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Planning My Moves As Machines Rise

I am a 52-year-old marketer who has been trying to use the past to inform my decisions and understand the rise of machines. After recently losing my job, I am looking to start my own international education initiative, LPvg.org, and charge people $10/month for spiritual guidance and a competitive edge. I have also updated my Twitter profile to promote my blog and YouTube channel, as well as my latest venture, Pipulate.com/MLGL.

Navigating the Rise of Machines: A 52-Year-Old Marketer's Journey to Starting an International Education Initiative

By Michael Levin

Thursday, February 9, 2023

The distillation of images (and other media) that mean the most to you in life, and then the ability to interact with those images for various purposes. Don’t live in the past, but use the past as stepping stones to the future. We’re not reborn fresh every second (though maybe we are) and have a lot that has gone before to help inform us to make predictions about the future and work ourselves into it the way we want to be.

It is precisely this sort of vision, predictive quality and imaginative maneuvering that I have failed to do (at least super-effectively) thus far in life. I was born in Philly and ended up only about 2 hours away in New York City in the field of marketing. Ugh! I could have (should have) been a scientist, but for whatever reasons I missed that calling. Was it you Howard Gorchov for trying to nickname me Sci in elementary school?

Anyway, who knows. It’s the tiny things. And this far down the road now, at 52 years old, I hardly thing I’m going back to school. Life is school. I am always learning and the Internet makes it possible. The overflow glut of information must be dealt with. Filtering consumption is important. Making that play-list of consumption is important. Watching but not being consumed by new things being discovered is important, but must not swallow you up.

Before going to work for my last employer, Ziff Davis, I kept my entire journal online. Because of the insight of my boss, one of the best I ever had, I took the personal journal down and split it into different journals going forward. Eventually, this one on MikeLev.in was born and had a much more technical leaning. My job drifted from SEO to a sort of reverse-SEO where I found sites and companies worth acquiring.

Google gave so much to the little guy over the years. It disrupted, disintermediated, made new kings and destroyed old empires and mindsets. Today, Google themselves is panicking. Google themselves is locked into a sort of inaction because of AdWords revenue. You don’t mess around with the family jewels and the primary source of revenue, keyword-based paid advertising. And so search didn’t change much since Bill Joy added pay-per-click to Overture. Remember those days? Yeah, Google just lifted the AdWords idea from GoTo.com.

Here we are, what? 20-years into the future. Let’s call it 15 because you can’t start measuring from 1997 when Google really came onto the scene. You have to start measuring from 2001 when Yahoo started including GoTo search results in their Inktomi-crawler based search engine. Yahoo bought GoTo and renamed it Overture around 2003. This was about a year before I moved to New York City. Google had already been running adds since October 2000, but it wasn’t until 2005 before Google blended paid AdWords into search results. And here we we are in 2023. So we’ve been in the current search reality for the better part of 2 decades.

When the Internet was sparsely filled, it was easy to get into search results. I saw this and got into the field of SEO and got into search results. But I did it for “clients”, having come to New York City to become a vice president for the public relations firm that launched Amazon.com. I performed my new craft for client after client after client, but never for myself. I even wrote a Web 2.0-era application called HitTail which had a 15 year run. It was work for hire and never really mine, but it played off the simplistic way search worked. The fact that it gradually stopped working near the end of search 1.0’s rise is telling.

It took 2 decades, especially if you start measuring from AltaVista (when my interest was piquied) to get onto the era of Search 2.0 and uncertainty abounds. The earlier easier tricks are not working so much. Some core principles like looking at what works and doing more of that still apply, but for the most part the lather, rinse-and-repeat approach that HitTail encouraged won’t work anymore. Persistence and tenacity are still good, but with those energies plowed into different things.

What are those things precisely? This article is about that recalibration because I lost my job. The whole department was laid off because we were a 2nd layer of SEO-support in an organization that had on-staff SEOs or consultants with each property. I also did that M&A work (merger and acquisitions), but clearly it was because I was excess capacity and my skill-set was identified as being appropriate for those types of investigations. It’s similar to surveying the search landscape for content ideas.

Today is my penultimate day. I’m being careful to not have any “big ideas” until after tomorrow. Right now it’s just surveying the landscape and taking inventory of my abilities and gazing into the crystal ball. ChatGPT really took the world by storm. The iron is hotter than it has been in a long time. If I don’t move on this and make a sudden fortune out of it, then my abilities are not what I think they are. But they are what I think they are, and it’s time to start having some initiative to prove it.

I have a job opportunity with one of the Ziff Davis acquisitions, Moz. It used to be MOZSEO and was founded by Rand Fishkin who went onto start SparkToro. He’s doing it with 3 people. I can do it with one. My abilities are such that I can invite everyone onto the ride right while I build it. I just need a good strategy.

So let’s see. I want to charge people $10/mo and I want it to appeal to thousands of people. I want it to be the sort of service…

Spiritual guidance and a competitive edge as machines rise.

LPvg.org? Probably.

It took me years to come up with the concept of LPvg (Linux, Python, vim & git) and I think it has enormous potential appeal. I think I may be able to distill my message down. Ugh, I should have squatted on LPvg.com, but I can make .org do. I can (and should) make it an international education initiative. That’s sort of what it was designed as, especially as a personal education initiative. And it worked for me.

I started my hunt for the technologies on which to re-base myself shortly before before NodeJS came out and JavaScript was reborn on the server. I can only imagine how different things might have been if I started my hunt a bit later and JavaScript attempted to fill the role in my heart that Python has assumed. I would be in a very different place today. I consider it a yet another pitfall avoided (not that I’ve actually avoided many pitfalls).

AI is getting crazy. I have to stay sane. I need to take up midjourney or stablediffusion.

Probably most importantly, I have to come up with a way to make money with what I do. I don’t really want to make products anymore. And I don’t really want to make content for the sake of money anymore. I want to exercise and practice my craft which could be used to make products and money-making content. But then there’s the fact if you can’t do it for yourself, how are you going to teach others? Well, that’s where LPvg.org comes in. It’s a noble new literacy cause that could sweep the planet.

Problems are solved when people with the creativity to imagine solutions also have the technical ability to implement. AI will vastly increase our capabilities on both fronts, ideation and implementation. But until robots are running businesses to make money for themselves, there’s still humans in the picture. Humans own both ideation and implementation, ultimately. Even if an AI creates the implementation, humans need enough tech literacy to understand what it built, at least in broad strokes. Getting down into the weeds often becomes indecipherable. But top-level, you should “get it”, or you lack control.

LPvg.org is about getting that basic literacy to assert control. How long before AI starts messing around with Linux. Linux itself will likely be insanely optimized, but APIs have to remain sacrosanct.

APIs are an interesting thing. If they let you do it with a web browser, then its’ automatable. That’s going to be a side-topic for LPvg.org along with Jupyter and iPython tech. I’m a bit upset about Playwright browser automation being a Microsoft thing now, having eaten Google’s lunch on Puppeteer, but still browser automation through the Google Chrome DevTools console API. Even the fact that that’s what’s going on is a thing, and how it was wired to FireFox and WebKit even though they’re not Chromium-based like Microsoft Edge. Anyhoo, this is rambling. Back to the issues at hand.

MikeLev.in will be where I ideate like this freely – free association and truly free. I won’t paywall MikeLev.in. But I will use what I do in MikeLev.in almost daily especially starting Monday to come up with something. There’s the early-day content which is writing like this that everyone will be invited into. Long-form ideation which isn’t really the product of my labors. The product of my labors comes throughout the day, and something will be held-back and paywalled.

So I’m basically just carrying out 24x7 performance art. Patreon? Forget about discord servers? Forget about… no, don’t forget about anything. Try lots. Try:

Let’s ask ChatGPT! What are the various ways to make money on your video and services content like YouTube membership and Patreon?

There are several ways to make money on your video and services content, including:

  1. YouTube Membership: YouTube Membership is a paid subscription service that gives users exclusive access to certain content on a creator’s channel, such as exclusive videos, live streams, and community posts. Creators can earn money from their members through the program by offering additional benefits and perks.
  2. Patreon: Patreon is a platform that allows creators to receive recurring payments from their fans or patrons. Creators can offer various levels of support, with different rewards and perks offered at each level. This includes early access to content, exclusive merchandise, or behind-the-scenes access.
  3. Advertising: Creators can earn money through advertising on their YouTube videos or other platforms. This can include display ads, sponsored content, or affiliate marketing.
  4. Merchandise: Creators can sell merchandise related to their content, such as T-shirts, stickers, or other merchandise.
  5. Digital Products: Creators can sell digital products, such as ebooks, courses, or software, related to their content.
  6. Sponsorship: Creators can enter into sponsorship agreements with companies or brands to promote their products or services in their content.
  7. Crowdfunding: Creators can use platforms like Kickstarter or Indiegogo to raise funds for specific projects or ventures.

These are just a few of the many ways that creators can make money on their video and services content. The best approach will depend on the individual creator, their audience, and the type of content they produce.

Hmmm, not much useful there except the Kickstarter and Indiegogo ideas, which I know. I did a Kickstarter a few years back to kick the tires.

What have I done wrong in the past?

Yes, I’m zeroing in on it here. How many people might be interested in what I have to offer if they could get a reliable stream of it every day.

Put out your overtures to the world where people scour for overtures, such as:

Hmmm, I don’t particularly want angel investors, but this would be good to know. Ask ChatGPT: Where do angel investors and other people with capital monitor for new ideas? Give me examples like new Kickstarters.

Angel investors and other people with capital monitor several platforms and channels to find new investment opportunities and innovative ideas, including:

  1. Startup Incubators and Accelerators: These are programs that provide resources and support to early-stage startups, including funding, mentorship, and networking opportunities.
  2. Venture Capital Firms: Venture capital firms invest in startups and early-stage companies with high growth potential. They are often the first institutional investors in a company and provide both funding and support to help the company grow.
  3. Angel Investor Networks: Angel investor networks connect individual angel investors with entrepreneurs seeking funding. These networks often host events and pitch sessions where entrepreneurs can present their ideas to potential investors.
  4. Crowdfunding Platforms: Crowdfunding platforms, such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo, allow entrepreneurs to raise funds from a large number of people, typically in exchange for rewards or equity in the company.
  5. Online Investment Marketplaces: Online investment marketplaces, such as AngelList and Gust, allow investors to find and invest in startups and early-stage companies.
  6. Technology Conferences and Trade Shows: Technology conferences and trade shows provide a platform for entrepreneurs and startups to showcase their products and ideas to potential investors and customers.
  7. Social Media: Social media platforms, such as LinkedIn and Twitter, can be a great way for entrepreneurs to connect with potential investors and share their ideas and plans with a wider audience.

These are just a few examples of where angel investors and others with capital monitor for new ideas and investment opportunities. The key is to identify the channels that are most relevant to your industry and target audience and to build a strong online presence to showcase your idea or product.

Okay, I just updated my Twitter profile to read:

Future-proof your tech-skills against AI w/ Linux, Python, vim & git at https://mikelev.in/blog — https://YouTube.com/MikeLevin — https://Pipulate.com/MLGL

Be one of which machines must learn from. And when they try, you’ve got them. Their understanding is so thorough that if there’s very explicit terms on the page about the use of the content, it will understand. And so violations of such terms will either be knowingly or recrimination of the abilities of the AI. BAM!

Oh and just to have the $10/mo subscription option documented:

To offer a $10 subscription, you’ll need to set up a payment system and a way for customers to sign up for the subscription. Here’s a general outline of the steps you can follow:

  1. Determine the payment method: You can use a payment processor such as PayPal, Stripe, or Square to handle the transactions for your subscription.
  2. Set up a subscription plan: Depending on your payment processor, you’ll need to create a subscription plan that charges customers $10 per month (or another interval you prefer). You’ll also need to specify what the customer will receive for their subscription fee.
  3. Create a sign-up form: You’ll need a way for customers to sign up for the subscription, either on your website or through a third-party service. This can be a simple form that collects the customer’s name, email address, and payment information.
  4. Promote your subscription: Once everything is set up, you’ll need to let people know about your $10 subscription. You can do this through social media, email marketing, or other advertising channels.
  5. Manage the subscriptions: Finally, you’ll need to keep track of who has signed up and manage the recurring payments. You can use the tools provided by your payment processor to handle this, or you may need to build a custom system if you have a large number of subscribers.

Keep in mind that there may be legal and financial requirements you need to consider, such as collecting sales tax and complying with payment and privacy regulations. Be sure to research the requirements for your jurisdiction before launching your subscription service.