ChatGPT Limitations: The Long-Tail Case

In this post, I would like to add one observation about Google vs ChatGPT. We need to understand that ChatGPT is just a language model and not a knowledge model or a conceptual model. Thus, it only captures relationships between words and not relationships between entities or between concepts.

ChatGPT is a generative model that incrementally outputs the most likely word from a sequence of words, starting with the prompt (the question) offered by the user. Therefore, ChatGPT answers are always very clear texts, very well written and well structured, but there is no guarantee that they are conceptually correct.

To immediately find the shortcomings of this model, it is enough to focus on the Long Tail. Any question you ask about unfamiliar subjects is likely to get an incorrect answer. In some cases the model assumes its ignorance and does not respond, but in many other cases it produces an entirely wrong answer. You can make your own experiments by asking about subjects for which there are not many materials available.

In this Long Tail case, Google Search is still far superior to ChatGPT for good answers, because the search engine always finds the most relevant pages, and never “invents answers” based on probabilistic language models.

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How to Speak in Any Meetup

Most people today understand the importance of networking to advance their personal and professional goals. And one of the most practical and effective ways to expand our network is to participate in Meetups. In general, people who go to Meetups have the explicit goal to make new contacts, with the intention that these new connections may generate them interesting opportunities in the future.

Even better than participating in a Meetup is to be a speaker. Of course, the person who is the speaker in a Meetup is the focus of attention, and will have the possibility of making many new connections. For this reason, it is not difficult for Meetup organizers to find qualified professionals who are willing to speak for free. A great way to establish our personal brand and improve our reputation is to be invited to speak at such events.

But of course there is only a limited number of Meetups, and it may be difficult to be frequently invited to speak. Naturally, the Meetup organizers want to diversify their speakers, and will avoid inviting the same person more than once. For this reason, it is common for professional speakers to travel to other cities in order to have more opportunities to join such events.

Now the question: How can you speak in any Meetup?

I will share with you an approach I have been using for many years, and which is very effective: When I want to speak in a Meetup, I simply listen to the presentation and ask interesting questions. It may be surprising, but a person in the audience asking a good question may drive as much attention as the speaker. As a result, many of the other people in the audience will remember the ones who asked the questions, and will be interested in talking to them.

Thus, as a consequence of my questions, it always happens that some people will approach me after the talk. These people have a very clear way to start a conversation with me, because they can refer to the question I asked during the talk. They also may have an initial understanding about who I am and what are my topics of interest, based on the questions I asked.

For example, it is very common that people approach me and say: “I really liked your question!” Others may say: “You asked an interesting question, and this is my opinion about it…” And sometimes people will say: “I did not completely understand your question nor the speaker’s answer, can you please explain it to me?”

Very often, when I ask a question, I start by introducing myself and explaining what I do. For example I could say: “I’m the CTO at a startup company and we are also using Machine Learning to solve a similar problem. Can you please explain…” Thus, I use my question as an opportunity to make a personal introduction and present myself to the other Meetup’s participants. It is very effective, and in my opinion also very polite.

But if you would like to adopt this approach, it is important to make sure that your questions are authentic. I only ask a question if there is something that I really want to understand, and only if I believe that most people in the audience would be interested in knowing the answer to this specific question. In other words, the answer to your questions should be a natural extension to the material being presented by the speaker.

Thus, in general I avoid making provocative questions, or questions that may sound as a kind of criticism to the material being presented by the speaker. I also avoid making questions that are not directly related to the main topic being discussed, or questions that would require an answer that is at a much deeper level and take a long time to explain. Finally, the questions should never be an interruption, so I wait for the appropriate moments to ask them.

I hope you can benefit from this approach in the next Meetups you participate in the future, and that it will help you to grow your network with interesting new connections. Please feel free to use the comments below if you have other ideas about how to enjoy your Meetups.

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Choosing your goals for the New Year

What do you feel like doing? What are you afraid to do?

These seem like two very different questions: what we want to do and what we are afraid to do.

No one needs to push you too hard to do what you want. If you’re a normal person, you probably have a strong drive to fulfill your desires. If you feel like doing something, it’s probably also important for you to do it.

But it’s interesting that it might be just as important for us to do those things that we’re afraid to do. In fact, for many people, being able to do something they were afraid of can be a much greater accomplishment than doing something they’ve always wanted to do.

In other words, overcoming our fears can be far more satisfying than fulfilling our desires.

Very often, too, a fear is just a wish in disguise. Like when you say: “I’m afraid of leaving my job and setting up my own business” or “I’m afraid of investing in the Stock Market” or “I’m afraid of trying to immigrate to another country”.

I wish that in the year 2023 we all have the courage to face our fears and the willingness to fulfill our desires.

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Public Speaking as an Example of Acquiring Transferable Skills

What is a transferable skill?

My personal definition: A transferable skill is one that suits to a wide range of professions, occupations or activities.

Thus, transferable skills remain useful and valuable even if you decide to change professions or if you are forced to modify your career path. It’s not always possible to predict what work you’ll be doing 10 years from now, but it’s safe to say that these transferable skills will continue to be useful.

In this article I will present one example of transferable skills (public speaking), illustrating how these skills can be acquired and developed.

Acquiring a new skill

Generally speaking, if we want to acquire a new skill, we need to follow a plan:

  1. Define what skill we want to acquire.
  2. Find the sources of information that will allow us to acquire knowledge about this skill.
  3. Find ways to put this skill into practice to acquire experience in addition to knowledge.
  4. Start simultaneously studying (gaining knowledge) and practicing (gaining experience).
  5. After acquiring enough knowledge and experience, ensure that this skill can be monetized, which proves its value.

For example, let’s say you want to develop public speaking skills:

  1. Define that you want to speak in public and choose the topic on which you would like to speak.
  2. Find videos and articles of people giving tips on effective public speaking.
  3. Find opportunities to speak in public, for example at meetups or conferences.
  4. Start studying and practicing simultaneously.
  5. When you feel prepared, you can start charging for public speaking.

In practice, several years can pass from the moment you start giving your first talks until someone is willing to pay you. But even if you’re not yet getting paid to speak in public, surely developing this skill will lead to other indirect revenue opportunities.

  • For example, someone who attended your lecture is very impressed and offers you a project.
  • Or maybe someone who liked your talk is willing to pay you to mentor them.
  • Or maybe someone makes you a job offer after watching your lecture.

On the importance of feedback

It is very important in the process of developing new competencies to ensure that you have appropriate mechanisms for receiving feedback.

Thus, in the previous example, at the end of the lecture you should pass a questionnaire to your audience so that they can say if they are satisfied and if they have any comments.

Likewise, in this example it is important that you record all your lectures so that you can review and analyze them.

As you review the videos, you can answer questions like:

  • How’s my intonation? Do I speak in a monotonous way or can I be more dynamic?
  • Do I speak with enthusiasm? Can I convey my enthusiasm to the audience?
  • What questions were asked during the lecture? Are these questions a result of audience interest or a lack of clarity in my message?
  • How is my body language? Do I look at the audience or avoid looking at them? Do I use my hands well or do I talk with my hands in my pockets?

My personal experience as a public speaker

It has always been important for me to have the ability to speak in public. But of course, as any normal person, I was afraid. So for me the first goal was to be able to face a group of people and speak in public without feeling afraid.

After several tries, I understood that in order not to be afraid of public speaking, I needed a few things:

  1. Have total mastery of the subject. This means knowing exactly what I’m going to say, but also being prepared to answer every question.
  2. Think about my audience in a positive way. Knowing that if they came to watch my lecture, it means they are interested in the subject. So I simply think that they’re all my friends and they like me.
  3. Be well rested before the lecture and avoid thinking about other matters. Be focused on the topic of the lecture for several hours before the lecture.

Get out of your Comfort Zone

I once gave a talk in French. I speak French quite well, but not as well as Hebrew, Portuguese or English. So, at the beginning of the talk, I said:

“This is the first time I’m going to speak in public in French. For me, this is a big challenge. I’m sure I’ll make a lot of mistakes, there will be words that I’ll pronounce wrong, and other words that I’ll have to ask you how to say. But even so, it’s important for me to give this talk in French. I’m sure you’ll understand me and that I’ll be able to convey my message.”

The audience loved this intro. Not only were they even more willing to pay attention to the lecture, but they were also ready to help me, admiring my courage in trying to give a lecture in a language that I didn’t completely master.

Experience avoids anxiety

A person who has experience does not get nervous when he/she has to speak in public. This applies not only to lectures, but also to a wide range of other situations, such as meetings in a company.

If you’re not afraid to give a talk to a group of a hundred people gathered in an auditorium, you won’t have any difficulty participating in a meeting either. You will know how to coordinate your thoughts and speak in a clear and understandable way. You will be able to think quickly when answering questions.

Public speaking is a transferable skill because it also applies to a wide variety of other situations in which you need to get your ideas across to a group of people.

Best of all, when people recognize your public speaking skills, they’ll ask you to represent them in all the appropriate situations. So, if you are participating in a team project, and that moment comes when someone needs to present the results of the project, you will be the chosen one. In this way, your public speaking ability turns into a leadership quality that will set you apart from other professionals on your team, opening the door to new opportunities.

What should you do if you don’t like public speaking?

It may happen that you’ve chosen to develop this skill, and that after a few tries you’ve come to the conclusion that you really don’t like public speaking.

No problem. I’m not saying that all professionals necessarily need to have this skill. But I do believe that they should at least do an experiment and try to develop it.

In general, the main idea is for you to experiment with different skills and gradually discover your talents, what suits you best, what you like best.

The important thing is to know that all people have ignored talents, because they never had the chance to try. We must not imagine that our talents are just those things that we are naturally drawn to do. We may certainly discover that we have abilities we never imagined. What’s more, we may find that we enjoy doing things we’ve never tried to do before.

The secret is in exposing yourself to new experiences. But this must be structured so that you can come to valid conclusions. For example, if you want to learn how to cook, first understand the real complexity of cooking, and then invest in having good equipment and good ingredients.

There is no point in making an attempt with little investment and then abandoning it when the results are not as good as we would like.

In summary

I hope this article has presented you with a concrete approach to develop your own transferable skills. Plan to acquire both knowledge and experience, make sure you have the right feedback mechanisms, and don’t be afraid to get out of your Comfort Zone.

Please feel free to share in the comments below your own personal experience developing transferable skills.

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Coaching Kosher Webinar: Networking vs. Reputation

I was recently invited by the Coaching Kosher platform to share my insights about the importance of Networking versus Reputation for professional development. Below is the video of my presentation (in Spanish) with some interesting insights. I think you will enjoy my presentation if you are interested in learning more about the importance of building your own Reputation in order to have more personal, professional and business opportunities.

Special thanks to Federico Pipman who invited me to share my experience.

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Seven Books about the Israeli Culture and Startup Ecosystem

Today, lots of people want to learn more about the Israeli Culture and Startup Ecosystem. If this is your goal, below I selected seven amazing books that will provide you the insights you want, and also will be an important source of inspiration. Enjoy!

Start-up Nation: The Story of Israel’s Economic Miracle

By Dan Senor and Saul Singer

Start-Up Nation addresses the trillion dollar question: How is it that Israel — a country of 7.1 million, only 60 years old, surrounded by enemies, in a constant state of war since its founding, with no natural resources– produces more start-up companies than large, peaceful, and stable nations like Japan, China, India, Korea, Canada and the UK?

With the savvy of foreign policy insiders, Senor and Singer examine the lessons of the country’s adversity-driven culture, which flattens hierarchy and elevates informality– all backed up by government policies focused on innovation. In a world where economies as diverse as Ireland, Singapore and Dubai have tried to re-create the “Israel effect”, there are entrepreneurial lessons well worth noting. As America reboots its own economy and can-do spirit, there’s never been a better time to look at this remarkable and resilient nation for some impressive, surprising clues.”

The Unstoppable Startup: Mastering Israel’s Secret Rules of Chutzpah

By Uri Adoni

The Unstoppable Startup: Discover the bold secrets to Israel’s incredible track record of success in this new guide that will help make any startup unstoppable.

More than half of all startups fail – often during the crucial early stages of development when they need to prove their viability on a limited budget. However, when it comes to startup success, one country stands out: Israel.

Even though it is a relatively small country, Israel has one of the highest concentrations of startups in the world, has the highest venture capital per capita, is one of the top countries in terms of number of companies listed on NASDAQ, and is well-recognized as a global leader in research and development.

In The Unstoppable Startup, veteran venture capitalist Uri Adoni goes behind the scenes to explain the principles and practices that can make any startup, anywhere in the world, become an unstoppable one.

Packed with insider accounts from leaders who have realized bold visions, The Unstoppable Startup distills Israeli chutzpah into six operational rules that will help you to:

  • Build an unstoppable team;
  • Foresee the future and innovate to meet its demands;
  • Manage your funding and partnerships through all phases of growth;
  • Dominate the market category you are after or create a new one;
  • Build and manage an early stage investment vehicle;
  • Build and grow a healthy high-tech ecosystem.

Adoni implemented these practices throughout his more than 12 years as a venture capitalist for one of Israel’s most successful venture funds, and he continues to utilize these same proven startup strategies today in metropolitan areas in the US.

The Unstoppable Startup provides readers with insights and operational advice on how to run a startup, and how to overcome challenges that almost every startup faces.”

Chutzpah: Why Israel Is a Hub of Innovation and Entrepreneurship

By Inbal Arieli

Chutzpah: Discover the secret behind how Israel, a tiny country with the highest concentration of start-ups per capita worldwide, is raising generations of entrepreneurs who are disrupting markets around the globe and bringing change to the world.

Dubbed “Silicon Wadi,” Israel ranks third in the World Economic Forum Innovation Rating. Despite its small size, it attracts more venture capital per capita than any other country on the planet. What factors have led to these remarkable achievements, and what secrets do Israeli tech entrepreneurs know that others can learn?

Tech insider Inbal Arieli goes against the common belief that Israel’s outstanding economic accomplishments are the byproduct of its technologically advanced military or the result of long-standing Jewish traditions of study and questioning. Rather, Arieli gives credit to the unique way Israelis are raised in a culture that supports creative thinking and risk taking. Growing up within a tribal-like community, Israelis experience childhoods purposely shaped by challenges and risks—in a culture that encourages and rewards chutzpah. This has helped Israelis develop the courage to pursue unorthodox, and often revolutionary, approaches to change and innovation and is the secret behind the country’s economic success.

While chutzpah has given generations of Israelis the courage to break away from conventional thinking, the Israeli concept balagan—messiness in Hebrew—is at the root of how Israelis are taught to interact with the world. Instead of following strict rules, balagan fosters ambiguity, encouraging the development of the skills necessary for dealing with the unpredictability of life and business. Living with balagan provides Israelis with the opportunity to constantly practice the soft skills defined by the World Economic Forum as the Skills for the Future, as balagan promotes creativity, problem-solving, and independence—key characteristics of successful entrepreneurs.

By revealing the unique ways in which Israelis parent, educate and acculturate, Chutzpah offers invaluable insights and proven strategies for success to aspiring entrepreneurs, parents, executives, innovators, and policymakers.”

Israeli Business Culture: Building Effective Business Relationships with Israelis

By Osnat Lautman

“Read Israeli Business Culture before interacting with new contacts, and return to it whenever necessary for added processing of your cross-cultural experiences.

Author Osnat Lautman uses the word ISRAELI™ as an acronym to depict the general profile of Israel’s business culture:

I Informal

S Straightforward

R Risk-Taking

A Ambitious

E Entrepreneurial

L Loud

I Improvisational

In this revised and expanded second edition of Israeli Business Culture: Non-Israelis will learn about the origins of the Israeli culture, its main characteristics and how to bridge the gap when working with Israelis. Israelis will gain more awareness of how they are perceived by their colleagues, supervisors and subordinates around the globe. Both Israelis and non-Israelis will acquire tools to enhance communication, which is the cornerstone of profitable business in our diverse global economy.”

Thou Shalt Innovate: How Israeli Ingenuity Repairs the World

By Avi Jorisch

Thou Shalt Innovate profiles wondrous Israeli innovations that are collectively changing the lives of billions of people around the world and explores why Israeli innovators of all faiths feel compelled to make the world better. This is the story of how Israelis are helping to feed the hungry, cure the sick, protect the defenseless, and make the desert bloom. Israel is playing a disproportionate role in helping solve some of the world’s biggest challenges by tapping into the nation’s soul: the spirit of tikkun olam, the Jewish concept of repairing the world. Following Start-Up Nation’s account of Israel’s incredibly prolific start-up scene, Thou Shalt Innovate tells the story of how Israeli innovation is making the whole world a better place. Israel has extraordinary innovators who are bound together by their desire to save lives and find higher purpose. In a part of the world that has more than its share of darkness, these stories are rays of light.”

ISRESILIENCE: What Israelis Can Teach the World

By Michael Dickson and Dr. Naomi L. Baum

“From well-known leaders making life-and-death decisions to ordinary people who have overcome incredible loss to do inspirational things, meet the Israelis who thrive against all odds and learn how you can too. ISResilience is a study of a nation that has had to collectively and individually hang tough like no other country on earth. Imbued in Israel’s DNA is the understanding that survival isn’t optional – it’s a necessity. Any Israeli could have given testimony for this book. Israelis routinely carry on with their day-to-day lives not just when things are calm and peaceful but when rockets are launched at them, during official conflicts and wars and unofficial waves of gruesome terrorism. And they don’t just survive – they thrive.

Each chapter of this book profiles a diverse, compelling Israeli personality – some famous, some not, but all exceptional – and traces the characteristic that unites them all. The life lessons extrapolated from these interviewees can teach every one of us to be stronger people. Written by a communications expert and Israel analyst together with a pioneering psychologist in the field of resilience research and treatment, ISResilience brings today’s most in-demand skill to life and shows how we all can benefit from the trait embodied by the nation once admired by Princess Diana as “a plucky little country.” Part-history, part-biography, part-self-help manual, ISResilience is a study of a nation that has had to collectively and individually hang tough like no other country on earth.”

Technion Nation: Technion’s Contribution to Israel and the World

By Amnon Frenkel and Shlomo Maital

Technion Nation: “Science and technology represent our collective tomorrow. And while poor in natural resources, Israel is rich in human resources that have positioned us at the forefront of global advances in the new scientific era through innovation, foresight, creativeness and daring. The seed planted today will yield the world a better place. It was lucky the Technion was found prior to the establishment of the State of Israel, helping us prepare for the future.” Shimon Peres President of the State of Israel

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Overview of the Israeli Startup Ecosystem

Last week I was invited by the Câmara de Comércio Paraná-Israel – CCPRI to share my insights about the Israeli Startup Ecosystem. Below is the video of my presentation (in Portuguese) with lots of interesting information. I think you will enjoy my presentation if you are interested in learning more about the reasons that Israel is called the Startup Nation, and some of its secrets.

Special thanks to Ricardo Sasson who invited me to share my experience.

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How a Coaching Course can Improve your Leadership Skills

I’m now a certified coach! But no, I don’t have the intention of working as a coach. My goal was to improve my leadership skills.

First of all, I became a better listener. My natural tendency is that I like to speak and express my opinions. In the coaching course I developed the ability to pay attention to what other people are saying. As a leader, this is a very important skill. If you don’t really take in consideration what your team members say, they will simply stop talking to you.

I also learned that very frequently people don’t need your advice. Sometimes the best way to help a person is by asking questions that will conduct this person to finding his/her own answers. In the past, I had the habit of immediately giving my opinion whenever I was presented some problem. Now I understand that it may be much more effective to ask first: “What would you do in this situation?”

I want to thank my teacher, master coach Matías Duek, from the International Kosher Coaching institute, for the passionate lessons in which he shared his knowledge and experience with us.

I also want to express my gratitude to the other participants in this course, that helped made it a real pleasurable experience: Alejandro Goldwasser, Ariel Levin, Federico Pipman, Ilan Orchansky & Rav Richard Kaufmann.

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Interview: Israeli Culture and Tips for New Immigrants

I was invited by the Keren Leyedidut to share my experience with people planning to do their Aliyah (immigration to Israel) from Brazil. Below is the video of my interview (in Portuguese) with many tips and concrete advice for Olim (new immigrants). I think you will also enjoy this interview if you are interested in the Israeli culture in general.

Special thanks to Waldemar Kertsman and Marcos Feuer who invited me to share my experience.

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How to be happy with your job?

So, do you want to be happy with your job?

I will tell you the secret to become a happy employee: Stop focusing on your own happiness.

Instead of trying to be happy, make sure that your boss is happy with your work and that your team members are happy with your contributions.

Exactly: Focus on the people who work with you and make them happy! As a consequence, you will also be happy.

– Because when people trust you they will give you autonomy to do your job.
– When your boss admires you he will give you the opportunity to develop your skills.
– And you will have a sense of purpose, because you will be focusing on your contributions instead of focusing on your own happiness.

And Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose are the main ingredients you need to be happy with your job.

This has been exactly my experience working as a Data Science Expert at CodeFuel.
By focusing on my contributions I was granted the opportunity to apply sophisticated Machine Learning models in very interesting projects such as:
– Contextual Targeting
– User Intent Discovery
– Dynamic Creative Optimization
– Real-Time Bidding

I know that I am trusted by my co-workers at CodeFuel. They ask me to solve challenging problems that match my skills. And this makes me happy.

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