Make something wonderful
This month 👾 New no-code AI tool | Slack CEOs memo | Top secret studio | What it's like to work in AI + loads more…
🆕 Personal Updates
This month the Creator Club email passed 7k subscribers 🥳 Although this vanity metric isn’t something I concern myself too much with I’m still blown away by this number and I certainly don't take this for granted. It’s an absolute privilege to research and write this newsletter and it goes without saying the motivation to write this every month is because of you opening, sharing and reaching out to me each month. Thank you!
Some recent news on my side, I just joined the product team at Skyscanner last month. It’s a product I’ve admired since I got into tech, for the most part for my love of the product itself but also for its strong and well-respected product culture. It’s certainly a change from the smaller tech startups I’ve worked for in the past by I’m blown away by the talented team I get the pleasure to work with and the ability to ship meaningful features at scale.
Right, let’s get to it - time for this month’s roundup 👇
🔥 Top post last month: The Greatest Company You’ve Never Heard Of
One ultra-flexible project management tool for your entire company
This month I'm teaming up with Height, a project management tool that centralizes decision-making, unlike other tools I’ve used, Height is a breeze to use. It's so flexible that anyone from marketing to engineering can use this one super-flexible tool to work together. You can visualize all your tasks just the way you like, with spreadsheets, Gantt charts, calendars, or Kanban boards. Plus, collaborate with your team with a full-fledged chat right within tasks.
Experience scalable, lightning-fast work today!
What it feels like to work in AI right now
ChatGPT has caused a lot of disruption in the AI industry and the competition has become super intense. People are motivated and excited but it’s coming at a cost - people are close to burning out. Teams are being pushed to innovate with the fear of being left behind. There's a lot of noise with new capabilities being launched daily and it's hard to keep focused. AI influencers are everywhere and anything related to AI is a quick win of engagement on social media. I’ve already blocked numerous thread boys with titles such as “AI is going to take your job unless you understand these 10 new skills in AI’. Give… me.. a… break…
As a Product Manager, I can only imagine the pressure of balancing current objectives and customer value and the desire to layer AI into a product due to the perceived value it could create, the hope it could help with your next financing round or the speculative idea your customers want AI.
As Nathan Lambert mentions in this post “Working in this environment is extremely straining, for a plethora of reasons — burnout, ambition, noise, influencers, financial upside, ethical worries, and more.” But aren’t you curious about what it’s like to be on the front line working in AI right now? In this post, Nathan shares his personal experience and state of the industry as an ML scientist at Huggingface.
We don’t sell saddles here
It’s perhaps not the title of a post you would expect in this newsletter but bear with me here. This 2013 memo from Slack’s CEO Stewart Butterfield was written a little under seven months before development began on Slack and two weeks before its launch. In the memo, Stewart discusses the importance of understanding the true value proposition of a company, suggesting that companies should focus on the problem they are solving for customers instead of just selling a product. Basically, it’s a way of saying to sell the benefit, not the feature. He uses a great analogy using a fictitious company that sells saddles and how it could differentiate itself by focusing on the experience of horse riding, rather than just the physical product, arguing that this approach creates a stronger connection with the customer and allows the company to innovate beyond just selling saddles. Butterfield suggests companies should view themselves as a platform for delivering a complete solution to the customer's problem, rather than just selling a physical product. By understanding the true value proposition of their business, companies can create more meaningful relationships with their customers and drive long-term success. In Slack’s case, they sold the dream of a more productive workplace with a less cluttered email inbox.
Make something wonderful
One of the ways that I believe people express their appreciation to the rest of humanity is to make something wonderful and put it out there - Steve Jobs.
Throughout Jobs’ life, he was passionate about marrying the arts and technology, leading great teams, and understanding humanity. He saw the potential in things that weren't there, believed that life was fleeting, and wanted to make a positive impact on humanity.
To learn from recent history, a strong filter is necessary to cut through the digital clutter. The Steve Jobs Archive, launched in the autumn of 2022, and curates Jobs' thoughts from his speeches, interviews, writings, and letters. The physical book, Make Something Wonderful, is the archive's first publication, however, they only printed limited copies available to Apple, Disney, and Pixar employees, making it a limited-edition collectable and you will be hard-pressed to find one for less than $500 online. Lucky for us they also released a free e-book version and it’s not a simple static site or PDF. The book's design team is LoveFrom, the consultancy established by Sir Jony Ive. As you would expect it combines online design and print craft, with a zoomable text ribbon and a discrete right-hand scrollbar for chronological navigation.
I’m only a quarter of the way through this e-book but love it so far. I’ve read many Apple and Steve Job books over the years and was sceptical this would provide any further insight, however, it seems they have had access to a treasure trove of previously untold insight coupled with some fantastic unseen before photos and scans of his scrapbooks.
🎁 Bonus content: Steve Jobs’ Legacy for Builders by Evan Armstrong provides four meta-points that stood out to him after reading ‘Make something wonderful’. “I was reminded why I care so much about the technology industry. Building is a privilege. Hacking is a gift. After I finished reading, I sat down for a few hours and meditated on my goals. Am I living my life in the way I want to? Am I building myself into the person who can accomplish what I think is important? Am I building the products that change the world in the way I think best?”
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A Summary of Paul Graham’s 200+ Essays
There’s probably no one who knows more about startups than Paul Graham. Having helped thousands of startups through Y Combinator, the startup accelerator he co-founded, there’s a thing or two to learn from his essays. And Graham’s wisdom isn’t limited to startups either; his essays, read by millions, touching on education, intelligence, writing, society, the human mind, and much more. But, there is just so much to sift through.
Jaakko Järviniemi has read all of Paul Graham’s published essays which consist of over 200+ and counting, ending up with enough notes to fill an entire book. He recently summarised his notes and in particular, the parts he found most insightful and provided an accessible starting point for someone new to Graham. I can’t emphasise enough how valuable Paul Graham’s content is. If you haven’t read any of his content urge you to, you won’t be disappointed.
🎁 Bonus content: Got an OpenAI API key handy? Check out this AI-powered search & chat for Paul Graham's essays.
Build a No-Code AI App in Minutes
It’s finally here! No-code and AI have merged. While some existing no-code tools have AI features baked into them, this new AI web app builder is AI native and front and centre of the experience. Admittedly I have yet to get my hands on the product so everything I say from this point on is unfounded and just what I found from various sources online, however, if it’s not vapourware we are in for a treat.
Brain AI unveiled its latest creation, Imagica. An AI no-code web-app creation tool with a real-time data platform, natural language prompting, multimodal functions, and pre-built components to select from.
But Imagica isn’t some new shiny startup, it’s an offshoot of an AI startup founded in 2015 by Jerry Yue. With over $50m in funding to date from the links of Laurene Powell Jobs this is a well-backed company with seriously loft ambitions and a head start by all accounts. In 2021 with the launch of "Natural AI" – a digital commerce app that boasts the world's first inaugural generative interface (AKA anticipatory UI). Check out this launch video which reminds me of an Apple keynote. Just think what a generative interface as a concept would be like! my mind is bending just computing this! In Jerry’s view, it started with the web, progressed to search engines, and then apps, before landing where he sees it today.
As I mentioned in the last issue, what excites me about generative AI is the potential for a new paradigm of interface and means to build digital products. A human-centric interface, abstracting away the manual and tedious process of stitching components and logic together, connecting to APIs and designing the UI to create a website, web app or mobile app. This is what Imagica is looking to achieve. Imagine you could simply type out what you want to build in a sentence and let AI bring it to life.
Imagine a world in which you don’t design what you already know but rather teach the computer what it is that you actually want to accomplish. Just dwell on that for a few minutes….
If GPT-4 put hustle culture on steroids, then Auto-GPT is like those steroids taking steroids. A few weeks ago an open-sourced application called AutoGPT appeared on GitHub and within a matter of days became one of the top trending repositories on GitHub. It was the brainchild of developer Toran Bruce Richards (a fellow Scotsman) as an open-sourced project.
Auto-GPT allows you to automate the execution of multi-step projects that would have required back-and-forth prompting if you worked directly with GPT-4. It’s basically a team of autonomous agents that with your blessing can perform multi-step processes with just a single prompt. For example, it can analyze stocks, automate product reviews, create podcasts, book a flight, write an essay, and create a website, you name it!
It’s publicly available on GitHub, and although you need some degree of programming experience to know how to use it, however, there are already at least two similar apps, AgentGPT and God Mode that don’t require coding knowledge.
Beta Directory | Discover the latest tech products
This month’s latest early access beta products brought to you by Beta Directory are:
Proteus Engine: A powerful UI Engine that seamlessly connects with Figma.
Maneken: The effortless online mockup editor.
Phygital+: AI Workspace for Creators with Superpowers.
👾 Friends of Creator Club
This month I want to give a shout-out to Tyler Swartz and his newsletter ‘The AI Product Report’. Although there are many AI newsletters, what I personally appreciate about this newsletter is its specific focus on AI-powered products that he’s actually tested and provides his personal review. I would highly recommend checking it out if you are keen to explore the newest products shaping our future.
🐽 Other links to consume
This month I’m going to take you back to 1995 and it’s not the verdict on the O.J. Simpson trial. It’s the launch of Windows 95 and in particular, the sound of that sweet bootup chime every time you turned your PC on. It could be said it’s one of the most recognisable pieces of music ever and only lasts a mere 3.25 seconds long. Surprisingly, it was made by the so-called king of ambient music, Brian Eno, who was tapped by Microsoft’s executives to create this piece of music. They gave him a long string of adjectives that the sound needed to capture – quite a task considering the original brief was for a piece that only lasted 3.25 seconds. Brain ended up becoming obsessed with the challenge and ended up producing 84 different pieces of music to put in front of Microsoft executives. Click below for a strong hit of nostalgia 👇
That’s it for this month!
If you made it this far, hit reply or jump into the comments and tell me what you thought of this newsletter. Was this 🔥 or 🗑. I read every response 👀
Until next the next issue,
Sam | @thisdickie 👨💻
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