AI versus Marshy #50: one year's worth of looking at AI! 🥳


Hello and welcome to another edition of AI versus Marshy! 👋

The newsletter that follows the AI trend for you and surfaces up interesting things that are happening across tech news, new capabilities, and how you can make sense of it for your own benefit.

And it’s not just any edition today, it’s our 1 year birthday 🥳

To the few dozen or so readers that transferred over from other writing I’ve done in the past (and chosen to stay!) I thank you.

And to every reader that has joined organically over the last 12 months I thank you too!

Regularly shipping an edition every week is a real challenge (did I mention our twin boys are 13 months old?) and it’s kind of miraculous that it’s kept going while I embark on the biggest change to my family life.

I want you to know every open, comment, click, or recommendation is warmly received.

That’s enough gushing.

I knew I was going to have fun with this edition and it’s a doozie.

This week looks at:

  • I onboarded over 40 AI apps in the last year - guess how many I still use?
  • Interesting things that hit my desk in the last year
  • After covering AI for a year - what does the future look like?

Lots to jump into today, so let’s make like nightclub and bouncer on with it 👊

-Marshy

I signed up for over 40 AI apps in the last year - and here's the hot tip: you’re not missing out

A non-exhaustive list of AI apps I’ve tested over the last year:

  • Audiopen
  • Alfred AI
  • Send Potion
  • Hume AI
  • AgentHub
  • Headshot Pro
  • Phonely AI
  • Play.HT
  • LiCode
  • Strut
  • Browserless
  • CleverAds
  • Eclipse AI
  • Displayr
  • Zotly
  • Eesel AI
  • Blaze
  • StockMusic.app
  • Reflect
  • Lily AI Therapist
  • Spacebar
  • Hexomatic
  • Comigo for ADHD
  • Imagica AI
  • LiterallyAnything.io
  • LowCoderr
  • QuickCreator
  • Midjourney
  • TurboGTM
  • Copy.ai
  • CodeDesign.ai
  • Permar
  • Summit AI coach
  • Stockimg.ai
  • Data.ai
  • PromptLoop
  • ChatGPT

That’s over 40 and I know I’m missing some.

The way I captured this information is by going over newly created logins in 1password over the last 12 months.

Of these - I have paid cash money for 5 of them (Blaze, Midjourney, CodeDesign.ai, ChatGPT, and Audiopen).

There’s only 2 I’m currently paying for - Audiopen and ChatGPT.

There's something in this.

I have money.

I write a newsletter about AI.

There’s room for more subscriptions here.

I’m not the target customer for all of these apps - but I think the bigger reason I'm not paying for more is that a lot of these apps are quite sh*tty to use.

On the ones I actually paid for:

I snagged a deal by jumping on CodeDesign.ai’s lifetime offer.

It’s an AI website builder that claims to make spinning up pages/sites quick and easy.

Spoiler alert: It’s slow and frustrating and easier for me to spin things up in Webflow, Carrd, or basically anything else that doesn’t completely suck.

They're still offering “lifetime deals” too…

Blaze.ai portrays itself as an AI marketing tool.

I signed up for a month and found it slowed things down and added little value to my existing workflows.

Their own branding is nice - I like the retro comic schtick!

But it was painful to use and added little to what I could divine from ChatGPT or my own skills/templates/frameworks.

I struggled to justify “another” cost on top of existing subscriptions.

Midjourney works well.

But it’s expensive to set up an account that doesn’t make your images public.

This is an important detail if you’re doing client work (like I do).

It’s not easy to use.

The Discord request interface “works” (Midjourney says because its in beta).

But it’s not fun to use, requires learning technical commands to get the output you desire, and the learning curve isn’t straightforward.

I did knock out a beta version of our electronicmusicnerd logo though!

Did I want to give any of these software any more of my hard-earned cash?

Hell no!

The two apps I do pay for regularly work well.

I’ve waffled enough about ChatGPT and mentioned Audiopen recently.

One additional thing I’ve enjoyed about Audiopen is speaking about a presentation out loud and recording what I’m trying to say before writing it.

This process seems to activate a different part of the brain and writing a presentation even more fun than what I normally have (this stuff is kind-of my jam).

For example - it captures what I’m waffling about:

And can edit it and write it to sound like me:

I also wondered: how many of these hype-led apps are are still going after a year?

Almost all of them at this point.

Some appear to be more active than others but it does seem like there’s money and effort going into these which is good to know as these things take time, and they’re not straight grifts as has been seen in the crypto space.

Make no mistake - we’re very much in the early days of this technology for you, me, and most normies.

There’s IS quite a pioneering vibe about it.

Having a newsletter has given me access to conversations and opportunities a lot more easily than if I didn’t have it.

Which leads me to…

Interesting things that hit my desk this year 🖥️

I write a newsletter about AI” is a pretty cool reason to reach out to all sorts of people.

I’ve reached out to all sorts of people I wouldn’t ordinarily.

People like:

  • I met Jayant nearly a year ago after stumbling on one of his videos about feeding Alex Hormozi’s book $100m into ChatGPT - it looks like he’s doing great now!
  • I had some messaging back and forth with Harriet Hacks runs videos on AI security and continues to pump out videos on YouTube about the topic - go Harriet!
  • I also joined the Ben’s Bites community and have noodled on ADHD goal machine with Ben himself ✌️

Not only has writing about this topic created interesting conversations - it’s created opportunities!

In the last 12 months I got to:

  1. Joined a team and almost began a recruitment tech AI startup
  2. Met a technical co-founder and explored joining another recruitment AI startup
  3. Turned down an opportunity to build a B2B data intelligence startup with AI
  4. Had some early conversations about working with a tech for good AI founder
  5. And walked away after a potential client started replying to my emails with AI prompts 🤣 (see below)

Over the last year I also did a few presentations on AI specifically:

  • I did another presentation for the Global Sisters group about learning about AI and content creation to create new employment pathways
  • I also went and presented for the Australian Marketing Institute on Bolstering Your Partnership Marketing with AI Tools

I'm going to be adding more talks to my new spiffy Media section if you're looking for an upcoming speaker...

This journey has been fun and it’s only just warming up.

So what’s going to happen over the next few years?

So what does the future of AI look like?

I've thought about this and...

Nobody f*cking knows.

Governments seem curious but lost. The tech companies got leapfrogged by Nvidia in such a way that not even Nvidia understands quite how that happened.

It’s clear Sam Altman believes he knows - but the amount of volatility OpenAI has courted isn’t painting an inspiring picture of “it’s okay guys we’ve got this” - he was sacked and rehired.

Here’s what I do know.

When things hit levels of adoption in the billions - things change.

We’ve seen this with the Internet.

We’ve seen this with mobile phones.

We’ve seen this with search.

And we’ve definitely seen this with social media.

These are irrefutable facts.

The level of awareness about LLMs/generative AI and what the future can bring is still very low.

Access is not evenly distributed and no amount of marketing will change this.

This is changing.

Meta have made AI available in their platforms and Apple announced their partnership with OpenAI.

Access is going to change over the next few years as “ask AI” becomes the new “Google it”.

I’m not in love with this.

The Top 5 most valuable companies in the world are all tech.

In Techno Feudalism, Yanis Varoufakis talks about a concept called “cloud rent”. Cloud rent is access we pay to be able to use.

Technology companies thrive with it. Google profits from you looking for things through them. Meta through your attention. AWS through their web hosting, etc. etc.

We’re pushing towards more reliance on the cloud than less.

What happens when the landlord decides to up his price?

Usually market dynamics allow for other businesses to enter the fray and present more attractive options.

Yet when there’s only 6-8 land lords that are controlling the market it kind makes life harder - not easier.

The existential threat to humanity isn’t AI - it’s large companies and the greedy people that lead them.

We’re entering an era of breakthroughs that our minds can’t even wrap our heads around.

I believe we need to embrace a more curious mindset, and also embrace our conscience and connection to the planet.

The decisions we make over the next 5-10 years around governance, accessibility, distribution, and the environment are the highest stakes.

We also need to look at incentives.

A year ago I sat in auditorium and witnessed this brilliant question about having too much influence in my hometown of Melbourne.

You can check out the question and answer here - and I mentioned it in my first edition #1.

Are the right incentives set up for AI breakthroughs to be a success right now?

I’m not convinced but you can decide for yourself (and with your conscience).

Thanks for reading and am looking forward to reflecting on this in another year’s time 🙏

-Marshy

p.s. I travelled interstate for my uncle’s funeral this week and it was a sad occasion but good to be supporting family. There was a reception at a suburban RSL in Brisbane and I was just blown away by this Buddy Holly-style cooldaddy rocking it on an old guitar, mic, and jukebox. In 2024. Keep loving the things that make us human ❤️

AI vs. Marshy

Growth marketer meets biggest technological advancement in our lives. Learn about AI in a way that doesn't overwhelm. Add a splash of strap yourself in and be prepared.

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