⚙️ Ops Playbook #42

Extracting data from images, forecasting with ChatGPT, and automating delegation.

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Hi Operators ⚙️

Time is precious, agree?

I’m really trying not to spend my summer neck-deep in spreadsheets. The weather’s beautiful, the EUROs are on, and I’d rather be soaking up the sunshine at Barton Springs.

Long story short, I’m trying to automate as much of my work as I can.

This has led me down some wild AI productivity rabbit holes.

That’s great news for you, my friends.

⚙️ Here’s what we got going on today:

  • Extract data from images  → Free that juicy data from a PNG

  • Forecasting with ChatGPT → My least favorite task now takes no time at all

  • Automate how you delegate → Spend less time freeing up your time

Let’s dive in.

P.S. I want to hear from you. Where can we improve? Where do we rock? (Don’t be shy, I love compliments). Reply to this email and let me know!

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5 Operator’s Library Links

I. Extracting Data from Images

Insight from Makerpad

Earlier this week, a member of The Bottleneck team sent me a screenshot of our newsletter analytics before heading out for vacation.

There was a ton of interesting data on what readers like you are enjoying and engaging with.

There was one problem though: all of that juicy data was trapped in a PNG.

I couldn’t analyze it without manually (🤮)  re-entering all of the numbers in a spreadsheet. I was doomed to a soul-crushing 45 minutes of monotonous data entry.

Or so I thought.

I did some digging and found a workflow that saved me all of the hassle, so I thought I’d surface it for you.

The tool I used is Instabase Converse.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Create a free account.

  2. Upload your image.

  3. In the bottom right corner, type in the text box that you want it to “extract the data and format it as a table.”

  4. Click to download the new table as a CSV file.

  5. Open the file in Excel or Google Sheets to do what you do with your data.

Voilà 🎉 Don’t say I never showed you anything useful.

P.S: If you’re uploading images with sensitive information, make sure whatever tool you use doesn’t train their model with your data and keeps your content confidential. We did the homework on this one for you. Instabase Converse app’s Privacy Policy is a good one.   

II. Forecasting with ChatGPT 

Insight from Emily Kramer

Take it from someone who has built (and rebuilt… and rebuilt) a lot of business forecasts:

It sucks.

Maybe there are some reading this who LOVE building forecasts. More power to you.

I can’t stand it. It’s incredibly time-consuming, every stakeholder has a thousand adjustments they want to make, and most of the time (even with the best data) it feels like guess-work.

So, I’ve learned to automate the tedious parts of forecast building and save myself a ton of time.

For an example of the workflow, let’s build a sales forecast using ChatGPT.

  1. Gather and analyze historical data: get any relevant historical sales data together in a single table. Submit that table to ChatGPT, and ask it to highlight any trends that it notices in growth.

  2. Build your initial forecast: Ask ChatGPT to create a new table that projects sales and revenue growth for the next year. Specify that it should base these projections on the trends it found in the initial analysis.

  3. Adjust and fine-tune: Here’s where the workflow really shines. Bring in assumptions that you think ChatGPT should factor in. Expecting a seasonal increase in revenue in Q3? Boom, the table is updated with that logic. You can build and update the forecast conversationally, and fine-tune with more specific instructions.

Once you have an initial model that you’re happy with, ask ChatGPT to create a CSV for you to export and a list of the assumptions that it factored in.

And there you go. An exercise that takes hours is completed in 17 minutes (no joke, we timed it ⏱️).

III. Automate How You Delegate

Insight from Rameel Sheikh

Everyone has the same advice for overworked operators:

“You just need to delegate better!” 

What they always fail to mention is that delegation in itself is a lot of work.

Freeing up your time actually requires a large upfront investment of time. You have to train your team, create documentation, correct errors, etc.

Lucky for us, AI tools can make this process significantly easier and less time-consuming.

(If you do it right, you can actually spend zero extra time on training and documentation)

When you’re about to start a task that you’d like to delegate:

  • Start a Loom recording, and begin working through the task.

  • Narrate every step of the task as you complete it and be as detailed as possible. Note any exceptions to the processes.

  • Once you’ve completed the recording, copy the transcript and ask ChatGPT to create a detailed “standard operating procedure” (SOP) for the task.

From here, I’ll take the Loom recording, the transcript, and the SOP and drop it all into a recurring Asana task. 

I tag the teammate, set the due dates, and move on with my day.

In the time it took me to complete the task (which I was going to do anyway!), I’ve successfully delegated it and removed it from my plate forever.

Try this out this week with a task you want to hand off. 

I will warn you: it’s addictive. You’re going to start seeing opportunities to delegate everywhere.

Something Fun

Last Word 👋 
How am I doing?

I take all feedback I receive to heart. Keep it coming!

Am I covering the topics that are important to you? What else do you want me to include?

Just hit reply and let me know – I'd love to hear from you!


Rameel from The Bottleneck

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