Don’t compete with ChatGPT at its own game: Go way beyond the basics

Whatever someone is asking you, they’re asking ChatGPT first

Herbert Lui

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Photo: ilgmyzin via Unsplash

A good friend of mine was waiting for a branding plan from an agency. A few days before the agency was sending it over, and presumably presenting it, he prompted ChatGPT: “What does a good branding plan look like?”

If the marketing agency came up with the same plan, he figured he probably wouldn’t need to do much work with them anymore.

At best, the agency could focus on implementation (since the planning and strategy could be replicated by ChatGPT). At worst, he and his team would find a different agency entirely altogether. One that presumably could do a better job than ChatGPT.

This is pretty much what’s going to happen with every project that ChatGPT can take over.

Your boss/client/reader is going to ask ChatGPT first.

If you’re working as service provider (e.g., an independent consultant, freelance writer, or in-house manager) you’ve got a few options:

  • Safe/Mediocre: Elaborate on ChatGPT’s response if you agree with it, with much higher fidelity and tailoring to the person/company you’re working for. Analogy: You’re now making tailored suits, not competing with bargain suits sold off the rack.
  • Risky/Insightful: Go much deeper than ChatGPT’s response if you find it confusing, and provide and deliver an insight that ChatGPT did not find. Back it up with really strong research, and possibly even an experience. Analogy: You’re a chef creating a food experience, not competing with a cooking machine. People want to eat what you want to make.
  • Riskiest/Original: Discover what ChatGPT’s consensus is on a plan, and do something it doesn’t suggest, or do the opposite of what it suggests. If the client expects you to come up with a branding plan, you make a plan that bears little resemblance to the ones you see ChatGPT write up. Analogy: You’re persuading the client to make the $120 Philly Cheese Steak, you’re not coming up with a business plan for a steak restaurant.

While I presented these options from safe to riskiest, I don’t think it’s literally a gradient. What you decide to present is entirely contextual. If you determine that the person you’re working for needs something safe and mediocre, you can decide to give them that.

If you determine that the person needs the safeness, but the company needs a risky and insightful solution, you can decide to give them that. You’ll need to persuade the person to agree with you.

In other words, it’s all about judgement, discernment, and taste.

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Herbert Lui

Covering the psychology of creative work for content creators, professionals, hobbyists, and independents. Author of Creative Doing: https://www.holloway.com/cd