#2 – Little Fires Everywhere / January 2024

We start the new year blushed with excitement. There are so many possibilities, a whole year in front of us. Wherever you go, wherever you turn, you are met with hospitality, more so than in the months leading up to the “big event”. That’s probably because the girl at the supermarket, who smiled a little too hard at you, made it a resolution for 2024 not to be in that job spot two months from now. That is why she’s being extra polite. But she might not have been reading the news lately.

Looking at the tech sector, it can be said that 2024 started with a lay-off trend. First, it was Google, then it was Twitch, and then a few others. I see a similar trend going on in my (logistics) industry – Coyote, Uber and Flexe, to name a few. When I read all of this stuff, the first thing that comes to mind is – there is a lot of new workforce available on the job market, on the one that has been plummeting. This is not the best time to be unemployed in IT; but unemployment is rarely a choice.

2023 was about the discovery of AI, mainly the one belonging to the company OpenAI. It was the year when a lot of regular folks discovered the power of an artificial intelligence model through a chat form. Chat forms are always easy to digest. When we were kids, we would use Wikipedia for all the information we needed. Our kids are going to use AI chatbots such as ChatGPT.

Even though 2023 was an economic hiccup in some sense, the feeling of advancement was prevalent. With OpenAI came all the folks who started making AI wrappers around the aforementioned model, and built whole companies around it; Perplexity, PhotoAI and Chatbase, with the latter two having over $70k MRR (Monthly Recurring Revenue). And these are just a few examples – I’ve seen over 100 companies making over $10k MRR. If that does not sound promising, I don’t know what does.

New technologies allow new opportunities, sure. But the market has become more fierce as well – I am supposed to compete with people who have been building software companies for years? I can try to, and I will do it, but when I look at all that, I say: brick-and-mortar businesses have never been more appealing than now.

Another business trend that I wanted to mention, and that is going to be prevailing in the following years is the pay-per-use business model. We already have too many subscriptions: Netflix, Spotify, Gsuite or other business email, car payments… Any app that allows bonus features has a monthly fee, and if you want to use that CRM app or email marketing app, prepare to take out $20 from your pocket, every single month. Well, that is changing. Google, Amazon, and Azure already hopped on the new trend, and I sense that a lot of other big players are going to do so in the next couple of months. It’s just better – it operates by metering the usage of a product or service and bills the customer at the end of the month. I don’t want to have a sense of wasting my money for not using the product enough – I want to pay exactly as much as I used the thing.

I used to spend a lot of my time searching for a job position that offers the following: it is interesting, it requires a specific set of skills, and is NOT easily replaceable. The main issue I have with my current job is that I am easily replaceable – a newbie with 3-4 months of experience could come, offering to work for half of the salary that I have, and that would be it. That’s what happened with company truck driver jobs in the US. A lot of Latinos and other ancestries migrated to the US and took jobs for less than minimum wage, lowering the $ threshold in the following years for all of the participants in the logistics sector.

But I didn’t know that it was not other people that I should be worried about replacing me – it was these generative AI models that keep improving. We’re now in a phase where most of us can use AI tools complimentary to our jobs, and that will make us lazy, but it will also allow us to do more in the same amount of time. The next phase is job replacement. How many of the current jobs are going to die out because they can be fully automated? 2 to 5 percent? Or is it maybe more?

I wrote about building my own AI wrapper in a previous post, and it was a fun project while it lasted, but I ditched it. I could not build a good business model that would allow steady streams of income, and I was not sure about how big of a budget I would need to kick things off on the marketing side, so I just decided to move to something else.
Since I want to get more familiar with software, I am thinking of building a few small apps, apps that already exist mind you, but that would be simplified and translated in my native language. For example, an online “sign a document” solution.

Maybe that is what I am going to do. It certainly seems more fun than any type of newsletter, because for the last few days, newsletters have been the only project I could think of. And I don’t want to do that – the market’s oversaturated.

Still, with the help of ChatGPT, there’s only so little that I can’t do. At least, that’s what I have to believe if I want to adhere to my “creative process”.

Until next time.

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