Don’t sit and wait, get tinkering!
We are almost at the end of the first month of 2023, and you are working on executing on the year’s strategy, but we are witnessing an explosion, hopefully a Cambrian one, in front of our eyes… Generative AI.
I wrote about how it can be a helpful tool for us with respect to documentation and beyond and we are seeing changes every week as we learn what works and what doesn’t.
We are seeing developers jump on this, playing with ideas such as commit bots, app generators, ways to generate backends, IDEs, and so much more.
First Gear? Why Now?
There is so much promise, people are already using these tools, so instead of sitting on it and being conservative, now is the time for us to jump in and get into first gear. There is always a fear of being too early into a hype cycle, but the reason I think the time is right is that you see people getting value today. I have been coding with tools like Copilot and ChatGPT and it’s helpful enough that I wouldn’t want to go back to the Before Times. Does it get everything right? No. Is it great for all of my development needs? No, it’s not as good as it should be.
What does it mean to get into first gear now?:
- Be thinking about use cases that you can start trying. I have been building things such as:
- Using embeddings to bring a chat/search interface to our docs and samples.
- Discord bots to start answering questions
- Super-codemods that help you upgrade, and generally help you build
- Build small experiments that one or two people can execute on and start to validate
- Build a core competence in the technology, so you can quickly go from ideas to experiments
In first gear you have the pedal down, and a driver is quickly accelerating. This is a technology that is changing fast, and is all about tinkering. Get tinkering.
When do we move to second gear?
You will learn so much through these experiments. What actually works, what doesn’t, and what needs more tuning and tweaking to be valuable. If things are going well and we see how efforts are impacting our key results, you can ramp up and shift more effort into this work. That would be a sign we are seeing something somewhat revolutionary.
But wait, isn’t this a fad? Are we being sheep?
Maybe it turns out that this isn’t as big of a sea change as many imagine. I have been very skeptical of recent webN hype in the past few years, and I don’t think that Gen AI is a silver bullet of any form. I am well aware that it hallucinates, and gives wacky answers at times. However, as mentioned above, I have already witnessed great value, and we have truly just started. I believe it can offer UX improvements for our developer community that are substantial. Sometimes you have to take a calculated risk. Worse case, you learn, and provide some much desired feature food along the way.