July 22, 2020

MFM #94: Is GPT-3 the Next Big Thing?

Shaan and Sam dive into GPT-3, BNI, and an erotica newsletter. Sam also does an impromptu interview of Shaan.

Is the GPT-3 Hype Real? 🤖

With the release of OpenAI’s GPT-3, Sam and Shaan talk about the implications of the technology.

  • GPT-3: OpenAI’s latest language-generating AI, which is in private beta
  • Shaan’s take: AI will be the next big shift. Previous big shifts were from non-computers to computers, computers to the internet, and the internet to smartphones. The next will be smartphones to AI. AI becomes more interesting the more general it is because the wider the scope of things that can be done with it. AGI will be the last human invention, as AGI will invent after its creation.
  • Sharif Shameem: Built a layout generator where users just describe the desired layout, and GPT3 generates it.

Other nuggets 🏆

  • BNI: Is a business referral network with local chapters. Each chapter has one plumber, one lawyer etc.. BNI has 10k chapters with 270k members. Shaan estimates they are generating $50m.
  • Erotica: Erotic and romance novels are big business. Driven especially by women, it is one of the best-selling book categories. Lotanna, a member of the MFM Facebook group, is generating thousands per month with his black-women erotic newsletter Hinged Club.
  • 💡 Idea: Better company onboarding. There’s a lot to learn when joining a new company, and the process can often be difficult and inefficient. There is a need to assist companies with the process — especially fast-growing companies so they don’t lose their culture and history.

Interviewing Shaan 🎮 💬

Shaan has been working at Twitch ever since the acquisition of his company, Bebo. Sam spends the second half of the pod picking Shaan’s brain on his Twitch experience.

  • What do top people at the company do?: The top 1% of people in a company are for: 1) being accountable for everyone by playing “bad cop/good cop” for everyone in your chain of command; and 2) calling bullshit when you think resources are being wasted and approving making decisions.
  • Twitch is no longer a small startup, there are more “systems people” and less “startup people” — do you think those folks make the company better?: Yes, as they are good for an established system — the company needs these people to make sure it grows naturally. The needs of a startup and an established business are different. For example, Facebook has a whole team for abuse, spam, fake news, fraud. It doesn’t make the ship faster or slower, it just keeps it going.
  • At what point did Twitch become what it is? The first 3-4 years were about innovation — it was a “scrappy throw things at the wall, worry about fixing later” attitude. This changes with time.
  • How do you think Amazon manages to keep innovating?: When Shaan joined, they recognized he was good at starting things and he was given his own strike team . Shaan’s strike team is a team of 30 that doesn’t have to follow most rules — they are allowed to move fast and break things with a blank check and report directly to the CEO. Big companies are good at responding to existential threats and risks, but don’t innovate by their own motivation.
  • How has Emmitt changed from being a young founder, to the leader he is now?: Shaan didn’t know him when he was younger, but he is still very entrepreneurial. He calls bullshit and wants to go fast. But there is a lot more need when running a big company.

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