Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Robot writes blogpost, does a pretty good job

So today I asked ChatGPT: "How will generative AI help entrepreneurs manage their businesses? Please go into detail with examples, and provide sources for your examples."

Its answers look pretty useful. How could some of these ideas impact your business?

ChatGPT reported back:

Generative AI can provide entrepreneurs with valuable tools and capabilities to enhance various aspects of business management. Here are several ways in which generative AI can be beneficial for entrepreneurs, along with examples:

Data Analysis and Decision Support:

Example: Generative AI algorithms can analyze large datasets to identify patterns and trends, providing entrepreneurs with insights to make data-driven decisions. For instance, machine learning algorithms can analyze customer behavior data to predict future trends, helping entrepreneurs tailor their strategies.

Personalized Marketing Campaigns:

Example: AI-powered tools can generate personalized content and recommendations for marketing campaigns. For instance, ChatGPT, a generative AI model, can be used to create personalized email content, social media posts, or product recommendations based on customer preferences.

Chatbots for Customer Support:

Example: Generative AI-driven chatbots, like those built on models such as GPT-3, can handle customer inquiries, provide information, and even assist in the sales process. These chatbots can improve customer service efficiency by handling routine queries, leaving entrepreneurs and their teams with more time for complex tasks.

Automated Business Processes:

Example: Robotic Process Automation (RPA) powered by generative AI can automate repetitive tasks such as data entry, invoicing, and inventory management. This automation streamlines operations, reduces errors, and increases overall efficiency.

Market Research and Competitive Analysis:

Example: Generative AI tools can analyze market trends, customer reviews, and competitor data to provide entrepreneurs with comprehensive market research. This information can inform product development, marketing strategies, and positioning in the market.

Natural Language Processing (NLP) for Communication:

Example: NLP capabilities in AI can improve communication with customers and employees. For instance, AI-driven virtual assistants can handle inquiries, schedule appointments, and provide information, freeing up entrepreneurs' time for strategic tasks.

Predictive Analytics for Financial Management:

Example: Generative AI models can predict future financial trends based on historical data, helping entrepreneurs make informed decisions about budgeting, cash flow management, and investment strategies.

Supply Chain Optimization:

Example: AI can optimize supply chain management by predicting demand, identifying potential disruptions, and recommending inventory levels. This helps entrepreneurs streamline their supply chain processes and reduce costs.

Human Resources and Talent Acquisition:

Example: AI-powered tools can assist in the recruitment process by analyzing resumes, conducting initial screenings, and even predicting candidate success based on historical hiring data. This accelerates the hiring process and improves the quality of talent acquisition.

Content Generation for Marketing:

Example: AI models like GPT-3 can be utilized to generate creative and engaging marketing content, including blog posts, social media updates, and advertising copy. This can save entrepreneurs time and resources in content creation.

It's important to note that while generative AI offers these benefits, ethical considerations, data privacy, and responsible use are crucial aspects that entrepreneurs should prioritize. Additionally, staying informed about the latest developments in AI and understanding how to integrate these technologies effectively into business operations is essential.


Brown, T. B., Mann, B., Ryder, N., Subbiah, M., Kaplan, J., Dhariwal, P., ... & Agarwal, S. (2020). Language models are few-shot learners. arXiv preprint arXiv:2005.14165.


RPA in Business:

AI in Marketing:

Sunday, January 28, 2024

How startups drive job growth and productivity

Interesting new story on the importance of entrepreneurs and startups in the Harvard Business Review

Authors Kenan Fikri and Daniel Newman, researchers at the Economic Innovation Group, start by noting the strength and resilience of entrepreneurs: “While some data sources on entrepreneurship operate on a lag, so far it appears that the entrepreneurship surge is real and likely to lead to greater job creation and productivity in the U.S. over the long run.” 

Startup entrepreneurs don't get much love nowadays, but as the authors note, startups are important because they drive both employment gains and productivity growth. The news is good: in October 2023, three and a half years after the pandemic began, Americans were filing 59% more applications to start new businesses than they were before the pandemic. And that, as the authors note, occurred despite “recession fears, labor and supply-chain constraints, the highest inflation rates in a generation, and rapid interest rate hikes.” 

The problem: the 2010s was a good decade for a few tech giants, but not for startups. “Every year in the decade running up to the pandemic, the U.S. economy was missing around 100,000 new firms and the approximately half million new jobs that would have been associated with them each year — a partial but significant explanation for the grindingly slow pace of recovery from the Great Recession.” 

The authors discuss lots of economic reasons for the current startup surge (including higher household incomes during COVID, lockdown-related innovation, and the willingness of many working Americans to make a job change during such a trying period). But I think they missed an important reason. 

The more society changes, the more entrepreneurs come to the fore, meeting new needs and serving new markets. Advancing technologies in multiple fields certainly create new opportunities, from AI-fuelled production houses to singer-songwriters on TikTok. But as lifestyles evolve and change – with a big push from Covid’s impact – entrepreneurs at the forefront of personal, cultural, financial and lifestyle changes are emboldened to start new businesses and serve these new markets. And new technology is continually simplifying and empowering that process. 

In other words, a confident, pluralistic society advancing on all fronts is a startup-generating machine. 

The authors offer a few prescriptions on how governments can promote new business growth. Don't mess with success, they say: “Don’t make it harder to start a business than it already is.” They also support proposals for helping people save more for retirement (“de-risking entrepreneurship in the process”), and curtailing the use of non-compete contracts that block aspiring entrepreneurs from starting businesses that compete with their current employers. 

For non-Americans, the problem is that the surge the authors identified can't be found in most other countries (see chart). They assess Canada’s post-covid startup gains at 10% -- less than a third of the U.S.’s 34%. And way behind Belgium (up 25%), France (23%) and even the U.K. (16%). 

The federal government hasn’t done much for Canadian entrepreneurs in decades. Perhaps it’s time for them to revisit the best job-creating machine we have. Reforming HST (which turned micro-businesses into involuntary tax collectors) would be a good place to start.

Friday, December 08, 2023

'Tis the season to be present

 A blast from the past. "Presence" is about putting your best self forward at every opportunity. The ebook of Amy Cuddy's book "Presence" is currently on sale for just $1.99 at or

My 2015 interview with Amy Cuddy, from the Financial Post:

How adopting Wonder Woman's power pose might change the outcome of a meeting, or even your destiny

Harvard professor Amy Cuddy’s message is simple: 'Our bodies change our minds. Our minds change our behaviour. And our behaviour changes our outcomes'

Thursday, September 14, 2023

When Friends Fall Out

 I talked to an entrepreneur the other day who was very excited about but his business, but disappointed in his friends.

It seems that the more successful this entrepreneur became in his business, the more some friends shrank back. They didn't share the excitement of his success... In fact, some seemed to resent it.

This type of behavior concerns me, on multiple levels. Entrepreneurs run on adrenaline and confidence. They need positive energy, from within and without, to keep going. When friends don't align their energies with yours, you slow down. It's like running on broken ground.

There's no one cause for this lack of support. Some friends may begrudge the time and attention you're lavishing on your business. They may feel left behind. Others may feel jealous of your success. Some might even feel they could have had the same success, maybe more, if they had only stepped up to the plate as you did. Human emotions are complicated.

As entrepreneurs, we have to stay focused and reduce the negative energies around us. But that doesn't mean cutting off friends who are less than supportive. Here are two things you might try:

* Reach out to any friends who seem to have become more distant lately. Find time to spend with them. Don't talk about business. Make sure you're talking about their lives, their successes, their challenges. Really listen. Show that nothing has changed, you're still you, and this personal relationship really matters to you.

* If someone is being overtly negative, call them out. Let them know you value their friendship, and how important it is for an entrepreneur to feel supported by their social group. Doubts, resentment, negative energy are all lethal to entrepreneurial gusto, so let these friends know you really appreciate their positive support. 

Lots of so-called experts will advise you to cut negative people out of your life. I'm not an expert, so I won't tell you that. But do talk to them. Let them know you care. Let them know how important it is for you to have the support and confidence of your friends.

Business will eat up as much of your time as you let it. Make sure to consistently make time for yourself and your friends. The break will do you good, and the positive vibes will strengthen you.

Entrepreneur or not, be the best friend you can be.

Monday, August 28, 2023

The 25 Strengths of Great Entrepreneurs

 I sat down to ask myself,  "What makes a great entrepreneur?" 

What skills, attitudes, learnings and outright gifts can most help people to build good products and successful companies?

Here's a list of 25 essential skills and traits I came up with. Only the top 10 are in any sort of priority order.

Which of these do you think are most important? Which other skills/attitudes would you add? 

And which of these strengths should you be actively working on? 

  • Vision and creativity, to see things that aren't there, but could be.
  • Communication skills
  • Leadership
  • Stamina
  • Confidence
  • Optimistic
  • Ability to plan
  • Project-management abilities (all businesses start as a project)
  • Financial literacy
  • Resourceful; scrappy
  • Budgeting skills
  • Influence and persuasion
  • Sales and marketing skills
  • Trustworthy
  • Empathy
  • Ability to focus
  • Ability to delegate
  • Ability to make good decisions
  • Hard work ethic; hustle
  • Able to ask for help
  • Sociable
  • Able to assess other people, see their potential
  • Open mind + ability to be decisive
  • Ability to manage income uncertainty
  • Resilience

Feel free to add other skills and traits in the comments.

Saturday, August 19, 2023

A very imperfect phone call

What you can learn about communication from listening to Trump’s 2001 call with Georgia election officials

I just listened again to Trump’s Jan. 3, 2001 phone call with the Georgia Secretary of State to discuss voting irregularities in November 2000’s presidential election – won by Joe Biden.

This hour-long call, recorded by the Georgia side, preserves live evidence of Trump’s lies about the election, his disregard for protocol, his arrogance, and his willingness to bully and threaten any honest administrators who stand in his way.

And now we know the call will likely end up being key evidence in Trump’s upcoming criminal trial in Georgia for his efforts to overturn the election results.

But the call is also a faithful record of a neurotic fraudster hard at work, used to getting his own way.

As a professional communicator, here are my observations about Trump’s historic call. 

·       When trying to influence other people’s behaviour, you should listen hard to what they say, and work diligently to earn their trust. Trump, by contrast, probably spoke for 50 minutes of the 60-minute call, offering examples after examples (all unproven and unsupported by any evidence) of Democratic cheating and ballot-box stuffing. His Big Lie: “Everyone knows I won the state by hundreds of thousands of votes.”

When Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger tried to get a word in edgewise, Trump would simply interrupt, pointing (without details) to all the official sources and YouTube videos that supposedly prove his charges. He never bothered to listen. He never asked Raffensperger to explain what steps Georgia had taken to assure the legality of the election. He had become too used to dictating outcomes.

·       A phone call with Trump can be very intimidating. With his booming voice and confident air, he’s a hard man to argue with. He runs roughshod over your assertions the same way he owns the media, by ignoring your arguments and pressing his own talking points again and again. His sources are always “Everybody says,” “very smart people say,” “everybody knows this,” and “you know this is true.”

“It’s very simple,” Trump kept repeating. “We won the election.”

·       “Now you know it.” To support his case. Trump told a number of horror stories, about cheating by Dominion voting machines, Democratic vote dumps, ballot-fixing by one election worker, and even a dump of military and overseas votes that Trump argued should have all gone to him. “Maybe you didn’t know that,” he said, “but now you know it.” This suggests that Trump still believes, despite his reputation as a serial liar, that when he states something, that’s equivalent to it being an unqualified fact – or at least should be perceived that way. His self-confidence is admirable, but his ability to delude himself is somewhat less so.

·       Of course, what works in a press scrum or at a Trump rally isn't as effective when dealing with sophisticated, articulate professionals. Trump kept punching, but he wasn’t smart enough to land a single blow. Georgia election officials had already re-counted the ballots and reviewed supposed irregularities, and they stood by their statement that Biden won the state fairly. Finding himself facing ethical people who knew their stuff, Trump had no idea what to do except… up the ante.

·      Trump aimed threat after threat at the Georgia officials. “You're approving an illegal election… Georgians know it … the people of Georgia are so angry…. They will hate you.” He also suggested that they should change the result soon, to avoid angering state Republicans who would be voting in two senate runoff votes a few days later. (Both seats were won narrowly by Democratic candidates, crucially shifting the balance of power to the Dems).” The final threat: that both Raffensperger and his lawyer, who was also on the call as a voice of reason, could face legal jeopardy for supporting an illegitimate election outcome. Defending Biden’s victory, he warned darkly, “could be very costly in many ways.”

 Had Trump tried to reason with the Georgia team rather than threaten them, how might history have changed? The Senate elections a few days later might have gone different ways: the Democrats won one election by just 1% of the vote and the other election by just 2%.

        ·      The Georgia team remained calm and steadfast. “Mr. President, you have people that submit information, and we have our people that submit information, and then it comes before a court. And the court then has to make a determination. We have to stand by our numbers, we believe our numbers are right.”

Trump’s rebuttal: “Your numbers aren’t right, they’re really wrong. And they’re really wrong, Brad… Ultimately, I win, because you guys are so wrong, and you have treated the population of Georgia so badly.” Then he went on to complain about what a mistake it had been to endorse Georgia’s governor in the last election… proof that if you let a blowhard talk long enough, he will usually just lose his focus and his way.

 ·        Of course, Trump also played the party card. Knowing he was dealing with Republicans, he added, “Why don't you want to find this? What’s wrong with you?” It’s a clear insight into Trump’s belief that loyalty to party should rank above one’s obligation to the public or democracy. (Unless, of course, he’s the one being disloyal to the party.)

·       When Trump saw his bullying wasn’t working, he resorted to bargaining. “Brad, what are we going to do? We won the election, and it’s not fair to take it away from us like this.”

How his lawyers must have squirmed when Trump pleaded, “I just want to find 11,780 votes” (the difference between his vote count and Biden’s).

 ·       At the end, the lawyers on the call agreed to meet again the next day to review the evidence on both sides. But it was clear Georgia’s officials weren't going to budge. Trump tried to play the statesman by saying, “Brad, we just want the truth. It’s simple.” But then Trump revealed that only he gets to define what is the truth. “The truth is that I won by 400,000 votes.”


I’ve always maintained that Trump’s narcissism, ego and lack of self-awareness make him the opposite of a successful entrepreneur. Great leaders tell the truth, listen to others, prize reputation over ambition, and guard their integrity. With none of those virtues, Trump will go down in history as a historic loser.

PS: Kudos to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, who defied Trump, party interests and the MAGA mob to defend the truth. Just the other day he tweeted: "The most basic principles of a strong democracy are accountability and respect for the Constitution and rule of law. You either have it, or you don’t.”

(I just learned that Raffensperger graduated from engineering at the University of Western Ontario. Go Mustangs!)

Thursday, July 06, 2023

Top 10 ways to hire and retain top talent

Busy times here at Canadian Entrepreneur, so here's another blogpost written by my AI friend, ChatGPT. Don't forget to use it yourself when pondering new strategies, evaluating new markets, or wrestling with any problem.

Today's question: Based on university level research, what are the best strategies businesses can use to hire and retain top talent?

Hiring and retaining top talent is crucial for businesses to maintain a competitive edge. Based on university-level research and industry best practices, here are some strategies that businesses can employ:

  1. 1. Employer Branding: Develop a strong employer brand that showcases the company's mission, values, and unique attributes. Highlight employee success stories, career growth opportunities, and a positive work culture. A compelling employer brand helps attract top talent who align with the organization's values.

  2. 2. Targeted Recruitment: Implement a targeted recruitment strategy to identify and engage with high-potential candidates. Utilize multiple channels such as online job boards, social media platforms, professional networks, and industry events to reach a diverse pool of candidates. Leverage data analytics and applicant tracking systems to streamline the recruitment process.

  3. 3. Competency-Based Assessments: Utilize competency-based assessments during the hiring process to identify candidates with the skills, knowledge, and attitudes necessary for success in the role. These assessments can include interviews, work samples, case studies, and psychometric tests.

  4. 4. Competitive Compensation: Offer competitive compensation packages that align with industry standards and reflect the value the organization places on its employees. Consider additional incentives such as performance bonuses, profit-sharing, stock options, and comprehensive benefits packages to attract and retain top talent.

  5. 5. Professional-Development Opportunities: Emphasize professional development and growth opportunities to showcase the organization's commitment to employee advancement. Offer training programs, mentorship initiatives, conferences, workshops, and tuition reimbursement to foster continuous learning and skill enhancement.

  6. 6, Flexible Work Arrangements: Recognize the importance of work-life balance by offering flexible work arrangements such as remote work options, flexible hours, or compressed workweeks. Such flexibility can help attract and retain talent, particularly those seeking a better work-life integration.

  7. 7. Employee Recognition and Rewards: Implement a comprehensive employee recognition and rewards program to acknowledge and appreciate top performers. This can include regular feedback, public recognition, performance-based bonuses, promotions, and opportunities for challenging assignments or leadership roles.

  8. 8. Strong Leadership and Communication: Develop strong leadership capabilities within the organization to create a positive work environment and foster effective communication. Encourage open and transparent communication channels, solicit feedback from employees, and provide regular updates on company strategy and goals.

  9. 9. Employee Engagement Initiatives: Implement initiatives that promote employee engagement and foster a sense of belonging within the organization. This can include team-building activities, employee resource groups, social events, wellness programs, and community-involvement opportunities.

  10. 10. Continuous Feedback and Performance Management: Establish a robust performance management system that includes regular feedback and performance evaluations. Provide constructive feedback, set clear goals, and offer opportunities for career growth. Regular check-ins help employees stay motivated, aligned with organizational objectives, and identify areas for improvement.

It's important to note that every organization is unique, and these strategies should be tailored to align with the company's culture, values, and specific talent requirements. Regularly evaluating and adapting these strategies based on feedback and market trends will help businesses stay competitive in attracting and retaining top talent.

Thanks, ChatGPT.  Ask it your questions here!