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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
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.

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