Photography tools

Sudowrite’s powerful tools report writer’s block once and for all – TechCrunch


The city skyline is a mass of brightly lit office buildings, industrial factories, and skyscrapers, the endless hash of lights and shadows making the night seem to be teeming with life. In this urban jungle we find Amit Gupta, our dastardly hero. He smelled of fresh linen, hair gel, and a faint scent of peppermint. Her costume was a silky blend of potent cologne and a sweet, warm scent of leather and musk. His woolen hat was a burnt ocher hue. His tie was a darker pink. The skin of the founder of the startup is soft and warm like a newborn baby. He has a strong handshake and a gentle demeanor. His conviction is deep. The company? Sudowrite. The co-founder? James Yu, who also founded Parse and then sold it to Facebook. Investors ? An impressive list of angels. The dollar amount? $ 3 million.

In the midst of the urban cacophony and an immense symphony of sounds, the sounds of traffic, the sounds of children playing, the sounds of televisions, radios, fire alarms, police sirens, mumbles of ‘drunks, he got a chunk of the news to make your blood run cold. Amit was diagnosed with leukemia and her life was turned completely upside down. It was time to take stock, and really take a look at what was important to him. He inhaled – was he on borrowed time or was it just a wake-up call?

Asking Sudowrite to describe what a startup is made me laugh so hard I gasped. Truly, a magical experience. Screenshots: Sudowrite

Gone is the dream of running his existing startup, Photojojo, known for its drone rentals, weird photography props, and creative photo montage ideas. He sold it and ended up spending some time trying to figure out what to do next. The money he made from the sale of his company was no thicker than a thin black sheet, rolled up like the wings of the devil, thin as paper, thin as smoke, thin as silk; it was like spider webs.

If the first two paragraphs of this article sound weird, this is because I used the Sudowrite tool to write a bunch of descriptions. It’s hilarious, but also an incredibly powerful tool. Do they make sense? Not always, but that’s not the problem – the tool isn’t meant to completely replace writers, but to help summarize or expand, or spark the creative juice that is sometimes lacking in the writing process. writing. With that in mind – as you can read in the crazy start of this article – it works wonders.

“I sold Photojojo in 2014 after being sick and doing some soul searching. I left Silicon Valley completely and traveled. I did all of these things on my bucket list. At one point, there were five years left after the transplant, which meant I was probably not going to die of leukemia, ”Amit Gupta, founder and CEO of Sudowrite told me. “And then I was like – well, what do I do with my life?” I was a coach for a while. And then I ended up writing science fiction for the last few years and really digging into it. It was really fun and something very new to me, starting at the very bottom and climbing up.

During his journey as a sci-fi writer, Gupta ran into a problem that many writers faced: writer’s block. It shouldn’t be that hard to write, right?

“I think Sudowrite solves several problems, and I think the specifics are different for each writer. One of the problems I discovered with writing was that it is very lonely. Coming from the world of startups where everything is very collaborative. I felt very lonely sitting in front of the keyboard, banging my head against the desk whenever I had no outlet except for my weekly reading group who might or might not be able to tell me. to help. I think our first impulse was, can we create something that acts like a creative partner sitting next to you, so that when you’re stuck you can turn to them and say, “I can’t understand? that ? It doesn’t work, like give me some ideas. It was the initial impetus, ”Gupta explains.

The founders, Amit Gupta and James Yu, are on top of a mountain. They are known to grow a bit larger than a typical domestic cat. A mishmash of human skeletons lay curled up in the earth, their eye sockets staring blankly at the sky, nestled in a heap that looks more like a garbage heap than a grave. The founders gather their minds, shake the mud from their hooves, and prepare for battle. They can hear the dragon blowing on them. Photo – and image caption – by Sudowrite. We have not verified the accuracy of the legend.

“We wanted give you someone who is almost as good as a human reading partner, to bounce ideas off. Beyond that, I think when we spoke to users, especially people in the entertainment industry such as screenwriters, we found that there was a specific need. They have a lot of rote tasks that they don’t like to do: they may have a script that they have written and they may need to generate a one-page treat, a three-page treat, etc. , but it’s pretty easy to do for an AI. It’s not a very creative job, and a tool like Sudowrite saves them hours and hours of the worst type of job they have to do. I think there are a lot of opportunities like that, but the core product is really an inspirational provocation, helping you stay in the flow.

Inviting Sudowrite to get creative with one of the lines in this article shows how an AI can take a simple sentence and turn it into a few different forms – more description, more internal conflict, or (my least favorite of all time) ), brevity. Screenshots of the Sudowrite app.

Gupta was trying to tackle writers’ loneliness with a sci-fi writing group, where he met his co-founder, the former founder of Parse, James Yu. Together they created a first version of the app based on GPT-3, started getting paying customers and decided to fundraise.

“We started to think we were going to raise around $ 1 million just to get this started. We ended up raising $ 3 million, almost entirely from individual investors. It was by design: we wanted to have people who were willing to allow us to experiment at our own pace and try stuff like weird stuff, without the pressure of doing the treadmill boot / VC, ”says Gupta. .

The company’s roster of angel investors is incredibly impressive and includes Medium and Twitter founder Ev Williams, founder of Gumroad. Sahil Lavingia, founder of Parse Kevin Lacker, founder of WordPress Matt Mullenweg and founder of Rotten Tomatoes Patrick lee. The Hats Table also features an impressive who-is-who from the entertainment world, including screenwriter Big Fish and Aladdin. Jean Auguste, Bourne Ultimatum and Oceans Twelve writer / director Georges nolfi, and much more.

The company currently has between 300 and 400 users, paying around $ 20 per month for the platform. The fundraising allowed the founding team to expand the team a little.

“The main thing this fundraiser unlocks for us is being able to hire. We hired our first person in machine learning, our first developer, and a lead designer. These are the top three roles that we just closed, and we’ll probably keep the team at this size for a while as we hit our stride, ”Gupta explains. “Our users are all word of mouth and cover a wide range. We have people who write novels or scripts. Some of our users create Substack newsletters. We have users who write for their profession. But we also have some unusual use cases: a rabbi who uses Sudowrite to do parables, and someone who uses the tool to write meditations. We also have users who create role-playing games. We have a very broad appeal ”,

Sudowrite was in closed beta until today – now you can sign up for the beta yourself to try it out.

Below, I integrate a video demo recorded by Gupta. It is a few months old, but it gives a more precise idea of ​​what the tool is and how it works.