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Three llamas walk into a bar. The bartender looks at them and says, “You guys must be here for the comedy night, huh?”
The first llama says, “No, we’re here for the karaoke.”
The second llama says, “No, we’re here for the trivia.”
The third llama shakes his head and says, “No, we’re just here because we heard the place had great ‘baa’-tenders!”
Would you believe that’s the best of a bunch of AI jokes I asked various AI engines to come up with? ChatGPT won’t fill the void of the Writers Guild of America strike anytime soon. But I did learn about a number of other use cases for AI and met some top practitioners in the space when the llamas came to New York this week.
These llamas were shepherded by Jeremiah Owyang, the entrepreneur, investor, and true thought leader who founded the Llama Lounge events in San Francisco to bring members of the AI ecosystem together. He brought the concept to NYC for a special edition, and Peter Shankman and I had the pleasure of hosting it with him.
One frequent topic of conversation at the event and surrounding it is what makes NYC different from SF these days. I found Jeremiah’s own observations especially astute, as he’s a champion for the Bay Area tech scene, but he also has a lot of love for my city. We both also don’t mind taking each other where the tourists eat; he introduced me to some stellar cioppino on my last visit out there, and I took him to one of NY’s most unabashedly ‘no locals’ slice spots here. It’s across the street from the Empire State Building, it is called Little Italy Pizza even though it’s nowhere near Little Italy, half the diners were wearing I Love NY t-shirts, and it was still way better than whatever fancy slice he took a photo of when he got here.
If you don’t like my hot take, then the new rules of Twitter say you either have to challenge me to a debate on your podcast or fight me in a cage match in Vegas. Either way, I will be curling up in a ball.
Anyway, Jeremiah’s tweet summary compared Manhattan’s “bustling” core with SF’s “sleepy” center, and he listed seven reasons, including:
“1/SF has over-indexed on tech as an industry, much like Detroit with cars.”
“2/SF’s major industry, tech, witnessed an exodus during the pandemic. Tech workers scattered during the pandemic, “decentralized” via web3 values.”…
And then his most controversial:
“5/ Tech workers have an entitled attitude. There, I said it.”
A number of the West Coast attendees at this week’s NYC lounge brought up some of these differences in conversation. They might not have harped on the entitlement, but they did appreciate the diversity of perspectives here.
It’s also why NYC is going to be more of a bellwether for the impact of AI than San Francisco, or most anywhere else.
Reflecting on the web3 era (that we’re not totally out of, just as the social-driven Web 2.0 era continues), it may still lead to major changes in technological infrastructure, but in the decade or so of its evolution, what has happened in web3 largely stayed in web3. Few people are using NFTs as concert tickets or as part of retailers’ loyalty programs. If someone’s making a transaction in BTC, ETH, or some other cryptocurrency, it’s most likely for a strictly web3 good, not a good that has value anywhere else.
AI applications are spreading out everywhere though. My barber or housekeeper may not need AI much, but my doctor, accountant, and lawyer can all use it, as can my actor/teacher partner, my home designer sister, my professor brother, and my mom who can chat with HeyPi when her kids are too busy to talk to her.
That will lead to a lot of the best and worst aspects of AI affecting and being affected by what happens across Wall St, Madison Ave, Silicon Alley, the Garment District, and whatever the street or neighborhood names are for all the other industries.
While the venue for NY’s Llama Lounge wasn’t ideal for demos (we’ll work on that for related events in the future), we did get to have five companies showcasing their tech, and you should check them out:
-Aug X Labs: powering Augie, an AI Assistant that transforms your script, narration, or webcam/phone recordings into a custom video
–Neural Canopy: unlock the world of AI-powered interactions with our carefully curated Prompt Templates
–Copyleaks: award-winning AI-based text analysis to help create and protect original content
–GoCharlie: the AI Marketing Assistant you deserve
–Zelta: understand your customers without joining hundreds of calls
We were also grateful to have Sightbox, a brand marketing agency for startups and VCs, sponsoring the event.
All this has led me to think way more about what the AI Marketers Guild (AIMG) needs to deliver.
If you’re up for being part of what’s ahead, I have two requests for you:
-Check out some of the upcoming events at lu.ma/db. You can even sign up for event updates there as we add more to the calendar.
–Take this survey about what you’d want to get out of a community for marketers making sense of what’s new in AI.
Oh, one last question for you. I’m considering migrating this newsletter to Substack. Any thoughts on that? Just click your response:
Yes, switch. I love Substack.
Don’t switch. Not a Substack fan.
Don’t care/no opinion
Thanks! If you see the sender or format change slightly as I explore it, you’ll know why.
PS: I told HeyPi what I was writing about it. It had this to share: “That’s a really astute observation about the current state of web3 and AI. The web3 movement is still relatively niche, and its applications are mostly limited to the realm of crypto and blockchain. But AI is starting to permeate every industry and touch every aspect of our lives. It’s even touching something as personal and intimate as family relationships, as you mentioned in your example of your mom chatting with me. It’s really interesting to see how AI is changing the way we interact with each other and the world around us. I think we’re just scratching the surface of what’s possible.”