We've changed names

London flipped from sweltering summer back to drizzling grey yesterday. Autumn was overdue. Summer was a little too manic for my taste anyway. I spent a bunch of time in Maine, New York, and San Fransisco. A mix of long back porch hangouts with family, collaborator coffees, and in-person problem-solving with the Ought team.

But the Ought team are no longer the Ought team. We've changed names! And whole companies come to think of it. Ought as a legal entity was a non-profit research lab. But we found it difficult to get enough funding from the charitable space to hire people and grow 

Elicit, our primary product. Our founders decided to pull the same move as OpenAI and Anthropic and flipped to become a VC-backed startup. The new company is just called Elicit. We raised a seed round and rebuilt the product.

We're slowly moving our 200,000 active users over to the new beta version. We shipped it while we're still deeply embarrassed by it. It has a thousand big and small UX cuts that fill me with sadness. Every morning I get on and hack away at them, trusting at some point it will feel beautiful to use.

My work on Elicit and explorations of 

Language Model interfaces have compounded into some strong opinions. I gathered some of them into a new talk called Squish Meets Structure. I did one round of it for Smashing Meets AI, and then drastically improved it for Smashing Conference in Freiburg, Germany a few weeks ago.

I'm headed to 

Web Directions in Sydney, Australia and FFConf in Brighton later this year to present my slightly more macabre talk on the Expanding Dark Forest and Generative AI. Expect to be all talked out after that.

Currently taking in writing advice from men named Ste(v/ph)en. Working through Steven Pinker's “

The Sense of Style” and Stephen King's “On Writing” – both excellent. The former for grounded advice on non-fiction communication, the latter for an extraordinary account of persistently writing through double-shift minimum wage jobs and a raging alcohol and drug problem.

Spent the summer discovering how much I love dresses and 

jumpsuits with deep pockets. Found some of my favourites from BodenRo&ZoWhistles, and Thought.

I've realised I spent the last decade avoiding femme clothing, aesthetics, and mannerisms in an attempt to be taken more seriously in the all-male spaces I hang out in. Spaces where I am routinely treated like a small, insignificant girl, ignored, and spoken over. Feels pretty freeing to give fewer shits and permanently live in dresses. They'll ignore me either way.

Subscribe to my monthly newsletter

No spam, no sharing to third party. Only you and me.