“I’m sorry I made you wait. But, I was busy making you wait.”
What The AI has to say about layoffs, lots of links, and crapbooking...
Let’s just get right to it:
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Another Proof of Concept
I work with a PR agency that VMware employes on occasional thought-leader pieces (see the one linked above!). They pitch ideas at me, we discuss them, and then write them together (they do a first draft and I go in and do a fair amount of editing/rewriting). It’s great stuff and I appreciate all the work they do.
I took one of our recent brainstorming outlines and asked OpenAI to write an 800 word article. The result doesn’t have my voice/style at all. There’s plenty of room for a human to come in and make it better. But, really, it’s good enough for voice-less thought leadership pieces, LinkedIn posts, and also a great start. Like I keep saying, anything that gets you past the hurdle of a blank screen is welcome to people who write.
One novel thing a human could do is add in more links, especially with some lateral thinking of finding links that don’t seem related but…are. (hahaha! I just did some lateral thinking to throw in a link about lateral thinking!)
Anyhow. Here’s the prompt/outline and then what OpenAI wrote:
When I pasted it into the playground, it lost the outline formatting - it’s worth thinking about what kind of extra guidance a structured outline would give the AI.
Can you write an 800 word article out of the following outline? Here is the outline: Why layoffs are the last thing tech companies should be doing right now Late 2022 has seen a series of layoffs from big tech companies, which has sparked concerns about an upcoming face of cyclical unemployment. This temporary response does not take into account what will happen when the economy recovers and demand increases. These same companies will suddenly be complaining that they can’t hire the right people and developer skills are lacking. So, if these companies aren’t careful, they’re going to fall into a cyclical trap which could hinder future projects, halting business growth. So what is the real impact of layoffs, cyclical unemployment and how can it be prevented? The negative impact of layoffs: Redundancies have several negative effects - they can spook investors, the company loses valuable skills, and surviving employees feel uncertain Skills shortage: 68% of the digital leaders in the UK said a lack of skills is standing in their way, so companies need to realise that their IT staff and developers may not be so easy to replace a few months or years down the line Changing perceptions: Businesses should not think of their tech projects as temporary or one-offs but instead as ongoing products that support their business which need maintaining, evolving in order to become more valuable and worthwhile Macro-headwinds come and go, but a business’ needs for software that runs it and makes it better are constant.
This is unchanged, so, you know, a little awkward. You can see how it flattens out my style with the economics jargon: when I use terms like “headwinds” and “macro,” I’m being kind of a snarky-jerk.
As tech companies continue to layoff employees in late 2022, there is growing concern about the potential for a period of cyclical unemployment. This response may seem sensible in the short-term, as companies look to reduce costs, but when the economy recovers and demand increases, these same companies will be complaining about skills shortages and difficulty in hiring the right people. This is why it is important for companies to understand the potential for cyclical unemployment and take steps to prevent it.
The negative impact of layoffs is far-reaching. Redundancy can spook investors, resulting in a decrease in share prices and a drop in morale for the surviving employees. These layoffs also mean that companies lose valuable skills and experience, which can be difficult to replace in the future. These people are often the most experienced and knowledgeable, and not having them around can be detrimental to the business. As a result, many employees may find themselves feeling uncertain and unsure of their future with the company.
It is not just the loss of experienced employees that companies need to be wary of. A survey of digital leaders in the UK found that 68% said they were facing a lack of skills needed to deliver digital projects. This highlights the need for companies to consider the long-term implications of how they use their IT staff and developers. While it may be tempting to think of tech projects as one-off, temporary initiatives, businesses should instead be looking at them as ongoing products that support the company and need to be maintained and evolved.
Cyclical unemployment can be prevented if companies take the time to think through their decisions and plan for the future. This means having a clear strategy for hiring, retaining and developing tech talent. Companies should also think of their projects as ongoing investments, rather than one-off initiatives. It is also important to be aware of macro-headwinds that may be affecting the market and plan accordingly.
In conclusion, while layoffs may be a tempting option for tech companies in the short-term, it is important to be aware of the potential for cyclical unemployment and the negative impact that it can have. Companies should focus on retaining their most experienced and knowledgeable staff, and think of their tech projects as ongoing investments that need to be maintained and evolved. By doing this, companies will be able to prevent cyclical unemployment and future-proof their business.
We worked on this idea last month before I read this excellent interview on this topic from someone who actually knows what they’re talking about. If you mixed in some of the quotes, facts, and study stuff from that piece (with full attribution to be ethical and, like, kind), I bet you’d get a pretty phenomenal piece after some human attention.
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Compensations eats culture for breakfast. Alternative version: “culture eats strategy for breakfast; but compensation kills culture in its sleep.”
“I’m sorry I made you wait. But, I was busy making you wait.” Slow Horses, s2e4
Two of my replies to canceled things at work: (1) “I love not doing things!” (2) “A canceled meeting is my favorite type of meeting.”
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I tried a new section order this episode. I’ve been thinking a lot about what I like doing, what makes me happy. Two of those things are:
Reading my RSS feeds, newsletters, and such stuff each morning. I get up around 6am before everyone else, have some coffee (OK, probably too much coffee) and read all my stuff. I cannot tell you how much joy this brings to me - it’s probably the highlight of my day. So, I thought I’d put the links first. You’re sort of not supposed to do this: you don’t want your readers clicking away from your content first thing. But I don’t do that when I read, for example, Today in Tabs, I’m not an idiot: I click on the link, read it, and then go back from the next link. Anyhow, I hope you like the good stuff up top.
Publishing is my other favorite thing to do. This means creating content, but the publishing part is needed - otherwise you’re just “crapbooking,” journaling at best. I always enjoyed blogging and, arguably, turned it into a career. Anyhow: I should probably prioritize doing this newsletter daily-ish. I suspect it’d drive more subscribers, more people reading my stuff, and rebuild some kind of community. I don’t like to promise schedules in public, but we’ll see. (It’d certainly shorten these, if you’re into the whole brevity thing.)
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