#40 – Andrew Palmer on Using AI To Help Your Website Workflow

On the podcast today we have Andrew Palmer.

Andrew has been in the WordPress space for many years as a product owner and open source advocate. He founded and later sold Elegant Marketplace, and more recently is the co-founder of Bertha.ai, which is a WordPress plugin which assists you in creating text content directly in the WordPress admin.

If you’ve not played with AI, then you might be surprised by how good it’s becoming. A few years ago, anything written by a computer would be easy to distinguish from that of a human. These boundaries are becoming blurred, as systems like GPT-3 have become remarkably adept at rapidly creating content which is useful and competent.

Many SaaS products have come to the market which enable you to create AI content by seeding it with a small amount of information. Andrew’s product is a little different because it allows you to create that content within the WordPress editor and a raft of page builders.

We get into how you can create AI content and when it’s suitable to do so. Can you rely on the text that’s created and hand over complete editorial control to the plugin, or does the generated content still need human intervention?

We also dig into some aspects of AI which have people concerned. Are we going to become too reliant on AI tools, and will they put copywriters out of work? Will people create content simply to swamp the search engines and make it harder for truly important information to rise to the top?

There’s a lot of functionality in the plugin and Andrew tells us some of the possible scenarios where he feels it works best. Creating titles, longer form text, and even sprinkling in a little sarcasm here and there.

Typically, when we record the podcast, there’s not a lot of background noise, but that’s not always the case with these WordCamp Europe interviews. We were competing against crowds and the air-conditioning. Whilst the podcasts are more than listenable, I hope that you understand that the vagaries of the real world were at play.

Useful links.

Elegant Marketplace

Transcript

[00:00:00] Nathan Wrigley: Welcome to the Jukebox podcast from WP Tavern. My name is Nathan Wrigley.

Jukebox is a podcast which is dedicated to all things WordPress. The people, the events, the plugins, the blocks, the themes, and in this case how AI can speed up your website building workflow.

If you’d like to subscribe to the podcast, you can do that by searching for WP Tavern in your podcast player of choice. Or by going to WPTavern.com forward slash feed forward slash podcast. And you can copy that URL into most podcast players. If you have a topic that you’d like us to feature on the podcast, I’m very keen to hear from you, and hopefully get you all your idea featured on the show. Head over to WPTavern.com forward slash contact forward slash jukebox and use the form there.

So on the podcast today we have Andrew Palmer. Andrew has been in the WordPress space for many years as a product owner and open source advocate. He founded and later sold Elegant Marketplace, and more recently is the co-founder of bertha.ai, which is a WordPress plugin, which assists you in creating content directly in the WordPress admin.

If you’ve not played with AI, then you might be surprised by how good it’s becoming. A few years ago, anything written by a computer would be easy to distinguish from that of a human. These boundaries are becoming blurred, as systems like GPT-3 have become remarkably adept at rapidly creating content which is useful and competent.

Many SaaS products have come to the market which enabled you to create AI content by seeding it with a small amount of information. Andrew’s product is a little different because it allows you to create that content within the WordPress editor and a raft of page builders.

We get into how you can create AI content and when it’s suitable to do so. Can you rely on the text that’s created and handover complete editorial control to the plugin.? Or does the generated content still need human intervention?

We also dig into some of the aspects of AI which have people concerned. Are we going to become too reliant on AI tools and will they put copywriters out of work? Will people create content simply to swamp the search engines and make it harder for truly important information to rise to the top.

There’s a lot of functionality in the plugin, and Andrew tells us some of the possible scenarios where he feels it works best. Creating titles, longer form text, and even sprinkling in a little sarcasm here and there.

Typically when we record the podcast, there’s not a lot of background noise, but that’s not always the case with these WordCamp Europe interviews. We were competing against crowds and the air conditioning. And whilst the podcasts are more than listable, I hope that you understand that the vagaries of the real world where at play.

If you’re interested in finding out more, you can find all of the links in the show notes by heading over to WPTavern.com forward slash podcast. And you’ll find all the other episodes there as well. And so without further delay, I bring you Andrew Palmer.

I am joined on the podcast today by Andrew Palmer. How are you doing Andrew?

[00:04:02] Andrew Palmer: I’m very good. Nathan. Thanks very much for inviting me on.

[00:04:04] Nathan Wrigley: We are in the bowels of the Super Bock Arena and let’s be honest, it was a challenge finding this room, wasn’t it?

[00:04:10] Andrew Palmer: It was, and especially as I was running late and you’ve been very kind to still accommodate me, thank you.

[00:04:15] Nathan Wrigley: You are, most welcome. Andrew’s been in the WordPress community for years and years and years, but it’s not been always on the up and up has it? You’ve had your moments where you’ve stepped away for a little while and now you’ve reemerged. Is that true? Is that fair to say?

[00:04:28] Andrew Palmer: Kind of, I mean, I sold Elegant Marketplace to the wonderful people that InMotion Hosting. So that enabled me to go off and play golf for a little while, and invest in other businesses and interests.

[00:04:39] Nathan Wrigley: Do you think this is for you, you know, a moment of excitement or are you still with tentative steps?

[00:04:46] Andrew Palmer: It could be construed as a resurgence. I mean, I’ve always connected with the WordPress community, cuz we’re such a friendly bunch. I had an opportunity to develop plugins and be a product maker, and I took over a lot of products from a very good friend of mine and hopefully we’ve enhanced them and made them better.

[00:05:04] Nathan Wrigley: You’ve listed a, a few of the things that you’ve been involved in, but you’ve obviously been involved in lots of different businesses. Do you think with 50,000 plus plugins in the WordPress repository, countless commercial plugins, are we in a saturated marketplace? What I mean by that is if you are creating a new product, is it very difficult to be discovered? Is discoverability really difficult? Okay, let’s take two scenarios. The first one you’ve got a budget to advertise. And the second one is if you have to bootstrap it and do more or less all of it yourself. So two parts.

[00:05:36] Andrew Palmer: You know, if you’re gonna do jerk sauce it’s still hard. You know, you’ve got supermarkets, they do their own brand as well. As soon as a brand new hot sauce comes out, the supermarkets go, oh, we’ve got our own version of this, and they charge you a few hundred thousand pounds to be put on the supermarket shelves. So, there’s always a price to pay isn’t it, it’s a pay to play arena in every single business aspect. So the benefit that we have in WordPress is that we can throw something onto WordPress dot org, which is great.

I mean, throw is maybe not the right word because it does go through a, a little bit of moderation, one would hope, but, um, you know, you can throw out a free version of what you’ve got and test the market. That’s really cool because, you throw out an MVP and people then like it and you then put some pro versions together or pro bits and pieces and say, okay, yeah, I’m, I’m willing to pay 10 30, 50, a hundred bucks for that a month or a year or whatever.

So the competitive landscape of every business in the world is competitive by nature, because there are so many products out there that are similar. There’s loads of light bulbs out there. It’s not just Phillips. Loads of CDs, you know, it’s just not Phillips. So you gotta make your own way, I think.

[00:06:51] Nathan Wrigley: With the whole plugin thing and the whole of saturation thing, you’ve launched several products over the course of your career. Most recently, maybe there’s something after this, but I think the most recent one is Bertha.ai. That’s actually the URL as well as the name of the product I think.

[00:07:07] Andrew Palmer: It is Bertha.ai. It’s uh, my very good friend and, uh, co-founder Vito Peleg phoned me far too early in the morning, because he gets up at five o’clock and said, hey, I got an idea, man, let’s do it. We did and financial situations, I’m the, you know, I’m the guy that’s got the cash and we invested in it and Vito invested, blood, sweat and tears as we all did. And I’ve got a development team, you know, and they worked really, really hard and we launched it at the end of September, 2021. It’s going well.

[00:07:37] Nathan Wrigley: Is that the primary reason that you are here at WordCamp EU? Actually just rewind that a little bit. When the tickets were announced, I think you were the first person that I know who committed to coming. You probably weren’t the first person that bought a ticket, but in my social network, you were the first person who said, oh, I’ve done it. I’ve bought a plane ticket. I’ve got the hotel and blah, blah, blah. You must be fairly committed to these kind of events. And if that’s the case, what’s the thing? What’s the angle. Is it the community? Is it a bit of community, a bit of networking, a bit of marketing?

[00:08:06] Andrew Palmer: It’s a lot about the community because, uh, I’m looking for developers, you know, so I need to chat to people and meet with people. And we are very lucky yesterday and got treated to a gin fest, by Codeable. Marcel who actually works in, for Codeable rather, in Portugal, did an event for Codeable and invited us all along.

But it’s all about networking, and we met a few, I met a few coders and had a good old chat, and that’s what it’s about. It’s me networking. Supporting the community, as much as I possibly can, being a bootstrap business. It’s quite expensive developing a plugin and there’s lots of things you have to commit to like getting a new CMO, you know, in Stephanie Hudson. She’s got her own business to run and, and we’re all kind of bootstrap minded.

So we all have to do little things and Vito’s got Atarim to do so he’s gonna concentrate more on that now. So, you know, I needed a sidekick. Stephanie’s that sidekick, who’s got the strategy and the marketing nouse and she’s also based in the U.S. Which is good. And Bertha is now incorporated in the U.S. as well. So it’s all. Moving along swiftly, but I did actually release a GDPR plugin last week.

So GDPR friendly fonts, but it’s a commercial one. There’s a few free ones out there, but ours is good. So, launching things all the time and improving the plugins and making sure that we are in touch with what people in the community actually want, because we are here. Plugins, I think are more here to support the developer than the, than the end client. To give them an easier way to market if you like, or an easier or quicker, faster speedier way to get their product out, whether it’s, uh, an MVP for themselves or whether it’s a website for a direct client .

Plugins and extensions and themes. And you know, what Gutenberg Hub doing with Gutenberg? What Extendify are doing with Gutenberg is quite amazing and all the form plugins out there, you know, we’ve got, I’ve got very good friend Mark Westguard who’s does WS Form. It happens to be my favorite form. We happen to get on, which is really cool. So it’s about meeting these people. Coming together in Europe, biggest WordCamp in the world. You know, pretty good.

[00:10:15] Nathan Wrigley: Do you have a battle plan though? Do you have, before you set off. I was wondering, because you said earlier you wanted to meet developers and today was contributor day.

[00:10:22] Andrew Palmer: I couldn’t get in.

[00:10:23] Nathan Wrigley: Was it just because you were a bit late?

[00:10:25] Andrew Palmer: No, I was a contributor, I was just late. I just kind of thought, well, do you know what? And Stephanie runs the Focus WP Facebook group. So we had a little meet up and we’ve gone out on the town and just met with a few people from the Focus Facebook group as well. So there’s always networking opportunities. There’s nothing else to do a WordCamp than have a great look at Porto, which is probably one of the best venues you could choose.

Food’s cheap, and good. The weather has turned out to be better than we thought it would be. There’s a little spits and spots of rain, but effectively Porto’s a great historical town as So, you know, it’s a, it’s a bit of a vacation stroke job bit.

[00:11:04] Nathan Wrigley: You said that you were in search of developers and the bit was gonna develop there was, so there was 500 odd today and it felt busy. Tomorrow, maybe more like, touching 3000. So it’s gonna be really busy. And if you haven’t got a, I don’t know, an agenda and a meeting list, do you literally just try to work out who in the room is a developer by just going up and talking?

[00:11:26] Andrew Palmer: Well, I’m gonna be standing on a booth as well for an hour or so. And I’m also going to, I’ve got a few meetings scheduled, which is pretty cool. With developers as well as, you know, funders and people like that who are interested in either investing in Bertha or doing some partnerships with Bertha and stuff like that. Because once you’ve got a plugin that kind of answers all the questions with copywriting within WordPress, people want to talk to you, which is really cool.

But it’s a long day, Nathan, you know, it’s a very long day and it goes into the evening. I’m gonna have opportunities to meet and chat with people all the time. I’ve got tons of Twitter messages to answer, and stuff like that. You know what it’s like.

[00:12:02] Nathan Wrigley: I’m struggling keep up with the different platforms. This person is over here on Slack, this person is over here on Twitter. Yeah it can be difficult. So let’s talk about your, well, I’m guessing the booth tomorrow is Bertha.

[00:12:13] Andrew Palmer: No, the booth I’m gonna be helping out Atarim, because Vito’s a very good friend of mine and I know Atarim pretty well. I’ve used it from the very, very beginning, and now it’s on version three. It’s their third birthday. And Vito likes to run around. You can’t really keep him to a spot. There’s a bit of super glue we’ve snuck in there. But Alex Panagis, he’s gonna be on the booth as well, and I’ll be hanging around and just answering some questions that people don’t really get it or something.

So, you know, it’s so dual role. But of course Bertha’s gonna be mentioned in the conversations. Well, because that was actually the idea, is that Vito wanted an AI to be able to write within the note making facility, you know, you put these little notes on websites. So our first job was to make Bertha work in the front end of Atarim. And it does. So you can now, so customers can now say, right, I want this headline and then ask Bertha to generate an option for headlines and they’ll put it in. I want this paragraph here and all that kind of stuff, and Bertha can do that within Atarim.

[00:13:10] Nathan Wrigley: Okay. I feel at this point, we should explain because we’ve stepped ahead. So okay, Bertha is a plugin for WordPress, which enables you to create AI content. So that could be any form of content. It’s just text, right?

[00:13:23] Andrew Palmer: Yeah, I think the best way to describe Bertha is that she is an AI copywriting assistant. So you are the editor, she’s the journalist that’s gone out and found the stories and the facts and the general content, and you working as the editor within WordPress, then edit that content and make it your own. And that’s the best way to describe Bertha. She’s not just a machine that says, right, write me a blog about this. We’ve got three things coming next week for the pro version. And one of them is very, very long form where you just give her a hint and she will write it for you. And then you just edit that.

[00:13:58] Nathan Wrigley: All right, let’s build up the jigsaw of how it all works. So we install the plugin, all of that normal stuff. How do we seed Bertha with the idea? So for example, let’s say that we want to write a blog post about WordCamp Europe. How do we seed the idea into Bertha, and how much do we need to seed in, in order to get something decent back? Let’s go with a title first, just the title.

[00:14:19] Andrew Palmer: Okay. Title you just say, what do I want to write about? So you just write, what do I wanna write about, I wanna write about blog posts being written by AI. And then say generate a headline around that. And Bertha will give you four alternatives, or two alternatives or three, depending on how good your one was, and you click and that’s, that then goes into the text bit.

Then you say, right, okay, I’m writing a blog post about this. So I’m gonna go to the blog post topic ideas model, and I’m going to give it the title and then, or going to give Bertha the title and then you press generate text and Bertha will come up with one to four or one to five blog post topic ideas. And then you put number one in as the title in a paragraph generator, and that will generate your paragraphs around that first topic idea. And then you just go through. It’s of a workflow that you get into.

[00:15:07] Nathan Wrigley: People listening to this, they’re gonna think, okay, this is voodoo. How does this work? How does it work?

[00:15:13] Andrew Palmer: Well we’re very open about how it’s done. It’s it is open AI dot com, and we’ve written our own models. And we now use the latest version of GPT-3, which is really fast and uses things called suffixes and prefixes. And it writes much, much better quality AI generated content. And it has the previous GPT, DaVinci was up to, I think, uh, 1999 or whatever it was. It was ages ago. It scraped 10% of the web to get the ideas for the content.

This one is now 2021. June 2021. So much more recent content. If you wanna write about crypto, if you wanna write about FinTech or modern FinTech or anything that’s going on in the modern world. COVID for instance, you wanna write about that or the history of COVID from 1990, whenever it was. I can’t remember the dates COVID’s done my head in. It will write that history for you now. So it’s much better, much quicker, faster, better quality and, easier use.

[00:16:16] Nathan Wrigley: People who’ve never used these tools before, they might have sort of concerns about a, does it scan, does it even read like a human wrote it.

[00:16:24] Andrew Palmer: Oh, for sure it does, yeah.

[00:16:25] Nathan Wrigley: Okay. So you can be pretty confident that it’s gonna scan well. But in terms of the quality, where do you stand on how much supervision. Is it like an aberrant child? Do you need to go back to it and give it some love and attention? Or is this a case of, I am just gonna press the button, not read, publish. There’s probably a bit of a spectrum, but how much of you come to trust it to be left to its own devices? Or how much do you go back through and read everything that it generated?

[00:16:52] Andrew Palmer: Well, when you are writing, you’re thinking about what you’re writing and Bertha does exactly the same thing. Doesn’t know what she’s gonna write a paragraph ahead. Just like I don’t know what I’m gonna say 10 seconds ahead. But I’m forming the words in my head and then they come outta my mouth and whatever. And I will make a few missteps.

We know politicians make missteps all the time, cause they, maybe they don’t engage brain before whatever, but, you have to be the editor. What I don’t want Bertha to be is a total AI copywriting situation. Just write everything for you, because that’s not fair on you as a producer of content, it’s not fair on your readers and it will eventually work against you because your content will become repetitive.

It will become not unique. You won’t have your tone of voice necessarily. So it’s, it’s up to you, which AI generator you want to use. If you’re gonna be a spammer, then use the others. If you’re gonna, gonna really invest in your copy, but with the help of an AI, Bertha’s the way to go.

[00:17:57] Nathan Wrigley: So would it be fair to categorize if you’re gonna do longish form, it’s a launchpad. You click the button and there’s an idea here’s where you could go. Not necessarily, there’s the finished product. It’s a bit like a junior journalist would hand to an editor and say, I think that this is the finished product.

[00:18:15] Andrew Palmer: Exactly.

[00:18:15] Nathan Wrigley: Is that where we’re at? You should generate this content, then look at it yourself on every occasion because the AI, right where we are now is not quite to be trusted.

[00:18:25] Andrew Palmer: Well, yeah, just exactly like Tesla. They do an auto drive. It’s definitely not to be trusted. I was in one a few weeks ago on my travels in the States and all of a sudden we turned left into a bunch of roadworks, well what’s that about?

Luckily, the driver was supervising quite well, but you know, you can’t trust AI completely. And I don’t think you ever should. There should always be some human interaction. That’s what I believe in that. My aim is with website production is to make it quicker, better, faster.

[00:18:55] Nathan Wrigley: Okay. Yeah. And it helps with those?

[00:18:57] Andrew Palmer: Yeah. I mean you’re gonna save between 80 and 90% of your time that you would normally write a thousand word blog post.

[00:19:03] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah I guess one of the concerns from people who maybe want to rail against this a little bit would be that that kind of control, that self control to go and read it, may not be forthcoming. In other words, we may have an internet where there’s tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, millions, possibly of blogs out there that are just pumping out content, click the button, publish.

[00:19:27] Andrew Palmer: Yeah but we’ve, let’s not be naive about this. We’ve always had that. There’s always been spinners of text and you know, the affiliate marketing world and the health and fitness world for years, you know, even before WordPress dare I say, you know, there was always people spinning content.

That’s why things like Copyscape exist. Try and make sure that nobody’s using your content. But Bertha’s not just for blog post writing. Bertha actually helps you with every single aspect of your website. And the whole reason that we’ve got it in WordPress is because you can go through each model or each template. And you can write your homepage. You can write your services page, you can write your about us page. You can enhance your product descriptions.

There’s so many models now in templates in there now, and next week we’ll be launching social media templates as well. So you can write a Facebook ad or Twitter post or whatever, within Bertha. So, you know, there’s plenty to look at, and the fact it’s free is where I’m at. I think we’re helping the community get a grip with free AI. You get a thousand words a month for free.

[00:20:35] Nathan Wrigley: How does the UI actually work? So presumably we’re in Gutenberg or the old classic editor. How do we interact with it? So we click into the title, take us from there. Is it like Grammarly? Does something sort of hover over us, which says engage Bertha?

[00:20:48] Andrew Palmer: Pretty much. And it’s any page builder. It doesn’t need to be just classic editor or, it is literally any page builder. And the guys at visual builder, or Visual Composer rather. They helped us immensely with Visual Composer because they’ve rebuilt that from the ground up and helped us code Bertha so that she works perfectly with Visual Composer.

I’m a Divi guy. I needed it to work within Divi. That was quite challenging. We’ve managed to do that. And Elementor as well. So whatever you are in, whether you are in a text field in Gutenberg or a text field within any page builder that you choose to use, Bertha’s little icon is there, just winking at you saying, I’m here to help. You click on that and then a sidebar comes out and then you’ve got all the models and you’ve got the web or the blog, website, content, blog, AIDA, PAS, P A S.

Uh, we’ve even got evil Bertha, she’s quite fun. Bit of a sarcastic bot there. That was one of my favorites that we put in there. Uh, and then you have, on a separate dashboard, you have long form as well. So that’s a separate thing where you can just write long form content. Format it for your blog, and that will save, save it within your own database. And the benefit of Bertha is one, it’s unlimited users, because anybody that can sign into your website can use Bertha. Two it’s really accessible for WordPress users. If you’re used to WordPress, you can use Bertha and you can start using Bertha effectively within 10 minutes.

The nice thing is, is that every single template has either a 30 second or one minute instructional video embedded in the sidebar. So you just play the video. You go, okay, that’s how I do that. The long form one, because it’s long form and it’s slightly more complex, you need to use a bit more logic with it, the instructional video is 10 minutes.

[00:22:30] Nathan Wrigley: The different language models that you’ve got, you mentioned the evil one and, you know, we could have the pirate one for example.

[00:22:36] Andrew Palmer: There is, we can do that tomorrow.

[00:22:37] Nathan Wrigley: Okay. But there could be the sales for example, or I don’t know, whatever it may be. They genuinely spit out different content? And is that composed with a different choice of verbs or a different choice of vocabulary. And if you go for the humorous one it’s gonna throw out some curve balls and some interesting fruity language?

[00:22:54] Andrew Palmer: Frank Sinatra.

[00:22:55] Nathan Wrigley: Okay.

[00:22:55] Andrew Palmer: Hey blue eyes, how you doing? We wanted it to be fun, right? So you’ve got the tone of voice. So you have your title. Who’s it aimed at? Is it business users, people that buy flowers, people that buy motorbikes, people that love WP Tavern? What’s the tone? Is it fun? Is it innovative? Is it classy? Is it hilarious? Is it Frank Sinatra? You know, you can put in those. Is it Rocky Balboa? You know, whatever you wanna put in there as the tone of voice. And, uh, Bertha will speak in that tone.

[00:23:25] Nathan Wrigley: Presumably GPT-3 means that there was a two and there will be a 4. Do you have any insight into that? Is that the kind of thing which rolls out on an annual basis?

[00:23:34] Andrew Palmer: GPT-3 has actually been improved. You’re on now DaVinci two. We use the highest engine, which is DaVinci ,and we use DaVinci two and there’s, there’s another thing called babble and other things within it. You can kind of downgrade it. So for evil Bertha we use, um, I think it’s babble because it kind of just, it’s more sarcastic. It kind of gives better results. So we test all the models within the playground of Open AI and then we go, okay, well that’s how we can write that.

Because we write the, we write the prompts and that’s the benefit of us being web developers. You know, Vito’s done thousand websites, I’ve done hundreds and maybe a couple of thousand three, three or 4,000 actually, if I look back on it, cuz I’m old these days and I’ve been building websites pre WebPress, right. Macromedia jobs and, even Front Page, but there you go.

We know what people want in a website. The content, the kind of flow, the blurbs, even the content. We’ve actually got a model for the contact form blurb. How to ask people to contact you. Because we know websites. We’ve built it specifically for website owners and website developers and producers, because getting content out of a client, that’s why Atarim exists. Getting content out of a client is like getting blood out of a stone. if you give them a method to do it or a way to do it, you’ll get it much quicker. You’ll complete your projects quicker. You will then be able to take on more projects.

[00:24:59] Nathan Wrigley: So that’s an interesting piece, isn’t it? The idea that you can, well previously you’d fill it up with lorem. If the client didn’t deliver the text, in goes lorem just to fill the space. To give it some indication of how it might look.

[00:25:10] Andrew Palmer: That’s why Bertha is called the Lorem Ipsum killer.

[00:25:13] Nathan Wrigley: There you go, so that’s a really bonafide use of it, isn’t You basically push the button, fill it up with actual content. And even if the client doesn’t want to use it, then of course, I guess they could go in and edit it, or just start again.

[00:25:25] Andrew Palmer: Exactly. Yeah. You can actually deliver a completed website to a client with text. In the right format, in the right places, everything. And it won’t add a great deal of time to your development process. It will save a massive amount of time on deliverables. The client will see it. They’ll get it. And they’ll go, well, actually, I don’t wanna use that word or I don’t, I think that’s outta context, let’s rewrite it to that, and you can even use Bertha to do that.

[00:25:50] Nathan Wrigley: So can you, as a website builder who maybe only wants certain permissions to go out to your clients, you can enable them to use Bertha or not use Bertha? There’s different permissions?

[00:26:00] Andrew Palmer: Yeah there is within the settings page. We’ve done a, a nice little dashboard, nice little onboarding as well, you know, makes it easier for people to understand what it is. And there’s an intro video on the onboarding as well, which will probably update because couple of things have slightly changed, but because we’ve embedded the instruction videos within Bertha, it makes it much easier.

We’re launching a deep dive academy in a few weeks time, and it is a few weeks time, because we’re just building out the long form videos. So educational videos of how to write a blog post, how to build a website from scratch using Bertha. How to use particular page builders and stuff. And that’s being done by Imran Sadiq who has been a godsend on the training. I mean he produced 54 training videos in just under 21 days. So he was a find, I’ve gotta tell you. He’s my, he’s my favorite person currently.

[00:26:50] Nathan Wrigley: When you push the button, and it spits out content. Presumably there’s a cost to that. In other words, it goes to a computer somewhere else. Maybe that’s your computer. Maybe it’s somebody else’s infrastructure. I don’t know, but there’s a cost for that transaction.

So I’m guessing that there’s gonna be constraints on the free version. Maybe that’s the number of times you can click the button, the amount of text you can produce, because I know that there’s a premium version as well. Just talk us around the pricing and the constraints that you’ve got.

[00:27:15] Andrew Palmer: Well, I made a decision because I, you know, I’ve invested in Bertha both time and money. I want people to use her. So a thousand words a month will cost me money, but that’s part of the investment, right? So currently, and I have no real reason to change this, everybody can use Bertha for free with every single model in it, except the new ones that I’ve said, because they are expensive to us.

So somebody’s gonna have to pay for those, and also pro users only get to use the academy as well. It’s free to pro users. So there are some constraints on the free use. But I, I love the fact that people are signing up. We’re getting probably 15 to 20 users signing up free per day, and they’re using it. Because we have a monitor. We, we don’t monitor what they use. We keep a record of what’s generated, but not by whom. You know, we don’t know which websites have generated, but that also helps us improve the model as well.

Also if it gives empty responses, which sometimes it does. But we can see we’ve got a little, when a new user starts, we can see that there’s zero. And then within 10 minutes of them starting, they’ve used 250 words. We’re thinking, yay. You know, they’re getting it. They’re really looking at it. And then they go to 1,012 words because we’ve done it just over the thousand, because there’s nothing more frustrating when you click that button, you run out of words.

So, you know, we let them, if it’s got to 998 and then they want to generate more, we let them generate the next sentence and they go, sorry, you gotta wait another month or upgrade. You know, of course I’m a very commercial person and people who know me know that I’m commercial, but you know, wait another month. But with a thousand words, you could write a homepage. You could write good about us page, whatever.

[00:28:57] Nathan Wrigley: The thought occurs to me that AI is getting its claw into almost everything. You’ve got Alexa in the living room and you’ve got the possibility to create pieces of artwork with all sorts of AI content. And I’m just wondering given your position, you’re obviously thinking a lot about AI. What do you make of the future of website building? So not the, not the content. Not that piece. The bit about the layout, the feel, the color palette, use of fonts.

Because I just find it almost inevitable that at some point we’re gonna be talking to the website building process, and we’re gonna be saying, I want a homepage with a picture of a stadium in the background with these words, and then you’ll see what it puts out and actually no change the font. Make it H2 instead of an H1 and so on. Do you think that’s closer than I’m imagining? Cause I’m still thinking that’s decades off.

[00:29:49] Andrew Palmer: Oh, it’s definitely not decades off. It’s 24 months off. You know, if you really, really get into it because, um, Google are working on image generation. But let’s also not forget that AI can examine an image and see what’s in it. So, the stock Adobes, the Shutterstocks of this world will think, well, hang on a second, we can tie up with an AI and ask it to recognize this gray head fella in a rowing boat, doing some fishing, whatever, no offense Nathan, and then produce that image.

And it would be, it wouldn’t necessarily have to be an AI generated image because there are millions of, of images out there. And imagine if you’ve got the WordPress repository with that’s now, and I’ve forgotten the name of where the images are on WordPress, but…

[00:30:34] Nathan Wrigley: Openverse.

[00:30:36] Andrew Palmer: So Openverse is an AI feeder of images. You know, I want a nice lakeside image with no people in it, because that’s part of the Openverse terms and conditions. There’s no people in it, but I want a nice lakeside view, in landscape and I want the sun to be shining. And the AI will go out and search that, find that, and place it within your Gutenberg block.

[00:30:55] Nathan Wrigley: It’s interesting because I wonder, I wonder if people, so the particular next thing I’m gonna say relates to Bertha.ai. So I wonder if it’s got content creators, people whose job is to create copy. She’s got them shaking in their boots.

And also, I wonder if this event that we’re at WordCamp Europe, 2022. I wonder if in two or three years time given everything that you’ve just said, maybe coming down the pipe, if it will be a totally different experience. The whole build process will be different and we’ll be concerning ourselves with all sorts of other things.

And the block editor might be a very, very different thing. And page builders look different. With the rate of change, and the fact that AI can sort of seed itself and make itself cleverer, much, much more quickly than we can, I do wonder what it’s gonna be like in a few years.

[00:31:40] Andrew Palmer: There are some very clever people out there as well. You know, let’s not name drop too many people. Elementor for instance, who’ve got their cloud version now. In there, there’s a, a workflow and say, what type of websites you want? What do you want it to look like? What’s the colorways and boom, there it is. Extendify doing the same. You’ve got all the content blocks. What do you want in there? And you take you through a workflow.

WordPress will do that with their new $5 a month package, you know, and hosting and they’ll, they will build your website on the fly and, and, BoldGrid, I think it’s BoldGrid by, InMotion. It’s like a page builder that people don’t actually know about, but when I got into conversations with InMotion about them buying Elegant Marketplace, and I was basically a Divi marketplace, I’m saying, why don’t we make stuff BoldGrid, because you can go in there and say, I want a florist website.

Press a button, you’ve got 10 pages of flourish websites with all the images and the text. All you do is go in and edit the text. So that’s not AI, that’s just intelligent people saying, this is how we want people to build websites. So, with the advantages of AI and people like Matthew Renze, who I met in Las Vegas a few weeks ago. He’s at the top level of AI, and some conversations that I have with him, what’s coming, man is gonna blow your head off. It’s crazy what’s coming.

[00:32:57] Nathan Wrigley: On that bombshell. Andrew Palmer. Thanks for joining us.

[00:33:00] Andrew Palmer: You’re more than welcome Nathan. Thanks for letting me rabbit it on.

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