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!
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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:
- 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.
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
Indie Hacking and bootstrapping
Hello everyone! I'm Sébastien Dubois. I'm an author, founder, and CTO. I write books and articles about software development & IT, personal knowledge management, personal organization, and productivity. I also craft lovely digital products 🚀
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