This is Edition 7, which I’m calling “Find the Solution”. Here, I want to discus with you whether if you should use AI to solve the problem at hand. You’d be surprised - AI may not be necessary. I’m keeping this one short, sweet, and a simple read this morning.
But first, I am running the first official giveaway for the newsletter!
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In case you’re wondering how I didn’t get hit by Hurricane Idalia, I rallied a bunch of my friends to setup a bunch of fans along the coast to blow the hurricane away. While this isn’t scientifically possible, it did keep the hurricane away from my neck of the woods. Coincidence? I think not.
Anyways, let’s dive into it!
Let’s face it – AI is becoming more integrated and more transparent with our day-to-day lives. Businesses are using it to not only understand their customers better, but to also help streamline their internal operations.
The question that I’m posing this edition is whether AI is right for your business. If you don’t run a business, that’s okay – you can still apply these principles while searching for a potential AI solution.
First, you want to identify the objective of using AI. Is it to unlock deeper analytics? Is it to better your customer support system? Is it to filter out low-quality candidates for a position? More importantly, does the task at hand require AI to be solved?
You should then consider if a solution already exists on the market. Sometimes, opting for a pre-existing solution is much easier and more affordable. Building an in-house custom solution is difficult for several reasons, but there’s also massive benefits of having one. From my experience as a software engineer, I weigh the pros and cons of building a custom solution against leveraging something that exists.
» Fun fact: I barely use AI for this newsletter. I use it to overcome writer’s block, proof the newsletter and to generate the Midjourney images. I don’t use it for advanced analytics since my ESP, beehiiv, provides the statistics I need.
Let me demonstrate how I would approach making a decision on using a pre-existing solution versus a custom solution:
Pros and cons of using an existing solution vs a custom solution
First, I identify the reason(s) why I should use AI for my business. Specifically, the reasons I list should be aligned with my business goals and long term scalability. Then, I’ll evaluate the metrics for both solutions by identifying how they measure up to solve my problem, focusing on key components such as finances, time, and resources.
Regardless of your choice, maintenance and upkeep is a consideration that often gets overlooked. You’re adding new software, and doing so requires someone to maintain it, whether if that would be you or someone you delegate it to.
In addition, you’re going to want to consider the financial costs of on-boarding the AI application/custom solution. In fact, a non-AI backed solution may be cheaper and accomplish the same thing.
A custom solution will require a lot of funds. You need to pay for a specialized software engineer (humans are expensive), hardware to run the code, and money to train the model(s). On the contrary, a pre-existing solution is cheaper since you (likely) don’t need a software engineer to begin with.
Many solutions have been created without leveraging AI. Take Zapier for instance – it’s a user-friendly interface that lets you define triggers and events to streamline workflows. Under the hood, it’s a way to communicate between applications’ API’s without ever touching a line of code. Before generative AI surfaced to the degree as we know it today, you were able to create very powerful workflows without the service being backed by AI.
AI is not a one-size-fits-all solution for all individual and businesses. Determining if AI is the right solution requires careful consideration, planning, and a clear vision on what you’re looking to achieve.
AI is a tool on the tool belt. It is not intended to replace humans, but to help humans make better and more informed decisions.
Integrating AI into your stack has its pros and cons. Be sure to weight each option and use this to make a determination as to whether if AI is right for you.
By the way, I love hearing from my audience. If you enjoyed this deep dive, please let me know. Simply respond to this email and it’ll appear in my inbox!