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Things Are Changing

Jordan Harrod
Jordan Harrod
5 min read
Things Are Changing
tl;dr - I'm taking my content in a new direction! If you'd like to support me during this pivot, sign up for Nebula here*!

Did I unintentionally take a six month hiatus from this newsletter?

Yes, I did. 😅 But I think it was worth it, because I needed time to wrap up one chapter of my life, and to figure out what I wanted the title of the next one to be.

(my dad reads this newsletter, so - hi dad! no, I am not making any significant life changes, everything is fine and I'm doing great, I love you! ❤️)

I still don't have a good title for the last chapter of my life, which spans roughly 2016-2022, but the working title is "The Part Where I Mostly Did Things Because Other People Told Me I Should." It's a mouthful, I know. Alternative titles include "When Analytics Controlled My Life," "Burning Out Monthly And Not Realizing That's Not Normal," or "Oh Shit, I Don't Think I Like This."  

On the upside, I do have a tentative title for this new chapter: "How To Be Human In An AI World".

I made a video about this recently, but the short version is that I've been creatively exhausted for about a year. Part of this comes from the fact that covering AI over the last two years has been exhausting in a way that I didn't anticipate. The constant new releases, new tools, new research updates felt like drinking from a firehose, and I tried my best to keep up, but in the process I found myself drowning.

Allie is awesome and you should follow her, and also this tweet summarizes the last two years of my life.

And that was before we entered a global pandemic, before I got my ADHD and depression diagnoses, and before I did a hard pivot of my PhD thesis research during the fourth year of my PhD  – a story that I hope to be able to tell after I graduate, but unfortunately for this newsletter, I went from one confidential project to another even more confidential project. Shoutout to my incredibly supportive advisors!  

At the start of my "content creation" journey, I found an audience of people who really loved tutorials, and paper reviews, and AI news, and I wanted to make them happy, so I kept making videos and IG posts and tweets about that. And as my brand grew, I didn't understand why I increasingly struggled to make new content for that audience. In hindsight, I've never really cared about "the next great model" or research updates about how X company made a language model that is 0.07% better than the last one, but I also didn't know what I'd want to talk about instead.

At the same time, I struggled to put into words the direction I want to go into, until I gave a talk at GenAI 2023 on AI Literacy. You can watch the replay here, but the short version of that talk is that I wanted my audience to first carefully and deeply consider their north star, the goal that they wanted to achieve, and then leverage AI literacy to determine whether the latest AI tool would help them reach that goal, instead of chasing the latest development.

Shockingly, it turns out that I don't care about chasing new AI developments.  I care about stories about people. And how AI impacts our stories is something I'm incredibly interested in, although not exclusively (see: the novel I've been working on for about eight months 👀). But I think that's why chasing the latest new development has been so unsatisfying to me, and why I'm exciting to turn the page.

This new chapter puts people first. I have some ideas on what that might look like (which you can learn more about here), but I'd also love to hear from all of you. What do you want to learn about being human in an AI world? And how can I help you get there?

I'm planning to do a lot of experimentation with my content over the next few months, so stay tuned for that, and if you're interested in supporting this new chapter, sign up for Nebula here*! Nebula is where I've historically tested out new ideas before putting them on YouTube, so it's also a great way to see new videos before they come out on YouTube.

-- J

*this newsletter isn't sponsored, but using my link does directly support me - think of it as an affiliate link.

👩🏽‍🦱 things that are helping me be a human

This section used to be called "This Week's Snippets," but I've been toying with alternative titles - let me know what you think and/or if you have better ideas!  

  • Vlogging: This is going to seem like self-promotion, which it is, but it's also true that I've been loving vlogging lately. It's a different form of storytelling that I haven't gotten to work with a ton, and it's been a lot of fun to find the right music and transitions to tell the story I want. I always thought I hated editing my main channel videos because I hated editing, but it turns out that it depends on the format. 🤷🏽‍♀️
  • Really Long Morning Walks: This is literally the highlight of my entire day. Almost every morning, I roll out of bed, take my meds, and go for a 60-90 minute walk. It clears my mind, wakes me up, lets me vibe to my favorite music/podcasts, and turbocharges the creativity neurons in my brain. Sometimes, I even post an aesthetic IG story of the Charles River, which is why this links to my Instagram. 😅 Obviously not everyone has the time/flexibility to be able to do this, but even if it's two minutes, I'd highly recommend getting outside and out of your head for a little bit first thing in the morning.
  • Otter AI ($): Maybe I should make a video about this? But I've always struggled in meetings to simultaneously (1) take notes as a slow writer, (2) follow the conversation, and (3) hold ideas/replies that I have to the conversation in my head. I've been using Otter lately to transcribe my meetings and it's made my life so much easier it's crazy.
  • Moving: I'm moving in a week, and I'm just a tiny bit stressed about it. 🙃 Mostly because I have a bunch of other big projects on my plate and need to find time to pack. But, I'm absolutely obsessed with my new place - it feels light and open and has amazing views, and I think it will give me a lot of space to be creative.

🖥 Things I Put On The Internet

my latest video on the main channel!
and the latest video on the vlog channel!