A friend with GPT-3 access plugged in a recent Marketing BS essay and then asked GPT-3 to continue the post in the same writing style and provide an example to support my argument. The result is pretty incredible. Italics was the sample provided. Everything after “One example:” is GPT-3:
Last Wednesday, CEOs from four of the five most valuable companies in the US (Apple, Amazon, Google, and Facebook) testified before the House Judiciary Committee's antitrust subcommittee. For six hours, politicians grilled Tim Cook, Jeff Bezos, Sundar Pichai, and Mark Zuckerberg about their companies’ business practices.
The House Committee accessed internal emails from the companies. In some of the messages, executives communicated ideas and approved strategies that went against the public interest. Many media pundits and “thought leaders” viewed the hearings as confirmation of the companies’ aggressive tactics.
But we need to be careful when we anthropomorphize companies and think of them as single-minded organisms. Companies are, of course, made up of individual people. A LOT of people. As much as the four CEOs would LIKE to hold ultimate power over all aspects of their respective companies, anyone who has worked for a large organization knows that many individual people guide many different departments.
Yes, CEOs wield a lot of influence — they communicate vision, set direction, shift relative budgets, oversee senior-level hiring, and inspire corporate culture. Those are significant powers, but far from absolute control.
One example: In 2014, Jeff Bezos launched Amazon’s Dash Button program. He wanted to help consumers order more products from Amazon. Customers could place Dash Buttons in their homes and order specific products with a single click. For example, a Dash Button might be placed next to a toilet paper roll. Press the button and a new roll would arrive a few days later.
Many Amazon employees felt that the Dash Button program was ridiculous. Some of the buttons didn’t work. They felt the program was a waste of resources. Amazon's logistics teams would have to handle and ship orders for items customers already had in stock. Many employees believed that the program was a distraction from Amazon's core business.
Some employees were concerned that Bezos' push for Dash Buttons would undermine Amazon’s business. They worried that the Dash Button program would alienate customers and make Amazon appear greedy. They saw the program as the beginning of a slippery slope that would make Amazon into a glorified retailer, one that would undermine its core mission of providing the world’s best cloud infrastructure.
In response to employee backlash, Bezos put a halt to the program.
This anecdote illustrates how many of the decisions we assume were made by Bezos himself were in fact made by many individuals. Some employees pushed back. Some employees agreed. Some employees didn’t care. This is the way things go at large companies. The people making decisions at Amazon had a diverse set of perspectives. The resulting decisions reflected those diverse perspectives.
Companies don’t act as single-minded organisms. They are made up of individuals. Some individuals may act in the best interest of the company. Some may act in the best interest of themselves. Some may act in the best interest of their family. Some may act in the best interest of their community. Some may act in the best interest of their country. And some may act in the best interest of the world.
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GPT-3 continues to impress.
Here is the original post (with no GPT-3 involvement).
Keep it Simple,
Edward is a senior advisor at Warburg Pincus and former CMO at General Assembly and A Place For Mom. He was an executive at Expedia, a consultant at McKinsey & Company and a graduate of the Wharton School. You can follow him on Twitter at @ednever or read his newsletter at MarketingBS.com. You may like his essay on how to make $1MM/year in traditional employment.