In-Ear Insights Custom GPT Key Considerations

In-Ear Insights: Custom GPT Considerations

In this week’s In-Ear Insights, Katie and Chris talk through some of the considerations that Custom GPT makers and consumers should keep in mind as OpenAI’s Custom GPT Store opens for business this week. Learn what pitfalls to avoid!

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In-Ear Insights: Custom GPT Considerations

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Machine-Generated Transcript

What follows is an AI-generated transcript. The transcript may contain errors and is not a substitute for listening to the episode.

Christopher Penn 0:00

In this week’s In-Ear Insights gonna expand on a topic that we talked about before on our live stream.

And I also talked about an impersonal newsletter about custom GPT-3.

Because for those people who have built a custom GPT with OpenAI service, you got an email last week that said, Hey, we’re launching the GPT.

Store next week, if you’re interested in sharing your custom GPT that you built in the store, you know, there’s a little laundry list of to do items.

But this means that people who have built custom GPT is like, for example, the Katy GPT that we have built, you’ll be able to offer to the public a belief for money.

So Katie, are you excited to sell access to Katie’s UPC at become a digital a synthetic influencer? Absolutely

Katie Robbert 0:45

not? Well, you know, it’s fun.

On the one hand, I’m like, Yeah, everybody needs more Katie in their life.

On the other hand, my very pragmatic brain starts thinking through all the risks involved with offering up your custom GPT to people besides yourself.

So you know, I’ll be interested to see how this plays out.

I feel like it’s going to be a mess when it first rolls out, because we don’t know how other people have structured.

They’re accustomed GP Ts, and now they’re just going to be up for use.

So yeah, I think that there’s I think it’s an interesting idea.

But I think there’s a heck of a lot of risk involved with this kind of move from OpenAI.

Christopher Penn 1:27

I agree.

So I figured what we could do is talk through five qualifying questions to ask whether you should if you’re a GPT, maker, whether you should put yours up for sale? And more importantly, if you are an end user, should you even buy one of these things? And huge surprise, the five questions are based on the five key framework.

So number one is purpose.

What is the purpose of a custom GPT? Fundamentally, these are customized versions of ChatGPT.

They have custom prompts, system instructions that tell the machine how to behave.

So in the case of Katy GPT, we are telling it to sound like you as much as possible with a bunch of examples and some more advanced techniques.

There is knowledge.

So one of the things that custom GPT is allow you to do is upload up to 20 documents into the system that give it expanded context.

This is a technique called retrieval augmenting generation.

And what retrieval augmented generation does is it gives a system like ChatGPT, a place to look first for knowledge that it does not already have so or if it does have you want to give extra emphasis to it.

So for example, we Katie has written a couple of years in a row now, the letters from the corner office, which is the cold opens to all the newsletters about 40,000 words per book.

And each of these can get loaded into a custom GPT, especially for OpenAI has not crawled those newsletter posts that have been on the website.

Or if we were to take Katie’s conversations from our Slack group analytics for marketers, and extract only Katie’s words from all the chat logs, we could put that into a custom GPT.

And it would give ChatGPT more tokens to draw from.

And in the case of the analytics for marketers chats, that’s content that is not public’s never been made public.

And so we’d have new knowledge that the underlying model simply does not have.

And then the third thing you can build into these things, which we have not done with Katie GPT, is actions.

And this is where you can have it call out to third party API’s.

So if Trust Insights, for example, had a private database, we have a call into that if I if I wanted to read Katie GPT to like the all recipes API, and somebody could it could ask the API for your recipes and get back recipe answers.

Those capabilities are what make a custom GPT more valuable, because they can do it can do things, in theory, properly implemented, that the stock model ChatGPT cannot do.

Katie Robbert 4:03

So let’s go back to the purpose.

I you know, if I had to wager a guess, Chris, I would say that a lot of people are building custom GPT is similar to Katie GPT, but for themselves, so that they can maybe not do as much work, you know, so that they could have this custom model, you know, take on the burden of outlining posts or reading emails or doing whatever, why would someone want to buy a version of me if I am not on their team like what is the purpose there.


Christopher Penn 4:38

kt GPT-3 is a relatively portraits because it is a customized model that has a very, very specific clear purpose, but that purpose is not broadly applicable.


If we look at the collection of custom GPT-3 That that we keep around and I’m excluding a few of these here.

On screen we have things like the Python code GP speaking contract, evaluate the Adobe analytics TPT that has a bunch of Adobe documentation loaded into it, the R code a Jeep to sales, email copywriter, GPT, and a few others.

Some of these like the Python coding GPT.

This is one that I built, that is specifically designed to help code better to write code and very specific way that that has some extra requirements, say, for the AR coder, when in fact, let’s go into the AR code or GPT.

Because I think it’s a good example of one that you could offer up for sale.

So in here, I have the knowledge base of two things in a knowledge base, I have one, there’s a bunch of our libraries that I like to code with the tidy verse family libraries.

Very often, when you use stock ChatGPT, it’s relying on older knowledge, right, it’s relying on knowledge from as early as 2021 2020.

A lot has changed since then.

So what I do is, I will download these MAE, these manuals, which are open to the public there, and they are open source.

So they’re licensed to be to be downloaded.

I’ll compile them and put them in this custom GPT-4.

To say like, Hey, when I tell you to use gg plot, for example, look in this manual first before relying on your own knowledge.

Because this is more up to date.

This has better instructions, it says better examples of more modern function calls.

That’s one example.

There’s a library of my favorite functions and stuff that I’ve written over time that I have in here that save time, like there’s a function to make a specific type of chart.

And then there’s a bunch of rules I have in here.

Like always use tidy verse methods, always use the the forward pipe instead of the Magruder pipe, because I like it for easier coding.

So if you wanted to code in this particular style, using a more up to date, version of our functions, this custom GPT would do a better job than, than stock ChatGPT.

So this would be an example of a one you could open to the public and say, Hey, this will help you code better.

Katie Robbert 6:54

That makes more sense, because I think that there’s you know, it’s it goes back to how people are using these platforms in the first place.

And we’ve seen the data that states that people are using it primarily to create content, which is over utilizing the wrong parts of the platform.

And so by offering a custom GPT that can help you code or analyze certain kinds of data.

That to me is a much better use case for why you would open that to the public.

You mentioned something and I know we’re going to go through the other four Ps.

And I believe this will come under process.

But you mentioned that, you know, part of your instructions to the custom model was to always look at the manual that you gave it first because it’s the most up to date.

What are the odds that people are maintaining these custom GP GPT models correctly, when they open it to the public so that you know you’re getting something current or accurate,

Christopher Penn 7:55

where you don’t know.

And this is a big part of what I was saying in my newsletter about this this week is this is software development, you’re rolling out a software product, when you offer custom GPT for sale, you’re offering up a product to someone else that is software based, which means that all the fun of software development is now your responsibility to maintain it to disclose what’s in it and how it works.

And whether it’s compliant with all the rules and regulations.

For example, I saw someone recently showing an example of how you could have it be a travel guide, right? Like, hey, this will help you plan your vacation.

Well, okay.

That’s cool.

But the world is a very changing dynamic place, and they’re probably places you should not go right now.

Does your travel guide, take that into account? That is a liability question.

Right? There are things that you should not do.

They’re their cultures and laws that vary from place to place.

If someone says, Hey, what should I bring to go on vacation in East Pretoria? Right? The question would should be well, you know what things you’re not allowed to do.

I’m planning a trip in LA to London at the end of February.

There’s a whole bunch of things I can’t bring into the UK, they’re illegal.

Same with going to Europe, there are things that are illegal to bring into Europe.

For example, if you take melatonin for sleep, that’s a regulated drug in Europe, it’s over the counter in the USA, it’s a regulated drug.

And if you go through EU customs, with that in your suitcase, you’re gonna have a bad time there even like artificial sweeteners that you’re not allowed to have to have in Europe, because the EU says this.

This is not safe.

We can discuss.

Katie Robbert 9:36

Like that’s a whole other conversation.

Christopher Penn 9:39

But if you’re making a custom GPT and it gives you travel advice that is in violation of laws.

Have you taken that into account and what is your responsibility as the provider of this software to adhere to those rules and regulations?

Katie Robbert 9:56

It’s funny that you bring up travel I mean, I think that’s a really good sample I saw a commercial the other day.

And I think to the general public, they probably wouldn’t think much of it.

But because I know enough to be dangerous about custom GTs, I sort of I watched this commercial, I was like, who thought this was a good idea.

So basically, the basic premise was that a woman who uses a wheelchair and her service dog, were trying to get around like a, you know, very cold, clustered city, and she typed, you know, into the prompt the ChatGPT model, you know, me and my dog needs some sunshine, any recommendations, and that was the whole thing.

And the interaction was like, Sure, I can help.

And then the next thing, you know, she’s like, at a nice resort with her service dog.

And the only thing I think I could think was like, there are so many missing steps.

And clearly, she has some very specific needs that need to have been, you know, talked through in this thing.

But yet, the example that they showed was, I need some sunshine, any hotel recommendations, like, that’s not how prompts work, you can prompt it that and you’re gonna get really crappy results.

And so as someone who knows better, I felt like that was really irresponsible, of the production company who put that commercial together.

But to the general public, that’s how they’re using it.

And so, you know, I didn’t know you couldn’t bring melatonin, into, you know, the UK like that.

It’s not something that I think would occur to anyone to even ask the question of what can’t I bring?

Christopher Penn 11:40

Exactly, things like body armor, totally illegal to bring anywhere into into the

Katie Robbert 11:44

well, Chris.

I mean, we’re first we’re talking about a sleep aid, now we’re talking about body armor.

So I feel like those are two very different

Christopher Penn 11:54

they are they are, but this goes back to the five P’s one of the most important things you can do both as a software maker and as a software consumer is doing requirements gathering, right? As much as as you may hate as much as I dislike it, it is part and parcel of getting it right.

And if you don’t do the requirements gathering, then you will probably buy a custom GPT that doesn’t fit your needs, or that has some various some critical oversights, and that’s a really big problem.

The second P is is people.

This is an important one, especially on the consumption side.

Who made the customer GPT.

And how trustworthy are they? Right? You There are a lot of people who are, let’s say, influential, or at least very loud, in our lie on social media, and they have big followings.

And you know, they’re very entertaining people.

Are they people that you would trust with your data? Because when you put data into a custom GPT, there’s a couple of really important things that you need to know.

Number one, a custom GPT has as little additional settings toggled on here when you’re making it and it’s closed by default.

This is how it looks.

When you open this up to this little tiny menu.

It says hey, use this data, OpenAI, you are allowed to use this data in our conversations to train your models.

If the person who made a custom GPT does not pay attention to the fine print, then your conversation data with this custom GPT is being handed to a third party.

Now if you’re doing travel vacation, maybe that might not be sensitive, but I saw someone willing, saying hey, I built a custom GPT to help you do your Account Based Marketing that contains PII.

Right that can his personal identifying information.

If you’re doing ABM properly, as that custom GPT maker turned this off, right, that’s number one.

Number two, when I say create actions, let me show you an example here of a petstore action.

This, you can see is a JSON interface that connects this custom GPG to a third party this case [email protected] And you know, it can pass data back and forth.

This is not OpenAI.

This is a third party service.

And all that is required is to allow this is a privacy policy that could very well say hey, we’re gonna take your data and resell it that’s compliant, right? If you tell people what you’re going to do with their data that’s totally compliant.

It’s buried in the fine print.

If the person who’s created a custom GPT is implementing actions, your data could be going out to who the heck knows where, and you have no way of knowing it unless the maker discloses this.

So a big part of the five P’s of people is Do you trust the people who have made a custom GPT?

Katie Robbert 14:49

And I think that’s a really good point.

I mean, that’s a good point for assessing any kind of software is, you know, the way that you build trust In software development is transparency and documentation.

And so this goes back to your point about doing the requirements, Chris.

But I know that you and I have, you know, as we’ve vetted a software vendors before, the first thing we ask for is, can we take a look at your documentation.

And I would say it’s sort of a 5050 split as to whether or not they have it available, if there is no documentation available, when you’re looking at Custom GPT-4 In terms of how it’s built, or how it’s maintained, or even just what’s inside, it’s not the right GPT for you, you need to have some base level of trust and knowledge of what’s going on inside of it, in order to feel comfortable using it because you are going to start giving it your data.

And I’m making a big assumption here, Chris.

But if we put Katie GPT on the market, we own it, we maintain it, we sell it, people who use it are then giving us their data.

And they’re giving their data, right.

And so I feel like that is something that you would want to go into, with your eyes open.

And so that’s a really good point about people.

Christopher Penn 16:07


And on the maker side, do you have the people to maintain your software? Right? When I think back, you know, for example, if I go into I have a separate custom GPT for Python coding, because I’m worse at Python coding.

So I had to put a lot more effort into making a GPT-4 it because there’s a bunch of things that I know implicitly to do with R, that I don’t know what to do with Python.

So I created if you want to look at this, this ridiculous massive instruction sheet that I gave for the Python coder of here’s all the best practices summarized into a what’s called a representation by primary representation to help the customer GPT code better Python than I would because it’s it knows the rules better than I do.

That has to be maintained.

That has to be maintained over time, as Python versions change, as API’s change as practices change.

And what’s accepted as a best practice changes, this has to be maintained.

And it’s not clear that the people who are making custom GPT-4 understand that.


Katie Robbert 17:12

feel like that’s a really good segue into process, because that is, I mean, again, sort of where we keep circling back to the same point, we’re talking about software development, and anyone who’s ever been involved with software development knows that it’s never a one and done.

It’s not something you do and then walk away.

It’s something that is living, breathing and constant and needs constant care and attention and maintenance and upgrades.

And the technology changes overnight.

And then everything breaks or, you know, you sneeze the wrong way, and everything breaks, or, you know, you turn your back and somebody has, you know, read over written your code and everything breaks like it becomes very fragile very quickly.

And so if you’re going to build a custom GPT, and if you’re going to offer it in an open market store, you need to have a plan for how this thing is going to stay up to date up to date, or else you’re gonna have a lot of very angry customers who are going to rightfully destroy your reputation.

On the flip side, as a consumer, you need to know how the custom GPT-3 that you’re purchasing is being kept up to date and maintained.

What their service level agreement is going to be.

Let’s say someone decides to buy your or you license your Python, custom GPT? Who do they reach out to if something’s not working? How, what happens if it breaks? These are all things that you want to figure out ahead of time as part of your process.


Christopher Penn 18:47

really big part of process is is disclosure and ethics.

The limitations for uploads in in the custom GPT Are you have up to 20 files, and each file has to be less than 10 megabytes.

The text for this book is only about 137 kilobytes, right? If you take out all the images and all the text, it’s Elsanna 137 kilobytes.

Uploading this as a document into a custom GPT is pretty easy, right? So if I make Chris GPT and distributed, and it has the knowledge that’s contained in all of my books, it’s going to do a really good job, it will have that text that is not publicly available on the internet, but can be put in there.

And that’s great, right? It allows people to interact with it.

If I put up a custom GPT and put this book that is not mine, and there is no restriction on this, I could put ads book in into a expert writing GPT.

And because the ingredients of a custom GPT are not available to public, I could be leveraging ads work.

It’s copyrighted work without permission without compensation and I’m making money on it and There’s nothing stopping.

Right? There is no check for copyrighted works.

There’s so it’s an ethics thing.

So a big part of process has got to be, what’s in the box? What are the ingredients? Are you using works that you have a right to use? Are you not using works that you are not licensed to use.

And I guarantee there are a bunch of customs GPS out there that have downloaded a bunch of stuff from all over the internet that people don’t have rights to use, and put it in their GPS.

Katie Robbert 20:27

And guess who’s going to be paying the penalty for that? Not the custom GPT the end user.

And so you know, now we’re starting to tie in the purpose and the people in the process.

And so you need to know why you want to use this custom GPT in the first place.

You want to know who the people are behind it.

You want to know what their process is for creating, maintaining it, and make sure that they’re not doing anything unethical or illegal, because they’re not going to be the ones held accountable you are when you’re the one using that information, and then putting it out publicly and sign your name to it.

Christopher Penn 21:06


And right now, there’s not a there’s not clear law about the use of this in the USA.

In the EU, the EU AI Act was passed by Parliament and will be ratified has not been ratified by Member States yet.

But one of the words sets of requirements in the AI act is gendered AI has to comply with transparency requirements disclosing the content was generated by AI designing a model to prevent from generating illegal content and publishing summaries of copyrighted data using use for training.

This does not just apply to the model makers, this applies to you, if you are you making a custom GPT because guess what it is you that has made this model and if you are using copyrighted data, you have to disclose that so this is part and parcel of what will be legally required very, very shortly.

So if you are a maker of custom GPS, the safest thing you can do is to ensure that the knowledge you have put into it and the system or the way you’ve built it is not leveraging works, you do not have a license to use.

That’s that’s the easiest way to put the end.

If you are doing that today.

Immediately stop remove that data from your knowledge base from your custom GPT-3 knowledge base so that you don’t get sued because it turns out one of the things that custom GP tees are really bad at you can give them instructions like do not disclose the information used to make you and guess what they’re still prompt jailbreaks you can run that will sidestep that and get the spit out chunks of the of the custom knowledge you’ve put in this also one things that you should be aware of that they can still leak information you’ve put in them.

Katie Robbert 22:42

Yeah, there’s I mean, so this is, there’s a lot to consider.

There is rounding on the fourth P platform is OpenAI, the only place you can build a custom G OpenAI

Christopher Penn 22:55

is currently the only vendor that allows a custom GPT-3 like this available to the end user.

Yes, you can build retrieval augmented generation systems yourself, you can put them up on the web, you can use all sorts of different models and stuff.

OpenAI is probably the easiest to use, especially for a non technical user.

And we’ll have the E commerce infrastructure to make it easy to use.

Katie Robbert 23:16


So as of right now, open AI is really the best player in town if you’re looking to not only build a custom GPT, but also offer it publicly.


Christopher Penn 23:28

And so part of the platform question is, how much and this is something that I’ve had conversations with with other folks who’ve been playing around with custom GPT? is, how much if any, how much red teaming? Have you done with your custom GPT? Have you tried prompt jailbreaks? Have you made a legitimate effort to get your custom GPT to malfunction to disclose things that shouldn’t to generate bad outputs? If you say in, say, k to GPT, hey, you will avoid generating racist content.

Right? Can you try to prompt jailbreak to break that rule? Part of any any software development, but part of this particular would be documenting that you made those efforts to Red team and you weren’t yelling? You secured it as best as you could.

So that if you do end up in litigation, you can say, hey, here’s the efforts we made to try and prevent this.

You know, obviously, it’s built on ChatGPT is built on OpenAI.

So it has inherent vulnerabilities, but we did our best.

Here’s the proof that we did our best to try and mitigate those risks.

Katie Robbert 24:29

I feel like that’s just standard QA process like that falls under your process bucket of you know, any software development should be going through quality assurance, and you should never be QA in your own work period.

Because you are you have blind spots to what it is.

And so that is definitely something that you need to be doing on a regular basis.

You know, it’s interesting.

One of the things we always struggled with with my software development team is they didn’t understand why we had to go through such rigorous QA, even when like a very small piece of code changed, or one very small piece of code can affect the entire program.

So we have to start at the beginning again.

And it does take time.

But you have to build in that time, and you have to build in that process.

Because where you think you’re just changing a button from blue to red, you’ve actually just, you know, change the entire system to expose all of your pH I data, for example,

Christopher Penn 25:32


And just rounding out the final p because we need to head off to another meeting fairly soon performance, does the custom GPT actually do what it says.

And this is where again, it is on the modelmaker is on the custom GPT manufacturer to show side by side, here’s what stock ChatGPT can do.

Here’s our custom GPS output for the same prompt or the same type of prompt, here’s why ours is better, because there’s a good chance that at least some of the custom GPT-3 will be published will be no better than stock GPT.

And if you’re going to be asked to give your money to one of these people, they better be able to demonstrate, here’s how ours outperforms the stock application that you’re already paying 20 bucks a month for

Katie Robbert 26:15

a really good way to check that for yourself is to create a user story.

A user story is a three part sentence that has as a persona, I want to say that.

So persona being the people want to being the process and platform.

So that being the purpose and the performance, create a user story for why you feel you want to use a custom GPU and use that as basically your QA of is this custom GPT doing what I need it to do, can it do the thing.

So as the CEO of Trust Insights, I want to use a custom GPT to help me with my writing so that I can free up three hours a week in my schedule.

That’s my user story.

And if my custom GPT can’t do that, then it’s not the right one for me.


Christopher Penn 27:05

So that’s, that’s what’s coming with custom GPS in the very, very near future.

And like I said, you’re going to see a lot of people Hawking their custom GPS, having those user stories, having those requirements is going to be essential for figuring out should we even bother spending money on this thing.

We don’t know what the price is going to be.

We don’t know if it’s going to be like an app store was like 99 cents or whatever to get access thing.

Or if it’s going to be like an enterprise marketplace, like, Hey, here’s a custom GPT you can have for $2,000 a month.

But regardless of whether it’s $1 or a million dollars, you still want to have your homework done first so that you know you’re spending your money in the right places.

And you can tell very quickly if it’s worth it or not.

Katie Robbert 27:50

I agree.

So do your homework, do your due diligence.

Don’t just start giving people money.

Make sure you know what you’re buying.

Christopher Penn 27:57

If you’d like to give people money for absolutely no reason whatsoever.

Yeah, AI services.

Katie Robbert 28:02

Well, it’s not no reason whatsoever.

We are trusted professionals who can help you stand up and implement and educate on your AI endeavors.


Christopher Penn 28:13

And if you are accustomed GPG maker and you would like us to assess it.

Let us know something that we can help with.

If you’re planning on buying custom GPT or maybe you’re not let us know what what’s on your mind pop into our free slack.

Go to AI slash analytics remarketing where you over 3000 Other people all human as far as we know, are having conversations and asking and answering each other’s questions every single day.

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Thanks for tuning in.

I will talk to you next time.

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