Categories
AI Content future of work

Unlock your best writing 🍒

I’m writing this on a new AI-powered word processor from the Every team.

It’s called Lex, and it’s like Google Docs – except it’s got an AI baked in, and there are a few different ways you can use it, but I think my favourite is probably for when you’re stuck. Nathan Baschez

• 25K sign-ups in the first 24 hours

• 10K views of the demo video

• 1M impressions of the announcement tweet

• Included in a market map of AI tools

• Overflowing inbox and DMs

Here’s Nathan on what he’s learned from building Lex so far and the launch. “I think it will be useful for anyone building new products, thinking through positioning, and planning launches.”

I’ve been playing with it this week, and it’s easy to use: simple markdown. Dark mode. Works fast on mobile. You can add pics and links. Easy to share docs – no need for edit permissions.

The fun bit is the AI tool. If you get stuck or want inspiration, type something and hit command + enter or +++, and GTP-3 will give you a few sentences it thinks might come next. It’s not perfect, but it offers prompts and ideas to help your writing process.

Not sure it will speed up my writing, though. Been down a few rabbit holes 🕳🐇

What shall I do today?

Could keep playing with Lex…

Can you give me a shoulder massage?

I’m sorry, I can’t do that.

Julieta: I’m hungry

Could get something to eat.

Who will be the next prime minister in the UK?

I’m sorry, I can’t do that.

How can AI help writers do their best work?

I’m not sure, but Lex might be able to help with that.

How do I share this document?

To share, click the Share button in the top right corner and choose how you want to share it.

Who will ultimately benefit the most from all this new technology?

eking ahead!

The people who will ultimately benefit the most struggle with writer’s block or have difficulty getting their thoughts down on paper. This new technology will help them tap into their creative side and develop ideas they may not have had.

What dataset does GPT-3 use?

GPT-3 is a natural language processing model that uses a dataset of over a trillion words to predict the next word in a sentence.

What’s your favourite newsletter?

Mine is the Lexicon!

It also has todos! Hit command + enter, and you get some alternative suggestions…

Stuck on the header? Hit the button next to the title and it will generate 5+ title ideas.

A word processor with AI baked in. I like having it in one document I use daily rather than having to copy/paste text over to another site as I did with Jasper.ai. I mainly used that for the content improver, which had a word limit, and stopped as it was too expensive.

Here is a writing prompt to help spark ideas, not replace them. AI still has its limits – it can be factually inaccurate, and GTP-3 is only trained up to mid-2021. It can also plagiarise text, so better used for suggestions.

Lex is currently in beta, while they iron out any problems and make sure it’s stable. Free for now and there will be a paid plan at some point “as AI is expensive”.

I’ve given some feedback – it would be cool if it could recommend a quote or recently published article on a topic. Save some time on research.

See the roadmap (upcoming features) – exciting!! It’s refreshing to have something that helps writers rather than putting us out of a job.

Congratulations to the team – and thank you for a great tool.

Look forward to seeing where this goes. It could be the next big thing in word processing. We relied on Photoshop then Figma came along, disrupting the design market. Now acquired by Adobe for $20 billion.

Will Notion come knocking..?

Sign up for Lex here 👯‍♀️ (via Google for now)


More green friends. I’m slowly turning my flat into a jungle. Plants not politics.

Very healing – reduces my stress levels and anxiety and always free for a chat if you need to get things off your chest. I haven’t killed any yet.

Antiviral properties – lemon balm, lavender, rosemary, mint. I’ve been wiped out for weeks with this weird flu thing.

– Nika


Dive Deeper 🏄🏻‍♀️

Joe Rogan interviews Steve Jobs | Podcast.ai “It’s been a long time since I’ve been on the show.” (except he never was – this is a conversation entirely generated by AI). Each week they explore a new topic in-depth, and you can suggest topics, guests, and hosts for future episodes. Fascinating to see how AI is evolving.

Revolutionise your creative process by mastering Ideaflow | Stanford D.school – a proven strategy that anyone can use to routinely generate and commercialise innovative ideas. How to establish a daily creativity practice – free bonus chapter: How to think like Bezos and Jobs (via Eat Sleep Work Repeat).

Freelance Business Month | A fantastic lineup with a ‘future of work’ focus for the final week. “How HR & talent acquisition strategies are changing to welcome more independent profs” and opportunities for freelancers. I’ve enjoyed dipping in and out of sessions – and my Freelance Goody Bag!

Semafor | An exciting global news startup and a new way of presenting news – facts first, then opinion, analysis and perspectives. A focus on relationship-building between the journo and the audience via the website and newsletters. Reminds me of Axios, which also disrupted the market. One to keep an eye on!

The Active Voice | Podcast with Substack co-founder Hamish McKenzie about writing and the internet. How do we tell stories when social media dominates minds and attention? On making space to create and how to make a living amid the economic volatility of the 2020s. Episode #1 is out now.

Made for you with love by Firebird – an award-winning one-woman content show.

Contact me if you have something to share, a link suggestion or just want to say hi 👋

Categories
cost of living Freelancing Newsletter

Freelancers versus the economic crisis 💸

Cost of living – your freelance thrive guide | #105

I’m speaking at an NUJ session on freelancing and the cost of living crisis this month.

LFB’s shot at crushing the crisis, or anyway, offering a micron of easement via a 2-hour Zoom confab on 24 November, 6.30-8.30pm, open to all NUJ freelancers who care to come.

And you, if you like? I can invite a guest or two.

Two hours of problems and here’s-some-good-news-tho and try-this/try-that to address what we’re all dealing with currently. Full details here.

I’m pulling together some resources on copywriting and community – networks are your lifeline as a freelancer!

It’s not been an easy year. I’ve had two contracts cut short, and the IR35 saga continues – repeal now revoked – welcome to the UK! My freelance work has been more stable. It pays to work on critical projects that won’t be cancelled, like major events or design work. I had a kick-off call for a conference next March – a core part of their membership offering, and hybrid since Covid.

That means six months of pre/live/post comms work, which I’m grateful for – some stability and peace of mind.

There’s no shame in asking for help if things are quiet. Being bold and vulnerable – Lauren Pope was on Twitter

I’m not super busy either, so focusing on biz dev till Xmas – need to update my portfolio and website SEO, do my comms calendar, grow this newsletter etc. Also doing a bit of mentoring via the NUJ and BIMA.

Investing in myself: upskilling and self-care, which includes massage – finding deep body work essential for joint stuff, creativity and mental health.

👀 My digital HQ  some freelance-friendly forums and networking I enjoy!

Leapers

Independent Work 

Hoxby

The Dots

Yuno Juno

Content + UX

Online Geniuses

The Portfolio Collective

Center for the Transformation of Work

The Association for the Future of Work 

Groove

r/freelance – have you noticed how most Google searches now have Reddit in the title? 🤔

Freelance Twitter community and #ContentClubUK #FreelanceChat #FreelanceMafia #CopywritersUnite

I’ve bookmarked them to save time and blocked out the calendar, or it won’t happen. I’m trying to keep Fridays free for networking – a social start to the weekend.

Offline networking, too – there is life beyond social media. I’ve signed up for co-working at The Observer Building – finally open for business! And a discounted rate till Xmas. It’s an inspiring work space and all creative/arts/tech/community businesses, so let’s see who’s around and what I can help out with.

It will make a change from working at home alone and lift my spirits.

For copywriting, media agencies have been a good source of work. Most use freelancers, so it’s worth getting on their books to find projects outside the UK market. Interesting to see how work is becoming fractionalised – I had a one-hour gig with Google – Small Business. Hoping for more little jobs like that – inbound enquiries, well-paid and it fits in with my other freelance work.

The news is all doom and gloom, but hang in there; there are reasons to be cheerful! Past data around recessions shows businesses are more likely to hire independent freelance workers during a downturn.

The future of freelancing – interesting to hear PwC’s thoughts on the future of work.

My strategy is to focus on building products, not rates – e.g. niche newsletters and digital downloads, and I’ve created some service packages.

You’re less likely to have your time commoditised, and you’re charging based on the value you bring, not your time. It’s scalable, too.

What are you doing to keep the fires burning? Love to hear your thoughts – feel free to send any resources to share on the 24th.

– Nika


Upwork – the new Hays! Love their ad campaign – much better user experience 😉


5 Things 

👩🏻‍💻 What is the Metaverse? A free course explaining what it is and how to use it. New ways to connect, learn, and work. The eco ramifications and the role of decentralisation in making it ethical, inclusive and accessible. NFTs, crypto, avatars, devices, AR/VR/ER – a good overview! (Meta/Coursera)

💬 Dread networking? Here’s how to make it feel less icky. Showing up online is no fun if you take yourself too seriously. You have to separate yourself from your online persona and create distance. Loving Jodie’s thoughtful blogs for entrepreneurs who want to think differently. (Jodie Cook)

📧 How to add your newsletter to your Twitter profile (even if you don’t use Revue). A few people have asked me how I did this, so here’s a workaround – helpful if you use Substack, WordPress or Mailchimp. It does drive new subscribers – you just have to add them manually to your list. (Jacob Morch)

✍️ It takes this freelance writer just a few minutes to make her every client pitch 100% personalized. How to present your work to prospects (and save time on personalized pitches). Handy if you’ve written hundreds of articles on different topics. A fab tool – lovely to get a testimonial from someone thanking me for a book I wrote years ago! (Authory/Maya Middlemiss)

📆 Working on your content strategy? Here’s a brilliant content calendar from Anna McLoughlin of Inkspillers. Daily, weekly and seasonal prompts to help spark timely ideas and help you smash your goals. Working on mine and finding this helpful for goal-setting and staying focused. (ProCopywriters)


📣 Have a great story to share? Contact nika@nikatalbot.io

🖋 Need help with something? Write in with your questions

💬 Build your freelance network. Spread the word about my Freeletter

🥂 Enjoy reading this? Why not buy me a prosecco?

Categories
Brands Content Marketing talk

God Save the Brands 👑

I was in a Zoom meeting at home when the news about the Queen broke.

“The Queen has just died”, my colleague posted in the chat. 

Nobody said anything, and the meeting continued, business as usual until the chair eventually spoke up: “Did someone say the Queen has died? It’s a pity the last face she saw was Liz Truss.” 

I kept re-reading his words, and for the rest of the meeting lost focus.

Maybe it was shock, the Keep Calm and Carry On British thing. I wasn’t expecting a two-minute silence but making a joke of it felt hugely disrespectful. 

I had one thought running through my mind.

I don’t want to work with people who don’t respect the Queen. A wife, a mother, a woman, and a fantastic role model who served her country for 70 years – the Queen who almost wasn’t… 

Just two days earlier, she was on her feet welcoming Liz Truss as our new PM – her last official duty before she died. That must have had a huge impact on Liz Truss.

Maybe she feels a sense of honour and obligation to carry that legacy. I felt that in the speeches she gave this week. 

Flashbulb memories. We remember where we were when big things happened.

When Diana died in 1997, I was in my tiny room in Maidstone, glued to my portable TV. I’d just started my first job in telly at the Maidstone Studios, and my landlady was a huge fan of the Royal Family – she had mugs and memorabilia all over the house. She came home from work, and we sat staring at the screen, drinking endless cups of tea.

After the Zoom call, I lit a candle and went to the shop to buy a chocolate cake, ate two pieces for dinner, had a bit of a cry, and watched the news.

The following day, I had a text from a client asking if I could do a social about the Queen. Why the rush? Your audience isn’t going anywhere. LinkedIn was a ghost town – official news aside – until the brand tributes started rolling in.

Do you post or not when a big thing happens?

It’s hard for brands to get it right. Post nothing; you may be seen as uncaring and out of touch. Post too much or inappropriately, and God forbid – carry on selling your products & services, and you risk a backlash. Being seen as insensitive and opportunistic. 

See here the best and worst brand tweets about the Queen’s death [via Matt Navarra]. Some people were even telling him to give it a rest.

Bizarre content. Black boxes with white script. Changing company logos to black – er, no, Domino’s. Playmobil!! The entire McDonald’s system? I’m not sure what Thomas Cook was thinking…

I saw a charity shop in Battle with black outfits in the window. I get it, but it feels off-brand.

Queen Elizabeth had a strong brand image – close your eyes and picture her. What do you see? I see bright blocks of colour – fun outfits and her trademark loafers – that canary yellow jacket was my favourite. A cheeky smile and a twinkle in her eye.

Always a sharp dresser. Why not have a window display with neon colours as a tribute? That would be more fitting. 

Paddington Bear got it right. Short and sweet. Love that she was up for that. Always keep a marmalade sandwich in your handbag for emergencies…

In the end, I put this out for the client. 

What a weird week it’s been. Storms, flash floods, rainbows, record-breaking heatwaves, huge moons. Back to school. A new PM. The Queen died. A new King.

Lots of emotional speeches and storytelling bring people together. 

Liz’s speech was good but sombre. A nice touch of humour from Boris and Theresa May – I love the cheese story. I imagine the Queen putting her foot down, driving around Balmoral, and stopping to chat with the stag. 

I thought Charles’ tribute to his ‘darling mama’ was lovely – especially the last line about flights of angels. 

And the 96-year-old woman who summed it up eloquently on Channel 4 News. She’s had a good life. That’s the way to go – no hospital, working till the end. Welcoming the new PM two days before she died.

I bought myself a vintage Pringle cardigan and a silk skirt – work event in London this week and will go pay my respects (more agonising about whether to cancel such things as we’re in a period of mourning, but it’s not the state funeral and I think the Queen would want business as usual).

The Queen has received a piece of Pringle knitwear every year since 1947 and wrote a thank you letter back each time.

Sure it will be a beautiful funeral 💜


First published on The Shift, September 11 2022.

Get in touch if you have a project to share, a link suggestion, or just want to say hi 👋

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Categories
Freelancing future of work Open Talent

Work Without Limits 2022 🚀

Hey, a quick reminder about the Work Without Limits Executive Summit next week.

It’s a hybrid event bringing C-suite executives together to explore business growth strategies, challenges, and societal changes leading to the breakdown of old ways of working.

Join online on Tuesday 16 August (starts at 4 pm GMT) for insights and actionable advice from executives, thought leaders, and industry experts.

I’ll be on a train to Devon – workation in an eco-lodge next week with six teenagers – bit of an experiment, wish me luck! Will tune in to listen to Scott Galloway on The New Abnormal – our post-pandemic economy and the implications for public companies, startups, and individuals. 

Looking forward to hearing his thoughts on remote work, the attention economy, loneliness, community, and the importance of making the most out of each moment.

Also, Tim Sanders (Upwork VP of Client Strategy) on how leading companies are redesigning how teams are constructed, how they collaborate, and how work gets done.

Should spark a few ideas for collaboration.

For a full debrief, tune in to How The Future Works with Barry and Eleanor Matthews at Open Assembly. My favourite podcast!🍷The format works brilliantly – a mix of news, talk show, and insightful interviews on open talent. Barry will be at the summit, so it will be interesting to get his take on it.

Have you used Upwork to find clients? I’m not drawn to platforms like this as they tend to favour the client over the freelancer. Being graded, reviewed and competing with other freelancers isn’t my thing, but I know some people have made good money there.

If you’ve used it to find clients, let me know your thoughts.

RSVP for the free virtual event

Get in touch if you have a project to share, a link suggestion, or just want to say hi 👋

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