Proactive Mediocrity


The excitement – and in some cases, overexcitement – around AI is starting to get pushback. It’s the classic journey transformative technologies go through. Negative sentiment, legal disputes, privacy legislation and perhaps just plain old overwhelm are starting to kick in.

One way to look at this is as an opportunity. If you were worried you were falling behind (like most Gen X and Boomers are) on AI tools, then now’s your chance to catch up (ie whilst others are wasting mental cycles highlighting the problems).

But it’s important to understand value versus junk.

To illustrate this, I’ve been curious about how many companies are viewing AI tools (we can just focus on ChatGPT for now as our example) as a way to generate low value output (eg content, answers, processes, thoughts).

I refer to this as ‘proactive mediocrity’. It’s when people deliberately spend time using tools to generate junk content that adds no value to society.

To highlight how easy this is, consider this page that we’ve put together: Get the Most Out of HubSpot for a New User

When you first look through the page you could be fooled into thinking it is a useful resource. But it’s actually just junk. Packaged up nicely. ‘Lipstick on a pig’ as we used to say.

That’s because all the content was generated by ChatGPT using a few plugins. Here’s the ChatGPT thread if you are interested. The ChatGPT thread is from a month ago, so the plugins I used at the time are likely out of date by now (there will be much better ones now), but you’ll get the idea.

It was generated in a few minutes just by scouring the web (in this case a few HubSpot KB articles).

But have a read through the page – it’s pretty useless. I call this ‘proactive mediocrity’, and sadly we’re seeing a deluge of it appearing. And even worse, as this content propagates out it just feeds the AI machine for the next cycle.

(BTW we deliberately blocked that page from Google – we don’t want that appearing in the search results)

In case you are interested, every image on that page was created by AI as well – we use Midjourney for everything these days #NeverUseAStockImageAgain

To Proactive Excellence

The opposite of this is ‘proactive excellence’, and it’s the opportunity that all content marketers should be chasing/embracing. Imagine if that same page, with its beautiful design, had amazing content – that was actually of value to society. What a difference that would make.

Here’s the takeaway: in a growing swamp of mediocre content, aim high and produce excellent content. And then put the effort into packaging it well.

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