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  • Sunday Signal: OpenAI releases GPT-4o, burn the boats, and the power of unordinary behaviour

Sunday Signal: OpenAI releases GPT-4o, burn the boats, and the power of unordinary behaviour

Hey friends 👋 Happy Sunday.

Here’s your weekly dose of AI and introspection.

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AI Highlights

GPT-4o is OpenAI's new flagship large language model (LLM). The 'o' stands for omni, a combining form meaning 'all'. This is because GPT-4o is multimodal, able to reason across audio, vision, and text in real-time.

Alex’s take: GPT-4o is 50% cheaper and 2x faster than GPT-4-turbo. This is a serious step up. What’s more, it can respond to audio inputs in as little as 232 milliseconds, with an average of 320 milliseconds. This is similar to human response time in a conversation.

It's $16,000, 10x cheaper than their first humanoid robot, 'H1', which was released in August 2023 for $150,000.

Alex’s take: Competition makes better products for the consumer. I wonder what this price point will be when Figure 01 or Tesla's Optimus enters the home. In addition, H1 only has a battery life of 2 hours. This seems low if it is to engage in productive activities, let alone heavy labour.

You can now interact with data directly from Google Drive and Microsoft One Drive. Upload files directly from cloud storage, interact with tables and charts, and customise and download the results for presentations and documents.

Alex’s take: I've always felt quite invested when creating lengthy Excel formulas. But it makes total sense to now complete tasks using natural language. This makes it significantly easier for beginners to perform in-depth analysis without being an 'expert'.

1 Article I Enjoyed

If history has taught us anything, it shows us why 'burning the boats' is instrumental to a person's success. It forces action—with no plan B—meaning hesitation is never a consideration.

I thought this article highlights 3 great examples of what it means to ‘burn the boats’ throughout history:

  1. The Aztec Conquest: In 1519, Spanish explorer Hernan Cortez landed on the Yucatan shore with 11 ships and 600 men, aiming to capture Aztec treasure. When some soldiers plotted to escape, Cortez burned his own ships, leaving the soldiers with a simple choice: fight or die. Despite being heavily outnumbered, this move forced his men to succeed and take the Aztec ships for their return, ultimately leading to their victory.

  2. Alexander the Great: It was the year 334 BC. Alexander the Great faced one of his most powerful and formidable enemies—the Persian Empire of Darius III. The 22-year-old king led 20 ships carrying around 75,000 men across the Hellespont (now known as the Dardanelles) into Persia. He told his men, “We will either return home in Persian ships or we will die here.” This strategy allowed his men to fully commit to the mission and its subsequent success.

  3. The Battle of Julu: In 207 BC, General Xiang Yu of the insurgent state of Chu led 50,000 men across the Yellow River to attack the Qin commander Zhang Han and his 400,000-strong army. Upon the banks, Yu’s army set fire to their boats and destroyed supplies, packing only enough to last them the 100-mile march towards Julu. Yu’s army eventually defeated Qin forces after being matched 10-1.

Lesson: when you meet a task that requires all-out effort, don’t give yourself a second-place option. Plan B kills plan A. Whilst all burnt boats may not necessarily lead to victory, you can’t be victorious without removing plan B. Burn the boats.

1 Idea I Learned

Normal behaviour is forgotten. Only weird behaviour survives.

I learnt this idea from George Mack.

Nobody tells stories of when someone did something ordinary. They only recount stories when they did something unexpected.

Whilst unordinary behaviour might be socially scrutinised in the short term, in the long term, it turns into a story—and the perceived social ‘cost’ of doing something unexpected fades away.

  1. Paying the bill for your friends: In the short term, everyone is a bit shocked, but in the long term, everyone remembers your generosity.

  2. Send your favourite book and a handwritten notecard to your friend for their birthday: In the short term, they can’t believe the effort you put into it, but in the long term, it’s the thing that transforms your relationship to new depths.

  3. Making useful introductions to people—and not expecting anything in return: In the short term, they have to navigate new relationships, but in the long term, they remember you for introducing them to a partner that changed the trajectory of their business.

Embrace your quirks, idiosyncrasies and individualism. Unordinary behaviour is what you’ll be remembered for.

1 Quote to Share

Vince Lombardi on winning:

“Winning is not a sometime thing; it's an all the time thing. You don't win once in a while; you don't do things right once in a while; you do them right all of the time. Winning is a habit. Unfortunately, so is losing.

There is no room for second place. There is only one place in my game, and that's first place. I have finished second twice in my time at Green Bay, and I don't ever want to finish second again.

There is a second place bowl game, but it is a game for losers played by losers. It is and always has been an American zeal to be first in anything we do, and to win, and to win, and to win.”

1 Question to Ponder

Will this decision make me uncomfortable and force me to grow?

💡 If you enjoyed this issue, share it with a friend.

See you next week,

Alex Banks

P.S. No longer feel motion sickness when using your iPhone in a moving vehicle.