Working with ChatGPT: Lessons Learned & Best Practices

Working with ChatGPT

Over the past 31 days, ChatGPT has been used with the mission to boost the activities of Disfold across multiple dimensions. This blog post shares the most valuable takeaways and best practices for working with ChatGPT, drawing on the insights from this highly productive month.

To help you better grasp the takeaways from this 1-month experience, lessons and best practices are here regrouped by theme, so you can extract the most value and hopefully get some extra insight to work with an AI assistant like ChatGPT, or other AI ChatBots like Google Bard.

Remark that even though the “basic” GPT-3.5 model does provide good answers, at times its logic and responses are not always 100% coherent and may somewhat lack real effectiveness. On the other hand, the GPT-4 model, which is currently only available for ChatGPT Plus users really shines in logic and coherence, which is especially important in more technical areas (such as coding) where you may need to use it.

GPT3.5 Model Characteristics
GPT-3.5 Model Characteristics

The following report therefore exclusively relates to the output of the GPT-4 model, with prompting exclusively conducted in OpenAI’s ChatGPT user interface, not through the OpenAI API. Besides, this report doesn’t account for the use of plugins, which are still not publicly open as of the time of writing this article.

GPT4 Model Characteristics
GPT-4 Model Characteristics

ChatGPT Skyrocketing your Productivity

After a month of using ChatGPT, one thing is certain: it significantly boosts productivity across multiple fields, if you can take the time to learn how it works and acquire the habit of refining your prompts to get the desired outcome.

The “prompt engineering” buzzword you can hear everywhere is a real thing, writing more effective prompts will greatly increase the value you can obtain from ChatBots, but prompt engineering is not exactly what it sounds like. No need to be an engineer, prompt engineering is actually more the work of someone skilled in language than engineering.

Though prompt engineering has some logic to it, crafting the best prompt is primarily making sure that you give the machine a detailed expression of what you need and/or what you expect from it. With the proper context and the vocabulary that will trigger the machine to generate the right response, you can greatly enhance the value of the ChatBot’s answers, just as entering more specific keywords in Google Search with yield more targeted results.

Also, don’t hesitate to re-write your prompts or reply to ChatGPT to refine your request according to its answers, and the AI will also refine its output to better correspond with your needs. It’s essential to remember the limitations posed by the AI’s knowledge cutoff (currently September 2021) and to adapt prompts and re-prompts to what the model yields.

What is the best way to prompt ChatGPT
What is the best way to prompt ChatGPT

In any case, from a purely empirical standpoint, it seems not unreasonable to assess that the ChatBot has helped increase productivity throughout our activities for Disfold in the range of +50% to +100%! There is simply none of the area highlighted hereafter where ChatGPT hasn’t led to a significant boost, oftentimes enabling the completion of tasks that would have taken a human half a day or a full day in a matter of minutes or a couple hours!

Only make sure to remember that if you want to uncover the most value from your ChatBot assistant, you should not just give it a quick question. It is important to refine your prompts according to your needs and goals, and interact with the AI to give it more information and context:

  1. Define clear goals
  2. Provide context
  3. Use specific keywords
  4. Ask concise questions
  5. Iterate & refine

ChatGPT for Business Strategy and Market Research

Provided you do not need the absolute latest information, since its knowledge cutoff is September 2021, you can use ChatGPT to conduct market research. Even though it cannot bring the latest insights on its own (some plugins can allow you to browse the internet), ChatGPT excels at assembling multiple sources of information in a structured study.

Furthermore, it often provides detailed and actionable insights into various aspects of any industry, which can lead to significant improvements in your strategic or tactical approach to business and marketing. InDisfold’s case of researching the FinTech industry, ChatGPT has helped unearth a number of market niche dynamics, outline key players in particular niches, and helped us understand their operations and business models.

A tip to be more effective in market research and business strategy, and gain valuable information on marketing, segmentation, and business planning is to consider asking ChatGPT with the following kind of prompts:

  • What should be the first steps to [accomplish your goal]
  • What would be the best approach to [accomplish your goal]
  • Do a first principles analysis of [this goal]
  • How to [accomplish your goal] in the least amount of time and/or with the least financial resources
ChatGPT's list of first steps to start a business
ChatGPT’s list of first steps to start a business

ChatGPT for Coding and Development

When it comes to coding and development, ChatGPT has proved itself to be an incredibly valuable asset. It saves hours to generate code for new functions, helps find more effective solutions, and really shines when assisting with debugging. It can even code for you in programming languages you don’t know much about, and theoretically, it could even code for you with no prior coding experience whatsoever.

ChatGPT Introduction to coding basic web page
ChatGPT Introduction to coding basic web page

Again, even though it needs some refined prompting to find the right solutions and effective code for new functions, when debugging you just need to give it the error message for it to reply with effective corrections in a matter of seconds. In Disfold’s case, ChatGPT has greatly accelerated the development of new simple functions in both Python and JavaScript, but it really saved hours of searching and testing for potential solutions when encountering errors.

ChatGPT removes the need to find a potential solution on StackOverflow or other coding websites and to adapt it to your specific case. It just rewrites the code you gave it, or the code it created, with the solution directly integrated and explained with proper comments… sometimes working on the first try, or generally saving hours or even days that would have been required to debug a complex dev!

In summary, here are the best ways ChatGPT can help generate and optimize code:

  • Identifying and correcting bugs
  • Refactoring for efficiency
  • Suggesting best practices
  • Writing clean, readable code
  • Exploring alternative solutions

ChatGPT for Content Creation

Working with ChatGPT can also drastically reduce the time spent on content creation. Prompted properly, it will give you a great structure to your blog post and even write it for you. However, after drafting multiple posts with the ChatBot, including this one, human editing remains essential to ensure the content meets the desired quality and resonates with your audience.

Outline of blog post on how ChatGPT can write a blog post
Outline of blog post on how ChatGPT can write a blog post

Get the most value in coding from the AI by refining prompts, organizing ideas, and enhancing the answers, but to achieve really high-quality blog posts, you should review, edit and modify the AI’s draft. Sometimes ChatGPT takes some liberty with its own structure, misses some key points, or doesn’t give enough importance to a key point, so editing is a must to reach the desired result.

Nevertheless, in the end, you will find that ChatGPT does give big a boost to your content creation. It can particularly help with:

  1. Generating ideas
  2. Crafting headlines
  3. Structuring drafts
  4. Editing suggestions

ChatGPT for Social Media Management

ChatGPT can also perform well when serving as an assistant for social media marketing. It can go from adapting your social media posting schedule to your particular social media presence and goals. It can help you craft targeted and effective posts that will be tailored to be more successful on each platform.

Don’t expect to become the overnight sensation on Twitter, LinkedIn, or Instagram, but ChatGPT will get you well on your way. It can create many more posts much faster than you ever could, and from there you can start analyzing and optimizing to get the most attention.

ChatGPT can also help find the right tone for your activity, balancing between a serious tone and a cool, disruptive approach, if needed, as well as help you add the extra salts that will make your posts more viral (hashtags, emojis, formulation…).

Here is an example of a successful post on Disfold’s Twitter – @DisfoldDotCom – posted from the suggestions of ChatGPT:

As always, by interacting with it and analyzing what works best, you should experiment with your AI assistant to find what resonates with your target audience, rather than just trying to rely solely on it, at least in the current state of the technology.

ChatGPT’s Secret: Cross-Disciplinary Insights

One of the major and somewhat unspoken benefits of working with ChatGPT is its ability to combine knowledge from different fields. People are often skilled in one or a few domains, and in this area of expertise, relying upon a ChatBot may bring little to no improvement whatsoever.

Most of the critics of ChatGPT will tell you that it is not better than them in their field, and they will be right. A human expert in a specific domain can probably outperform ChatGPT, as its knowledge comes from common knowledge that is already available online. That won’t be a match for someone deeply interconnecting his expertise and knowledge for a specific task where they excel.

Human + Robot = Fire (emojis)

However, the AI will be a match for a beginner or intermediate human in specific technical fields (including coding), and outmatch most people in speed (and often clarity) in writing about any subject. By asking your AI assistant to cross-reference or combine information from various domains, you can uncover new insights and opportunities that you might have missed otherwise.

The real value lies in using it at the frontier of your personal knowledge or expertise and in some interesting areas where you don’t this much. Don’t ask your ChatBot to do what you do best, ask it to make drafts to do more, faster, or ask it to help go beyond, or even better, sideways, to what you know. There it could bring the quality of intermediate to superior knowledge that you don’t know, and/or make you go 10x faster.

Final Thought on ChatGPT

As for Disfold, working with ChatGPT has been an enlightening and productive experience. We are still nowhere near reaching our overarching goal, but by leveraging the AI assistant’s capabilities in market research, content creation, coding, social media marketing, and cross-disciplinary insights, significant progress has been achieved in a fraction of the time it would have taken.

As AI technology continues to advance, the potential for even greater productivity and innovation is immense. Embrace the power of AI like ChatGPT, and unlock new opportunities for your business. Be sure to stay tuned with our exciting upcoming experiments in FinTech and AI by following Disfold on Twitter for timely updates, or keeping in touch on Facebook or LinkedIn for valuable insights.

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