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How I Wrote a Program for My Girlfriend Without Knowing How to Code
Hey, I’m Ben! I write weekly about how to grow products and companies. I go deep on growth strategies, how to build products users love, and what actionable lessons can be learned from what best-in-class companies are doing and industry experts are saying.
Happy Tuesday, everyone!
Today’s article is a little different than normal - I'm going to share with you a personal experiment I conducted recently. For context, I have literally no idea how to code, but I had an idea for a small program I wanted to build for my girlfriend's birthday. She is a vocabulary enthusiast and loves learning new words every day. So, I decided to challenge myself and see if I could use GPT-4 to create a program that sends her a unique vocab word each morning, complete with details about the word and a short story revolving around us that features the word. Here's how it went!
First things first, I needed to do some prerequisite work before diving into the project. I needed two things:
An OpenAI API key: This would help me generate the random word and story.
A Sendinblue API key: This would allow me to send the email.
With both of these API keys set up and ready to go, I began my journey.
The initial step was to craft a prompt to send to GPT-4 that would generate the word, definition, and story. After a few tries, I found a prompt that consistently produced satisfactory results. There was no turning back now - I couldn't "absquatulate" from the challenge!
Next came the most challenging part: working on the script. To be honest, my first attempt at the script was quite rough, but it gave me a foundation to build on. I spent the next hour and a half troubleshooting and iterating the script in VS Code. I would run the script, encounter an error, paste the error message into GPT-4, make corrections, and then repeat the process until I eventually ironed out all the issues.
Finally, I got the script working! Although the final script looked significantly different from the initial output, I was thrilled with the result. To make sure everything was running smoothly, I tested the program by sending the email to myself – after all, I didn't want to spoil the surprise.
And that's how I managed to create a personalized vocabulary emailer for my girlfriend's birthday, all without knowing how to code. She will be getting her first email the same day that this newsletter goes out, so I’ll have to report back about the results.
The moral of the story here is not that you can use GPT4 to make your significant other a birthday present (although I did just prove that you can) but that you no longer have to be technical to get simple programs, MVPs, etc. up and running. I’ll be doing more of these small experiments in the coming weeks and months and I’ll share more of them with you over time.
That's all for now! Keep pushing your boundaries and exploring new frontiers. Until next time!
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