March 30, 2023

The Winning Formula to Building AI-first Products with Dave Rogenmoser

The Winning Formula to Building AI-first Products with Dave Rogenmoser

Today Greg is joined by Dave Rogenmoser. Dave is the co-founder of Jasper, a Y Combinator-backed, generative AI platform for business that helps teams create content 10X faster. In this episode, Greg and Dave talk about why AI isn't enough to be a business on its own. You still have to talk to customers, find a niche, and solve a problem. Find out how in this episode. 

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Production Team:
Dave Rogenmoser:

0:00 - Intro
2:34 - Should founders be paying attention to noise on Product Hunt, Twitter, etc?
15:26 - How to get started using AI tools
25:49 - Non-obvious niches to apply AI-first products
32:55 - Dave takes questions from the community


Greg: Dave Rogenmoser, is that how I pronounce your name?

Dave: Yeah, you just took the shot. I love that. And you nailed it,

Greg: I mean, I'm a founder. You're a founder. We're confident people. We take shots. We're not sure we're gonna score, but we take shots.

Dave: Yeah. I love it. You didn't even ask me before we started. You just . You just

Greg: when for it. Just when for it.

Dave: That's good.

Greg: first, a quick intro about you. You're a co-founder. Jasper ai, um, which is really, in my opinion, one of the leading AI companies, uh, billion dollar plus valuation. really interesting story because it, it's come from, from what I understand, some pivots and, uh, zig and zag, and people might see it as an overnight success, but it's zigged and zagged, and I wanted to start off by, Asking you how you're feeling.

because the world of AI has exploded especially over the last few months, but even more so over the last few weeks. How is Dave doing?

Dave: I am feeling good. Um, I think, yeah, there's a lot happening and I would say in December, right now it's March 20th, you know, in December. I was just paying way too much attention to Twitter and way too much attention to all the noise. And that got really distracting. And I think, you know, I've always had just a very small team or some, me and my two co-founders, and so like, if you ever like, you kind of get the earth to do something or you cease this competitor, do something, you gotta strike back or like, whatever the thing is, it's just been very easy to say, well, I'm gonna go deep into myself.

and I'm gonna go make this thing happen and I'm gonna work extra if I need to, or if I'm, I'm gonna get more focused, I'm gonna be more scrappy or whatever. And now, you know, again, we see kind of this, you know, a lot of stuff happening in the market. I think it's important to stay away from the noise. I mean, be aware of it, but mostly just execute the strategy.

But now I've got a team of 200 people that I'm learning to help get into that zone and, and I can't just go make this happen on my own anymore. Uh, I've gotta be a leader and I've gotta learn to delegate and I've gotta learn to empower other people and believe in other people. So it's kind of this like, brand new skillset that I'm learning as a leader, where, um, my old tools that have been effective, you know, are not gonna get the job done, you know, right now.

But I've got a bunch of really great people that work at Jasper that, um, I really believe in. And, and I, I think if I do my job well, then, then they'll succeed and we'll, uh, build a lot of cool stuff.

Greg: how much noise should people pay attention to? Because you don't wanna be, you know, in a silo, coming up with ideas and a strategy. But you also don't wanna be like glued to. , you know, product hunt 24 7 or whatever it is. So how do you, how do you think about that?

Dave: Well, I think you gotta ask like, where's the noise coming from? Um, the first year of Jasper. There was a lot of noise, but it was all inside of our Facebook group and our community, and it was so noisy and it was crazy and it was fun. But these are all of our customers, and so like I'm just talking to them every single day, like all day, every day.

Riffing, laughing, making memes, building cool stuff. Like, and, and it was, it was wild. But it's like those are our customers. And so like that noise matters a great amount. And, and I would say it's not noise. That's, that's signal. And you know, you should be paying deeply attention to the things that your customers are saying and engaging with them.

And I really didn't care at all about the outside world. I wasn't. I probably didn't tweet at all that year. I didn't like do anything, but just like, like the customers, like was my like social, uh, social network. Um, and, and that was really good. And yet, if I hadn't been on Twitter six months before we launched Jasper, I wouldn't have seen G P T three come out.

And I wouldn't have seen some of the cool demos and I wouldn't have thought, well I think we could do that for, for marketing content. Like that sounds pretty cool. And so, uh, I think it's a balance. I think. Yeah, you've gotta. You know, be in the know, but I think it's very rare, like on a day-to-day basis, it's rare that any, I would miss anything on Twitter, like if I didn't log in Twitter, whenever you get your news from tomorrow or product time, like.

there's probably nothing I'm gonna miss. And if anything's big enough that it's like should really dramatically change my life for our strategy, like it will, it will come to me or it will be there in a week and it will like surface And like, I think those things are like important to recognize that, that the minutia is mostly distraction.

You, you should see the bigger things, but it's rare that you'll need to be engaged in the fray day in and day out to see those things. You should see 'em on a little bit wider time horizon.

Greg: I was one of those people who used to be glued to Twitter, glued to all these, you know, websites that are pushing you, what's happening. And what ended up happening was I was reacting a lot. Um, I was playing like a lot of defense instead of offense.

And I think while there's benefits to react, like you could time things more interesting. There's like some growth hacks, um, that you can do and, you understand like the zeitgeist a little bit more. what's been helpful for me is just carving out, you know, once, twice a week where you can just go through all the content and write some notes on it and be like, okay, this is what happened this week and this is what it means for me.

Dave: Totally. you know, I'm not kind of methodical enough to, to structure it quite like that, you know, but for me, yeah, it's like, you know, I don't have like Twitter on my phone anymore. And because like, it'd be hard for me to likeactually, like, react well, like on my phone, you know?

So it's like, well, if I'm on my computer, I can like, Take, you know, take some quick notes or like ping the right person on slack or like whatever. But if I'm on my phone, I'm just gonna be like, distracted with like my family, uh, distracted, you know, they're probably like overreact to something, not get it to the right person, like a thoughtful way and it's just gonna like, go poorly.

So I think, I still like, synthesize a lot of it, but I really try not to react on anything, you know, too quickly. And I just tell our team like, Hey, listen, like our strategy, we've got a great strategy. We've got the things that we know we need to do in the next three. If we do those things, I think we can all agree that that's gonna be really great for us.

And if we don't do those things, that's gonna be really bad. And, and right now, the biggest reason we wouldn't do those things is because we're all caught up and knee jerky and going crazy about the stuff that we're seeing. And so, like, unless anything you're seeing. Like pokes a hole in some part of our strategy.

Like I'd love to talk about that and like, we should reconsider that. Like obviously, like the strategy should always be, um, you know, flexible and available to update. But like, if you're not saying that and you're just worried about this thing that somebody else is doing, then the best thing we can do is, is get back to work and go and execute on our plan.

Greg: Well, what you're saying is kind of like, it's the Warren Buffet model, which is like Warren Buffet doesn't check the. Of stocks that he owns. He, he checks in periodically and he is, he, has a thesis for why he buys, you know, sees candies or Coca-Cola. And just because like people decide that they, like, you know, Pepsi one day doesn't mean he's not, you know, a disbeliever in Coke.

Dave: Yep. Yeah, there's like no price change that would cause him. Go back on the reason that he bought candy and that they've got great distribution, a great brand, and people like chocolate. And they like chocolate on, on every Christmas, every single year forever. You know? So it's like, yeah, like none of those things change.

And yeah, I think that's a good way of putting it. Like it's just very rare that like on a daily cadence, we need big updates to what we're doing. Um, and like if I see it, like I try to. Kind of tone it all down and zen out a little bit before I kind of go to my team about it, where I'm not the guy just like firing off tweets to my team, being like, what do you think of this?

What do you think of this? You know, like I try to like really synthesize it and more I'm asking like, Hey, how have you made progress on that thing that we talked about and, and how's that metric doing? And it's more internal stuff.

Greg: I hate when investors do this, when they'll like send you a, like a competitor product and it's like, it comes out and it's like, first of all, you know, you know that the product exists. Like you don't need to tell me that it exists. Like they send you an email and it's just like the link, like end of message.

Dave: And it's like 24 hours after they launched it and it's like, it's, it's like I have like seen everything about this in an hour, like lev 24 hours, but like, you kind of come across it and say, see this?

Greg: See this seeing, seeing this question mark.

Dave: or just, or just question mark in the subject.

Greg: Yeah.

Dave: Is this good or bad?

Greg: yeah,

Dave: Yeah,

Greg: I got this reply, I got this.

Dave: yeah,

Greg: That's end of message.

Dave: Yeah.

Every now and then I will get something from an investor that I have not seen that actually is helpful. So I don't, I don't kind of, you know, full stop, try to stop it, cuz every now and then it comes through. But I'm like, okay, this is mostly just a little bit of noise, but you know, I get it. They're just trying to be helpful.

Greg: do you have any stories around your most helpful investor or least helpful investor that you can share?

Dave: I've got a lot of really great investors. We raised our series A, um, like end of last summer and we had, you know, five or six kind of of the bigger firms come in there and they've all been really helpful. So I really, I really like working with all them. I mean, one that stands out is working with code two. I think this was like right before they invested, which took a pretty good time to like get your favors from investors. Like they're going outta their way to like lend you over. And you know, they sent me nema. They were like, Hey, we got this meeting with um, Mark Zuckerberg, and it was kind of formal. It was like, mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook

It's like, yeah, I

Greg: It's like, dude, I know

Dave: Yeah, you could have just called him, you know, Zuck and uh, obviously I would've known, but, but yeah. And then like, you know, got this like little round table, like an AI round table with me and like four other, uh, founders that were in ai and then him, it was just kinda asking questions and it was just like a really, like, cool time.

And, and that was like, like those are. Nice to just get like meaningful connections. They've also done a really good job of connecting me with other founders that are in MySpace. I mean, it can just be like lonely going at it, especially in like an industry like this where it's changing so quickly and it's like always trying to stay top of mind on what's happening out there.

Like I've got now several like close friends that are AI founders that Code two has connected me with. So I don't think VCs lean in enough on the community of their founders. and it's like so easy. They don't have to do anything. They don't have to be the smart people or come up with the connection to Mark Zuckerberg, like, just introduce us to a few people and help get us into a group.

But I think all of them have been really helpful and great to work with.

Greg: Yeah, I think the community piece is, is a big one. I think that's why YC has succeeded in so many ways, like, I always say like, join YC for the community, not the capital. Like, because the ability to, sell to other founders within the, the network is, really big. and also just like shared lessons, like it makes you go faster.

So we're entering a hype cycle in ai, in the sense of there's a lot of attention. It's mainstream. it's everywhere. You know, I was in an Uber yesterday and. , the guy was talking to me about chat, G p T. So to me that's like the Uber test. Like if you're a taxi driver or Uber starts talking about it, you're like, okay, we're here.

Dave: We're here.

Greg: what do you see the biggest problems that we're gonna solve using ai? And what, what makes you excited?

Dave: Yeah, and I think in regard to the hype cycle, you know, it's not clear to me what would stop, you know, cause I've kinda asked myself, is this kind of a bubble? And you know, with like Bitcoin, like what stops it? Is it. Crashes. You know, like that's obviously like a could happen at some point and you know, kind of all the web three people, Bitcoin people will kind of stop talking for a couple years.

And, um, y you know, I, I think back then, like chatbots in like 2017, it was like this big thing and we're all hyped about it. I was trying to build on it and it, it was like all the rage and then it just kind of never really was helpful. And so it kind of faded off, you know, that. And I think that would be what would kind of, cause, you know, the hype cycle to end here if it never really was that helpful.

Um, it doesn't appear that, On the horizon at all, and it seems like we're actually just scratching the surface and it's gonna be far more helpful.

Greg: Well, that's not the case, right? So I agree with you. I think back in 2017, like we all tried a bunch of those chatbots and they all kind of sucked.

Dave: yep.

Greg: But like now, like people, like, the reason why there's so much virality with AI-based products is because people are trying it out and it's, it's real.

Dave: It's magic. Um, no, I totally agree. And so yeah, I think that we're still very early days and figuring out like, what is this gonna do? I mean, you see like a bunch of just copywriting tools pop up and, and we're kind of past that stage where it seemed like everyone thought that like generated AI was only copywriting tools.

And now we're starting to get into like, hey, these can talk to each other and they can connect. And I think you're gonna see more tools that. Do work for you and not just like generate text, but like, you know, the interface would be more natural language on the front end where you're telling an app to do something and then now you know it's going and booking an Airbnb room for you, uh, and then asking you, Hey, do you want, you know, two rooms or three rooms?

It's kind of doing that or you're saying, Hey, Add Greg into my Salesforce contact list and send him a follow up email, and then it's able to go and connect multiple tools together. To go and do that. I think that is going to be insanely powerful just to see kind of tools working for you. Or you know, let's say you're like, Hey, create this, uh, Chrome extension and like right now, you know, it'll generate the text and the code and you have to kind of copy it and you've gotta go, you know, run it and all of that.

We're like, it might be able to like go. Spin up the thing for you, the Chrome extension and like, you know, get you like halfway there. So I think like you're just gonna see it not only like generating text, but then like going and doing part of the job for you. Uh, and then you kind of come in at like a little bit later stage to help edit and curate and make sure it's on track.

and I think, I think that's super exciting. I also think that there's a, there's like right now it's not affected the physical world at. That's just all on your computer, you know? But I think, I think again, it's kind of what, like Alexa or Siri kind of like trying, you know, the smart home iott, like, it's like, again, it's kind of like the chatbot thing.

It's like, cool, we get it. Like my house is not iott like, you don't really use that stuff that much. But I think we might be close to where you actually could say like, Hey, turn on, you know, the lights for, you know, we, we got a company coming over for a fire. And it's like, it kind of goes and like figures out the right music for that and it turns the right lights on and it lights the pilot light.

You know, like whatever those things are like, I, I think that we could actually be entering a phase where Iott is, is helpful and not just a Saturday of you setting up a bunch of Bluetooth devices that you never end up using.

Greg: So I want to talk about consumer, like the consumer experiences, but first I wanna talk about like the, you know, business context to ai. . You know, today a very small percentage of my workflow is AI enhanced. that's changing, but it's small relative. Um, so maybe it's like 5%, 3%, you know, over the next five years.

What percentage AI enhanced workflows do you see, you know, the modern day white collar worker?

Dave: I'd say over 90%, maybe 95%. And in many ways it'll just be like using tools. It won't be this, oh my gosh, I used AI in my workflow here. It'll just be. you know, the, the new generation will be confused at what it means to like, not use AI in the workflow. And it doesn't mean that you'll only have like 5% of your job to do.

It just means that you'll be able to sit on top of a mountain of AI generated, uh, or AI assisted, uh, work and context and summarization and idea generation and filtering and, you know, all of those things. It'll be like having just a really incredible assistant or team of assistants working for you. That just helps you be more productive and work on the stuff that you wanna work on more.

But I, I think it'll be a very large percentage of our time or work will be affected by ai.

Greg: and for people who. Wanna stay ahead and who really want to, leverage these tools? Like what kind of advice do you have for people who might not feel super confident in these tools right now to get up to speed?

Dave: Yeah, I think if you're just curious and willing to play with them, I mean, some people are kind of in the anti tool phase, which I don't think is gonna go. I mean, that just never goes well to be anti-technology, you know, historically. Um, so I think just like be open to it and curious and willing to play with it.

I mean, the best tools are gonna come to you and they're gonna be delightful to use. And you've got great teams that are thinking about how to overcome. The uncertainty that you have around using these tools. And so like, I don't think there's a ton of, uh, work to be done for most consumers. You just keep, you just wait for the tools to get better and be excited about adopting them early.

Um, but I think there's also just a mindset shift, and I find myself struggling with this sometimes too, where. Just thinking about using AI to do tasks is a new idea. And obviously I think about it like all day, every day running Jasper, but you know, when I'm responding to an email, it's still not, it's probably not my first nature to just respond with ai.

and you, you know, have that help. And it's when I open up Slack, like it's not my nature to like use Slack to sum or you know, Louisiana to summarize the threads and like kind of see the high level stuff. And so there's still just like a mindset shift that's gonna take years and years of people like relearning how to do things.

That is not easy to overcome that I found.

Greg: what's been helpful for me is to just set up time, like on the weekends and nights to just be like, all right, I'm just gonna like play with this. I'm gonna play with this tool, just like get my hands dirty. I think like watching YouTube videos, I'm listening to podcasts are, are sweet cuz.

thanks for listening. But, um, there's something about just actually like pressing buttons and like stuff happening. Stuff happens in your mind, like connections are being made that like, next time you're writing that email you're like, yeah, I think differently now.

Dave: Yep. I agree. Yeah. Finding just time to play and just thinking of it like play, like disconnect yourself from the outcome and just think, I'm just gonna like get a feel for this. Like this past weekend I spent probably a six hours. Kind of nights and during nap time, we've got three little boys, uh, like trying to make a AI generated children's book, or AI says children's book for my boys that has like three boys.

And I'm using like Jasper Art and I'm using Mid Journey and I'm like playing around with like how to get the imagery right. And I'm using Jasper, Chad, and Jasper to like write, you know, the actual like script. And I'm like inside Canva, like designing like the pages and you know, it was just, it reminded me of.

Early days building, like how fun that can be and like I learned so much just trying to build this thing. What I also learned was it's still very hard to do what I was trying to do. Uh, and so, you know, as magical as all this is, and as cool as the demos on Twitter are, like, you get in there and you're like, okay, cool.

Like this is, this is super magical and like we've got a ways to go. I think as a builder that's exciting to, to go try to fill more of that gap.

Greg: could you, discuss some of the problems that Jasper is trying to solve? Because it's really like, it's a suite of products at this point with a lot of problems that it's trying to solve. Um, so can you just, for, for people not familiar, just run through it and, and, and why you're excited about it.

Dave: Yeah, I mean, so we launched as a Facebook ad generation tool and we were generating ad copy for Facebook ads, just the text. And it was like simple as like one or two lines. And that quickly pivoted and, or I guess evolved into like blog posts, emails, social media copy for freelancers and solopreneurs and um, you know, small marketing agencies, things like that.

and, Sort of been that focus with a long tail of people just playing around with like lots of stuff there. and we kind of knew that like that generalized take would like end someday and it would be like a lot harder to kind of be this generalist tool. But we were just like kind of, you know, exploring that while we had that opportunity.

And then I think Che J p D came out and, and I think it's a, it's a really great. and it it solved a lot of the generalist tinker problems pretty well. And what it did for us was it really focused our company into thinking, well, again, if the generalist tool is gonna be this like cheaper free thing that that does a pretty good job, then, then what can we build?

You know, what, what should we focus on that, that that will not solve? And so it really got us focused on marketing teams. Um, we looked at our data and we saw people that had two or more seats. We're way happier, way more successful with the product. Um, it, we saw an opportunity to like move up market as well and like, we're gonna keep serving the prosumers.

And if, again, if you love our tools and love the workflows and you need the team collaboration and all of that, then like, you're gonna be happy there. Um, but like there's a blue ocean for like mid-market enterprise marketing teams as well. And so for us, like we're just trying to help marketing teams at, you know, small, medium sized companies do great.

And that often means a lot of texts and a lot of, you know, generation around campaigns and ad copy and blog posts and all of that. But it often also means imagery and you need, you know, Facebook ad images and blog post images and all of that. And so, uh, now we're just trying to tackle like the image generation and the text generation to generate great campaigns.

And that's something that, you know, a more generalist tool is not gonna go as deep on for marketing.

Greg: that story with what you just said. You know, I call that the tip of the iceberg product framework, which is you started off with this tip of the iceberg, sort of small quote, unquote idea. , you had a small idea fixing a problem, but it was just like a very small sliver of someone's day.

And then from there you just, you know, went deeper and deeper and deeper. you actually expanded a little bit. Your audience. Um, but it's all, it's always been marketers. Um, at the end of the day, um, the type of marketer has changed, but you've sort of just gone deeper, deeper and deeper.

And I guess, you know, the bet, like if I'm a VC in Jasper, the bet is basically that, you know, when I think of doing anything marketing related, you know, Jasper's helping me achieve it.

Dave: Yeah, totally. And I think that's the only way to start. And I think people get psyched out about total addressable market and things like this, and so they're like, oh, you know, the Facebook ad copy market is not big enough. And it's like, well, well one, it might be, but two, like, yeah, it doesn't matter.

Like that's all just like, that's how you get started and that's how you even just mentally. Pair down the problem enough to like go try and solve it. Um, and you can always expand from there and, but you're only gonna be able to expand with the insights that you learned from that initial product. Uh, and I think you can see yourself pulled by the market.

Like, for example, you know, we've got all these templates in our product that all of them are like little bets that we. and we don't know which ones are gonna do really well. We don't know which ones are gonna do poorly. We've got, um, you know, obviously like paragraph generators and we've got a review responder that helps businesses like respond to reviews.

You like paste in the review from Yelp and it kind of writes like a, uh, a response that you could kind of tweak a little bit and send back out. But then we would have things like a real estate listing generator. and that was a bed. It was like, well, we've got some real at realtors in here. We're hearing that they, like, they really hate writing these things.

Like maybe there's a big real estate business that Jasper has, uh, the opportunity to go into. So we launched that thing and like never really saw it pick up a ton of traction or take off. And, uh, but if it had, like, we might've pivoted and said, oh, we're gonna go niche down this thing here, but the only way to actually figure that out is to get the product.

Greg: Yeah. Especially because like. number one, real estate agents might not be asking for a tool like that, so if you build it, it might take off or they might be asking for it and then you build it and then they're like, no, uh, this is not at all what I want, but if you actually change X, Y, and Z, that's really what I want.

Dave: And there's a good chance, you know, there's probably a great Jasper for real estate, you know, business out there. There's a good chance that we just didn't solve it with that one little template and one little try, like in the way that they wanted it to. Um, but still, like we're always kind of placing these bets and like trying to get pulled by the market rather than like forcing our way into something.

Greg: what are some non-obvious in AI that you think products could be built? You know, I think there's a lot of ideas that people have that. in AI that are coming out daily that are just like really obvious and, but what's something either you've seen recently that you're like, wow, this is really cool, or something that it doesn't even exist, that you're like, I wish someone built.

Built it.

Dave: Well, I think the non-obvious thing. That generates more non-obvious things is talking to customers

I was talking to somebody about, um, you know, how I would maybe like, solve to like, like use ai like in like a, Law firm. They're like, oh, would you make like copyright for lawyers? and I was like, no. Like, I don't know what I would make. Um, I would, I probably wouldn't make copywriting for lawyers. Maybe that's a big problem for them. But like, I would probably go talk to 20 lawyers and ask about their day and ask about their workflows and what's, what's painful, what's hard, and what's expensive and what's time consuming, like all those things.

And like that would give me some non-obvious idea that like, you couldn't get. Without being a lawyer or talking to a bunch of lawyers that I think a lot of the people building generative AI are just entirely skipping, trying to like find some insight out of thin air. And so I think, you know, again, it's, it's not that hard to do.

It's a little bit painful, I guess, but it's actually really interesting to talk to people when you can solve their problems and, and like they're looking to use, Hey, could you solve this thing for me? And you actually can, so it's like a pretty like, powerful thing to, to go into those kinds of conversations.

But, um, those would be the things. So yeah, I, I don't have like specific non-obvious thing. I would just say, go talk to customers and you'll. IP of sorts, like you'll have insights that nobody else in the world has. Um, from talking to those people, that will probably turn into, you know, at least the seeds of some really great product ideas.

Greg: you've got 75,000 members in your Facebook group. Could you talk about the role of the community? you know, as you've grown, like Walk us through that

Dave: it started with, so I, I ran like communities and like past businesses and we'd have like a, you know, we used to run all these courses and coaching programs and so you'd kind of pump everyone into a community. And so I like learned like the muscle of community. Back then when we started Jasper, all we wanted to do was have fun and that was sort of our.

and it sounds lame, but we had just like had a couple hard years at the previous company, we'd laid off some of the team. We were just burnt out and we're like, you know what? We're gonna do this and we're just gonna have a lot of fun and we're gonna do fun stuff in our community. I'm gonna interact with my community in some really fun way.

This was like kind of during like all the web three stuff. So you saw some like, just like very like casual community type. Relationships forming where it wasn't all stuffy and b2b and it was memes. There was funny videos and there was like insider jokes and all this stuff. And uh, I just kinda treated our Facebook group, like a group text with the boys and turns out that's a, that's a really great way to relate to people.

and I was just me and I would just take pictures of me, like, you know, with my son just doing something stupid and I would, you know, kind of make fun, like get a little chippy with some of the members sometimes. And again, just in a joking way and they would kind of make fun of me something, you know. And it was just this like really fun thing.

And when people joined they like felt that and it felt like this different kind of company and like that, like that fund showed up in our product. It showed up, our community showed up everywhere. So I think like early days, people. Join and just sit in the community cuz they really loved the community, even if they weren't buying the product yet or whatever.

But they were just like, this is fun and I wanna be a part of something that's, that's got life in it. And I think over time, I mean communities grow and it's kind of been a love, I wouldn't say hate, but a love stress affair for me in the community because you know, you get your first thousand people and they all know each other.

Then you grow to 10,000 and all those thousand complain about how it's, oh, it's different than it once was and it's not the same. And you know, there's always kind of. maybe bent towards communities, turning into support channels. And you know, if I looked at that community right now, I'd probably see a bunch of like help tickets and stuff like that.

That isn't really what we want the community to be about. Um, but I think, I think it's just been interesting to see how powerful a community can be and also how hard it is to scale the leadership of a community. and it's been difficult for me to figure out how to get more Daves to go in there and help lead it either internal like Jasper employees or just empower other community members to go be a Dave.

And you know, maybe the answer is you can't get more Daves like there's only one Dave and you don't need more Daves. But, uh, I certainly see the community like Thrive when I'm really involved and, you know, start to get a little flat when I, when I step out of it for a bit.

Greg: Yeah. I think you know, community. You know, I say that community is like, it's like hosting a party, right? So if you have like a house party, let's say you need, uh, the right music, you need the right food, you need to start at the right time. You need to curate the right people. Um, there needs to be enough space, but not too much space.

you know, I love this, this quote, um, Around Studio 54. Studio 54 was a dictatorship at the door, but a democracy on the dance floor.

Dave: That's awesome.

Greg: And that's how I think about building community. And you know, I, right before this call, I applied to join your Facebook group and I'm still waiting to hear back, you know, it's a dictatorship at the door.

And, and hopefully My hope as as a community member in your community is that, you know, there are leaders like you that could sort of bring me to the food I like, bring me to the music I like, bring me to the people I like. And that's really the role of a leader. And what people really miss is that by doing that and by earning that trust and confidence like it's just good business.

Dave: Yep. People love it. I mean, When, when I'm engaged in there, I mean people inevitably, I cannot believe that. Like you're in there talking to people and, and like honestly when we raised our series A, that was like a big thing. Investors always said like, maybe like more than our, like numbers or whatever.

It's just like, man, Dave is like so engaged in the community. Like that's really powerful and you know, it, it's a great way to keep a bead on the customers and, and see what they say and get new product ideas. And so it, it. Again, it's not easy. It does like take it out of me when like things get a little too crazy or people get a little grumpy, or, you know, the community can kind of turn into a mob.

You know, at times if you get like a really engaged community, like there's some, some like mob like, uh, mentality there that you've gotta navigate, but it, it is such a powerful thing.

Greg: So we run a community in a business called, you probably need a and it's a, it's like a free community for people who try to boost. Their productivity using ai. There's, I think about 20, 20 plus thousand, 25,000 members.

Dave: That's awesome.

Greg: right before I, I just, uh, I came on, I asked them, Hey, I'm about to record a podcast with Dave, the founder of Jasper ai.

Got any questions for him? So I've got a couple questions.

Dave: Okay.

Greg: I got from Karen. Is there any AI with Jasper that can help me in transforming data from survey?

Dave: I'd have to look at the actual use case, but you could probably, this is fun about communities. It's like, oh, like that's an interesting thing. Like again, like maybe there's a whole business there outta that one little question. And so, you know, I'd have to dig in and actually look at it, but I'd probably take the data from surveys.

You could probably like copy and just paste it real quick out of a spreadsheet and throw it in Jasper chat or a document and say, Hey, summarize this and gimme. Insights from it. Or you could take all of that and you could say, write, um, Facebook ad copy, you know, about the above. And I think like so much of great marketing is just taking things that users have said and like turning that into copy and saying it back to them.

So I don't know. I have to look at the use case, but you know, it's very likely we could take some data and go and get insights from it using Jasper.

Greg: Dave is secretly like writing this down as a product idea and after this call he is gonna be like, Hey guys, we, we gotta go build this. This is a

Dave: got. I got a new one. I got a new one. Hot off the press. Yes.

Greg: but it's, it's a hundred percent like a big idea, like voice of customer is what, you know, survey data basically.

Dave: Yep.

Greg: is a really big business. It's actually a multi-billion dollar business, in, and it's really important, like, you know, the way I think about Voice of Customer is if you think about like Google Analytics or Amplitude or whatever, that's, just data, like numbers, like you don't really get a full picture.

It's like, if you had like a Google Analytics for like a Walmart, tracking data, let's say, what would it say if I walked in, let's say I'd go in, I walked around for 45 minutes, I'd check out for $200. Google Analytics for, for Walmart would be like, great, amazing guy walks in, spends $200.

That's more than our average size. You, you know, our average cart size is $45. That's amazing. . What it isn't telling you is that I spent 45 minutes cuz I couldn't find what I was looking for, and actually my budget was $500, but I, I couldn't spend it. So if I could do voice of customer, get survey data and then use AI to basically generate insights, to help make my product better, that's, that's a huge.

Dave: Yep. Like what you lose. I think there's power. like the individual customer. And again, if, if you kind of, if we lose the ability to like do that and all we're doing is synthesizing and aggregating all customer comments and all customer, you know, questions into this one thing, I think you lose something there.

But, um, I think it'll just take discipline on the people that are building products to, you know, or anybody at the company had to go past the aggregate summarized ai. Insight packet and say, oh no, I'm gonna go talk to that gal that just said that, and I'm gonna go figure out what she's trying to do. And like, there's a lot of gold in, in having those conversations.

Greg: Love that. Uh, next question from Merkel. How do you think about Moat and Jasper ai? Could you give us a little more insight into that?

Dave: Yeah, I mean, I think there's, defensibility everywhere that businesses can pick up. You know? I don't know, both in B2B and in in AI in particular, like if there's anything that's incredibly durable, um, you know, it's not like the models themselves are these super. You know, intensive, durable things, they'll probably be more commoditized over time.

Uh, the app layer, you know, same thing. I don't think we could just stop building on Jasper and it would be this great company, you know, over time, just cause we have this like durable mode. I think there's obviously a lot of product that you can build that just building great product that solves user needs, you know, is defensible.

We've got a lot of great data. That we collect and that we can use to go fine tune and train and, and perhaps even build like our own large language models someday. Um, that can like, make our output different and better for our users than, uh, any other product would be. Um, and so we get value out of that.

I think distribution, partnerships, brand, community, uh, Talent, uh, internal organizational rigor, like all of these things matter and are hard to do. And I think all of them, you know, add up to, you know, something that's really hard for someone to compete with. but I don't think we've got some silver bullet, even the data stuff, which is probably the most like compelling or at least the mote, the most mote like thing.

When people gonna hear that, they go, yeah, yeah, that there's a mote there. Like even that I think is dubious long term. If, if there's a ton of value there, as the models get smarter and smarter, you might not get a lot of value off fine tuning, but that's probably a long ways out. Um, but anyway, I think, I think all of these combined creates a pretty durable business, but a lot of it just comes down to execution.

Greg: I also think design and UX plays a role in it. Like if you can create the, the experience that's. easiest to use. Most fun to use, like there's value.

Dave: Yeah. And like, all these are really hard things. When I think about my day and my week and like, you know, it's Monday, like my week ahead is filled with me doing a bunch of really hard things that, I'm not particularly good at. And many of them, it's a grind. It's like, it's hard to hire great people, learn how to do that.

It's hard to retain great talent. It's hard to do great UX in ui. And so like, all these are hard things. And then there's hard things. There's, you know, somewhat of a mote. Um, now whether it. Structurally durable over a decade is, is a, is a whole different thing. But yeah, I think, uh, I think a lot of people sit around and talk about moats and, and they matter, but I think in like B2B or like most tech companies don't really have these systemic moats that they're building on top of,

Greg: Two more questions, and I think you're gonna like these. If you were. Sam Altman, what would you do differently?

Dave: I haven't thought about that. I think they're doing a really good job. I think, I think, I think he's a very thoughtful person and, and I think, you know, really means what he says.

I don't think he's got like ulterior motives. I think at least the kind of pr around and calms around. Them being open, but increasingly more closed, definitely causes a rift in the developer communities and AI communities. And I think there's a world where open AI could be kind of this bad guy that's aligned with Microsoft and you know, it's kind of a Apple 1982 commercial, you know, again, where, you know, somebody needs to break us free from all of that.

Uh, I don't think that that's their intention, and I don't think that's them now, but I, I think maybe like getting a little bit ahead of that, uh, building great. brand equity around the openness as well would go a long way, I think.

Greg: what would you do if you were Mark Zuckerberg and you wanted to leverage the power of AI into their suite of products? How would you, how would you be doing it differently?

Dave: I mean, I think they are doing this. I mean, I would do a hard pivot away from the metaverse, and that's painful. And not that I don't think that that'll even be a thing. I just think it's early and you've got this thing in front of you that's so clearly here that, uh, I think you could, they could still be the first by a long shot to the Metaverse, um, by waiting five more years.

Um, so I would do.

Greg: The metaverse is basically chatbots in 2017.

Dave: Yeah, exactly, exactly. It was like a false start again. You're not gonna be last if you like. It's not, it's not happening any time in the next, you know, couple years at least. So yeah, and obviously I think the generative AI actually like plays a big role there. And so I think you're still like building tools that can help you get there if that's kind of his end goal.

Um, but yeah, I think I would pivot big parts of the company to figure out from first principles. What they could do with this. And that's what's hard I think, for everyone. But I think for incumbents too, to like step back to first principles and think, well, like what would Facebook be if these existed back when we first started?

And not just trying to build on the existing infrastructure of the company, but really step back and think broadly. Uh, obviously they had, there's ways they can like integrate it into their platform to help write posts and, you know, all of that stuff. But there's probably some like big business ideas that can.

With it as well. That would really be powerful if they just thought from first principles,

Greg: If Instagram becomes 99% AI generated, do we lose the magic of that platform?

Dave: you know? I

Greg: too mu put

Dave: I don't know how much. Yeah,

Greg: too much magic. AI magic a bad thing.

Dave: I know. I do wonder how much we care about. like knowing that something is from a real person like I don't find my, someone's like, Hey, this Twitter thread was AI generated. And they kind of call it out upfront and they're like, I just copy and pasted it. Like I don't really like wanna read it as a person cause I'm like, you know, whatever.

Maybe there's some golden there. Maybe there's not. Now if they're kind of curating it and thinking it through, and I know that hey, they kind of, you know, used ai, but. We're very thoughtful about it. Then like it, it kind of goes back to I really wanna know this person's thoughts, but yeah, I don't know. I don't, I don't know if just pumping out a bunch of like super cool images Is a replacement for Instagram and knowing what your friends are doing and knowing what that in, you know, knowing what Beyonce is doing and like, you know, I, I, I think they're, I think you're getting something out of that that's not just, oh, that's a cool image. Like you're, you're getting clues about societal, uh, draws and what people value and, and all of that.

I don't think AI replaces.

Greg: I think what people care about is content that they connect with. So if AI enhanced content helps them connect less with it, then that's a problem. I think if I'm a PM at Instagram, I'm kind of like, okay, I want to go and create tools that allow creators to really connect with, uh, their a.

Dave: Yeah, and I think there's some, you know, there's some Instagram profiles that, you know, they're just showing like cool nature photos and things like that. And I think like that could be like, again, that might be able to be more ai, but still like when I see like a really cool waterfall. In California.

if I just, if it's just AI generated, like that means so much less to me. Cuz otherwise if I'm looking at it, it's like, Hey, we could go there someday. Oh, I can't believe that that exists. Oh, like, what a weird phenomenon that, you know, the water sprays up in the rainbow, you know, whatever those things are.

If it's just AI generated, it's like, okay, cool. It's like a cool image, but like means nothing to like me and the world that I'm in.

Greg: So you're saying, you know, going back to your earlier point really, that sometimes it's helpful to think about building product AI first in this like new world versus like, I've got this product and like, how can I slap on AI to it?

Dave: if I'm like, you know, a PM at a big company, like I'm still probably doing the slap, you know, early because like, you know, it's probably worth it. Um, and some, and sometimes, but I think the bigger thing is yes, like over the next five years you've gotta go back to first principles and think.

You know, is this really the best way to do this at all given the new technology? And, and I think sometimes it will be, and like slapping it on will work. Um, but I think many times it's going to be, no, this is never how we would've done it in the first place knowing this technology existed and we've gotta go and it's set the innovator's dilemma.

You know, we've gotta go and, uh, do the hard work to, to redo it from scratch. Otherwise, some startup will come along and.

Greg: you know, as an idea I just had, and I'm curious your feedback on it, so you're, you're hearing it fresh. AI for onboarding. So the hardest part is getting people to sign up for your product or service, even if it's a free product, like getting them through it. And if you can, you can use AI that really enhances that and makes it quicker and faster and easier, uh, you know, generate more signups, generate more leads, generate more customers. do you think of something

Dave: Yeah, no, certainly. I mean, just even thinking, you know, you could have it, you could feed in kind of some just demographic information about the person, so you can have some context of like, who this person is and it's, you know, is it a 65 year old woman, uh, in Kansas, or is it, somebody else.

And. and then you could also feed in like where are they at in the stage and what buttons have they clicked and kind of given all that, like what do they need next? And it could probably do a pretty good job of contextualizing all of that. I think particularly if you fine tuned it off of like all your past successful customers, you know, like here's what clicks matter next.

Then you know, given all that, you could probably have something really cool there.

Greg: All right, so if someone's listening and wants to do this, you gotta cut in and late checkout. You know, we're, we're interested

Dave: Yes, totally.

Greg: what's something that the vast majority of people misunderstand about the world of ai? Like, what's something that you wish that people really understood

Dave: I see people looking for like, like they've got a hammer and they're just looking to, like, they're looking for nails and they're trying to fit this onto everything else, and they're not doing the hard work.

Like, like you're still building a business. Businesses have always been, when you find a group of customers, That have a need and you can solve that need and ideally solve it for, you know, a fair exchange of value that everyone's happy with. And, and you can do that repeatably and there's more of those people than like you can grow a business like that is still true today.

And I think people think that for some reason that has changed and that AI is just something you can just jam anywhere in the world and kinda creates some business and there's just a lot of kind of copycats just, you know, it's like on Twitter, just copies of copies of copies when like, again, I could probably go walk down.

downtown Austin and just start talking to people and come up with like five ideas that nobody on Twitter has ever thought of. There's no businesses there. And like some of those could be really great businesses. And so, um, I just think this really cool technology, but it's not a business in and of itself.

It's just enhances and like, I think accelerates, you know, business building. But um, I still think like there's so much value in just talking to users.

Greg: that's why I'm such a big believer in like, you wanna build a product, start with a community, you know, just like build the community,

Dave: Yeah. Like we had an audience, we had a community. Like we'd been, we'd been working in that audience for, you know, seven years leading up to it. Uh, and, and so again, like, I, I didn't, I just wa I, it was kind of intuitive for me at that point, you know, because I just had been living in it. But yeah, like if you have a community first, I'm with you, man.

Like that is the easiest way to go and develop a product, uh, and get tons of product ideas that would be unique to you, or at least much more unique than kind of what you're gonna see. Looking at product top 10 and then being like, oh, I could do that too.

Greg: All right. Well I think that's a great place to end. you know, cause I think it's actionable. I think like anyone could go and create a free community, like I created, you probably need a robot, you know, under a month ago. And like I said, like 20, 25,000 people. It's just like spreading like wildfire.

And now I ha I know that, you know, 20 products I want to go build for it, right? Like so you know, if you wanna learn. You know, one of the, one of the great things to do is just like, build a free community, get people in there, uh, but don't just build like an AI community. Like go fo do like AI copywriters or, you know, AI lawyers.

Like be, be a bit more ne niche.

Dave: Yep. Get people that are like, have a job to do. There's value in them outside of ai, like being connected to each other, you know, but, you know, they're early adopters. They're at least open to like, you know, trying new things here. Um, but yeah, if any industry has like 10 AI products coming for them that can be really delightful and easy to use and amazing, uh, and great businesses if people will just go and engage with them.

Greg: Dave, thanks for hopping on. if folks wanna follow you and, and Jasper, where do they.

Dave: All my, uh, all my hot tweets are on Twitter at Dave Rogenmoser and uh, Jasper ai.

Greg: Cool man. Well thanks for the time.

Dave: All right. Thanks so much, Greg. Thanks for having me, man.