The conversation this week is with Jenny Zhang, otherwise known as Jay-Z. Jenny has been a senior AI product manager who has launched machine learning products for Capital One, which saved more than a hundred million dollars annually, retained employees, and retained customers. A graduate of Stanford University, she is currently a co-founder and senior product manager of Founder Design Thinking, where she works with creators who want more reach by helping them to speak on a podcast, find AI tools that help their startup, and prioritize features that users love.
If you are interested in learning about how AI is being applied across multiple industries, be sure to join us at a future AppliedAI Monthly meetup and help support us so we can make future Emerging Technologies North non-profit events!
Resources and Topics Mentioned in this Episode
[00:00:00] Jenny Zhang: Oh, I love that sandpaper analogy because there's always this fear that AI is going to take over my job or take over the world. And, you know, it's just sandpaper. It's just roughing out the big edges. And then afterwards, you really need a human to not just diagnose, which the AI has done, but then to coach you to actually getting over your blind spot or taking that leap and, you know, standing straight.
That. There's something that the AI cannot really convince you to do. Only a human can convince you to change that behavior.
[00:00:34] AI Voice: Welcome to the Conversations on Applied AI podcast where Justin Grammens and the team at Emerging Technologies North talk with experts in the fields of artificial intelligence and deep learning.
In each episode, we cut through the hype and dive into how these technologies are being applied to real world problems today. We hope that you find this episode educational and applicable to your industry and connect with us to learn more. More about our organization at Applied AI mn enjoy.
[00:01:04] Justin Grammens: Welcome everyone to the Conversations on Applied AI podcast.
Today we have Jenny Zang, otherwise known as Jay-Z. Jenny has been a senior AI product manager who has launched machine learning products for Capital One, which saved more than a hundred million dollars annually, retained employees and retained customers. A graduate of Stanford University, she is currently a co founder and senior product manager of Founder Design Thinking, where she works with creators who want more reach by helping them to speak on a podcast.
Find AI tools that help their startup and prioritize features that users love. She says, call me Jay Z as I rap about product management and I love it. So thank you Jay Z for being on the program and rapping with us today.
[00:01:42] Jenny Zhang: Thanks so much, Justin, for having me and I'm just starting to rebrand to call me Jay Z since this is the perfect timing.
[00:01:48] Justin Grammens: Perfect. Well, good. No, I love it. Like I said, yeah, I love that you'd rap. So why not bring that into the conversation? Everyone kind of knows who Jay Z is. So yeah. Yeah. I gave a short background about who you are today, maybe you could give us a little bit of a background on your trajectory, kind of like, you know, I know there were some other places you, you worked at and, and sort of your path to getting to where you are today.
[00:02:09] Jenny Zhang: Sure. So I introduced myself as a designer turned product manager turned founder. And so I started my career in user research and user experience design at a small social media startup in New York. And then went on to be a product manager at Capital One. And then after Capital One, I led the launch of a mobile app for a medium size.
Buy now, pay later. So I'd say the trajectory has been from social media to e commerce to fintech.
[00:02:42] Justin Grammens: Sure, sure. And all those are kind of little stops along the way where you've been able to get a different perspective on sort of building technology. And do you think a lot of this sort of has now become full circle with your current role and what you're doing?
Are you bringing all those aspects into how you work
[00:02:58] Jenny Zhang: today? Absolutely. So I loved my first stop in social media as a designer. And so now as a founder, I get to help creators build their brand and their thought leadership. So I love, you know, being creative myself with videos and AI, but helping creators monetize is super empowering.
[00:03:21] Justin Grammens: Cool. Well, I do ask people like maybe a few words to describe yourself. I think you had said early on it, it's colorful. That's right. You're trying to bring that sort of fun aspect to, to what
[00:03:30] Jenny Zhang: you're doing. Yeah. So one of the products that we launched at Founder Design Cooking is a exercise where we wear the same color every Monday.
So Monday was always red. And for example, Friday was always blue. So in that. Launch and getting to daily active users of creators. We noticed that the crowd is very international and the people who love color mostly reside outside of the United States and that, you know, I'm all into monochromatic black and white aestheticism and minimalism.
But I think what differentiates me is my interest in maximalism and color and having my own.
[00:04:13] Justin Grammens: Gotcha. And so, you know, focusing on what you're doing today, you're actually sort of, I feel like in some ways just helping people find their voice and get, get their voice out. Is that like, how would you talk a little bit about, I guess, your platform and your product and what you're doing
[00:04:27] Jenny Zhang: today?
Yeah. So I talked to someone who was on my podcast and she said that she got, A investor and a CTO, and she'd been thinking about doing a podcast for many months, but when we finally did it, of course, it was scary. You know, I do live video podcasts, which very few people have done, but the guests always say it's much easier than they thought.
And it launches them into wanting to do more podcasts, wanting to do more posts across different social media channels. And it's just a great stepping stone for them. So from one speaking engagement, like one podcast comes a whole brand of what they believe in and putting themselves out there in a way that they've been planning to for years, but haven't
[00:05:16] Justin Grammens: done until now.
Okay. Yeah. So walk me maybe through the process of, of founder design thinking. If I'm. Come to you with, uh, an idea about how I want to get myself out there. You probably have a series of steps and tools that you kind of walk them through, I guess. How does that typically engagement go?
[00:05:31] Jenny Zhang: Yeah, so it starts with a short 15 minute podcast.
And the way that I remove the friction is by focusing on one question. So I. Encourage people to start reposting the influencers that they like. So you work in AI and is there, I guess, IOT is a favorite of yours. So you already do this. You would, you know, repost IOT influencers like yourself. And after a week, figure out a topic that you like.
And one question that you want to ask a bunch of people. And I think the magic of that second week is reaching out to people who you admire and saying, I admire you and it flatters them. And most of them, more than 50 percent of them will be on your podcast. And then also reaching out to friends and having me on your podcast just as a beginner step.
And then week three, we'll do actually a practice podcast. And people will talk about their fears. You know, everyone from seasoned keynote speakers to first time speakers have this fear of a live. It's a video podcast because it's combining all the recordings of things that you could say wrong with the gaps and the coughs and the silences.
So we do that practice and some people actually post that practice session because it shows why they're doing it. They say, I'm really scared. I'm actually terrified. I can't even breathe. But I'm going to do this podcast about blockchain because I really believe that creators should earn all the money.
that their users give them. And so when they express their fears, it's, it's a revelation to everyone else who's listening. Oh, you know, I could do this too with all my current fears. And they start rooting for you. So that the why and the fear podcast, you know, I don't expect everyone to post that one, but that's actually the one that kickstarts your following and gets people to download and listen
[00:07:36] Justin Grammens: for more.
Yeah, it feels like there's something around that vulnerability. You know, sense that people, if they, the more open, transparent, honest, vulnerable that they are. I think that's a good quality to have no matter where you are, but even more if you're sort of out and generating content. Would you agree with that?
[00:07:55] Jenny Zhang: Absolutely. And the speakers on my podcast who do coaching on camera and public speaking coaching, they absolutely believe that that's what, that's the only thing you should do actually. The parts where you're just being erudite and reading off an academic paper, that's, you know, you can Google that. But the part where you're like, I don't know what I don't know.
You know, that's the part that's really human. I don't know if you experience this in, you know, you're an influencer, so do you talk about the things that you're afraid of? Do you see other influencers do that?
[00:08:31] Justin Grammens: Yes, definitely. Definitely do. And I think it's a good quality to have, you know, I think, I think it's, it kind of centers around this just being humble, you know, and I think people can, if they get in a position of power, there's a lot of ego that can become involved.
And so. I definitely try and look around and see, Boy, I don't want to be like that person. Kind of like, find the ones that are doing it sort of the wrong way. But it takes, it can take some active work to basically continue to I don't want to say self deprecation is the right word, but continue to realize that you're not the smartest person in the room, even though maybe sometimes you may, you may, you may feel like that.
So, like, I've, just case in point, I, I'm a subscriber to Masterclass. I don't know if you've, if you've ever watched these classes, right? So, um, I was listening and watching the one from Kevin Hart. Actually, today, and I, I've read all of his, he's actually done a couple of self help books and stuff. So really, really good.
But one of the things that he talked about was like, you know, he'll be in meetings and stuff like that. And people will say words and he's like, hold on for a second. Like he, he's the first one to admit, like, I don't know what, what word you're talking about. Right. And so he has no problem. And he is encourages people to just say, you know, stop, slow down for me, make this simpler.
Whereas a lot of people are probably are like, I don't want to look like, I don't know what I'm talking about, or I don't want to look like I'm an expert in this thing. So. Yeah, I, I thought that that was an interesting piece of advice. Yeah.
[00:09:48] Jenny Zhang: So some of the leaders who have spoken to my podcast say that they demonstrate that to their teams.
You know, they know what AR VR is and they're pretty sure that their team knows, but there might be one or two people who don't know, and they, you know, he wants to be inclusive and keep everyone engaged and following along. So he'll just demonstrate the inquisition or the lack of. equal the humility that you're talking about.
[00:10:12] Justin Grammens: Sure, sure. Let's bring it back. So that, that's, that's awesome. I really like what you're trying to do with your, with, with your business. Founder Design Thinking. I think a lot of people can get value from working with you on this. How do you bring AI then into this conversation? Yeah,
[00:10:28] Jenny Zhang: so some people will never show their face or they don't want to go through, you know, the lighting and looking pretty and perfect or they just don't feel like.
being on camera. So the place where AI plays in is a deep digital fake of yourself, right? Where you can just plug in the words and then your avatar will say them for you. Or Elvis Presley will say them for you, right? In a deep fake world. Or you can have stock video that you've shot in the past that's on brand or just even images and sketches that are very lo fi pixel art.
So all of these are great ways for you to express yourself without showing your shyness
[00:11:18] Justin Grammens: or your face. Gotcha. You know, I, I'm not sure if you and I talked before this or I heard from somebody else, but there was this thing called Haygen. Are you familiar with like that? Yes.
[00:11:27] Jenny Zhang: They just got a huge round of funding.
[00:11:29] Justin Grammens: been following them. They did. Yeah. And I signed up for a free account and I have not had a chance to just use it. But a person that I know, he was at our last Applied AI meetup. He showed me. And he's like, look, I just recorded basically about two minutes of my voice and my face. And then I went ahead and created a whole bunch of content, typed it in, you know, words.
Or via text, and then it actually generated him saying all of this stuff, right? And it was, you know, it wasn't perfect, but I would say it was about 90 plus percent of the way there. And it blew my mind because, you know, I'm a teacher. I actually educate as well at a local university here in graduate software development and AI.
And I'm like, huh, what does the future of this mean? Because him and I were talking like, could you just be taught by this? Like, could I put all my lesson plans, all my lectures, all this sort of stuff into this? Now, you don't get the response, you know, the human back and forth, but it's certainly much more interesting.
And I could easily crank those out, and I say that in a nice way, but I could create a bunch of stuff easier than me just recording a lecture. Like I've recorded a lot of lectures on YouTube and just spoken them out, but it takes some time there to do that. If I could just take a blog post and push a button.
And have me, a sense of me, and my mannerisms and all my actions. I think it's, it's just hugely powerful. I love it.
[00:12:47] Jenny Zhang: When are you going to do that? I'm curious
[00:12:48] Justin Grammens: now. Cause I definitely want to know. Oh, when am I going to try it out? Yeah. It's on my list. Soon as possible. I mean, one of the things that I like about probably what you do with people like me or anybody that works with you is you probably are their accountability partner, I guess.
[00:13:02] Jenny Zhang: feel like absolutely my, you know, I have a tiger mom, so I offer that
[00:13:07] Justin Grammens: to everyone. Sure. Sure. Yeah, well, it's it's always good to ask when are you gonna do that? And but yeah, no, it's it definitely is again Like I say, I that's one tool that I found I think you can send me a whole list of a whole bunch of other tools that that people can can use I saw another One today that was really interesting.
It would actually create movement and I forget the name of the company But it could actually take a picture of a person or a caricature. They showed the Mona Lisa actually like running, exactly, but it could just take a human that's, that's basically sitting there and they can start putting action and animation just based off a still image.
I was, Oh my gosh, that's pretty
[00:13:41] Jenny Zhang: interesting. Yeah, I think there are, you know, a lot of digital fakes that are getting into 3d and motion and. If you think of Roblox as a platform where someone was trying to pitch me, I should join today. It's a place where your avatar could teach all night, all day. You don't have to be there.
And so what influencers do is then they show up for the Q& A or the, the parts where people get stuck. Instead of the parts where, you know, the students are breezing through.
[00:14:12] Justin Grammens: Gotcha. Gotcha. Yeah. I hadn't, I hadn't thought about Roblox a whole lot. I have two young kids and they play around on Roblox and I Was actually talking with somebody not too long ago where they were saying, how could we bring that into education?
Like how could we actually have it be taught more in a virtual environment where as kids today? They don't want to be sitting in front of a zoom screen They want to gamify it a little bit, but you can still bring education into these games.
[00:14:36] Jenny Zhang: Yeah, I think the average engagement time Spent is 120 minutes, which is higher than 90 minutes on tik tok and higher than 60 minutes on Instagram So for that younger demographic It can be less scary to ask the question and be humble when you're not in real life.
[00:14:57] Justin Grammens: Yeah, yeah, for sure. So I just took a note here about demographics. So is that one of the things too that you kind of work with, work with your, your clients on? It's like define your demographic and then probably go to where they are. So,
[00:15:10] Jenny Zhang: you know, a lot of my clients are fractional executives or people who are looking at the executive and board route.
So for them, LinkedIn is primary, but then there are also special professional associations that they want to target. And the platform really dictates their success. So if they can get in early on a clubhouse or early on a platform, then they can instantly become that influencer.
[00:15:34] Justin Grammens: Cool. Cool. Good. Well, how do you.
Kind of rise above the noise. You have any tips or tricks for people on how they do that? There's just so much chatter. Yeah,
[00:15:44] Jenny Zhang: there is so much chatter. So, you know, like any good product manager, it's about asking your users what they want and giving it to them. That's number one. But when everyone's doing that right, then I think number two is bringing your own point of view.
It can be a flavor or, you know. Maybe your point of view is to disagree with everything. And I like the devil's advocate points of view, because in media, we just are taught to consume instead of produce. So having a distinctive point of view, number two. And then the third thing, which is accessible to everyone is consistency.
Every week, you know, if that's too much every month, every quarter, just keep doing it so people know that if they tune into you, it's not wasted. There's always going to be more. And that you haven't given up on them
[00:16:33] Justin Grammens: as an audience. Yeah, for sure. For sure. Well, your, your point of view reminded me of a quote that I heard by Oscar Wilde.
I think it's something like, Be yourself, everyone else is taken. And so, I love that. And it's one of those things where like, you know, I'll go out and present to an audience somewhere, and I'll watch the person who presents before me, and I'll be just completely blown away. Right? It's easy to become intimidated in a lot of these situations.
I realize that. You just go up there and you just do it your way, you know? I know you don't try and actually make yourself into what the other person is because that's actually gonna fail If you try and do stuff that you don't do so well Maybe I feel like I'm not as good of a presenter as them not as Chris as crisper as clean It's okay.
Just do it do it your way cuz this is take so
[00:17:22] Jenny Zhang: I love that I think that's you know, when you're a star is just being yourself. That's also when you're not mumbling or uncomfortable or, you know, getting stage fright. I love that quote from Oscar Wilde. Do it. Sure. Say it again.
[00:17:38] Justin Grammens: It was be yourself. Everyone else has taken, I think it's something like that.
[00:17:43] Jenny Zhang: Yeah. Be yourself. Everyone else has taken. I do think in the beginning, it's, you don't know who you are. So I encourage people to ask questions till you understand and some people are afraid. Oh people think I'm stupid I'm like a senior director. I shouldn't be asking questions anymore. In a conversation If you ask someone to explain it two different ways or ask two different people to explain it That's when the viewer slows down and is actually listening.
First time around, they're like, Oh, they're so smart, they get it. I just need to follow along. But if you ask the question a couple times, then the student gets a chance to actually ask themselves and follow along. So until you get to knowing who you are, you can just ask questions. Yeah,
[00:18:30] Justin Grammens: yeah, sure. Well, we talked about some AI applications, I guess, around video.
Are there other? Areas that you're seeing it going to be able to be applied in the future?
[00:18:40] Jenny Zhang: Yeah. So I had some speakers talk about coaching and then I've been following some coaching apps for managers and people leaders. And I think those are really fascinating because in Eric's coaching platform for dads, you know, dads are not the type.
It's much less likely than moms to say, Oh, my teenager, you know, they might not have as much opportunity to say it, even if they feel it. So in fatherly, you can ask the AI for coaching and then your real coach, your human coach will see the record of your conversation and give additional advice. But in the moment that you need it, you don't have to ask.
You know, tick tock, right? For embarrassing advice. The AI will just give it to you. And I think that in terms of people leadership, they're always very tricky, kind of, maybe HR sensitive questions that you don't want to ask a human. And asking a piece of AI that's not connected to performance review or, you know, not connected to your identity can be really freeing.
[00:19:56] Justin Grammens: Absolutely. Absolutely. Yeah, I mean, I worked on a system where we were trying to have people become better presenters. And so we were taking video and audio and trying to figure out how many ums and ahs they say, or how fast they're speaking, slow down, you know, look forward at the camera. How much time are you looking off camera?
Are you using hand gestures? What's your sentiment? All that sort of stuff. But a lot of the impetus kind of behind that was, was a lot of people that are in executive positions, they present and then they're like, how did I do? Of course, everyone's like, you did great, you're amazing, right? So they never end up really getting that honest feedback.
And so, you know, part of our, our hypothesis was that people are really looking for this unbiased, you know, really more or less. Just give me the facts and a computer vision virtual coach system will do that. So it can be pretty powerful to pull out, to kind of remove a lot of the Senate. Some of these things just give people the honesty of what you see.
[00:20:52] Jenny Zhang: Oh, I like that. So you're saying in your research, you've seen executives who know that they can improve or know that there's even a weakness and that no one will tell them what it is.
[00:21:04] Justin Grammens: Yes. So, A, you have to find the executive that believes that they have a weakness. Yes. And they want to get better. And yes, they basically realize that whenever they ask, how did I do?
There's a lot of, you know, yes, ma'ams out there that just will always say, sure, you did good. And they're like, no, I would love to know the honest truth. But. In a lot of these positions, they're not really getting it. And so they could find an outside coach to help them. But even in that thing, you know, we kind of realized that an outside coach could use this tool to enhance their practice, right.
To essentially be able to deal with maybe 10, 20, 30 clients, if they run them through our software first, right. And then the coach can come in and do the high value stuff. Which maybe isn't even related to the presentation skills, right? In some of these situations, it's really around how does the presentation look, right?
How does the stuff in PowerPoint look, you know, like? And then even other stuff, like if you're presenting in person, are you walking the stage, right? So there's a lot of other things outside of that that the AI really would be able to pick up, but yet, you know, you still want to have a human in the loop.
It's kind of like sandpaper, right? You can bring in the AI for like the really hardcore stuff, and then, you know, if you're sanding a piece of wood, you want to have the stuff that's the 220 grain, that kind of really polishes it. That was our hypothesis for what we were building. Oh, I love
[00:22:21] Jenny Zhang: that sandpaper analogy because there's always this fear that AI is going to take over my job or take over the world and, you know, it's just sandpaper.
It's just roughing out the big edges. And then afterwards, you really need a human to not just diagnose, which the AI has done, but then to coach you to actually getting over your blind spot or taking that leap. You know, standing straight, that is something that the AI cannot really convince you to do.
Only a human can convince you to change that
[00:22:52] Justin Grammens: behavior. Yeah, yeah, for sure. Well, cool. I guess what are some other things that you like to do? You know, just in life, some other general activities. I always like to ask that of our guests.
[00:23:03] Jenny Zhang: Oh, thanks. I'm actually heading to Art Basel tomorrow. So it's an art fair in Miami.
Outside of the art fair, there are always tons of parties and events. So I'm really excited about taking that break.
[00:23:16] Justin Grammens: Good, good, good, cool, cool. And then, you know, what are some of the courses or books or conferences? Any stuff that you think is interesting that people in your field should be exploring and looking at?
Websites? Oh, that's
[00:23:30] Jenny Zhang: a really good question. So, there's a Discord channel for using no code to integrate AI. Sure. And I really encourage everyone to do that because right now you can launch an AI product on your own, like no joke, right? So I think it's a great way to, to play with monetization. If you have a small feature that you think some people would pay for, why not just launch it?
[00:23:58] Justin Grammens: For sure. Yeah, we'll, we'll put some links. I know you have links to a whole bunch of different tools and stuff. We have liner notes and I'll include all of that information. In our podcast, for sure, along the way. And, you know, we talked a little bit about AI coaching, I guess. Other, other projects that you think you found interesting, I guess, off the top of your head, you might think of?
[00:24:17] Jenny Zhang: talked about AI deep fakes. Yes. And then also an AI video is editing. Mm. Some of the models will take a one hour podcast like ours and split it into one minute.
[00:24:32] Justin Grammens: Shorts. Yes.
[00:24:34] Jenny Zhang: And I think that with short attention spans, it's a way to advertise the long using the one minute to advertise the 60 minutes and with AI takes like 15 minutes to do that.
Right. So I really encourage people to. to make long form as a way to schedule short form. So you can make one podcast per quarter and then schedule two shorts every month,
[00:25:00] Justin Grammens: and then you're done. I love it. Yeah. I use this tool called headliner that can help out with some of that stuff. But, uh, I'm not so good at this.
I really wish I was better at remembering this, but you've really tipped off the thing in head. Like I listen to podcasts, but it can be difficult to listen to like a 45 or 50 minute long thing, right? Unless you're actively doing something. So. Even myself, like I find myself kind of like, geez, could we just summarize this or, or just pick me out the important pieces.
So going back and creating a snippets and putting stuff on digital shorts, I think is, is, that's just fantastic. I love that advice. Thanks.
[00:25:37] Jenny Zhang: I think that this is not a replacement of a human because no one, no one had access to like a 5, 000 editor who would create these clips for you. Very few people do until you're famous, right?
And so this is just empowering creators to do it for themselves and get their ideas
[00:25:58] Justin Grammens: out there. Yeah. Yeah. And I've heard that like, it's great then to put it across multiple mediums, like. Maybe we'll do this podcast, like I always do a transcript of the podcast, right? So could you have a text form that people could, could read?
And could you, there was a tool that you can take text and an intellectual will end up creating an audio pod, kind of going back the other way. So like, how can you bring the media forum to however most people will want to consume it?
[00:26:24] Jenny Zhang: Yeah, it, it's kind of like a accessibility hack. So think about a person who can only read text.
How do you support them in your content? So in my content, I always have long text, short text, long video, short video. And so, because the video also includes audio, I'm covering like six dimensions. And even if you think about a person who's not disabled, at some point they're driving and they, they can't read.
Or, you know, they're somewhere at night, like just want to hear the audio and don't want to turn on the video. So if you think of a person as like a multi dimensional person who wants to enter with different touch points, then you can create one piece of content that allows them to access it in
[00:27:13] Justin Grammens: six different ways.
Yeah, for sure. I mean, there's a reason why the radio still exists. Right? I mean, I, I, I'm sure once TV came, people were saying, well, it's the death of radio, you know, but there's, there's, I, I still, I believe there's something just about audio and there's a special, it's a different experience when you're just listening to the radio and I'm not talking about music and I'm talking more about just like information, right?
Information stations. Like I listen to a lot of public radio, so it's just like, I love consuming it that way. I don't need to get the video. I just love the stories and the storytelling that just using my ears. Yeah, I think
[00:27:48] Jenny Zhang: that's what I love about podcasting is that it's for the deep thinkers and when they don't have time, they'll just, they'll still watch that one minute clip.
But I really love how when someone's listening to a podcast, they're not scrolling. They're really there for everything. And that's so rare in our digital lives. Yeah,
[00:28:08] Justin Grammens: for sure. You, when you and I were sort of talking before this, you mentioned this idea of the creator account. I guess I haven't heard it kind of summed up that way, but maybe you could explain a little bit about like what that means.
[00:28:22] Jenny Zhang: Yes. So I think the best definitions come from investors who are investing specifically in it. So they think of it as a Web3 blockchain use case where creators know who's viewed their piece of music and then maybe gets a one cent royalty from each view or each share. Instead of having a publishing house or some intermediary get the bulk of it.
And so it's this financial disruption, but more practically today, it's about people who are not famous being able to. Influence the opinions of other people's there's niche creators who only create, you know, goth content for this type of music for this type of clothing. And they don't have a million followers.
Maybe they have a hundred thousand, but each of those followers will buy a hundred dollars worth of product for them every year. And so Kevin Kelly originally defined them as true fans. Where you just need 100 true fans to be a creator. And now, I think it's emerged to platforms. Software that allows creators to find their viewers and monetize from them directly.
[00:29:43] Justin Grammens: Yeah, yeah. Yeah, I mean, I've been working on the internet since the early age. And, you know, I think about the very first stuff that I was working on. It was really brochure wear. It was just basically companies were spitting stuff out and anything you could have a piece of paper as a brochure, it just turned into the internet.
But as I think back, that was web 1. 0, like to say, and then web 2. 0 was like, okay, that's, that's the advent of Facebook and blog, right? And I remember back when blogging started and I was like, well, A, I don't really get it in a lot of ways to begin with. I mean, I was totally wrong on that, but I mean, I look back and I'm like, why are people just writing a diary online?
Little did I know, you know, I was in my little pea brain and realized that it actually would become this next revolution, but that was a big flip, right? That was like, Oh, you mean I can actually start putting stuff out online and people can actually start connecting to it and engaging back and forth.
And I think, you know, the first, I feel like the first internet 1. 0 was really just to push out information to people, but. This whole idea of actually creating content and connecting something that, you know, obviously it seems simple today, but I will say at the beginning of the internet, it really wasn't thought of it as that way.
[00:30:56] Jenny Zhang: Well, you know, it wouldn't be so hard on yourself because it took me a year of people telling me I should be on Substack for me to actually get there. Yeah. And it's interesting because I'm On LinkedIn so much, but LinkedIn doesn't share the emails of your LinkedIn newsletter. So it's this idea of the creator owning their data.
I don't spam my email list, but I know who they are on Substack ever went bankrupt, I would be able to transfer that email is somewhere else. And so having that direct connection to people who are subscribing to my Substack, paying for it is a amazing kind of. Disintermediation, where I don't have to rely on a magazine or some other
[00:31:42] Justin Grammens: publisher.
Yeah, sure. Yeah, so basically, yeah, getting as close to the end user as possible. You're setting that one to one connection, not having to go through Like I said, back in the old days, it would be a publishing house, right? I'd actually have to publish something through a magazine. I have no idea who the reader is.
Now You know, you mentioned LinkedIn. Yeah, I've heard it's not good to, you should always own your own list or own your destiny, right? So people are like, if you're going to set up a blog, make sure it's either a WordPress site, you know what I mean? So you have direct connection to the people, whoever's like signing up or like you said, it's like Substack or there's other ones because When you do them on something like LinkedIn, it's just, they can go out of business and you're pretty much done and do whatever they want with it.
So watching out for those sort of gotchas is probably something you are helping your clients work through. Yeah.
[00:32:29] Jenny Zhang: And I think it takes time to go from, let's say you are an influencer and you're kind of addicted to all those likes and shares. And then to lower those likes and shares to migrate to your own email list where.
You don't know how to send an email every week and you don't know how to write long form content. It's pretty scary, right? To abandon all those clicks and go for a more direct connection. But then after a while, people really love the fact that they get to monetize with less people. So on TikTok, you know, you might be making like one cent per.
Click, but then on your own email list, you can sell something that's a hundred dollars of curriculum, right? And so it's slow and it's pretty scary, but you don't know when Tik Tok is going to shadow ban you. I'm not picking on Tik Tok specifically, but every platform has a ranking algorithm that changes.
They have to, right? With your email list, you know, it gets delivered.
[00:33:32] Justin Grammens: Right, right. And I think you were saying, you know, it can be pretty scary to try and write your own emails and figure out how to send them out and how you manage the list. But I think what I'm super excited about is that AI can help us in a lot of these ways.
There's gonna be more and more tools that are gonna able to, uh, I, I just, I see AI just helping us. So you can just, you'll be able to sit down, have a conversation, dictate it all on your voice, and then kind of say, send, send. I, I, I really view that that's what's gonna happen in the future, whereas right now.
There's a whole, there's a lot of clicks that need to happen, and I'm excited to see what's going to happen with it in the future.
[00:34:06] Jenny Zhang: You make a really good point, because when people tell a story with their voice, it actually is a more in depth story with more adjectives and descriptors. And when they write a story, I don't know if it's they don't have time to write it down, but they delete all those details.
And so, when you dictate, you actually write a fuller story. And then AI can turn it into a shorter paragraph, or I actually even wrote a story about how I got better at my Zumba class. I mean, in the beginning, I was just terrible. Yeah. You know, throughout the story, I ended up being okay. And so I wrote the story, and then the Substack AI created an audio version of it.
And then I went to. I created a poem and so I'm probably going to lead with the poem and then have the longer story and then the audio but the poem is not something I would have done before and I think it allows you to be much more creative to your point.
[00:35:07] Justin Grammens: That's cool. I love it. I love it. Well, Jay Z, how can people get a hold of you?
What's the best way to reach out and connect with you? Yeah.
[00:35:14] Jenny Zhang: So. I'm going to rebrand to call me Jay Z. So I'll have a website, but, um, my sub stack right now is founder design thinking dot sub stack, but it'll be rebranded to call me Jay Z dot. And I'm always on LinkedIn, so I'm trying to grow my following there, connect with me, and yeah,
[00:35:34] Justin Grammens: those are the ways.
Well, yeah, well, again, like I say, in all of our notes and stuff, we'll make sure to link off to all of the things that you have going on. Is there anything else that you would want to talk about that we didn't, didn't touch on today? I always like to ask
[00:35:47] Jenny Zhang: that. Yeah, maybe you and I could make that AI video together whenever you get to it.
It could be another
[00:35:53] Justin Grammens: episode. Yeah, sure, sure. We'd basically be able to put some text together and actually have a video of our faces going.
[00:36:01] Jenny Zhang: Yeah, I'm Tiger Mommy, so apologies in advance.
[00:36:06] Justin Grammens: No, it's good. I always need a kick in the butt, for sure, for sure. So yeah, it's no problem at all, no problem at all.
Again, I appreciate us connecting and look forward to, you know, I guess, it's just, it's such a fascinating world to me around content, content creation, and how generative AI specifically is going to help. allow people to kind of become superhuman in a lot of ways. I still think there's going to be something unique about the human aspect of it.
Again, maybe I'm just holding out, you know, that there's still going to need to be somebody who's going to have to write from the heart or create videos from the heart or something like that. But we shall see what
[00:36:43] Jenny Zhang: happens. I think of it as the unspoken. So when you have the limited time that you have to create content, you're going to create.
One thing, but the unspoken use what AI unlocks so you can create 10 things and you wouldn't have created them not because you're secretive, just because just didn't have time. So I don't, I'm not afraid of AI at all because of having launched, you know, machine learning products. I think it's a very high maintenance model.
It doesn't do anything without your training it. And then what it does do is allow you to say more about yourself and reveal your humility. In the very human limited time that we have.
[00:37:24] Justin Grammens: Nice. Well said. Well said. Yep. Yep. That's really good. Well, cool, JayZ, I appreciate the time and yeah, we'll keep in touch.
[00:37:32] Jenny Zhang: Thanks Justin.
[00:37:34] AI Voice: You've listened to another episode of the Conversations on Applied AI podcast. We hope you are eager to learn more about applying artificial intelligence and deep learning within your organization. You can visit us at applied ai mn to keep up to date on our events and connect with our amazing community.
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