The Profile: The founder behind ChatGPT & Jeff Bezos’s life partner
This week's edition of The Profile features Sam Altman, Lauren Sanchez, and more.
Good morning, friends!
One of my favorite words is “serendipity.” Not only is it a beautiful word, but it also has a beautiful meaning: “an unplanned fortunate discovery.”
I have always loved the idea that there’s always the potential for a seemingly mundane moment to turn extraordinary.
It all started when Samantha Russell replied to one of my tweets with her husband’s book, asking if anyone had tips about pitching a children’s book. Her husband Ryan replied, and said he worked on the book while recovering from surgery. I clicked the link, and I was blown away.
The book follows Gracie and her annoying, irritating always-in-the-way shadow. Her shadow follows her everywhere – hiking through the woods, fishing in the bay, even to the zoo. There is simply no escape. Nothing Gracie tries seems to work. Not running away, hiding in the treehouse, or even wearing a disguise. Finally, Gracie has a grand idea that finally solves her pesky problem. Just turn out the lights.
But where Gracie’s story ends another begins when the reader turns the book upside down. Readers get to read a second story when the book is turned upside down and hear the same experience told from her shadow's point of view. Gracie’s pesky shadow doesn’t mean to be a pest. She has a very important job – fending off monsters, keeping the creepies away, and making sure the zoo animals don’t follow them home. She simply wants to help.
Now that I have a child, I understand the importance of this book. It allows your kid to gain perspective and understand that their point of view isn’t the only one. There are many sides to a story, and it’s important to explore them all.
So here’s where, you dear reader, can play a role in my Great Profile Serendipity Experiment ™.
Ryan is a self-described “recovering art student that stumbled into design as a profession.” But that doesn’t do him justice. He’s wildly impressive. He has co-founded Twenty Over Ten, a digital marketing platform for financial advisors, he’s done independent studio work, and he has taught at Penn State University as an associate professor in graphic design since 2006. (You can see his portfolio here.)
He was inspired to write this book seven months ago after he was diagnosed with a serious health condition. “I was hospitalized at UPenn for a partial craniotomy and my immediate future looked uncertain,” he told me. “As part of my rehabilitation, I began working on a personal project I had started years earlier – a children's book, titled My Annoying, Irritating, Always-in-the-way Shadow. I'm feeling great and I'm proud to say I have finished the full book (written and illustrated) and I'm eager to show it.”
How can you help Ryan?
Now that the book is done, Ryan needs help publishing it. He is hoping to connect with publishers and/or agents to help him publish, distribute, or improve his book.
✨ If you’re in the publishing industry, know someone who is, or you simply have an idea of how to help Ryan publish his debut children’s book, you can reach out to him at email@example.com ✨
I do believe there’s a reason Ryan’s story made such an impression on me, and I feel confident that someone is reading this right now with an idea of how to make his book a reality.
And finally, for my fellow ‘How I Met Your Mother’ fans, I’ll leave you with a quote from one of my favorite scenes in which Ted Mosby realizes that there are a lot of little reasons why the big things happen:
“The great moments of your life won’t necessarily be the things you do, but they’ll also be the things that happen to you. Now, I’m not saying you can’t take action to affect the outcome of your life. You have to take action — and you will. But never forget that on any day, you can step out the front door, and your whole life can change forever.”
THE PROFILE DOSSIER: On Wednesday, premium members received The Profile Dossier, a comprehensive deep-dive on a prominent individual. It featured Christian Pulisic, soccer’s ‘Captain America.’ Read it below.
— The founder behind ChatGPT [**HIGHLY RECOMMEND**]
— The CEO changing the face of OnlyFans
— The influential life partner of Jeff Bezos
— The country music legend making a comeback
— The startups building a modern-day lottery
— The olive oil company that apologized
PEOPLE TO KNOW.
The founder behind ChatGPT: The A.I. future, according to OpenAI CEO Sam Altman, could be spectacular—unless it goes spectacularly wrong. Of course, there have been chatbots before ChatGPT. But not like this. ChatGPT can hold long, fluid dialogues, answer questions, and compose almost any kind of written material a person requests, including business plans, advertising campaigns, poems, jokes, computer code, and movie screenplays. Will Altman be a pioneer with his ChatGPT breakthroughs or will his company find that find that its innovations have simply opened a door to a future it isn’t part of? Here’s a glimpse into what’s to come. (Fortune; reply to this story if you can’t access to this article)
“I think the good case [for A.I.] is just so unbelievably good that you sound like a crazy person talking about it. I think the worst case is lights-out for all of us.”
The CEO changing the face of OnlyFans: What do you think of when you hear someone talking about the platform OnlyFans? Sex, probably. That’s because the U.K.-based subscription platform for content creators has become the go-to site for the adult content industry. Now, newly-appointed CEO Amrapali Gan is leaning on her unusual background in communications to rebrand OnlyFans as a site that empowers sex workers but also offers a safe-for-work outlet for creators of all kinds, from personal trainers to chefs. What will this mean for the future of the company? (Fortune; reply to this story if you can’t access to this article)
“We’ll have succeeded when you can join OnlyFans and there isn’t an assumption you’re going to be taking your top off.”
The influential life partner of Jeff Bezos: Alright, let me be honest: I had high hopes for this exclusive, first solo interview with Lauren Sánchez, but in all honesty, it was sort of a puff piece. I was expecting more from the questions (and the answers), but alas. I figured I would include it just in case anyone was interested in hearing from one part of the world’s most wealthy (and influential) couple at the moment. Sánchez reveals (a little) about her relationship with Jeff Bezos, and we learn that she enjoys flying helicopters and that Bezos makes pancakes every Sunday morning. (WSJ; reply to this email if you can’t access the article)
“Living with Jeff [Bezos] is like having a master class every day.”
The country music legend making a comeback: Shania Twain was the defining voice at the height of her career in 1997. But after a series of personal and professional setbacks, she nearly lost her voice for good. Now, at 57, she’s back with a new album that gives Twain's fans a chance to hear her take on love (of course), but this time around, it's a sweet and breezy approach to new love. Thrilled by the possibilities before her, Twain boldly asks, “What's the next adventure?" (InStyle)
“I sound different. I look different and I'm OK with that. I'm fearless in that way and that motivates me.”
COMPANIES TO WATCH.
The startups building a modern-day lottery: While sports betting gets all the headlines, state lotteries are the gambling industry’s cash cow. In 2021, gamblers spent $98 billion on lottery tickets. To put that in perspective, slots and table games across the country’s casinos generated less than half that, $43.79 billion, in 2022, while sportsbooks rang up $6.56 billion during the same time. Now, startups funded by billionaires Jerry Jones, Mark Cuban, and other venture capitalists are betting big to disrupt the $100 billion lotto industry. (Forbes)
“I want the Millennial or the Gen Zer, the customer who is completely digital native.”
The olive oil company that apologized: Andrew Benin is the CEO of Graza, a startup that has turned squeezable bottles of extra-virgin olive oil into hot kitchen staples, delighting people who never knew they could have strong feelings about healthy liquid fat. But some of those customers were disappointed when their holiday gifts arrived late and badly packaged, and Benin felt that he should apologize. To all 35,544 of them. And it worked. This is a case study in what happens when an apology humanizes a business. (WSJ; reply to this email if you can’t access the article)
“All you need to do is dig deep, reflect on all the things in marketing and brand communication that piss you off, and do the exact opposite.”
✨ The rest of this newsletter is only available for premium members of The Profile. Their support makes this work possible. For access to an additional section of weekly audio + video recommendations, become a premium member below. ✨