AI Rewind: Contrarian AI Business Models

This week’s most popular posts

I have found that while a lot of you like the AI knowledge I share, that a lot of people want to hear the stories behind what I am doing. I’ve shared a couple of stories this week about my AI interactions and they have been pretty popular.

The one that got the most interaction this week was my contrarian business plan.

After 25+ years as a "venture-backed startup guy," I am opting out. Not because I think startups are dead but because the landscape has shifted so much that the risk-reward is no longer there for many entrepreneurs.Here's what I mean. You have an idea and credibility in your industry, you start something with a partner, and investors come knocking. You land a seed investment.You raise $2.5 million dollars on a valuation of $10 million with no customers. You and your partner each have half of $7.5 million dollars of "funny money," a paper valuation. These numbers are reasonable but not my exact numbers.

I just got a call from a market development and appointment setting company.Telemarketer: "Could you hand 10 to 15 more hot leads a month?" Me: "You probably don't hear this a lot but I have more inbound than I can handle, I am looking to hire some contractors to help me."

This week, I bought a shirt that says:  "𝗠𝗮𝘆 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗯𝗿𝗶𝗱𝗴𝗲𝘀 𝘁𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝗜 𝗯𝘂𝗿𝗻 𝗹𝗶𝗴𝗵𝘁 𝗺𝘆 𝘄𝗮𝘆."  I thought it was funny, but true events inspired it.  Recently, I shared my story of opting out of being a venture-backed startup guy to being an AI solopreneur.  It generated over 23,0000 impressions and had close to 600 reactions.

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The movie Idiocracy (written by Mike Judge) depicts a dystopian future in which humanity has become progressively less intelligent over centuries, resulting in a profoundly ignorant society incapable of critical thinking.  While likely hyperbolic, the concept prompts important questions about how technology could undermine human cognition and agency. A recent paper entitled “Generative AI as a Dangerous New Form of Media” explores related risks arising specifically from advances in artificial intelligence.

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𝗛𝗼𝘄 𝗳𝗿𝗲𝗾𝘂𝗲𝗻𝘁𝗹𝘆 𝗱𝗼 𝘆𝗼𝘂 𝗴𝗲𝘁 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗿𝗶𝗴𝗵𝘁 𝗼𝘂𝘁𝗽𝘂𝘁 𝗳𝗿𝗼𝗺 𝗖𝗵𝗮𝘁𝗚𝗣𝗧 𝗼𝗻 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗳𝗶𝗿𝘀𝘁 𝘁𝗿𝘆? 𝗡𝗼𝘁 𝗲𝗻𝗼𝘂𝗴𝗵? Give these tips a try, check out the attached anatomy of a prompt below. Be Specific: Precision in prompts leads to targeted and useful AI responses. It’s about asking the right questions to get the right answers.Set Constraints: Constraints guide the AI in generating focused and relevant outputs. Think of them as guardrails that keep the AI on track.

If you have been following any topics around AI development, you have probably heard about LangChain, one of the most popular open source tools for building AI applications.LangChain was launched in October 2022 as an open source project by Harrison Chase while working at the machine learning startup Robust Intelligence. The project quickly gained popularity on GitHub, Twitter, YouTube, etc., with hundreds of developers' contributions. LangChain Inc. was incorporated as a startup by Harrison Chase and co-founder Ankush Johar Gola. They raised over $20 million in funding within a week of announcing a $10 million seed investment.

One good measure is the Hugging Face LeaderBoard which has a variety of tests to evaluate Large Language Models (LLMs) on their Open LLM Leaderboard. The Hugging Face LLM Testing Harness has over 60 tests. The tests assess different aspects of LLM performance, including reasoning, general knowledge, and bias across various fields. The evaluations are conducted in both 0-shot and few-shot settings, which means that the models are tested on their ability to perform tasks without any prior examples (0-shot) or with only a few examples to learn from (few-shot).

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Interesting to see that when a company like HashiCorp walks away from their roots in open source how quickly another project can suck up all that oxygen.Currently OpenTofu has over 17.3K stars on Github while Terraform has 40K but that's after being released in May 2015, OpenTofu was released in October 2023. Ironically, the thing that fueled their growth was a combination of great tech and open source. Hashicorp IPO'd at ~$85 per share and today they trade at $22 per share. I think this is endemic of companies growing companies based on open source. But selling free software is a terrible business.

Artificial Intelligence is like climate change.  ❓Few people understand it.  📣 It has been hyped it to the point that we can't know what's real.  💥Activists want us to prepare for an unlikely global catastrophe.  Ironically, our best hope for improving our climate will likely come from research done with the help of AI.  [I totally believe that climate change is real though it's not clear how to tackle it.]

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Security and AI

I saw two really good posts on Security and AI this week. Hope you like them too.

This is a post by CEO of Opaque Systems. The risks and potential repercussions of inadequate data and AI security are clear. As businesses increasingly integrate data and AI into their operations, prioritizing the protection of these processes becomes not just a technical necessity, but a business imperative. Doing so will protect their financial interests, maintain their reputation, and foster customer trust.

This is a post by Sandy Dunn, Similar to a high-stakes chess game where each move is crucial, your 2024 decisions moves must be meticulously planned. Artificial Intelligence threats and impacts are not well known or understood, but there is equal risk to not embracing GenAI and using it to your advantage. It will be vital see the big picture, separate hype from evidence, think logically, and have an organizational plan.


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