“A cat and a dog pooping on a book that is pink.”
Sure, maybe it wasn’t the best idea to let my eight-year-old sit down with me late at night and burn through my first batch of search credits on Dall-E 2, OpenAI’s AI-powered image generation app.
I combed through my search results.
First, there were all the results where I tried like hell to get it to make pictures that included my daughter’s name and didn’t get anywhere.
Then, I tried a riff on a joke – “a priest, a rabbi, and an advertising executive walk into a bar”…
And then another entry specifying gender.
And then came my daughter’s very first Dall-E search, “a blue cat sweating in a microwave.”
This was before I showed her what it was and just asked her to share, in as much detail as possible, anything in the world that she’d want a computer or the internet to turn into a picture. She said a cat, and when I pushed for something more specific, there it was.
The more we tried these, the more I was looking for meaning.
I tried understanding what AI thinks people imagine when they say a phrase like “the best day ever.” What can one possibly analyze about images like these?
Others had puppies. Adorable.
Then came ideas that fused theology with zoology.
I tried wondering, and pondering, and pondering about wondering, what life would have been like if there were sea otters at the Last Supper…
…or a sea otter receiving divine inspiration from a burning bush.
Granted, DeMille’s Red Sea crossing scene would have been anticlimactic with a sea otter replacing Charlton Heston. “Just swim, you idiots! You can swim to freedom! It’s not even forbidden to eat shellfish yet!”
So there’s that.
I then plumbed the darkest depths where no AI has gone before.
I asked Dall-E, that poor Dall-E which never did anything to offend me (beyond refusing to make cute pictures of my daughter’s name with cats and unicorns and rainbows), if it would dare show me an image of “what it’s really like working at an ad agency.”
You may wish to avert your eyes, dear reader, because you are not ready for the realism that Dall-E 2 unleashed.
It’s a scene that may make someone who is really working at an ad agency wonder if they are themselves in a simulation and this image might not in fact be of the real universe running AI experiments on us.
Yes, here is “what it’s really like working at an ad agency,” lest you be warned, dearest of dear readers.
I worked at no less than three ad agencies, and one or two other companies that thought somehow that calling themselves an agency would actually be good for their valuations, and now all of my memories will be of that image. That is the only real image of agency life that has ever been captured in two or more dimensions.
I come back to my daughter’s moment of bravery.
Here she was, testing the forefront of modern technology. This was a moment that perhaps she’d remember for the rest of her life, or I’d make her remember by writing an entire column about it.
She went down a dark path at first.
Why was that blue cat sweating in the microwave?
Was it using the microwave as a sauna?
Taking the Occam’s Razor approach, was someone microwaving the cat? If so, why?
One may reasonably ask why the cat is blue.
Did someone, inadvertently or advertently, put the cat in the freezer, and did that same someone proceed to think, wisely or unwisely, that the cat needed to thaw, perhaps on a defrost setting for an 8-lb mammal?
But then, just as I was reminding myself that my daughter is in fact way more conscientious toward her cats than I am, she threw out another idea.
“A cat and a dog pooping on a book that is pink.”
Just because your child tells you what to search for doesn’t mean you have to search for it though.
You don’t, dearest reader, but I do. I had to.
And what did Dall-E 2 tell me?
“It looks like this request may not follow our content policy.”
Indeed, what I found throughout my search barrage was a bizarre smattering of results that surprised me mostly by how often they missed the literal or intended meaning of what I queried.
I was looking for any kind of meaning at all from the serches. And I was also looking for shortcomings, like signs of sexism or racism or anti-Semitism.
Instead, I found countless photos that defied race and gender stereotypes and often took creative liberties I wouldn’t have expected.
Yet I’m also reminded of how nuanced even the most straightforward and seemingly simple requests are that I give to my creative team.
It then reminded me of a conversation I had recently with a casting director. They told me about the art of finding the perfect actors or models for a photo shoot where so much of the process doesn’t involve finding the perfect candidates so much as it involves reading the client’s mind.
What matters is not how good the image of a blue cat sweating in a microwave is but to what extent it evokes the kinds of emotions that the artist hoped to convey.
When my daughter tested the limits of Dall-E 2, it also reminded me that technology can be used responsibly. Sometimes, you can’t get what you’re looking for, and that’s a good thing.
I never want to see an image of “a cat and a dog pooping on a book that is pink.” Hell, I can’t watch my cats using their litter box. It’s disgusting. Dall-E 2 mercifully already knows that.
Yes, we will have deepfakes, and the next generations of AI are going to cause all kinds of trouble. Some creative roles will be threatened. This isn’t to dismiss all kinds of consequences intended and unintended that are heading our way.
But mix a sense of wonder with some guardrails that can stymie an eight-year-old (and her dad), and this one frontier of tech gives a sense of what’s both possible and responsible.
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- What’s New in the 2022 Gartner Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies – Latest Gartner
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Head of Marketing
“As Head of Marketing, you will craft and execute strategies for our marketing programs, including Digital, Advertising, Communications, Brand & Creative. Your primary goals will be: to create initiatives that will deliver Prefect Cloud leads to our sales organization, increase and measure brand awareness and work with our product and developer advocate teams to grow the Prefect Community. You will have the opportunity to grow a team and define the marketing function at Prefect. We are an open-core company with an enthusiastic community of technical users. Traditional marketing can oftentimes alienate the developers we look to provide value for, meaning that our Head of Marketing should bring a perspective that keeps those users in mind. We are looking for someone who has experience marketing to our technical users.”
Head of Marketing
“We are ClubRare – The World’s first community-centered Physical NFT marketplace for collectors. As the Head of Marketing at ClubRare, you’ll be joining our experienced and driven team to have a core role in leading the Marketing team. You’ll be coming onboard as the first dedicated marketing role, building a predictable, repeatable marketing engine by defining and implementing marketing strategy, allocating budget, and managing overall marketing operations. To be an ideal candidate, you should have a proven track record of delivering quantifiable brand growth as a marketing leader, as well as an intimate knowledge of the crypto industry and current marketing trends in the Web3 space. Being able to define and implement long-term strategy while remaining adaptable to short-term changes is essential.This will be a hands-on role!”
Paid Marketing Manager
Via Carolyn in the community
“We are looking for a part time Paid Marketing Manager (contractor) to help us achieve our aggressive KPIs. In this role, which is not to exceed 20 hours/week, you will drive end-to-end paid channels strategies, with a strong emphasis on paid search. You will manage lead integrated campaign planning, including performance-based campaigns, and have hands-on management (media buying) of a multi-million dollar annual spend. The Paid Marketing Manager is always searching for new ways to drive customer and revenue growth through paid channels. You will lead the development and optimization of new and existing paid marketing programs that we leverage for consumers, providers, and industry partners. All are key to driving business growth.”
Director of Growth Marketing
Full Time, Austin, TX
“Reporting to the Chief Marketing Officer, the Director of Growth Marketing will be accountable for developing, implementing, and reporting on all digital growth marketing strategies, primarily in support of South Congress Hotel, Hotel Ella, El Rey Court, and Waymore’s Guest House, with occasional support of other or forthcoming New Waterloo outlets as needed. The ideal candidate will be able to blend a sharp acumen of digital, paid, and growth marketing strategies while preserving the ubiquity and edge of our brand voices. You should have experience managing and optimizing digital channels, crafting engaging digital content, working cross-functionally with diverse teams, and be able to confidently provide actionable insights to stakeholders based on results. You not only know how to determine appropriate digital KPIs to measure campaigns but are also creative in thinking of new ways to reach and grow audiences, both paid and organic. You know that while data is important, hospitality is the business of people, and you are able to think outside the box and take risks to reach and connect with the right audiences.”
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Other job resources (see a full list here):
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- Braintrust: A freelance platform where you are the owner and where freelance talent keeps 100% of the bill rate.
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- ExecThread: Senior roles spanning a range of verticals and cities; membership is free but fully vetted (this uses my referral ID to get you in faster)
- Hearty: Get recommended by peers and be discovered
- Hue: Amplifying voices of people in color working in marketing
- Lunch Club: Match 1:1 around predetermined goals with accomplished professionals (free)
- NYC Ad Jobs & Networking: A popular Facebook group
- #OpenToWork: There’s a channel in Serial Marketers where you can share what you’re looking for
- Pocit: A platform connecting people of color with jobs in the tech industry
- Questions to Ask for a Marketing Role: What questions should you ask when starting a new marketing role or job?
- Serial Marketers Job Board: Post regular and featured listings and subscribe for updates.
- Venwise: Submit your job interests here and get in front of their roster of hiring leads; select “Serial Marketers” under “How did you find us”
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