Serial Marketer #262: Win Every AI Argument

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Issue 262: Roomba vs. Furby
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“So now I know when people say they’re going to therapy in Brooklyn, they mean a wine bar.”

That’s a zinger I wrote in my notebook while speaking on a panel, Demystifying AI, with the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce this week. 

I wrote it after the host said they’re having an event at Therapy Wine Bar, but if I never got to use the line. You have to time your zingers.

Still, some of my other lines I jotted down made it in, including a callback to the Chamber lead’s opening remarks about how 84% of businesses in Brooklyn have 10 or fewer employees. I used that one early on to share how I feel their pain as I have such a business, and I need to navigate AI in ways similar to the people in the room.

It was the first event where I was at where I was actively employing some of the lessons I learned from

Mehdi Hassan’s book “Win Every Argument.”

There was no argument to win here, but panels - even overly collegial ones - are the closest I get to playing competitive sports. We may be all on the same team (except for speakers who like to bludgeon or bore audiences to death — they are on the opposing team), in that we are (supposed to be) there to make sure it’s worth attendees’ time, money, and attention. But there’s a rush from keeping up with your peers and putting on a good show.

Hasan’s book is perhaps the best guide I’ve read not just on rhetoric and speaking well but how to connect with audiences. Seasoned speakers and rookies should give it a shot. For people trying to use the book as verbal jujitsu with romantic partners, it might help too, but use it at your own risk; most such arguments need not be “won.”

I had some fun during this panel. It was one of three talks I gave on AI this week alone, the first of which being my first-ever paid-only event, "AI Marketing Tools to Save You Time & Money," covering 30+ of the best SMB and enterprise technologies to use, and tips on how to use them. If you want the recording and aren't a premium member yet, you can get it as a one-off purchase here for the same rate that other attendees had (gotta be fair to them, of course).

The second talk was a private discussion for a tech company where they had me as a guest expert on AI. The first question, I kid you not, was, "Who are you, really?" because some attendees Googled me and expressed concern about David Berkowitz participating in a corporate on-site. I wish every session started with such an ontological question. I mean, who are YOU, really?

(An aside: I heard that the Infillion interview I did recently made some people wonder if the company was resorting to base ways to get a few more clicks. I told Caroline McCarthy that she could expect some of the wrong kinds of traffic.)

Then there was no sleep till Brooklyn. 

Perhaps my favorite contribution during the Brooklyn panel came during a question from the moderator about robotics and whether robots were all AI-powered. While one panelist explained how robots are AI-powered, I offered a different take -- an example I never used before.

I'm not an expert in robotics by any means, so I stuck to two examples I was familiar with and hoped most attendees could relate to: Roomba versus Furby (also, a BattleBots match-up I'd pay to see). Roomba, purpose-driven as it is, has the intelligence to recognize that a certain object collecting dust on the floor is actually part of a cat, and that it should not vacuum Fluffy's tail.

Furby, in its various generations, would gain conversational abilities the more one interacted with it, but all of that was programmed rather than learned. It is thus possible to have extremely 'dumb' robots. Furby had the notoriety of lacking both intelligence and an “off” switch, proving that dumb robots can be way more frightening than smart ones.

I did repeat myself a few times over the few days. I like to talk about superpowers, even if I'm fatigued by Marvel Cinematic Universe's Phase Four (the multiverse is the worst trope to hit movie sequels since Jar Jar Binks). There are the superpowers we have that AI can enhance (for me, using AI to help with writing is one example, even though not a word of this is AI-generated — just the image).

Then there are the superpowers it gives you for skills you don't have, like how can help me act as a video producer. I'm reminded of the chapter in Richard Farson's ever-quotable book "Management of the Absurd": "We want for ourselves not what we are missing, but more of what we already have." That alone is a powerful psychographic segment worth testing if you're an AI-powered tech company. 

Thanks to everyone who joined any of the events this week, along with Paul Chaney and Kristina Martin, authors of the AI Marketing Ethics newsletter, who joined our weekly AI Insiders call this week. I can't stress enough how those Insiders sessions (free and open to you even if you're not otherwise engaged with AIMG -- just RSVP) have become a highlight of my week. As Paul said on LinkedIn, "And the attendees -- wow! -- are one smart group of people!" 

No argument there, Paul.

Thanks also to Caitlin Kelly of EZ Newswire for connecting me with the Brooklyn organizers.

Lastly, thanks to Tom Deierlein, founder of the TD Foundation, for hosting yet another meaningful and memorable TDF Gala this week. Tom is one of the few true heroes in the ad industry, and he’s the biggest-hearted Purple Heart honoree. Shot and wounded in Iraq by a sniper while on a military tour there where he was securing humanitarian aid, he started TDF to provide aid to children of wounded warriors and fallen heroes. If you don’t know of it, read the full story on the site. And better yet, hear Tom talk about it at next year’s gala, my favorite ad industry annual reunion.

Please donate directly if you can. BUT… if you’re already planning on getting the webinar recording (way less important than supporting TDF directly!), I’ll also split any of the proceeds coming from it with TDF, so maybe we can all do some good together. If you were going to join AIMG as a Fellow or Champion (details on the Join page here) , I’ll split that with TDF for the next week too (doesn’t matter if it comes in via this newsletter).

TDF comes first though. I don’t expect anyone to argue with me on that either.


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