DeveloPassion's Newsletter #114 - GPT: Great to Participate in the Transformation

Edition 114 of my newsletter, discussing Knowledge Management, Knowledge Work, Zen Productivity, Personal Organization, and more!

DeveloPassion's Newsletter #114 - GPT: Great to Participate in the Transformation

Hello everyone! I'm Sébastien Dubois, your host. You're receiving this email because you signed up for DeveloPassion's Newsletter. Thank you for being here with me ✨

Welcome to the 114th edition

Another week, another newsletter! I hope that you all had a great one 🤩

This week has been quite busy. The weather was horrendous here in Belgium so we didn't have many opportunities to go out and "breathe", but I still managed to move a bit, run and swim. It felt great to exercise again, even though it hurt like hell afterward 😂. I'm not yet ready for the 20KM of Brussels, but I'm preparing!

I've continued working on my projects (more info in "The lab"), ran a few experiments, picked up a new book about Data Science, and started testing the beta of Diablo IV. It's been FUN!

If you enjoy this newsletter and get value from it, please consider becoming a subscriber. You'll be able to join our community and meet like-minded people while enabling me to keep creating content. If you prefer, you can also buy one of my products on Gumroad or offer me a cup of coffee.

Alright, let's gooooo 🚀

It's Great to Participate in the Transformation (GPT)

When transformative technology comes up, it's important to recognize how important it might become in the future. The Web was such a technology. Web 2.0 also was for software developers, just like Docker and Kubernetes.

You don't want to be a late adopter when it comes to transformative technology. Sure, you will probably still be able to learn about it later on, but it also means that you'll miss the earliest and (maybe) the biggest opportunities.

When I was a kid, I couldn't stop thinking about the impact that the Internet would have on the world. It just blew my mind. What I found even more impressive was how many people around me (e.g., family and friends) failed to understand what was happening.

I felt the same way a few times since. For example, when browser extensions became a thing, when Android became popular, etc. I felt it too back in 2015-2016 with technologies like Docker and the TypeScript programming language, and more recently with DALL-E and Stable Diffusion.

Each time I felt that way, I understood that those technologies were worth my time. I was lucky to figure that out early enough, allowing me to stay "ahead" of the game. That is, learn enough to be able to act as a "specialist" for those around me. This helped me stay relevant and increased my value on the job market.

Today, even though it's already late in some sense, ChatGPT gives me the same feeling. GPT-4 is a huge step forward, and it is certainly a transformative technology. Each time I have a "conversation" with ChatGPT, I get valuable information in return. And the more I use it, the more I realize how valuable it is. I now rely on ChatGPT for many things:

  • Ideation
  • Software development (from architecture to bug fixing)
  • Creating content: writing, editing, adversarial writing (exploring pros and cons, weaknesses in my arguments, different points of view, etc)
  • Summarize information
  • Personal questions
  • Important choices
  • Recipe ideas
  • Health and nutrition
  • Party ideas

In the past, my Google-fu helped me find information efficiently. Being able to find combinations of precise terms on specific Websites was key to getting to the answers I needed. Today, I need to complement my Google-fu with ChatGPT-fu. I strongly believe that the ability to have good conversations with AIs will become an important skill for productivity.

I strongly believe that the ability to have good conversations with AIs will become an important skill for productivity

To me, the ability to have good conversations with AIs goes beyond prompt engineering. Prompt engineering is just one of many steps in a conversation. We need to be able to set the stage, give the AI a specific "role" (i.e., persona), clear instructions, and ask clear questions. Once we get an answer back, we need to consider the conversation, and follow up with additional prompts to drive the AI toward the precise answers we are after.

No matter how we "feel" about the technology, AIs like ChatGPT are here to stay, and chances are that they will quickly multiply in the future. As the technology matures and more "players" enter the game (hey Bard), we are bound to face such AIs more and more in our lives.

In addition, I'm certain that those will start being integrated into many layers of our society, in subtle or less subtle ways. So the sooner we invest into our "AI conversational skills", the better off we'll be!

The lab 🧪

This week, I've continued working on Knowii, my community knowledge management solution. I've continued working on the "infrastructure" side, for example with support for internationalization (i18n), theming (yes, I know, dark mode 😂) and the very beginning of the landing page:

I've also been able to think about the first features and the data model to support those. In particular, I've thought about the main concepts: communities, resources, resource collections, persons, users, and tags. Those are the first concepts I will develop. In the coming months, this will enable me to replace products such as my PKM Library by a PKM community and associated resource collections. I can't wait to show you what I mean!

On other news, I've launched a successful experiment to try and convince some of you to become paid subscribers at a reduced price. I'm not fond of doing that, but I need all the support I can get to be able to keep going on this bootstrapping journey. That's why I'll continue to openly ask for your help.

On other news, while gathering my weekly stats, I've realized that my monthly revenue is now down to ~$650, which is far below what I reached in December. It's normal given how few efforts I've made on the marketing side, but it still hurts. Although, reaching ~$20 MRR with this newsletter feels fantastic. I just hope that more of you will help me to reach the next level.

New articles

No new articles this week.

Quotes of the week

  • "Choose your competitors carefully, because you’ll become a lot like them" — Larry Ellison
  • "Why does being remembered matter at all? It doesn't. It's a weird trait in the human brain to want to be remembered. The instant you die you will have no memory of yourself, your life, or anything really :) So it's a fool's errand to care about what people think of you after you're gone, because you won't be here to know about any of it." — Anonymous Hacker News comment

How cool is that?!

Thinking and learning

Tool For Thought
This week’s edition of the Times Book Review features an essay that I wrote about the research system I’ve used for the past few years: a tool for exploring the couple thousand notes and quotations…
Harnessing the Power of Nodes and Hierarchy in Tana & Workflowy
The Simplicity of Workflowy’s Initial Design
Why Notes, Why Diary?
I was faking it till I made it. Except that I didn’t make it.
GitHub - exoascension/vault-chat: A ChatGPT bot trained on your vault notes. Ask your AI questions about your own thoughts and ideas!
A ChatGPT bot trained on your vault notes. Ask your AI questions about your own thoughts and ideas! - GitHub - exoascension/vault-chat: A ChatGPT bot trained on your vault notes. Ask your AI questi…
Heptabase: How to Create Webs of Insight with a Personal Knowledge Management Tool
Imagine your desk or your whiteboard with thousands of sticky notes of varying sizes with spider’s silk strings connecting

Indie Hacking and bootstrapping

💬 Paid Communities: Rituals, 90–9–1 Rule, Community-as-a-Service
In this Report, we talk about Community-as-a-Service, market networks, validating demand, building rituals and more. **💎 Why It Matters** A g…
Your best advice for someone who wants to build a SaaS app
Recently, many companies have been laying off programmers. People are looking for new opportunities. Many of them think about starting their own busines…
10 Essential Tips for Crafting a Killer Cold Email With +90% Open Rate 😍 💯
Cold emailing can be an effective way to generate leads and grow your business. Crafting a cold email that grabs the attention of your recipient and get…
Track progress over goals
I’m not sure I ever achieve my goals, but I’m always making and looking back on my progress


The Age of AI has begun
Bill Gates explains why AI is as revolutionary as personal computers, mobile phones, and the Internet, and he gives three principles for how to think about it.
GPT for Sheets™ and Docs™ - Google Workspace Marketplace
ChatGPT in Google Sheets™ and Docs™. Get the full power of AI for inspiration data cleaning, classification, extraction, translation, edition, summarization, writing directly in your Sheets™ and Docs™
TypeScript magic - Artsy Engineering
At Artsy, we love TypeScript. We use it in most of our node/web/mobile repos. Today, I want to talk about a specific case we found while trying to…
Full-Stack TypeScript with tRPC and React
How to use tRPC with React for full-stack type safety with TypeScript…
The design system mindset
There’s so much truth to this tweet by Masato: To me, design systems hiring is fundamentally broken.Companies do not have a vital way of searching for candidates specializing in design systems.And candidates cannot find DS job opportunities efficiently because of full of non-specialized job title
ChatGPT’s API is So Good and Cheap, It Makes Most Text Generating AI Obsolete | Max Woolf’s Blog
Including OpenAI’s other text generating AI!