The Trend Report Podcast

Episode 120: Artificial Intelligence + Business Part 1

Summary Keywords

GPT, artificial intelligence, chat, AI, podcast, business, work, tools, creativity, workflow, talking, company, product, fun, customers, workplace, business, market, relationships, people, employees, plugins, Google, outlook, automation, efficiency, productivity, technology, search engine, automated marketing

Sid Meadows, Host of The Trend Report
Marc Ronick
Nick Nalbach


Coach Sid Meadows: It frees my headspace to be able to spend on building my business, growing a podcast—whatever that is—it's helping alleviate the mundane stuff. So I think that's a big part of it. 

The way I'm looking at the technology today, [artificial intelligence functions] much like a calculator-to-calculator for words, instead of numbers. We all use a calculator in some way, shape, or form—this is no different. It's just providing us with the info instead of the equation.

So normally, I don't have a show intro—the guests usually introduce the show for us, but because of this episode, in this show, I just wanted to let you know give you a heads up—this a powerful conversation about artificial intelligence and business. 

We talked for so long, that I'm breaking it actually into two different episodes, part one and part two. So this is part one, part two will air in a couple of weeks. I just gotta tell you… listen closely, because my guests today, Marc and Nick share some amazing insights about what artificial intelligence is and how you can use it to grow your business. 



Coach Sid Meadows: Hey, friends, and welcome to the Trend Report podcast, where we have real conversations with real people about all-things Contract Interiors! My name is Sid Meadows, and I'm your host. I'm a business strategist, a certified professional coach, and a longtime student of the office furniture industry, and I'm excited that you're joining us today. 

My hope is that you will gain some insights, inspiration, and motivation that will help you grow and your business growth. So let's dive into today's conversation. 

The Trend Report is proudly sponsored by the Insider, a weekly newsletter delivering a quick dose of insights to get your Monday off to a well-informed start. The Insider combines meaningful industry perspective with recommended reads and product solutions, offering valuable intelligence and inspiration to anyone working in commercial interiors. To learn more about the insider or to subscribe for free, please visit 



Sid: Hey, everybody! Welcome to this week's episode of the Trend Report. I'm glad you're joining me today. We're gonna have a really interesting conversation today about something that I know a little bit about, but my two guests today know a lot about. Over the last several weeks, I've mentioned it and a couple of the previous guests have also mentioned artificial intelligence, chat GPT, Google ‘this’ and Microsoft ‘that’. 

So today, we're going to take a deep dive into artificial intelligence and business, and really try to understand what it is, how we can use it in business, and how we can leverage it to do the one thing that we all want to do—which is to grow our business. So I'm excited to welcome some friends to the show today. Marc and Nick, how are you guys?


Nick Nalbach: Hey, Sid, how are you? 


Marc Ronic: Thanks for having us, man.


Sid: So it should be noted that I hang out with these two guys every day of the week, Monday through Friday, at 6am CT/7am ET on Clubhouse, where I co-moderate with Marc and Nick in a podcasting room. We're talking all about podcasting, and so I met both of these guys on Clubhouse. 

I've met Marc in real life, actually, in Asheville, North Carolina. We've actually had dinner together. I've not had the chance to meet Nick yet, but these guys know all about artificial intelligence and podcasting. 

I told them today, they can't talk about podcasting. You're only talking about business and artificial intelligence. So with that—Marc, take just a second, please introduce yourself, and then pass it over to Nick 


Marc: By the way, we've already tricked you, because I know you say we can't talk about podcasting, and we're gonna hold ourselves to that… 

Our whole business that we're working on together has been built with Chat GPT and other AI programs, so I think we'll be able to still get it all together and share it all with you without exactly talking about podcasting. 

As for me, Marc, I'm a guy who's been deep into podcasting for 17, almost 18 years now and still loving it. It all started with a fantasy football podcast back in 2005, and I actually was soon after a few years later hired by a company called Blog Talk Radio, where I set up they're the first really ever, anywhere (I don't think anybody can claim this)—the first ever streaming platform that had 24/7 fantasy sports talk. Sirius XM Radio actually picked up on that and created a year or so later, a fantasy sports radio channel and took all those hosts that we had with them. That's okay with me, but it was interesting to see it all unfold. 

Then I started another podcast with a long-term buddy of mine, and that's called the Marc and Lol Show; that was a 10-year running show, and we gained over a million downloads, had a bunch of followers, and still have created ways of continuing that community and monetizing that community for our business. So let's fast forward… 

I'll skip ahead quite a bit to Nick and I and we created a business together called Next Gen Podcaster. That is helping podcasters with tools like AI to help them boost their show's productivity, save them time, gain confidence, to create engaging content, and really create a business out of their podcast. A lot of podcasters we believe treat podcasts just as such, and we believe you really got to treat them like a business. So we offer all sorts of trainings, tools, AI resources; we have an amazing community that we've started building up there. 

As for me, also, I've been a lifelong entrepreneur. I started my first business a few years out of college doing promotional products, and that company (although I've sold my half) is still going today, like 25-years strong. I have started lots of businesses in between, then and today. So that's a nutshell version of who I am. It's awesome.


Sid: It’s awesome! Thank you, [Marc]! 

Nick, take it away.


Nick: So I am Nick Novack. I got into the entrepreneur business-building in 2017—so a few years out of college. First business right out of the gate failed miserably. It actually started with my dad and my brother. It was a great idea, we just didn't know what we were doing at all. It was a lot of trial and error, learning, figuring things out, ironing out digital Marketing, and through all that, I wanted to create a place to essentially document everything that I was doing, what I was learning how I was building the business, or shifting, and all that. 

And that's kind of where my brand Nine Five of Freedom had come about. With that brand, it was strictly a blog. But I was always fascinated with podcasts. I looked up to a lot of podcasters that were doing it, and a few years into Nine Five to freedom. I just said, “You know what, I'm gonna start a podcast and start interviewing other entrepreneurs, other people who have been in the situation that I'm at that are not succeeding.” And I just fell in love with it. I had a blast with it. I was still, at this point, trying to figure out what I wanted to do, as far as building my own business. But I had a lot of people coming to me asking like, “Hey, Nick, you have a podcast, like, can you help me launch my own podcast?” 

So then the light finally clicked on after about a year of just helping people for free that, “Hey, I should do this as a business.” I really enjoyed doing it, and I have knowledge that people want. So from there, I got into the business of podcasting, got into the podcast, production type side of things, not just podcasting myself. That's where Marc and I ended up meeting through the podcasting space, podcast production, all that. Like Marc said, we didn't head first into the AI stuff as soon as it started coming out. Now, it's become a major part of everything that we're doing right now.


Sid: Well, I think diving headfirst sometimes is really the only real way to do things like this! It wasn't too long ago that chat GPT took the world by storm, even though it's not the original AI, there are others out there. Before we dive into some of the tools and stuff, let's start with a basic definition. 

From your perspective—what is A.I. or artificial intelligence? Nick, you want to go first?


Nick: Yeah. That's a tough question, now that I'm thinking about it. I was about to just start talking, and I'm having to think… it's basically computer programming, automating a lot of the stuff that we do in the most simple aspect of it. We talked about Chat GPT being able to have conversations with someone who's not actually conversing with us on the other side having to be a computer programmer.  Essentially, nothing. It almost seems intelligent, which I think is where “artificial intelligence” comes from.  I'm curious, Marc?


Marc: I agree with you. I think that really it comes down to this—it's a computer program or a program(s) that essentially performs tasks that typically require human intelligence. It's picking up all of those different tasks and things that we do that might feel mundane, may feel too repetitive, and this technology is very quickly being able to pick up that slack for us.


Sid: So it's computer-generated intelligence that helps you with something, a task or something you're trying to do, and most likely in a written word, or written in code to some degree, as I understand (because I'm not fully versed in all of this). I remember a few years ago trying out a software platform called “Jasper” and I tried it out for a couple of months. It's really expensive, like over $120 a month, I believe, and I could never actually make it work for me the right way to justify that level of expense. But when you think about artificial intelligence, how long has this really been around? Where it's people-facing, where normal people are using it? How long has it really been around?


Marc: Yeah, that's a good question. Well, I know that “artificial intelligence” was coined back in 1956, and people were using it. But really, it was more computer engineers—whatever that was added in 1956—and scientists, people learning about it, creating some software around it. It wasn't really until, like you said, a few years ago, we started being introduced with two things like Jasper—like you, I never really could figure out how to make it work well for me. But it wasn't until November of 2022, that this chat GPT came onto the scene and really made AI mainstream. A lot of us knew there was a AI involved in things like Google, and the way that we use their search engine and Facebook, the way we use their social media platform. We knew it was built in there, but it didn't become mainstream really, until just recently, November 2022.


Sid: So why do you think that is? What did Chat GPT, which is really the one that made it so mainstream—what actually made everybody pay attention? Why them and why not other people that have tried similar? If not the same thing?


Marc: Nick, you want to hit on that? 


Nick: I'll jump in there on this one. I think with AI, a lot of the stuff—we've had a lot of this on our phones, to some degree, for a long time on our smartphones. You think of Siri, Google, and Alexa and all that—this is really just artificial intelligence. 

But I know for me personally, I was always frustrated with the lack of intelligence that came with it. I think when Chat GPT came into the scene, being so easy, being free, being so accessible, and the results that Chat GPT was producing are pretty mind blowing. 

So I think the ability to have that conversation that we've been trying to have with these other devices, and it has worked so effectively is what really kicked it off and such a strong forward push.


Sid: So that's a great point. Thank you for sharing that, Nick. 

Marc, let me come to you, and let me ask you a question about this, before we talk into some of the actual tools. We've already mentioned Chat GPT a dozen times already. But how does this stuff work? It's kind of a little sci-fi, talking about Alexa and Siri, because that is a version of AI that we've all been using since they came out. But how does all this stuff work, Marc?


ANSWERING: How does artificial intelligence work?


Marc: Yeah, so basically the easy way to put it is it actually is working much like Google does when we start typing in a search term. Whether it's, “how do I make chicken teriyaki”—that's your thing that you're going to Google. You notice sometimes when you start typing “how to make” you'll start to see those words automatically pop up. That's called generative, pre-trained transformers. 

What it's doing is predicting the very next word that it thinks is the best next word that it should be able to populate next. So this is just a much more complicated, in-depth, type of generative, pre-trained transformers. 

It’s predicting the next words. It's actually not necessarily using an ‘artificial brain’ to answer your questions—it's actually studied millions of pieces of data (in just a few seconds) to find that next best word, creating that next best sentence, that next best paragraph, etc, etc.


Sid: That is a great definition by the way! What I remember hearing about is—I'm going to simplify this for the normies in the world, like me—it’s like that little caterpillar is just like going out into the interwebs and searching and reading all of these websites and data. And then, it stores it in its artificial brain, if you will, and then when you type in a question, it's using that resource to generate the response to you. Is that a good simple way to say it?


Marc: Yeah, I would say so. I think you hit the nail on the head. 


Sid: So it's been around for a while. It's based on internet research (if you will) in an artificial brain, and it's giving you information. This stuff is everywhere. Like everywhere. 

The other day, my daughter showed me Snapchat’s AI plugin. I don't use Snapchat, but she does, and I asked it to write an introduction, letter, or introduction email for a job interview… And it asked me like, “What job? Where's it located?” I was just making stuff up, and he wrote the whole email!

So what is this stuff becoming?! That's just one example, but it's everywhere. Why is it so popular? Why is it growing in popularity? Why are people leaning into this?


Marc: Well, for one, I think, I think it's helping us perform the tasks we don't want to do. So that is very attractive to a lot of people. I don't want to do all the grunt work. If something else can do it for me, great. It frees my headspace to be able to spend on building my business, growing a podcast, whatever that is—it's helping to take away, alleviate the mundane stuff. So I think that's a big part of it. 

To me, the way I'm looking at the technology today, it's much like a calculator. It's a calculator for words instead of numbers. We all use the calculator in some way, shape, or form—this is no different. It's just providing us with the words, the info instead of the equation or the answer.


“A.I. is a calculator for words.” Marc Ronic


Sid: Nick, you want to add to that?


Nick: Absolutely; I think from a very business standpoint, the ability to become more productive with the use of these tools, I think is a huge part of the wave of everything. 

People obviously have a finite amount of time, and if they can use these tools to help free up some of that time—or in a lot of cases, people don't have enough money to hire employees and hire the actual help they need. So this [tool] can take some of that burden off of them, until they're able to start hiring real people to help with their work. It's really attractive. Everybody wants more time back into their day.


Sid: Sure. Well, it's also easier to manage a computer than it is people... Yeah, most of the time. The computer doesn't talk back like your kid…


Nick: You never know! With Chat GPT, sometimes you always hit the power button on it.


Sid: So it's easy to use; it's easy to get access to it; it helps increase your productivity. You can ask it questions, it's gonna spit things out. This wave started in November—here comes Chat GPT. I remember on Clubhouse we’re talking about it, and everybody's now hammered with it. In just like 6 short months—it's at the front of Google, it's at the front of Snapchat, it's at the front of Microsoft. 

Everybody is incorporating artificial intelligence into their platforms, and it's like we pushed a rock downhill almost. It just started, and it has gone BOOM, and it has kept getting bigger and bigger and bigger and bigger and bigger. 

What do you think is the real catalyst here that caused this? Is it just Chat GPT, or what caused this momentum to happen?


Marc: You want to take that, Nick?  


Sid: Both of your eyes lit up when asked that question! I'm excited…


Nick: I think a lot of these big tech companies have been sitting on this technology for a while. I know Google has been for years, they've been working with the AI stuff. Obviously the Google Assistant and all that—they've just been very slow and hesitant to release anything. I think Facebook is the same way, and Snapchat—obviously, any of these companies that are collecting massive amounts of data have working on some sort of version of this for the past, however many years. 

The fact that Open AI and GPT were like, “We're going to do it now.” Everybody else who's got all this that they can sit in on all this stuff—Chat GPT was like, “We have to get on board because otherwise we're gonna miss the train.” So we're seeing all these companies start jumping on the same bandwagon, if you will, because it's clearly taken the world by storm.


Marc: Yeah, and let's also get back to the popularity question. A lot of companies are jumping on this, because we haven't seen the popularity, the growth in popularity happen so quickly the way that it happened with Chet GPT. 

I believe it was a matter of less than a week that Open AI had over a million subscribers to their product because of Chat GPT. It's hard for big businesses to ignore that kind of popularity and just pretend it's a fad. They want to get in on it and capitalize on that too.


Sid: Well, we could draw parallel to Clubhouse, and two audio only room conversations. They were first to market, if you will, and then LinkedIn had it, and Twitter now has many spin offs. There’s many versions of ‘Clubhouse,’ and we don't need to dive into it. But I think it's a very similar thing, where somebody said, “Hey, let's step out here, and let's do this…” And then it just started a snowball effect, if you will, of other people getting into it. 

Go ahead, Nick.


Nick: I was just gonna add, I think part of this… 

I mean, I personally had not heard of Open AI before all this stuff started kicking off. They've been working on this stuff for several years. After I had done some digging on GPT just before it really kicked off—I think [Open AI] released in 2020. So they were playing with this stuff for a while. 

I feel like all these other companies, like Google, didn't want to be the first to pull the trigger, because they had so much to lose, being the most trusted search engine in the world. Facebook, I feel like they're the same way. They didn't want to push that ball, get that ball rolling down the hill. And then when the opening came…


Sid: I did it think about who they are…  Why wouldn't they want to be the first, why would they let some ‘little’ company [beat them to it]? But let's clarify something here—Open AI and Chat GPT—what's the relationship? We've mentioned it a couple of different times, but I want to make sure we clarify the relationship between the two…


Nick: Yeah. So if you think about Microsoft, and their product Outlook—it's the same thing. Open AI has Chat GPT as their product. They have other products that they're working on in artificial intelligence—designing software, things like Microsoft designer—that's a combination of Chat GPT and Microsoft. There's all sorts. So that's what it is. It's basically a product of the company.


Sid: Okay, thank you for that clarification. I'm gonna shift gears on this for a second… 

Why do businesses need to consider using an AI tool, regardless of the tool? Why should a business consider using it?


Marc: Nick, do you want it or you want me to take it?


Nick: I'll let you start!


Marc: Okay. So why do businesses—why do they want / need to take advantage? Is that your question?


Sid: Yeah—why should a business take advantage of an artificial intelligence tool?


Marc: Well, maybe maybe the most obvious is if they're not, they're going to miss the boat, and somebody else is, because this technology is not going away. And it is evolving quickly. And if you're not taking advantage of it in some way, I think that it puts your business at a big disadvantage. And the longer that you wait for it, the bigger of a disadvantage you're going to have. So I think finding ways and right now a lot of companies are exploring it, they're not necessarily using it in some massive, impactful way yet for their business. There are some sure that are, but I think right now, it's in such an exploratory phase. 

We've heard of businesses paying their employees more to explore and use it and find ways that they can incorporate that technology into the business to make it more efficient, make it more profitable. So I think that would probably be a big reason why to get involved with it.


Sid: Let’s make sure Nick’s not being left behind... Nick, what else would you say?


Nick: Obviously, more productivity. I've heard of several CEOs, they are buying Chat GPT—you have a free version, and then you have a paid version, which is $20 bucks a month. This one particular CEO, he bought this plus version for all of his employees, every department of his company, he spent I think $2,400 a month on just GPT to get his employees to use it. Just in a month of them starting to use it (and not everybody at this point is using it yet), they're already saving a ton of time with planning strategies, social media, coding—they're using this in every aspect of their business to find ways to save time.

I think a lot of the people are very freaked out by AI, because they’re thinking like, “AI is gonna take my job, it's going to basically make everything that I do obsolete.” And basically, okay, if I can hire an AI assistant to do my job—then that's gonna save them a lot more money. Which means they are going to make more money, and I see it a little bit differently if I can use AI to make someone more productive, or to free up more time. 

You can create more output, and then make more money. So I don't see it as something that we need to think about, “How is this going to replace us?” But rather, “How can we use this to make us better, more productive employees or leaders?” or just anything better


Marc: And let me add one more thing, Sid (or actually a couple more things). When I think about how a business can use this—just to get even more specific to build off of what Nick is saying—it's going to help with a business's workflow to be more efficient. By automating their routine, we will say for example that operations are made more efficient—it helps to reduce errors and inconsistencies and maybe inaccuracies in their data analysis and decision-making. 

It helps (and this is a big one for me and our business) with our creativity—coming up with new ideas and insights and perspectives. From data—from actual data—feeding it the data and then getting the analysis from that data from our own insights. 

Artificial intelligence can be very inexpensive and very valuable at the same time. It can manage and monitor core workflows for IT teams, for example—so they can focus on more strategic operations ,while AI is performing those mundane tasks. So from there it goes on and on and on.


Sid: Okay, so lots of questions that are coming through my brain at this very moment... I'm trying to think about real-life use cases that a business could consider using it for. I'm going to use some examples of what I used it for… 

I used it to outline a blog, I used it to write a blog. Now you can't use the full-written blog, you’ve got to go in and do it in your voice and that formatting stuff. 

I've used it and it could be used to write an email. You could actually write out an email campaign about something. You could use it to respond to an email. 

Those are some practical ones, though they all seem very marketing related, which you certainly could improve marketing automation. But Marc, you've said a couple of things that I'm questioning just because I want to understand, and I'm sure my listeners won't understand. 

You referenced automating the workflow—how does an AI tool allow you to automate workflow? Can you explain that a little more?


Marc: I can, and I think Nick can even do a better job of it, because Nick has been doing this in the background of our business next gen podcaster. So, Nick, take it away.


Nick: Yeah. A lot of the stuff that we're doing with Next Gen Podcaster is incorporating AI—it's incorporating Chat GBT. That's a big, heavy use, and we're using it to not only do the things that you were talking about, like outline blog posts, write blog posts, and social media stuff—we're using it to build content strategies, and strategies like blog post strategy, using affiliate strategies and all of these different things. 

Recently, Chad GPT actually introduced plugins, and something that we've started playing around with is Zapier. So Zapier is a simple tool. If-This-Then-That—basically you do something that triggers something else to happen. Chat TPT is plugging directly into Zapier. 

So people are finding ways to… Maybe there's a support ticket that comes through Trello or in your Google Sheets—that support ticket is automatically sent to Chat GPT, where it answers the question for you, and then send it back to the person that originally started that whole request. Things like that can work behind the scenes and don't necessarily need someone's attention and time thrown at it. Those are the types of things that are becoming more possible as the AI technology gets better and more developed.


Sid: So that's awesome. I want to do a real-life comparison, too, and I'm gonna draw this to a furniture comparison. So what I just heard you tell me was that we can connect it with a ticketing system, basically, that it could respond for us. 

So if we had a dealer in the office furniture industry—that's our primary customer, as a manufacturer—we had a dealer email us or submit a ticket that says, “Hey, the glass is broken, the shipment on my phone booth is broken.” 

We could set up a workflow, where Chat GPT would automatically respond to that email, and then take the next step in the process to get the glass replaced. I'm simplifying this, because my brain is trying to wrap my head around how we make this work…


Nick: Yeah, you absolutely could do that. You can have it create automated routine communication tasks for you, for example—like what you were saying, responding to customer inquiries or problems, handling support tickets, providing basic information to those customers. 

You can use it as a virtual assistant to communicate directly with your customers. You can train it on your business ID, and then have it act as a customer service agent that can answer some of the mundane routine questions that you hear a lot from your different customers or potential customers. That knowledge management is very real, and you could do that for internal purposes, as well. 

You can train it to understand the internal systems and then work with new employees to learn those systems. If they have a question about something you're doing internally, and they want to get a quick answer before having to “bother the boss”—they could go in and communicate with your Chat GPT (your businesses Chat GPT) and get those answers that they're looking for.


Sid: Okay, part of the reason why my face looks really weird (if you're watching on YouTube, sorry) my face look a little weird at this, because the version of Chat GPT that I've actually seen, you have to type in the question and it answers it… Maybe you have to give it some criteria to act like a blog writer, I don't know, whatever, boom, boom, boom—and then it spits out for you the information. 

The version you're describing to me sounds like it's connected together with Outlook or with Salesforce, where it's integrated that you can set up this workflow behind the scenes, what automatically happens.


Nick: That's part of it, yes, because a lot of those systems that you mentioned (those tools) do have it already built into it. You can actually have your own local version of Chat GPT and train it with the data. And that is how you can use it internally or use it for customer facing, because that was the key—you can have your own local version on where you train it specifically about your company, about your processes, your procedures, and then it automatically can spit out, which is a more secure way of doing it. 

Because if you're using regular public Chat GPT, if you're not careful and don't have the right settings turned off—it's sending all of that data to Open AI. Not that they're going to use it to be mischievous about it, but they are getting all of your company's private data… And you probably want to keep that on your own servers.



Okay, that makes a lot of sense. Now I have a better understanding, and hopefully, my listeners do too. 

I had no idea that you could use it for that kind of stuff. What we talked about in the podcast, the morning room is a lot different than this. That's why I wanted to have this conversation, because I didn't know you could do all that! 


Marc: Well said… We're not talking about podcasts. 


Sid: Very true. Thank you, Marc. That's why they are the hosts of this show! You're spot on though; I didn't understand that you could do that. Now, it makes a lot more sense to me about how you could do it. 

Thanks for joining me today on this episode of the Trend Report Podcast. I'm glad that you're here, and I hope that you got some amazing value out of today's conversation. We look forward to seeing you next week, and in the meantime, go out there and make today great!


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