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OpenAI’s Turbulent Week Comes to a Close | Vol 163

Free Content

Welcome to Volume 163 👋

Happy Thursday! 

In this week’s newsletter, we cover: 

Let’s get into it.


🚨 Traffic & Conversion Summit 2024 🚨

Better get those 2024 calendars out because your January just got busier. You can ring in the New Year with Ross and a panel of amazing speakers—including Sir Richard Branson—at the Traffic & Conversion Summit from January 9th to 11th, 2024. The event will be full of can’t-miss insights from experts on the most pressing topics of digital marketing, including: 

  • The high-ROI, low-CPA channels you need to target 
  • Improving acquisition and retention rates with customer-centric marketing
  • The results from thousands of A/B tests on landing pages, emails, and social posts
  • Unlocking a new level of productivity by producing high-quality AI-generated content

So, what are you waiting for?!

Get your tickets for the Traffic & Conversion Summit 2024 before it’s too late!


Tech Industry Update

OpenAI Avoids Disaster After a Turbulent Week

Of all the major threats to OpenAI’s dominant position in the AI industry, a board-initiated implosion had to have been pretty low on the list. And yet, that appeared to be the most likely reason after an eventful weekend kicked off by the firing of CEO Sam Altman last Friday afternoon. 

It was an odd move, especially considering OpenAI’s meteoric ascendance—it took just a few months for ChatGPT to garner 100 million users, and the non-profit’s valuation reached $90 billion earlier this fall.

But in just over 72 hours, the company’s status went from pole position in one of the most lucrative tech niches to a Succession-esque boardroom drama. Here are a few of the major details from the immediate fallout: 

  • Co-founder Greg Brockman, director of research Jakob Pachocki, and other key leaders quit
  • An internal memo from COO Brad Lightcap was released, saying the move took management by surprise 
  • Investors voiced displeasure over the debacle and pushed for the OpenAI board to reverse the decision
  • Altman and Brockman reportedly joined Microsoft to spearhead a new AI team
  • Over 700 OpenAI employees threatened to quit unless Altman was reinstated as CEO

Fast forward to Wednesday morning, and the saga has come full circle—Altman is reportedly back in as CEO, and OpenAI has a new board

For now, it appears one of the greatest self-inflicted crises in tech has been averted (and there will undoubtedly be a TV show about it).

What does this mean for creators, marketers, and users generally? Probably nothing. With the developers and researchers at OpenAI satisfied by Altman’s return, they continue to break new ground, and we continue to learn how these insights can be applied in our day-to-day lives. 

One thing that is certain is this: All of OpenAI’s competitors are equally devastated by the swift resolution to this self-inflicted injury. The loss of Altman, Brockman, and hundreds of AI experts would have blown the doors wide open for Microsoft, Google, Anthropic, or others to take up the mantle. 

The main lesson: In an innovative industry like AI, team talent has more leverage than a few board seats.  


Become an Insider today to access the full BRICK report, which covers exclusive B2B SaaS growth, SEO, content case studies, and other resources. 

The BRICK report is a goldmine for C-suite executives and marketers. We cover critical issues such as the importance of product vs. brand, the impact of social media channels on revenue, and the relationship between blog posts and traffic. The full report is only available to Lab Insiders.

With a membership, you’ll also get access to some of our latest and greatest case studies:

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B2B SAAS INSIGHTS

Why Isn’t Every Blog Post AI-Created Content Already?

The prominence of generative AI is undeniable at this point. By all accounts, these tools whip up stunning images, serviceable copy, and surprisingly good code. Marketers are particularly enamored with the likes of ChatGPT and Jasper, reaping the benefits of untold levels of productivity. 

And yet, many of the blog posts you read online actually aren’t created by generative AI—what gives?  

Well, the truth is these tools aren’t quite there yet in terms of content creation. There are still a number of questions and limitations preventing brands from embracing a fully AI-driven content workflow. 

A robot trying to read a book with a question mark displayed on its monitor

My colleague, Chris Meabe, recently ran through the major reasons why copywriters and content marketers haven’t gone the way of the dodo bird (at least, not yet 😟). 

  • Emotion and Authenticity: AI, while capable of mimicking human writing, lacks the ability to replicate the emotional depth and authentic experiences that are crucial for creating content that truly resonates with and impacts readers.
  • Up-to-Date Research: LLMs fall short in providing the latest information and insights, lacking real-time updates and the ability to evaluate the relevance and credibility of new research, making human intervention necessary for ensuring content accuracy and freshness.
  • Strategic Thinking: AI-generated content requires strategic planning by human writers to ensure it aligns with a brand’s voice and meets the specific needs of the target audience, something AI alone cannot fully comprehend or achieve.
  • Ethical and Bias Concerns: The use of AI in content creation raises ethical, legal, and bias issues, such as perpetuating societal biases, unclear copyright laws, the risk of generating misleading information, and the need for human oversight to ensure content aligns with societal values and legal norms.

Of course, the list of limitations is much shorter than the list of strengths—albeit more important. Chris also walks through the ways you can use generative AI to efficiently create high-quality blog content. (As someone who recently won our internal AI competition, he definitely knows his stuff). 

You can check out the full post on the Foundation Labs page. Oh, and if you’re not an Insider yet, do yourself a favor and sign up today!


👀 What’s the Latest in B2B SaaS This Week?

🚨 TechCrunch provides a timeline of the Sam Altman firing and fallout

🚨 Microsoft hires OpenAI co-founders Altman and Brockman to its AI research team 

🖥️ Microsoft rebrands Bing Chat to Copilot and looks to scoop up new users with a standalone interface and tiered options 

💰 Menlo Ventures looks for AI startups to invest in after raising $1.35 billion in capital

⚠️ X CEO on the hot seat as the social platform loses high-profile advertisers like Apple, Disney, and IBM

📈 File streaming platform LucidLink raises $75 million in Series C rounds led by Brighton Park Capital


🎧 A Distribution Master Class with Conversion Cast

On the most recent episode of Conversion Cast, Ross links up with host and Leadferno CEO Aaron Weiche to talk all things content distribution. Ross discusses the distribution tactics the Foundation team has leveraged for SaaS giants like Canva, Unbounce, and MailChimp. 

Check out this episode now—it’s a master class you don’t want to miss!


🧠 This Week’s Brain Food

In the midst of all the drama surrounding OpenAI, I think it’s worth bringing up a few truisms that are often lost in our innovation-crazed era. Pick your favorite—they all apply:

  • If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it
  • Don’t rock the boat
  • Leave well enough alone
  • Don’t change horses midstream

And the latest one: 

  • Don’t fire the leader of your wildly successful AI company as tech giants and startups are nipping at your heels 

This is obviously a pretty reductionist view of what happened, and there’s still a lot we don’t know about the dynamics of OpenAI’s management-board relationship. But, considering Altman is back, and the company has an entirely new board, this seems like an epically unnecessary blunder by the previous board. 

It’s a good reminder to always take a measured approach to change. Whether it’s as significant as corporate restructuring or seemingly innocuous as buying a new coffee maker, we rarely take the time to consider how the new we so desire might mean losing what worked so well with the old

In many cases, change is a necessity. In others, it’s beneficial. Overall, it’s inevitable. But we need to differentiate between these cases and the ones where we’re just making a change for change’s sake.  


Want to sponsor our next issue? Reply to this email, and we’ll share how you can reach more SaaS founders and marketers today.


🏅 X Post of the Week

Investment implications of the OpenAI saga by Gavin Baker

🎖️ LinkedIn Post of the Week

Most people suck at writing ChatGPT prompts by Ross Simmonds

🤳🏽 Nice Finds You Should Binge

🎧 What We’re Wired Into This Week:

Tourniquet by Zach Bryan


This SaaS news smattering is brought to you by Ethan Crump!

If you have any feedback, suggestions, or ideas you want to see in this newsletter, feel free to email me at ethan@foundationinc.co. We’re always looking for ways to improve and make sure you’re getting the best B2B SaaS marketing resources. 

Have a great weekend, and see you on the other side!

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