Godzilla Wants Your Job

Back in the day, there was no such thing as “video on demand.”

We watched whatever came on, whenever it came on, on the ten channels that showed up clearly.

Sunday mornings offered a predictable and ever-repeating mix of movies: Abbot and Costello, The Marx Brothers, and an assortment of “monster” flicks.

I’ve never been much of a horror fan (although I do have three children), but one of my regular favorites was Godzilla, the mighty, fire-breathing lizard-beast (or whatever).

There were many variations on the original, but the plot of all the movies was pretty much always the same: something disturbed Godzilla from his (her?) slumber, whereupon he found a nearby city to attack.

Upon arrival in said city, he proceeded to stomp around, destroying some buildings while walking right past others, leaving them intact.

There was no predicting which buildings would be stomped upon and which would not. The only thing you knew for sure was that when it was over, the city would look a whole lot different.

And that, my commendably patient reader, is my oversimplified metaphor for what AI is going to do to your business.

Like Godzilla, it will ruin some, leave some alone, and change the landscape entirely.

And nobody – not you, not me, not any of the self-appointed “experts” out there, many of whom couldn’t even spell AI six months ago – knows what is going to happen.

That’s a corner we can’t yet see around.

Look for the Opportunity

Staying with Godzilla for one more excruciating minute, here’s what people never did in those movies when he showed up:

Pretend he wasn’t a threat.

Write articles about why he wasn’t as strong as he looks.

Suggest that even though he would eventually get there, he was way off in the distance, so there was nothing to worry about right now.

But that’s exactly what a lot of people are doing in the face of AI.

Instead of preparing or, even better, looking for the opportunity within – “Hmm… once Godzilla leaves, there will be a lot of people in need of home repair” – they are just hoping it doesn’t happen.

Quick story…

Twenty-five years ago, I worked for the cable company (sorry).

Thanks to dumb luck, I ended up as part of a tiny group of people in a corner of the company who got involved very early in this new thing called “the Internet.”

It began as nothing. Few people in the company knew or cared what we were doing.

But within a year or two, and simply because I had necessarily gotten up to speed on the topic, I was in meetings and taking phone calls from people three levels up from me in the company.

It was like I was translating a foreign language for people who desperately needed to understand what was happening, but didn’t.

Eventually, I had enough of a head start that I was able to leave my job and start my own Internet-based thing.

AI feels the same way to me. It’s a once-in-a-generation thing and it’s coming. Fast.

And while I think it’s way too early to try and predict what its impact will be – nobody anticipated Uber or Facebook or even online dating back then – there is an open window here for all of us.

To get out in front.

To learn as much as we can.

To spend as little time as possible worrying about what it might do to the way we currently earn a living and as much time as possible looking for the opportunities.

Because once Godzilla is done stomping around, there are going to be a ton of them.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Who/what is your favorite movie monster?
  2. What were you doing 25 years ago (extra credit if you were in utero)?
  3. Can you recommend any resources – podcasts, blogs, people – that you’ve found particularly useful in keeping tabs on AI?

Share your answers below…

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20 thoughts on “Godzilla Wants Your Job

  1. Dianne James

    1. Was never a fan of monster movies, but like you Godzilla was popular for many.
    2. 25 years ago, I was 47 and had just bought our first piece of property and spent 100+ degree days clearing it and getting ready to put a manufactured on on it.
    3. Have gotten a great deal of info on AI from Steve Dotto and his Grey Wave Community. Also, much from Richard Byrne You Tube Channel..

  2. Dianna Huff

    1. Who/what is your favorite movie monster?

    I’m with you on Godzilla. I loved when he flipped over trains!

    2. What were you doing 25 years ago (extra credit if you were in utero)?

    I had just moved to the east coast and was getting my freelance copywriting business together. I was already hip to the Internet having already created a website for the business unit of the company I had left. (I met you shortly after — via the Internet!)

    3. Can you recommend any resources – podcasts, blogs, people – that you’ve found particularly useful in keeping tabs on AI?

    Just my own experience. Google Ads / SEO / etc. all have incorporated AI for awhile now. To me, the biggest opportunity will be people who understand how it works and can then find workarounds to either bypass it or get it to do what you want.

    Also, a good book I read several years ago: Automate This: How Algorithms Came to Rule our World by Christopher Steiner. Very good.

  3. Donna

    I remember Godzilla in black and white as he blazed a path of destruction and people ran helter skelter to escape him.

    Such a great analogy (although I certainly hope there will be less mass destruction)!

    I think AI is the elephant in the room that no one knows quite how to deal with.

    Perhaps a different movie is even more appropriate? Maybe Hal has been in hibernation since 1968 and is just awakening…

    1. Michael Katz Post author

      Agreed. Might be time to watch 2001 again. Ex Machina is another good one on that topic!

  4. Bob Katz

    1.Smokey the Bear – with his deep voice “Only you can prevent forest fires”, I used to hide under the covers until my own voice changed and scare my own kids (or try).
    2. 1998 – we were worried about the impending Y2K impact – nothing happened and we later partied like it was 1999!
    3. I’ve been involved with AI and Machine Learning for a few years and with ChatGPT release last year things have really accelerated such that there are new developments and tools happening daily. To stay up to speed, I listen to podcasts “Last Week in AI”. etc.

    1. Michael Katz Post author

      thanks for the podcast suggestion, Bob. I was subscribed to a daily one, but it’ just too much. Weekly chunks sounds better!

  5. Evelyn Starr

    1. Tie between Cookie Monster and Grover. I don’t like horror.
    2. My first child was born in January 1998. I spent that year at home with him learning to be a parent.
    3. My big takeaway so far on AI is that it is a timesaver and often helpful as a starting point, but not to do a job entirely. I have not yet experimented with it myself, but am getting close. AI help I am following…Ann Handley, relative to writing. Paul Roetzer and the Marketing AI Institute for the big picture. Mark Schaefer has a helpful post on uses here: https://businessesgrow.com/2023/02/06/chatgpt-for-marketing/.

  6. Gordon

    1. Godzilla, unquestionably. Good pick!
    2. Living in Montreal starting to think, “All these white papers I see are really crappy! I could do waaay better!”
    3. https://www.marketingaiinstitute.com –> really good weekly podcast, newsletter, free courses, paid courses, book, cut-and-paste responsible AI policies
    “This Day in AI” podcast with the Sharkey brothers and their charming Australian accents is a slightly more technical but always entertaining podcast I listen to

  7. Biz Corrow

    This my friend may be the best newsletter you’ve ever written. There are many multimillionaires out there that saw a new trend and got out in front of it. Amazon is the perfect example of this. You are absolutely correct. Like it or not AI is here.
    I never worried about Godzilla. He only attacked Japan. King Kong climbed the Empire State Building.

    1. Michael Katz Post author

      I appreciate your location-specific awareness regarding fictitious monsters. That kind of specificity is too often overlooked.

  8. Susan Landkamer-Rivera

    LOVE issue #550! You deserve a toaster that fries your eggs in the morning! 🙂
    Honestly I’m struggling with everything technology. Although I earned a Bachelor’s in Business, completing it this year at age 64, I’m overwhelmed by the pace of real-time technology and feel that I’ve grabbed a tiger – or rather Godzilla? – by the tail. I’ll keep swimming in the right direction, however.
    1.) Godzilla is my favorite monster, of course, yet Jurassic Park’s T-Rex comes in as a close second.
    Always wishing you and yours the best Michael!

  9. Schalk

    1. – I don’t like monster movies, so I don’t have a favorite one. The closest thing I ever watched to a monster movie was the original Jaws.
    2. We were debating whether Y2K was really an issue or just a scheme by consultants to make tons of money.
    3. I’ve had very little exposure to AI, but I agree with you that it will bring massive changes.

  10. Nihan Kucukural

    Hi Michael!
    1) Apart from Jaws and Alien, my favorite movie monster is James P. Sullivan. He revolutionized the Monster world! (He discovered laughter is many times more powerful than screams.) It’d rather be friends with monsters than fight them, whenever possible. I consider AI my friend. I sometimes ask them stuff like “What should I buy my ex-mother-in-law for Christmas?” and they give me insightful ideas.
    2) My country (Turkey) plugged into the Internet over my university in 1993, and I was privileged to be one of the first few ever to try it. One day, I found out that my boyfriend and his best friend had a little collection of pornography on the university network.
    I told them it would be so embarrassing if they got caught! But they laughed at me and said 70% of the world’s internet disk space was dedicated to porn. Their collection came from the world’s most prestigious universities. 3 years later, when I worked as a junior copywriter at DDB Istanbul, I saved the agency and our client Digital (Altavista) from accidentally promoting a porn site. I wrote about those here: https://tinyurl.com/2bbm9zvb
    3) My recommendation is to jump right in and learn from the AI itself. I sometimes Google a thing or two – Let’s face it, AI isn’t honest all the time- but trial and error works for me.


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