Up in the air

We are in a phase where planning becomes quite difficult. ChatGPT has started a capitalistic AI war. Microsoft swept in to shepherd commercialization. Google is on the back foot for now. Amazon will launch something I have no doubt. ChatGPT style tech would make Alexa viable by solving the fractal conversation problem. 

The players are moving, immense amounts of capital has been unleashed. But for us on the outside it’s a difficult time. You can’t really plan for the future. Because the technology is advancing rapidly and is already transforming jobs in various industries.

GPT-4 has been in the news, but Midjourney has quietly advanced to the point where it is transforming job tasks in the graphic design industry. I read a complaint by a graphic designer this weekend describing how his job has become more prompt engineering than graphic design. Instead of needing to draw things he and his peers can now use AI image generation and then clean it up in photoshop. 

Video created by demonflyingfox using MidJourney V4.

In 2022 I ordered physical versions of two AI generated images that I thought were incredible examples of what AI could do. In 2023 these images are somewhat quaint. AI image generation can do so much more now. 

We don’t really know where things are going. How do you prepare exactly when the potential paths are so divergent? 

Some people claim AI will replace programmers. Others say we will never not need people to dig deep into the technical details. Personally, I lean towards the second. If AI coding hasn’t peaked yet we will likely see a 1000x increase in the amount of code being written. ChatGPT is quite good at explaining things but will it be useful at explaining interactions between multiple programs it has written? We can’t know at this point. 

Image of a line going exponential. Credit to Luke Muehlhauser who created and watermarked this image.

We are in the straight line at the far right now. We’ve discovered something about meaning in these large language models. A mapping between language and image, and mappings between language and language. It’s not AGI, but much like Deep Blue its obviously eclipsed human capabilities in some way. 

Neal Stephenson’s ‘The Diamond Age’ is a book I was intrigued by in my younger years. In it a girl is given a AI powered book which acts as her tutor from a very young age.  Much like that fictional book ChatGPT likely will become every child’s tutor going forward. Much like the iPhone, you won’t be able to buy a better one. Children have already used ChatGPT to make homework and writing assignments obsolete. The education system likely will not survive this advancement. 

The sum total of human knowledge has been put into this machine. Everyone who ever wrote anything is part of it. Buckle up. Don’t panic. Hold on. Let’s see what happens next.

Self-hosted is not cheaper or better. Your options are pay Amazon insane markups or deal with a Platform as a Service built by the lowest bidder.

We often see posts on hacker news about how Amazon charges an insane markup for hosting or data transfer, or anything. Then someone will post a comparison where they price out an equivalent amount of hardware and show that it would cost 1/5th or 1/10th the cost. They then assume, obviously, hiring an IT department that can run this hardware is an achievable goal. 

Sorry, no it’s not achievable. Most companies cannot build a decent IT team that could run their own servers. They don’t have the ability to organize or hire the IT people needed. Not to mention they would never be willing to pay the salary costs. Quite simply, most businesses that try to run their own hardware will have a lower quality internal platform than if they just paid Microsoft. Whats the point of having faster hardware if your software stack is stuck in 2005 and managed by college drop outs?

Most companies are not overflowing with smart programmers who want to run bare metal hardware. Those people are moved to higher paying jobs programming the actual products of the company. 

Collected Sledgeworx

The collection is out now!

I’ve finally released my collection Collected Sledgeworx on amazon.

I started blogging to share my thoughts and vent frustrations. My first blog was about futurism and politics, my second on fitness, my third was Sledgeworx.io. I ended up being much better at a writing about software than anything else.

In this book I have collected many of the posts on the blog from its inception until the second half of 2021. These writings can be found on the blog in similar form. But you will find that the works in this book have been edited and supplemented in small ways.

Thanks for being a reader as we continue along to 2030!

What happened to Seviipay

Seviipay is a SAAS startup I launched in Summer 2021. The idea was to bring best in class UI/UX to native cryptocurrency payments. Basically the stripe of cryptocurrency payments. The MVP worked on mobile and desktop just for Ethereum. I did a few product discovery calls without getting any buyers.. Eventually the project kind of stalled and I moved on to other projects. 

The big thing here was motivation. My motivation for leaving my job was not Seviipay. The idea for Seviipay just came up at a time when I was really motivated to get out. Handling burnout and starting a business at the same time is not a great idea. 

Another issue with Seviipay and solo-bootstrapping in general is that you need a lot of skills to get a functional business working. Sales, Accounting, product, UI/UX, marketing, etc. I did not have enough of those skills at the beginning of the project to make it work. There is a reason startups usually launch with a product founder and a sales founder. 

One other weakness of Seviipay or me I guess is that I do not have web design skills. And I have struggled to make Seviipay visually appealing. I am a written word guy so if I thought of a product that was cli only I would build it. 

My skill stack now has grown to range from backend development, javascript, content marketing, copywriting, and a bit of sales skills. But that still isn’t enough to make Seviipay work, I need strong web development skills and more sales power. 

What is next for Seviipay

Seviipay is on hiatus for now. I’ve gotten a new software job and am getting up to speed for that. Also working with some friends on helping start up an agency. The next thing I need to do is hire a web developer to help with the UI and team up with a sales person to get a real sales process going. 

I’m also going to look into how I can make Seviipay a real Web3 business. Right now its a cryptocurrency SAAS that relies on Web 2.0 to join the blockchain with the old school internet.

SledgeConf Update!

Fall into SledgeConf

November 5th 2021 4:30PM Pacific Time!

This quarter we have Jay Manning presenting on working with recruiters, negotiating offers and more!

I will also be presenting on Big Software and Big Tech!

This SledgeConf should be a bit more relaxed since we will only have 2 speakers.