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26 min read

Episode 40: Should SMEs use Generative AI and CGI to Tell Their Brand Story?

Episode 40: Should SMEs use Generative AI and CGI to Tell Their Brand Story?

Have you ever thought “I wish I had the technical skills to put an alien in this promotional video”? With the help of generative AI, you can now make that vision a reality! Join hosts Dave Parry and Richard Buckle as they discuss the potential of generative AI for digital storytelling, as well as the impacts of AI on current business practices. 

In the latest episode of The SME Growth Podcast, Dave and Rich discuss programmes like Wonder Dynamics (make sure you look at the video of the episode!), the potential application for marketing content and how AI is  providing SME’s a way to tell their brand story in a new and compelling way.

They also cover the potential impact of AI on SEO, and the increase in using chat-based tools like ChatGPT instead of search engines. They also discuss the decreasing half-life of skills as well as the generational differences in technology expectations.

Get the most from this episode in the form that works best for you: watch the episode, read the transcript or access further resources below.


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REad the transcript

Please note: Whilst all transcripts are double checked for accuracy, they are transcribed via Otter.AI so may contain errors.

David Parry 01:29

Welcome to The SME Growth Podcast. I'm back! We let Richard have a session last week, we had a great interview if you haven't seen it, with Andrea Miller, talking about the fallout from the Spanish football team World Cup win and all of the fiasco and controversy that followed that. So if you haven't watched it yet, it's a cracker. So well done Rich, and Andrea for recording that one. But we're back this week. And and Rich and I are back together again. 

Richard Buckle 02:36

In just in terms of the podcast 

David Parry 02:37

In the podcast sense. Sorry, I wasn't giving a relationship update.

Richard Buckle 02:41

Just in case,

David Parry 02:42

there's too much information. Yes, I should now explain though, because for those of you listening in audio, you'll have noticed nothing different. But if you're watching the video of this podcast, or maybe you've seen the promo shorts of it on LinkedIn, or Instagram, then something weird just happened. We had an alien and a robot setting up the podcast room instead of me and Rich doing it as usual. So that would look a bit weird. And then the gag is that here we are now as humans. We're back! Having shed

Richard Buckle 03:12

Stuffed into our human form

David Parry 03:14

Our alien and robot real selves.

Richard Buckle 03:17

Men in Black style.

David Parry 03:18

So Rich, tell us what was all that about, you discovered the AI

Richard Buckle 03:21

Yeah, a couple of or however long it was 12 months ago, there was a piece of software that came out called Wonder Studio. They were in beta at the time, it looked quite cool. So you could film something, you know, going for a run or in the office. And then with the magic of AI and other probably complicated technology, you can put an avatar on top of yourself and it matches your body movements pretty remarkably. And so we were talking about it that day, we've got a new guy in the office, who's into, Arif, who's into all kind of 3d modelling and things like that. And so I said, Hey, have you seen the software? And so we had a look at it. And we had a little bit of a play. We thought why don't we try and you know, entertain the podcast audience with something and then maybe have a chat about it. Well, is this just a bit of was it for fun? Is it gimmicky? Does it actually help? Will we all be making these kinds of videos.

David Parry 04:17

I remember you showing it to me, just say maybe thinking of a year ago, six months ago, at least. And it looked fantastic, because clearly there promo videos, you can use it at that point, they were just releasing some example footage. And it looked incredible first time, you'd have seen it to think that you're just filming people doing ordinary human type stuff in a video, and that you can turn them into whatever you want aliens and robots and other characters. And now it's come out. You're right. So we've had a bit of a play with it. I suppose what it's doing my sort of layman's understanding of it is it's shortcutting the need for the sort of dressing up in a black suit with white dots all over it and having sophisticated software to map the human body's movements using what they call motion capture into something that's a 3d model on software and then overlaying some sort of Avatar, 3d models. So that cut out all of that using AI, as you say very, very clever. And all you have to do is film it as normal and change yourself into an octopus, or whatever you want to be.

Richard Buckle 05:10

I thought it was an interesting experiment A) to just try out a new tech, I think we'd always be advocates of that to say, 

David Parry 05:17

Try everything.

Richard Buckle 05:18

Wherever you are in your business, there's always new tools coming out, give it a go. But then, I suppose more kind of philosophically, where is the application for it. And as of yet, we've only done one little test video. And as we are talking, the guys are editing the videos. So we don't actually know at the moment, as we speak, what is going to come out.

David Parry 05:41

Which reminds me of the old days of photography, you know, where you send your film off, remember that your dad probably told you to wait for weeks for it to come back. 

Richard Buckle 05:49

I used to develop my own black and white film actually 

David Parry 05:51

Oh sorry, it's the kids in the office, what's wet film. Anyway. So you're right, we're waiting to see what the results are of this wacky harebrained scheme, I want to come back to that point you made as well. But later on in the show about the trying new things, what was your try the new tech and coming out. And there's an interesting subject around the half life of skills. So remind me on that, then we'll come back to that. But like you say, let's start this by we're having a bit of a discussion, which is following on from what you and I started chatting about in the office the other day, because I think my reaction to it is slightly different to yours, it's fair to say, maybe even more than slightly different I don't know, I don't know if I'm representative of a school of thought, which maybe aligns with some of our client base, who are potentially sort of quite serious minded about these sort of things, especially around the subject of marketing and promotions. And I love what it can do this tool you've talked about, but I'm, I'm still thinking about where the applications are. Is it just a great fun piece tool? And if I was filming, you know, a motion picture or just a little bit of student projects, and I could cheaply put an alien into the scene? That's great. Where do I use that in my marketing, and beyond the sort of thing we're doing now I suppose it's grabbed the attention. The first time anybody's seen it, you might get a few more clicks on your LinkedIn posts, because people are intrigued not seen that sort of thing before. But a bit like when other tech first comes out, that soon becomes normal, and it's no longer exciting and clever. So we've can imagine companies around the country are going to be starting to use this tech for the first time, maybe they'll do something around Christmas for it. Or if it lasts them until April Fool's they'll do something around it. But as it got more serious application beyond just having a bit bit of showing a bit jokey dressing your MD up into an Alien Costume, you know, what, where's it go get beyond that?

Richard Buckle 07:37

Yeah, I think it's I think there's a there's a point that I just say that you could be, you should be serious about your marketing. And, but that could be, I don't say have serious fun. Hey, let's all be wacky. But seriously, but seriously, no, but you got it, you've got to take your marketing seriously. So this may not be for everybody, that that's true. But I think where this where this helps, in my mind, and this is I'm still, you know, embryonic on this journey of thoughts at the moment. But I've been interested in storytelling, there's a whole, there's a whole school of thought around narrative leadership, which is basically a posh way of saying, tell stories to help manage people and lead them. But it's around creating that story within your culture within your business and then using that. All humans have stories. That's why we like to read books. That's why we like to watch films, those sorts of things

David Parry 08:34

Right back to campfires and passing tales from generation to generation.

Richard Buckle 08:38

It's, it's sort of it's in us in quite a deep way. So I think this potentially gives businesses an avenue to explore something that's a little bit more creative without having to have the CGI budget of a Hollywood blockbuster. Now, you've still got to, I'd caveat that by saying it's not point and shoot. So there's, there's things that the guys are having to do to,

David Parry 09:05

but we've already found them just in a little dry run, we found a number of little things, which they didn't quite highlight in their promo videos of how easy it all looks and how great the polished output is. To get to whatever the guys out there are producing. We've had to accommodate how we've taken the shots, how we've lit it, you know how we've moved. So there are some constraints. It's not quite as simple as paying your reasonably small monthly fee for the software, filming something and bringing it through and getting what you want. It's not trivial. You're right. 

Richard Buckle 09:32

So so there's there is that element. And that's where I think there's there's a way like anything is that you can have terrible CGI and amazing CGI. And there's a whole spectrum between so so one of the first videos that we did yesterday, the you know, the robot was sitting in the middle of the table. Yeah. And so okay, we've got to think about then how we film this and what the constraints that we've got, oh look at how to mask area areas and things like that. So so there is isn't a degree here of, of technical ability? That's to go into it. But I think more importantly, is getting people to think about a case or what is your brand story. Now, this isn't again, not going to be particularly this may not be applicable to every single business, you know, some, some businesses just do stuff, and they just have to do stuff. But if you're, if you're thinking about okay, so what are our brand values? What's our brand story? What kind of narrative? Do we want to communicate to our customers to stakeholders, it starts just getting you thinking in that frame of mind. And this then just becomes a tool to say, how do we bring some thinking creatively into there. So it doesn't have to be a robot or an alien, there's just the ones they've got in at the moment, they have got other avatars. And you can also build your own and import them in. So you could have your own if you've got, like, let's see, you've got some animal mascot or something. And you can make your mascot come to life, you could have that in a video alongside the team 

David Parry 10:59

I was thinking as well, maybe you did, we had a client once that did these measurement arms, which you just take the arm points on your workpiece. And it will do all the measurements of the piece, or just any other sort of robot or pick and place robot, you could design that as your avatar. And then you use your physical arm in a camera shot just so that I want to pick up but save a hell of a lot of programming, if all you had to do was to film yourself doing stuff and then you turned your human arm into the measurement arm or the robot arm or whatever it may be. Now that's fairly specific, because I can see there being a fairly close correlation between the products, which I think of that and something that you can do with the human body. But let's say you sold a piece of kit that was just like a fridge, you know, it's just a stainless steel box that does stuff, but you wanted to come up with some sort of explainer video or, or even anthropomorphize that product to get it to explain itself. That'd be quite fun

Richard Buckle 11:49

in my head now just thinking of remember Clippy, oh, yeah, Microsoft,

David Parry 11:53

Microsoft Windows 2000 or something

Richard Buckle 11:55

Yes Clippy who would help you do stuff

David Parry 11:58

Yeah, you could, if that was the point is you're making you can have any avatars, the skin to overlay, all the clever bit is doing is turning a video of humans into the motion capture dots without needing all the clever software and the dots, it's done that for you, you still have to then apply the skin on to that which is helping you to do as well. And that's where I was when I'm talking to you the other day in the office. Where can we bring this to you? Because I'm excited by the potential just like all the other things we see coming, come and sometimes go. But I'm still at that very, very early stage of thinking yes, but we're not if I imagined the conversation now with some of my more cynical clients, perhaps and there's no one listening. Of course, it's the ones that don't listen that are more cynical. What would they be saying if I showed them this? Or if they saw his podcasts? Beyond? You guys are just mucking about in the office? What are you playing it?

Richard Buckle 12:45

Well, I think there's, I mean, the obvious one, is to come up with some sort of cheesy catch line with what you've got. So UK, you've got whatever your product is. It's out of this world! We're blasting off! Or something like that and you're standing there avatar skin dressed up as aliens. So there's that level of it. There's again, like I said, it's not limited to those characters. So it could be anything. I think we're trying to think about I think I've probably mentioned before in the podcast, whenever I think about content I was thinking about it does it is it can educate somebody. So is it gonna offer the value? Is it going to entertain? And is it going to engage them and 

David Parry 13:24

or inform them of the values?

Richard Buckle 13:24

Yeah, so those sorts of things. This, these sorts of tools, I think, do have that ability to just be a bit more eye catching. Now, yes, they will become ubiquitous in time, but then they'll be something else that comes out. So

David Parry 13:39

I can see that. And that's where I suppose I phrased my question to you that the day this will have at least a shelf life of three, six months or more just like ChatGPT has and other things that have come along that we've been able to do. Because it'll be novel in the first time you've ever seen it is remember that what was that presentation software that allowed you to zoom in

Richard Buckle 13:57

Oh Prezi? 

David Parry 13:58

Yeah, that's it, it gave you headaches after a while But the first time that came out, everybody was doing Prezi presentations, because it was just a blessed relief from the PowerPoint, death by PowerPoint thing, something else came out. But now you hardly ever see it to the point where the the useful bits have actually been built into PowerPoint. So this will have a life of three, six months as some of the more forward thinking companies decide to use it in some clever way. They come up with some creative idea that it works for and they'll deploy it and it'll get attention and get eyeballs, you know, for a while. That's great. But imagine wind to look forward six months a year maybe. And it's just almost commonplace now that people's company videos shows avatars of whatever their products, their robots, their aliens, wandering around and doing stuff. And everybody will say, Oh, yeah, they're using that software that does it. Yeah. Very clever. Yeah. But you know, seen that before, old hat, its lost its shock value. So where does it have utility value once you've gone beyond shock value?

Richard Buckle 14:00

Made me feel sick I don't know. Maybe I'd push back on that little bit and think what does it whilst ChatGPT has become a household name. How many of people actually use ChatGPT really well in their business, how many are really actually getting under the skin of it prompting properly, proper prompt engineer, even if that's a real thing, but they're earning six figure salaries. Now, there's not many SMEs that are going to pay someone six fingers to sit there and optimise their business with ChatGPT prompts. And I think whilst it's very easy to say, write me a blog on blah, blah, blah. And there you go. And there's some generic bit of information, some of its going to be out of date, some of its going to be worded in a way that just doesn't fit your tone. So again, you've got to train it, and all these sort all sorts of things. So I think whilst these things become in the popular domain, bit like Excel, take another example, how many people really know how to use Excel? Most people use 2% of it. 3% of it? And Excel has been around for ages

David Parry 15:52

Did you know 72% of statistics are made up on the spot?

Richard Buckle 15:55

I thought was 83. But, so. So my point still stands, I think, yeah,

David Parry 16:04

Not many people use a lot, it can do a lot more anyway, this could be and maybe our challenge and talking to our clients and taking this to the next level is beyond the initial utility of six months, which is based more on novelty shock value, if you like, just quirkiness fun. It's, it's upon us almost to help our clients to see this tech and others like it in through a lens, which they do see is useful and it isn't just novel.

Richard Buckle 16:30

Well, I think as well, if it's a catalyst to change some of your thinking about things. So okay, most people do the same old stuff with their marketing, same old, same old, okay, so try something different. Try something that maybe does grab attention a bit more. But I think it's back to that story thing. I think it's super powerful. And it is one of those things that can be put in the bucket of this is all fluffy. You know, chuck it in there with the vision stuff and the values of whatever. But those are the things that underpin like,

David Parry 16:58

but there's there's some health warnings that come with it. And like everything I say, always, but let's say your avatar was Joe Rogan, that you were able to make him do or say 

Richard Buckle 17:07

That's already happeing though. I mean, this stuff, I mean, he must be spitting feathers over it, because some of the stuff now that you can see on Instagram or whatever, of him saying things that he clearly would not say,

David Parry 17:20

but I bet those I don't I have not seen the ones you're referring to, but they're probably face to camera type stuff, you can now make him 3d walking around a space shaking hands with you, in your office, being in your meeting, it's going to be much more convincing to see somebody convincing in an awkward way, I suppose to see somebody actually in a 3d space interacting, but as another person could turn you into an authoritative figure giving testimony to something that that person wouldn't say,

Richard Buckle 17:48

imagine they got an opening or a new product launch? Who do you want to turn up to it? 

David Parry 17:53

you don't have to be a celebrity for endorsement anymore, you make them up. So I think there's you know, some of that may be fun. And with the right disclaimers on the screen. You know, no animals were harmed, no similarities were used, you might have to do that, to get away with it

Richard Buckle 18:07

But I think the bigger me the bigger picture on this is is back to that story bit. And how does that influence because that goes beyond just making a video with some AI in it. It goes to the very sort of core of AI and what are we? What are we trying to do here? What was what is our mission? What's our purpose? How are we supposed to interact with each other, what's our values, all these things, and it can pull that

David Parry 18:29

It's got to be consistent with your values 

Richard Buckle 18:30

So it's a way that it pulls it all together. Which I think longer term, I think when you look at companies that have a much better grip on that type of thing, they tend to over the long term be more succesful 

David Parry 18:43

And maybe maybe I'm getting a bit carried away in one sense in that whilst we like to think of ourselves a bit more in the vanguard of finding out about these new bits of tech, paying the sub, having a play, you know, bleeding edge, they sometimes call it you know, you lose your money, you invest your money at the early stage, just seeing what it can do. And not everything turns out to be a winner, then there's so if we're the early adopters, then there's the early majority that follow through, you know, the the followers if you like, then you get that middle rump of people who will do a bit of it. Now, I think for this tech, that's not gonna be very big. There could well be a whole host of companies that have either got the attitude that they don't play with it, haven't got the skill set or haven't got the ideas of how to play with it. So maybe there's me thinking, Oh, everybody, we're using this in a years time. That's probably not the case, probably still down at a few percent of companies. And maybe even once the initial flashes is gone, and people realise that to pay for the fully featured version of this software, you took a few $100 a month and your normal company isn't going to splash out that on just one piece of tech. If they're just using it for themselves. It's easy for us to do it because we're using it for lots of other people. So maybe actually does have a longer shelf life because it won't become as ubiquitous as as I feared.

Richard Buckle 19:51

I think like we've discovered you can do a quick video on your iPhone or any other phone that you may be using. And you It's, it's just it still needs thinking through? How are you going to show this angle? What's the shot? What's a storyboard? What's the, it's not a five minute, let's grab some footage, you know, but like that, that reface app that was that went round a couple of years ago, where you could just do a five minute, hey, here's my face, what do I do, like if I reface myself as any old celebrity or Iron Man or something,

David Parry 20:23

or make yourself older or younger 

Richard Buckle 20:25

All those things. That was very accessible to people, because everyone's got a smartphone, everybody can do that. This takes a little bit more thinking about, if you're going to produce something

David Parry 20:34

Yeah the clever bit of tech they've done is move away from a head and shoulders shot, which is a bit easier to simulate. And that's why all those apps came out when they did, this is now creating something that exists in another space. And you've got to cope with all sorts of more computing power.

Richard Buckle 20:47

But I think Steven Spielberg's behind it in some way, investor or been involved in steering it. So it's, it's almost got that kind of if you're trying to make a movie, or you're trying to do something a bit more creative, which again, isn't isn't going to be for everybody. Not everybody needs that.

David Parry 21:03

So let me come back. You mentioned ChatGPT, earlier as well. Another thought that was triggered when we were talking about this the other day with this is how long does it take before a piece of AI almost eats itself. So my concern or you know, some some potential future reality could be that we ChatGPT now being so good at writing articles, by using its large language model on all the stuff, it's been trained on, lots of companies using it to write blogs. And initially, that sort of is quite handy, because you think that's an efficiency saving, I can now write a blog in five minutes or five seconds compared to spending all day on it, and I can churn them out. But after a while, the value of having a blog with some even well written content that's knowledgeable and authoritative on your website, no matter how good it is, even if you've human written it, that is going to be less valuable. Because if you want to understand, you know, what's the principles of inbound marketing, that the moment you search for it, you might find the Wellmeadow site and you'd read our blog. Just go to ChatGPT and it'll give you a composite of everybody's views on it. So we'll even the value of blogs even matter anymore? Is it just an SEO having keywords out there to be found? But what's the point of being found if people don't want to read it? 

Richard Buckle 22:16

I've heard recently someone talking about using ChatGPT for search, so and to return company. So not only need to people have to think about well, what's that SEO looking like for Google searchers? Search engine searches, you've got to think about well, will I be thrown up as an answer in the ChatGPT search? So okay, you know, who are the top companies in the UK for inbound marketing. And then it's going to return a list of companies that it has evaluated.

David Parry 22:43

Or maybe we're moving on then to search 4.0 or whatever number at the moment started life just being which sites have got the keywords you've just typed in, and you have to be very prescriptive, then it moved on to searcher intent, it started to work out what you really mean. And if you say, pizza delivery near me, it could work all that stuff out and things, maybe the next level of that is might even move away from Google entirely, or at least it would use the ChatGPT or the Bard type of plugin for it. And instead of us all paying for adverts on Google for search rankings and adverts with it at the top of the rankings, we're paying to be in the ChatGPT results. Now that's that opens up a can of worms, doesn't it? That's like paying for an advert on Wikipedia that the point of it is not to have that

Richard Buckle 23:26

And if Open AI are listening. You heard it here first guys, like we want our cut.

David Parry 23:34

Yeah, I read an article, I think it was in the paper yesterday or today. There's 300 Different scaled large language model companies in the world at the moment 40% Chinese, 50%, American and 10% the rest. And barring a very few, they've got broken commercial models. But so did Google when it first started, right, and there are a few search engines out there. So clearly ChatGPT has its Plus subscription, where it releases all its new stuff and stops the waiting and that sort of thing. And we pay for that because it's useful, but there's another 299 of them out there that we're not paying for. So where they're gonna go, some of them are just gonna fizzle or merge together. But some may adopt interesting commercial models to monetize what they're doing. And surely they're going to be tempted down the advertising route. Why wouldn't you?

Richard Buckle 24:21

Yeah, well, you got to you've got to pay the bills somehow. Right? So

David Parry 24:24

it's just getting the eyeballs it's just like TV you know, the adverts in between the stuff you don't watch them but you're there. If people become accustomed to using ChatGPT or Bard or any one of the other 298 of them then they're going to want to try and make some money on the fact that you're there

Richard Buckle 24:38

I think it's still trying to find in some ways that killer apps I mean, you see it on Instagram all the time everyone's trying to hawk their download our guide for by our extension path for ChatGPT to help you do this, that and yeah, and there's probably a lot of scam out there. There are things right, I think if you can link up so Some of the plugins give me a recipe this for this, put it in my basket and deliver. Yeah, now you can, you can do that, but only in certain areas. I think if we got to that point, I'd maybe think, okay, if I had to pay a certain amount a month to have that sort of tailored meal plan, all sorted delivered to my house.

David Parry 25:22

Hold on, you're saying and if you are prepared to pay that, now, let's say ChatGPT etc had never been invented. Why didn't Google come up with a model or some one of its competitors where it was ad free, and you paid a subscription to have it? It doesn't even have a voluntary, you know, I pay Wikipedia every year because I use it a lot. And only 2% of Wikipedia users do it. But I think I get value from them. And I'm happy to pay, why wouldn't they have something a bit like public TV in a public service broadcasting in America

Richard Buckle 25:49

I suppose they've done that to get rid of adverts on YouTube? So you can subscribe to YouTube and get rid of the ads. 

David Parry 25:55

So but that hasn't come across the search. And that was my thinking as it ran on with this video software triggering the thought about check GBT and search generally, that if search becomes very different, because I'm not looking at him, I'm not interested in finding out which companies got a good blog article on this subject I'm researching. I'm just gonna go and Chat GPT. And it gives me the wisdom of a million different blogs that different people have written. And it very cleverly puts it together.

Richard Buckle 26:21

With a chrome AI plugin, is supposed to be quite powerful. I've not played with it. But I saw something on that yesterday and they said that starting to overtake ChatGPT

David Parry 26:29

Still a bit of a health warning though ChatGPT I've seen, we've we've tried it as you know, like lots of other tools and maybe sometimes get it to summarise these podcasts. And it does a very good job superficially, it's well written, it picks out key points that are summarisable, but it misses the main point. Because it doesn't know it can't judge quality kind of it knows that this was talked about a lot. So I'll summarise it. But like last week, you were talking with Andrew about planning for Christmas and around the ethics of running Christmas parties. And it picked up on the wrong bit of the subjects. Just the fact that I wasn't here. So you could talk about Christmas. Well, that's not really very newsworthy. But there was a really serious point in there, which we would have liked to summarise, which is, you know, managers need to think about their role model, being a leader and organisation and all that sort of thing 

Richard Buckle 27:15

Yeah, so you do have to and, and, you know, beacon health warnings on this type of stuff. I did hear the other day, but unfortunately, there's apparently making another Terminator film, where it's Open AI that he's there. He's now I don't know if this is true. So I'm gonna caveat it with that. I only heard it. And but I'm going to investigate, because he has been warning us about this for years. Terminator 1, Terminator 2, all the rest of the Terminator series. He's told us, they will play around with this stuff. Look what can happen. But we you know, carried on on trying to find an Arnie ism now that use. But we stuck around and now he's telling us to get to the chopper

David Parry 27:57

We can edit something in

Richard Buckle 28:00

But yeah, so I thought it's interesting now that it's it's even becoming, you know, kind of

David Parry 28:05

What's the phrase reality imitating art or art becomes reality. But that's where we're going with it. I did say I wanted to come back on this concept of half life of skills, we subscribe to the Harvard Business Review, which is fascinating. And the other point I wanted to say about that, just while we're there is the images that it uses in that magazine are fantastic. They're all done by artists. And if you're thinking about images to accompany your blog posts, or put on your website, just think about this approach for a minute, they don't try and overtly link the image to the subject to the article, deliberately. They have a very tenuous link, which they have to actually describe. It's that tenuous, but they use really top quality art, original art. And they put that and I think their attitude is that to draw you into an article, that's what the image is for. And quite often, that image doesn't have to actually relate to it, just draws you in a bit like when you see the billboards haven't got an advert on the moment, they just put a big picture of a baby's face on it, because it drags your attention in. And then it just says rent the space got your attention. So anyway, that's a bit about the pictures in the Harvard Business Review. But the article was around the half life of skills. And if you think back a long time, half life of skills was beyond the working life of a human. So if you learn to be a plumber, fine, you got a lifetime of plumbing ahead of you or solicitor and so on. In certainly in the knowledge industries now that half life is coming down to less than five years, and in some instances, two and a half. So if you're in some coding areas, now, you've got to be really at the forefront. Otherwise, what you are paid to do today will be automatically done for you by AI or something in very short order. So if the half life of skills has come down to considerably less than a career length, businesses have to think a lot more about retraining their people. Now the article is really good analysis on this. It says if you're going to retrain people, you've got to know what skills you need and how the skills people have match up to the jobs that they need to do. So you need to start out with a list of skills So, apparently the World Economic Forum have done one and HSBC have adopted their skills list 7000 skills have been discretely identified in there. And the bank, HSBC, use that list to work out what skills each of their employees have got, and how that matches up and what they do. And then, of course, you have a gap analysis, you say, well, that set of skills was great last year, but we don't need them anymore, we now need this new set, we have to retrain you in these new skills. And as they point out, not everybody is well suited to having new skills trained in them, they have to have the motivation to do it, have to have some inevitability and have to have the right personality. And it opens up that topic quite a lot in the in the HBR. This quarter. So I was I was fascinated by that, that if all of our businesses are going to be accelerating in terms of need of change of skill base, then all of our employees and us as leaders have got one hell of a challenge, this will all be driven by AI, which is what's accelerating this reduction in the half life, we've got to somehow work out, not what people come to the job with, to start with, their education is less and less important. Their experience is, you know, important to point but becoming less. So it's more about not even what skills they have, by how quick they are adapting new skills. And if they're not very good at picking up that next thing, then whilst they may be a great employee on day one, slightly less so on their first anniversary, slightly less so on their second and very soon, you know, they need to go and work somewhere else. So it's a really sobering thought that we're not just creating tools that make us more efficient. But they're going to drive a whole new pace of change

Richard Buckle 31:36

Pace of change. And I guess, I was thinking about this, something similar. The other day, when I was showing my lad, the the test video we made of this AI software. And I was kind of I think in the office, we were all sort of reasonably impressed by a video of yourself and me walking through somewhere and they had been changed into this robot. This is amazing. And I showed it to him. He's 11. Just 11. Eh, you just use some AI to put the thing over something.

David Parry 31:36

Not impressed at all. 

Richard Buckle 32:06

Not impressed at all. Yeah, this is really interesting. When I contrast that to say, five, six years ago, when I went over to my, my granddad had bought himself a, a Wii, Nintendo Wii, to practice his golf. But he hadn't plugged it in properly. So it was all there was a SCART leads back in the day. And it was all black and white and wavy. But he was still playing it because he thought that, for me, that's what it was. Yeah. So Grandad, you got sort of a you need to so I went around the back, put it in bright colours, vibrant thing. And he was actually because you've absolutely blown me away with this. This is amazing. At that point, I was thinking you didn't actually think that was how it was supposed to be. But that's what he did. That was his expectation of it. So I look at that, compared to two generations.

David Parry 32:55

I think that you're circling back to where we started this is this just playing around with this video software? I think you're right, there's a there's going to be a very wide range of reactions, when people see it through to those that know how it's done. They know it's they know that magic trick, they're not impressed by the magician. And it doesn't even have any effect or it's not even going to catch their attention to read the article underneath, right through to the other end, where they're absolutely blown away by how did you tell us to spend our Why did you but what sort of budget, you know, and all that sort of thing. So you're right there, we've got to pitch this appropriately. Never had been more important understand your buyer persona and the other expectations are and how they react to this sort of stuff. Well, so do we do we now have to go back into that alien robot thing again? Finish the story. I don't think we're got the energy for that. We'll pretend that we will get back into our alien alter egos after the podcast

Richard Buckle 33:49

It's like those films isn't it when they run out of budget, so they just gotta like show the back of someone

David Parry 33:53

And for those of you that haven't watched either the video of this podcast or the promo clips of it, none of that will make sense.

Richard Buckle 34:02

Do go and check it out

David Parry 34:03

Check it out on LinkedIn or website or Instagram. Well, thanks a lot. Good chat, good extension of what we're talking about in the office the other day. And no doubt we'll come back to this subject. Good. Thank you again, for listening to and perhaps watching, hopefully, especially this week, our SME Growth Podcast from Wellmeadow produce these every week trying to pick a new topic that might be interested to SME businesses in particular who are looking to grow as ever, we ask you to pass on the word of what we're doing. You can do that by following us on Spotify or Apple podcasts or Amazon or wherever else you get your podcasts from, click the little bell so you get notified when our next episode drops, or just do the old fashioned thing and drop an email or pick up a phone and tell a mate that we're doing it, we're enjoying doing them and we're getting some great feedback, so please pass them on. In the meantime, good luck with your business.

Further Resources

If you're interested in more AI content, check out our previous podcast episode on practical AI uses or take a look at our blog Our Top 5 Tips to Boost Personal Productivity. 


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