiders of the technology, and I think the people who will be avoiding it are those who are perhaps intimidated by it or feel that the change of pace happens or is happening too quickly.
And he said, “I think what you're going to find in the future is people are going to just start shutting down. People are just going to start giving up.” If they feel that the pace of change is too fast for them to keep up with, you're going to have movements like, I don't know, let's make up a name here, like the Natural Art Society, where it's guaranteed that what you're purchasing is art made by a real human. You may have people spending more time outside just to avoid the coming tsunami of AI, which has, in their words, infected everything.
So in lieu of making a prediction, Dan, have you seen this at any point throughout your career or anything you've read where technology is coming so fast that you have segments of the population just completely shutting down and saying, “We don't want to participate in this at all, because we can't keep up with what's going on and we're scared to try. We're just going to pretend that it doesn't even exist.” Have you ever seen this happen? Are there any parallels that you can draw? Or are we in new territory?
Dan Sullivan: We certainly passed a cultural social border maybe within the last five or six years. I'd have to give it some thought when I first noticed it, where more technology ceased to be a solution in people's minds. As a general principle in society that we're better off if we have more technology. And I think that stopped being a cultural meme. I can't say where it was with me, but my approach right from the beginning was “Always make sure I have a smart human between me and the technology.”
And what I mean by a smart human is a human who can see how specifically this can be useful to something that I'm doing. For example, we could take all of our podcasts, come up with a really great presentation and we could get an example from Hamish: “Make this sound like Hamish wrote it,” and right off the bat, you could get a good 80%, right off the bat. You could just take a hundred, we've got a thousand podcasts, and you just run them through, and you could get little distilled versions that would be good, attractor copy for someone going through our podcast series.
But that smart human is listening to what the goal is and is listening to “We have deadlines and we have certain amount of time to get things done” and everything else. And I think we could pick these 15 and just spruce them up and take that example and just apply it into a hundred different activities that are going on in Strategic Coach right now, where written communication is part of what makes us productive and profitable. And I think you've got a really good thing there.
Gord Vickman: Dan, you mentioned something there, just moments ago, when we were talking about the adoption people who avoid or whatever, and your rule to always have a smart human between you and the technology, and it's a perfect “Who Not How,” the concept, one of the most important concepts at Strategic Coach is “Who Not How.” And it parallels the person you always have in between you and technology. And it leads quite beautifully into the next episode that we're going to record tentatively titled “Intimidation to Innovation: How Entrepreneurs Can Embrace New Technology or Find Someone who Can.”
Dan Sullivan: Yeah, and I just would say one thing, is that I'm conscious because Glen Roberts, our tech chief, the person who's in charge of all technological systems in the company, got very excited about ChatGPT. He was talking to me and I wasn't really picking up why this was important. I was only picking up on the fact that Glen is really excited about this, and what that means is that there's going to be some skill developed inside the company around this particular issue. And other people who are used to evaluating the value of technology will apply their wisdom to this and see where it fits in, what the priority would be, where we use this, where we don't use this, and I don't have to do any of that thinking, because I've got smart humans who are sorting this out for me.
Gord Vickman: So it's like an internal AI, sort of, with people. People talking to people and making sure that everything stays on the up and up, and moves forward. Not ignoring profitability in addition to the other elements that the AI can identify. Maybe it'll get there, who knows? But it's not focused on money yet, and I'm sure it's expensive to build, so maybe it'll learn its lesson.
If you enjoy this episode of Podcast Payoffs, we do appreciate your time. We know podcasts are free, but they're not, because you are paying with your time. We appreciate you spending it with us today. If you enjoyed it, as I mentioned, please share it with one friend, two friends, three friends. If anyone you know could glean some value from this and if you enjoyed it, and maybe they will too, you could be a hero by sharing this episode with someone that you think could get value from it.
Dan, thanks so much for joining me today and onto the next.