Looking Back… and Forward
➔ As the days of 2023 trickle down to a precious few, we take a few minutes to look back on the year and to peer forward to what 2024 (and beyond?) may hold in store. Not surprisingly, we close out the year with one of the biggest topics of the past 12 or so months: generative AI.
While ChatGPT has emerged as the leading player in this space, there are many other competitors crowding in as well such as Google’s “Bard.” That’s not to mention the many existing platforms which now boast their “AI” functionality woven into their basic operations. Canva, Pictory and Wix and countless others all have jumped on the AI bandwagon.
My work here is done… or is it?
Despite what some people may say or think, AI is not a substitute for creating great (or even mediocre) content. It may give you inspiration or even a fast start, but it’s not the be-all or end-all some people may think.
For a world that sometimes seems obsessed with accuracy and fact-checking, AI-generated content is anything but. Some knowledgeable sources claim that no more than 80 percent of the content produced by AI can be depended on as being true. One presenter compared it to a 12-year old boy who, when asked a question, gives an answer that is 80 percent right and the balance is… anybody’s guess.
Should you be using AI? Sure. Should you take everything it spits out as gospel? That’s not a good idea. It may come already spell-checked and maybe even the grammar might be mostly correct, but it wouldn’t be wise to incorporate it directly into your content. Whether it’s a newsletter, email campaign or website, you would be well served to check and double-check your AI output.
With such questionable results – and even allowing for improvements over time – no one really knows what the future holds for AI… or it’s full impact on business and the world. For example, there is conflicting information and predictions as to which and/or how many jobs AI will replace. It may not replace any, but it may make your current job easier and it may make you more productive.
“All good writing is swimming under water and holding your breath.”
— F. Scott Fitzgerald,
American novelist, essayist, and short story writer
Put a Head on It.
The number of craft breweries in Ohio has risen from 45 in 2011 to 420 in 2022.
— OCBA Economic Impact
Ring a Ding Ding
➔ The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) has been using a bell to open and close stock trading sessions since 1903. The bell was produced by Bevin Brothers in East Hampton, Connecticut.
In addition to several celebrities who have been invited to ring the bell such as Joe DiMaggio, Nelson Mandela and Liza Minelli, according to Wikipedia, several fictional characters have rung the bell as well, including Mickey Mouse, the Pink Panther, Mr. Potato Head, the Aflac Duck and Darth Vader.
One of the most notable events in the history of the NYSE was Black Tuesday – October 29, 1929 when the exchange lost $14 billion in value and the index fell 11.73 percent – which was in addition to the 12.8 percent it fell the day before. The market did not return to pre-crash levels until November 23, 1954.
A snapshot of what went down (no pun intended): On September 3, 1929, RCA stock closed at $505 per share. On October 29, 1929, it closed at $26 per share – a decline of 95 percent. And you thought Bud Light took a hit.
“Money can't buy you happiness .. But it does bring you a more pleasant form of misery.”
– Spike Milligan
Irish comedian, writer, musician, poet,
playwright and actor
How good is good?
According to various sources including mailmunch.com, a good open rate for an outbound email promotion ranges from 17-28 percent. This is consistent with data from email provider MailChimp and others.
Coming through in the clutch. According to J.D. Power, sales of manual transmission cars have nearly doubled since 2021.
— The Arizona 100
Converted into cash. In 2022 there were more than 153,000 catalytic converters stolen with the Ford F-Series truck the most popular target.
Another tall story. At 5-feet, 7-inches, Napoleon was actually taller than the average Frenchman of the time.
Oink! A hoard of feral pigs that devastate crops, feed on animals of all sizes and spread deadly diseases are expected to soon invade northern U.S. states from Canada.
H2-Oh boy! Although technically a desert, Antarctica has 70 percent of all the earth’s fresh water.
Spooky. Next fall the University of Exeter in the U.K. will offer graduate degrees in witchcraft and the occult.
— New York Post
Oh, the webs we weave. It’s common to see spiders and spider webs dangling from Christmas trees in the Ukraine.
— Mental Floss
The sky is falling. Space experts are wondering how a high-energy particle emerged from an empty area of space bordering the Milky Way galaxy and fell to earth.
Broad street? With 18 lanes at its widest point, 9 de Julio Avenue (9th of July Avenue) in Buenos Aires is the widest avenue in the world.
Want fries with that? New York’s Serendipity3 restaurant sells an order fries – appropriately fried in cage-free goose fat from France – for $200 per serving.
The Month of December
Month of the Month
Feeling guilty about how much turkey you ate at Thanksgiving dinner last month? Fret not. December is Adopt a Turkey Month. Really. You can stop worrying. This is Worldwide Food Service Safety Month.
Today is December 15th. The day when you can say whatever you want; believe whatever you want; publish whatever you want and more. It’s Bill of Rights Day.
Question of the Month
It’s holiday movie time. Who played Santa Claus/Kris Kringle in the iconic Christmas movie “Miracle on 34th Street”? It won’t be a miracle if you find the answer here.
Quote of the Month
“Moral certainty is always a sign of cultural inferiority. The more uncivilized the people, the surer they are that they know precisely what is right and wrong.”
— H.L. Mencken
American journalist, essayist,
satirist, cultural critic, and
scholar of American English
Get a Headstart
If you have ever thought about including a newsletter in your marketing communications toolkit, before you begin, download our free digital booklet – Getting Started with Your Newsletter – to get some basic questions answered as well as a little inspiration to nudge you forward. Be sure to check out “Something Special” at the end. Download your copy.
A Gridiron MBA?
Maybe that’s not possible, but there is much you can learn about business from football in the book, Hard Hitting Lessons. The subtitle says it all, “Some not-so-obvious business lessons learned from playing football.”
Get your copy here!