12 May 2023
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'Find' to ChatGPT: A Journey of Innovation

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By Tyrone Showers
Co-Founder Taliferro

Once upon a time, long before the dawn of the ChatGPT era, nestled in the formative years of 2012-2014, I found myself on the cusp of a technological breakthrough. Engrossed in the symphony of code and imbued with an insatiable curiosity, I was creating "Find," a project that promised to revolutionize how we interacted with information.

"Find" was designed to be not just a tool but a companion, a robust solution that would rise to the challenge of the most puzzling questions. With a simple query, "Find" would return one precise answer, all presented in a mobile-friendly response. But "Find" was not simply about delivering information. It was about providing an experience. The user could tilt their device to refine the context of their search, creating a dance of words and images that came together to offer an immersive, multifaceted answer.

Yet, like Icarus daring to fly too close to the sun, my ambitions for "Find" came crashing down amidst a chilling cocktail of skepticism and defeatism. I remember the fateful meeting with the venture capitalist and the two black investors as if yesterday. They echoed the refrain that would become the funeral dirge of my beloved creation: "How will you compete with Google?"

At the time, their skepticism seemed plausible, well-intentioned. Google, after all, was the Goliath in the arena of information retrieval, a titan whose omnipresence had become a fact of life. Yet the question that was meant to deter me only fueled my determination. "Find" was not a Google wannabe; it was an entity in its own right, a beacon of intuitive and immersive information seeking.

But as the currents of time would have it, my potential backers remained unswayed. Their skepticism was the iceberg to my Titanic, the lightning bolt to my Frankenstein. Discouraged and disheartened, I found myself shelving "Find," burying it in the graveyard of unfulfilled dreams.

Fast forward to the present, 2023. The advent of ChatGPT has turned the tables on the status quo. A similar initiative, an echo of my erstwhile "Find," ChatGPT has not only survived the tumultuous world of tech innovations but has also thrived. It has become a household name, a stalwart companion for countless users seeking reliable, concise, and comprehensive answers. The success of ChatGPT is the echo of a melody I once composed, the realization of a vision I once had.

The irony is not lost on me. I stand in the shadow of ChatGPT's success, gazing at the heights it has achieved, and I am reminded of the voyage of "Find." The question that once spelled the doom of my project - "how will you compete with Google?" - now feels like an echo from a bygone era. Here we are, in 2023, with ChatGPT proving that not only can one compete with Google, but one can also thrive.

This tale, however, is not one of regret or bitterness. Instead, it is a testament to the power of perseverance, a tribute to the relentless spirit of innovation. It is a narrative about challenging the established norms, daring to dream the impossible, and mustering the courage to pursue it.

The demise of "Find" remains a poignant reminder of the capricious nature of the technological world, where ideas are born and perish, often at the mercy of disbelief and discouragement. Yet, it also stands as a beacon of hope, a testament that even in the face- even in the face of colossal challenges and deep-seated skepticism, innovative ideas can bloom and revolutionize our world.

ChatGPT has stepped onto a stage I once dreamt of, "Find." Its popularity indirectly affirms my conviction: there was, indeed, a space for a product that could compete with Google, a room for an innovative, user-centric tool for information retrieval.

The journey of "Find" has left an indelible mark on my spirit. I view the success of ChatGPT not with envy but with a sense of vindication, a sign that the path I envisioned was not futile. "Find" may have wilted before it could blossom, but its essence lives on, embodied in the likes of ChatGPT.

In reflection, the demise of "Find" was not a failure but a lesson in resilience. It is a stark reminder that a trailblazing idea can face discouragement, disbelief, and even derision. However, it is the idea's ability to endure, survive, and ultimately thrive that defines its worth.

The story of "Find" ends not with a period but an ellipsis. The venture capitalist, the two black investors, and the discouraging words continue to linger, not as reminders of a venture failed but as lessons learned. They echo in the corridors of my mind, a symphony of 'what-ifs' and 'maybes,' their notes coloring my past and shaping my future.

As I gaze upon the landscape of technological innovation, I do so with a renewed spirit, fueled by the legacy of "Find" and inspired by the promise of what lies ahead. Amid the success of ChatGPT, the echo of "Find" continues to resonate, a bittersweet symphony of a vision unfulfilled yet alive in spirit.

In the end, the story of "Find" is not one of defeat, but one of resilience, of innovation, stifled but not extinguished, of a dream deferred but never forgotten. And in the success of ChatGPT, I find not regret, but a sense of validation and, perhaps, a glimmer of redemption.

Tyrone Showers