Becoming an AI 10Xer

Artificial Intelligence may offer exponential gains in productivity here's how I see it playing out

[The image above is generated by Midjourney. The prompt I used to create the image is listed at the end of this email.]

In 1968, Sackman, Erikson, and Grant published “Exploratory experimental studies comparing online and offline programming performance.” Sounds riveting, huh?

At the end of the paper is a quote that “revealed large individual differences between high and low performance, often by order of magnitude.” this is likely the origin of a concept called the 10x programmer. Interestingly, there was no correlation between experience and performance once the programmers had six months of experience with a language.

Since then, the term has become part of the tech lexicon. When ChatGPT came out last year, I was interested in how that could be the tool I needed to become a 10x marketer. I have spent the last 25 years gaining the knowledge and experience I thought I needed to put me at the top of my field. Unfortunately, those skills on their own aren’t accretive; you need to constantly add more skills on top of the old ones and drop those that no longer serve you.

In a previous newsletter, I quoted Peter Drucker, who said, “The only skill that will be important in the 21st century is the skill of learning new skills. Everything else will become obsolete over time." The skills we need to learn today are very much those in using and optimizing our work life with artificial intelligence.

I have had a long career as a technical executive, startup founder, and technologist. I founded Peripety Labs this year to help businesses with marketing and developer relations. I found that the greater need has been to use technology, particularly artificial intelligence, to improve their operations.

When I started this new career, I had a good understanding of AI but not nearly what I have today. I hope that if you experience your own peripety due to AI, it’s a positive unexpected reversal of circumstances (in literature, it’s typically that moment when the hero knows he was wrong). I love sharing what I am learning as it’s interesting, and it’s making my work life much, much better.

How AI Is Moving Us to 10x

As a marketer and business owner, I am constantly juggling multiple tasks, from content creation to data analysis, to one hundred other tasks, and getting overwhelmed is easy. Today I am not a 10x marketer, though I am quite a bit more efficient at certain tasks than a year ago, thanks to AI tools.

At the heart of my current strategy is automating as many tasks as possible using AI. I am focusing on the Pareto principle that most of my best outcomes are a result of applying my brain to tasks of high value rather than tasks that are distracting, time-consuming but don’t require much thinking — answering emails, reading news, answering messages in Slack, paying bills, entering accounts in a ledger, generating leads, etc. This results in almost an 80/20 breakdown of spending nearly the same percentages of time on low-value, low-quality outcomes (80%) and only about 20 percent on work that yields much better results. Thanks to artificial intelligence, I hope to flip those percentages by the end of another year.

The author, Cal Newport, calls this deep work. Deep work is the ability to focus without distraction on a cognitively demanding task. It's a skill that allows you to quickly master complicated information and produce better results in less time.

So my AI strategy is to maximize the time I can do deep work while offloading time-consuming tasks with little chance of providing high-value outcomes to AI tools.

How You and I Can Use AI Now

By letting AI handle the repetitive work, I can focus my energy on tasks that require deeper thinking and creativity. These are the things I am offloading my 80% to right now.

  • Automate meeting notes with AI assistants - I automate note-taking during meetings. This tool transcribes and organizes my notes, freeing me to fully engage in the conversation rather than scrambling to jot down key points.

  • Generating outlines for long-form content and small bits of content, one paragraph at a time, and rewriting - I haven’t seen the results I want from one-shot blog post tools. Still, I usually do well by creating my outline, writing my thoughts, and enhancing it using AI.

  • Editing content with AI copyediting assistance - I still use Grammarly as I have for years; their AI-powered Grammarly Go is slightly better but still leaves much to be desired. But sometimes, it just goes haywire and makes a mess of things.

  • Summarize content - I use ChatGPT with their Linkreader and other plugins to summarize long-form content, saving me hours of reading time.

  • Manipulate data - Use machine learning with Python and data visualization tools to gain insights.

  • Verify the accuracy of AI-generated content using other AI tools - There are a couple of fact-checkers out there that help here, but usually, I fall back to Google search for a final sanity check.

AI in the (Near) Future

This is where I see things heading. Today we create AI toolchains where we take the output of one tool and use that as the input into another, but in the future, I believe we will see a bit more agency in AI platforms that take the initiative to complete tasks for us even tying together LLMs as we are witnessing with Langchain and achieving goals as we see with Autonomous AI Agents.

  • Meetings facilitated by AI moderators - You provide an agenda, and the virtual assistant can be a taskmaster to keep conversations on track and help reach a consensus on key topics. It also offloads the tough job of moderating disputes to a neutral third party.

  • AI Executive Assistants - An AI virtual assistant that enters my bookkeeping and checks for accuracy. Others are highly trained (in the machine learning sense) to handle calendaring, triage email communications, and myriad other tasks.

  • Automate Long-form Content Creation - Create one-shot long-form content that is both grammatically and factually correct - I think we’ll find narrow artificial intelligence tools that will have deep knowledge in our work domain, augmented by your writing to generate the blog posts, white papers, and other assets we generally see in the enterprise.

  • Automatic Data Insights - Manipulate and visualize data using natural language via chatbots.

Tip of the Week: AI Automated Tasks

I am much more thoughtful about how I spend my time than ever before in my career. So as I work toward being 10x, here are some of the tasks I am delegating to free up a lot of my time to do my deeper work.

  • Summarize Meetings and Audio files - I have mentioned before, and it’s because it’s simply that good at summarizing meetings and coming up with action items. Also, I have been recording in-person meetings and uploading other recordings to digest them or be reminded of the key points discussed.

  • Lead Generation and Sourcing - I am becoming a Notion power-user and consolidating on this platform; one tool I have been playing with is Bardeen, an AI-powered alternative to Zapier. I have been using their workflows to populate a table of folks who contact me on LinkedIn about business deals and collaborations, for example. I can then populate them from my LinkedIn notifications into a database that allows me to tag them and follow up later.

  • Creating Twitter Threads and LinkedIn Articles to Promote Blog Posts - I dislike using AI to generate my content without heavy editing. Still, one great use of AI is summarizing things I already wrote, like blog posts I want to share on LinkedIn or via Twitter. Just enter a prompt like, “Create a Twitter thread from this blog post,” and use a web-browsing plugin from ChatGPT. You get a good Twitter thread complete with emojis.

  • Write Difficult Emails - Have you ever had a heated exchange with a colleague, boss, or partner? Two things using generative AI does for me when it comes to helping to write a difficult email. First, it takes emotion out of the equation, and second, it’s good at sentiment analysis, so I don’t say convey a negative or combative message intentionally or unintentionally. So if I am having a difficult conversation, it takes off a lot of the cognitive load to ask ChatGPT to write a reply professionally while conveying my understanding of the situation.Here’s a good article on ideas for what kind of replies you might want to generate. Though I think you will likely want to put more detail in your prompts.

  • Summarize Longer Content - I like having my own Cliff’s Notes writer with ChatGPT. Here’s a prompt I use quite a bit. It’s how I can quickly consume so much information about AI and get to the salient points more quickly. I often use this prompt with a ChatGPT plugin to summary all manner of long research. If the summary is good than I often dive in and read it in its entirety:

Act as a research paper summarizer. I will provide you with a research paper on a specific topic, and you will create a summary of the main points and findings of the paper. - Your summary should be concise and should accurately and objectively communicate the key points of the paper.- You should not include any personal opinions or interpretations in your summary, but rather focus on objectively presenting the information from the paper.- Your summary should be written in your own words and should not include any direct quotes from the paper.- Please ensure that your summary is clear, concise, and accurately reflects the content of the original paper. objective is to rephrase the provided text in a clear, concise, and formal way without plagiarizing the original authors.- The paraphrased text should include all information presented in the original source, use technical jargon and scientific terminology appropriate for scientists who are the intended audience, have inline citations for referenced ideas as (Author, date), consider breaking down complex sentences into simpler ones for better readability while ensuring that the meaning of the original text is not lost, and use examples wherever possible to clarify key points.- After the revised text, please include a list of cited references in the appropriate citation format (APA, MLA, etc.), including full details of the sources used in creating the paraphrased text.

What I Read this Week

What I Listened to this Week

AI Tools I am Evaluating

  • Coda - More than a writing assistant, Coda AI lets you automate workflows by summarizing notes, analyzing data, and generating results for every row in a table.

  • Midjourney Prompt Helper - Midjourney prompts are very complex and have syntax and parameters that aren’t part of natural language. This helper provides a way to click on parameters to create complex prompts.

  • Factiverse - Detect controversial claims and find credible sources in any text created by humans or chatbots like ChatGPT.

  • Typefully - Effortlessly publish on Twitter and LinkedIn with an AI assistant to improve results.

Midjourney Prompt for Newsletter Header Image

For every issue of the Artificially Intelligent Enterprise, I include the MIdjourney prompt I used to create this edition.

An imaginative digital rendering illustrating a person leveraging AI robots to clone themselves, resulting in a workforce that achieves 10x gains in productivity. The rendering showcases the person and their robotic clones engaged in various tasks, from brainstorming and problem-solving to executing complex projects. The composition utilizes a mid-shot, focusing on the person and the robotic clones in action. Soft, futuristic lighting creates a vibrant and dynamic atmosphere. The rendering, created by a visionary digital artist, conveys the potential of AI robotics to revolutionize productivity by leveraging the power of intelligent automation. The 16:9 aspect ratio adds a cinematic touch, enhancing the visual storytelling. --s 1000 --ar 16:9

Join the conversation

or to participate.