Wix CEO Avishai Abrahami on why the web isn’t dying after all

Wix CEO Avishai Abrahami on why the web isn’t dying after all
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Today, I’m talking with Avishai Abrahami, the CEO of Wix. You might know Wix as a website builder. It’s a competitor to WordPress and Squarespace. Tons of sites across the web run on Wix. But the web is changing rapidly, and Wix’s business today is less about web publishing and more about providing software to help business owners run their entire companies. It’s fascinating, and Avishai has built a fascinating structure inside of Wix to make all of that happen.  

Wix is also an Israeli company. Avishai joined from the company’s headquarters in Tel Aviv. And I’ll just tell you right up front that we talked about the Israel-Hamas war and its impact on the company and that this conversation was not always comfortable. But more on that in a moment. 

The main theme of our conversation was, of course, the future of the web, especially a web that seems destined to be overrun by cheap AI-generated SEO spam. I’ve been asking a lot of people why anyone would really want to build a website in 2023. So many small businesses and creators are turning to platforms like TikTok or Instagram, never giving the web a second thought. 

Wix is right in the middle of this. The company has invested so heavily in AI that you can now build entire websites by prompting a chatbot on the Wix platform. So I really wanted to ask Avishai how he’s thinking about all that AI content on the web and if it’s really helping his customers in the long run if the web becomes synonymous with AI-generated garbage. 

Like I said, you’ll hear us talk about Wix’s role in the moderation stack because the company sits in a really unique place. On the one end, you have infrastructure providers like Cloudflare, which really don’t want to do any moderation and probably shouldn’t. On the other end, social networks like Instagram and X (formerly Twitter) do a lot of moderation and probably should. Wix sits right in the middle alongside other e-commerce and tech platforms like Etsy and Shopify. 

I asked Avishai about Etsy’s recent decision to ban merchandise with the phrase “from the river to the sea” printed on it and asked whether Wix would ban the phrase from websites on its platform. It is as complicated a moderation decision as there is. But Avishai is the first person we’ve had on Decoder who’s been willing to say outright that content moderation is not hard. To him, there’s a clear line, and you’ll hear him explain why Wix doesn’t seem to dwell too much on the murkier gray areas of content moderation that major social platforms seem to live in. 

I also asked Avishai how involved the Israeli government has been in Wix’s operations during the war and whether recent news headlines about the company firing employees for incendiary rhetoric concerning the conflict might change its approach to moderation overall.

One more note before we start. This interview was recorded right before the chaos at OpenAI that led to Sam Altman’s firing and rehiring in under a single week. You’ll hear Avishai and me discuss OpenAI and ChatGPT in this conversation. Wix is an OpenAI customer and has been relying on that technology for quite some time, so just keep in mind that we had no idea what was about to happen when we had this conversation. 

Okay, Avishai Abrahami, CEO of Wix. Here we go. 

This transcript has been lightly edited for length and clarity.

Avishai Abrahami, you’re the co-founder and CEO of Wix. Welcome to Decoder.

Thank you, thank you. My pleasure to be here.

You are talking to us from your offices in Tel Aviv. Thank you for making the time. I understand it’s a very difficult time in Israel, but there’s a lot to talk about. Let’s start at the start. What is Wix?

We’ve created Wix to enable everybody to create web content, websites, easily. As time evolves, the company also evolves. We started by making simple pages in the beginning — in Flash, as funny as it is now. We’ve evolved now to enable you to actually create all of your business on Wix. We’ll do anything, from different commerce transactions, to scheduling, to restaurant orders, all the way to managing your backend and [making sure] that you have your customer list, ability to market to your customers. So the full stack runs your small or larger business on the internet, while, at the same time, if you just want to create two pages about something, you can still go to Wix and do it easily.

In many ways, we try to make it a product that, we always say, it’s not simple. If you know how to use PowerPoint or Excel, you should know how to use Wix. And if you think about Excel and PowerPoint, they’re not necessarily very easy. They require some knowledge of computers, some skill in computers, but if you have that, then you should be able to create amazing things on Wix. That was the goal.

Excel and PowerPoint are actually really great comparisons. Almost anybody can do the very basic thing in those applications. And then, I’m pretty sure at this point you can run Doom in Excel, right? It’s a programming language unto itself inside of there. That’s real, by the way. I’m pretty sure you can.

Is that how you think about the spread of Wix? All the way at the end, you should be able to create other applications inside of it?

Yeah. Today, Wix actually includes a very simple way to write JavaScript, so anything you can run on the web, you can actually build on top of Wix today, and we’ll do the back-end and front-end hosting for you automatically, so you don’t even have to know what it means. In many ways, yes, if you can create Doom on the web, you should be able to create it on Wix, in Wix, today.

You’re describing the customer set here. It’s people who want to put up two pages and just say, “Here’s my CV” or whatever, all the way to, “You run a restaurant, Wix is the application layer for your restaurant. You’re doing your booking, and you’re building on that.” Is that a set of templates for people? Is that, you’ve got a bunch of business types that you know you’re going to service, and you have people building that stuff? Or is it [that] the restaurant owner has to build it themselves?

We have, of course, templates, but that’s mostly for the visual side. We also have an application for restaurants that we built that enables you to do a lot of the things you need in a restaurant. We have another one that, if you have a hair salon or a gym or an e-commerce or physical store, we built those applications. You can install them on top of Wix, and then it allows you to manage your business and get orders, get reservations, manage events. All of this [is] a separate application that you install on top of the Wix platform.

And this all happens on the web, right? The thing I’m pushing at is, there’s this sort of front-end web presence that a business needs or someone needs. I just need to show you some information. I need to show you my menu, what times we’re open. And then, there’s, “Oh, I need to run my business using software. I need to manage the schedule of events. I need to book the classes and see who’s coming. I need to do some outbound marketing on Facebook,” or whatever it is. Are you all the way through that? If I’m running a small gym and I’m like, “I need some software to run my gym,” you want people to think of Wix?

Yes. In fact, if you have a gym, we can actually give you everything you need on the web but also an application, a native iPhone or an Android application for tablet or for phone, in which you can manage the memberships; you can see who signs in or signs out. You can give an application to your members, if you want, so they can do reservations from your application now, essentially. We give you the full stack to manage your business, the full software stack, and it all connects and works well together. This is another important part of it. It’s not a bunch of different software vendors that you have to integrate.

I think of Wix as a website builder, but you’re saying this is much more a small business software solutions provider, right? You don’t have to worry about running software, making an iOS app. You just skin some templates, and we’ll deploy code on all these platforms for you.

Yeah. I think that, beyond Intuit, we are number two in the amount of small businesses running on our platform.

How many customers do you have? Is it mostly small businesses?

Most of our customers are small businesses. We have enterprise customers as well, and there are people that do it privately, so personal sites. But the vast majority, of course, are small and tiny businesses.

Is that a growth market? Do you see more and more small businesses saying, “Okay, we’re going to start. It’s a dry cleaner operation, I need some software, just pull it off the shelf and go”? Or are you having to go do outbound marketing?

We actually do a lot of marketing because I think the brand is now getting so strong that our marketing just needs to support it, but we have about 2 million signups every month.

And how many people work at Wix?

5,000 and something.

And most of them are in Israel, or are you around the world?

No, around the world. We have about half in Israel, but we have a lot of people in the United States, in Europe, and in many different places.

Let me ask some Decoder questions here. You have been CEO of Wix since you founded it 17 years ago. Obviously, you’ve grown to the size of all your employees around the world. You did just do some layoffs. How is Wix structured now, and how does that work?

We did very little layoffs. What we did is that, during covid, the demand we got to our services was very big, so we needed to increase the support. As we went from covid and a peak in demand to a global economy slowdown, we found that we needed less people in the support department. When people left, we didn’t rehire. We did a bit of layoffs.

How is the company structured now? You just cut there, but is the structure the same?

Yeah. The structure of the company is very similar to what it’s always been. And the company is built around the fact that I, as a CEO, always believe that my number one job is to hire very smart people and then to build startups where you have somebody who owns a part in Wix and manage that as if it was a startup.

This is how Wix is built. For example, we have the editor, which is what essentially you build websites with. But then, you have an application, for example, [for] managing events. That will be its own startup, essentially, meaning we try to make it as independent as possible and to have one guy that, of course, is making the decision. And our job, as management, is to make all of those heads of those startups within Wix work well together.

So you have multiple divisions. There’s a restaurant business division. There’s a, I don’t know, a gym business division, a dry cleaner division.

I’m assuming you have not just local, small town… I’m just thinking of businesses on my street. But you have people in charge of those. Do they share code? How does that work?

Yes. Actually, one of the things we did early on, we started by saying, “Okay, just code any way you want.” And of course, that works very well in phase one but works very badly in phase two and phase three.

Today, we have a lot of infrastructure that is unified. For example, we have a project called Nile, which is server architecture which automates 95 percent of what you need to do when you build a server for a web application. Everybody’s sharing that. And we migrated all the old projects on top of that.

Then, we have a lot also on the front end. All of the user interface libraries are unified, so we have a common language, a common code, and if we fix a bug in one place, everybody enjoys that. And then, we have rules, like, if you want to add a component to the visual thing, you have two choices. Either you use what we have already, or you build it and donate it so everybody can use it. So it’s always growing, but it’s always unified. We do a lot in order to make sure that we work on the same code base as much as possible without slowing down everybody else.

This is the central tension of every platform that has multiple divisions and multiple different customer sets: sometimes your customers probably don’t have the same needs or even have opposing needs. How do you manage that conflict?

As you said, it’s always the trickier and harder part when you have multiple divisions or multiple units working and each one of them wants to do their own thing. But if each one of them does the same thing, it’s going to be horrifying.

I’ll give you an example. If you look at how to build a web service, there are tons of blogs. There are millions of resources on the internet, and they’re fantastic when you need to build one. But when you have 1,000 web services running, now it’s a very different problem. It’s not the same problem. And if you look at the amount of information you have now to do and maintain 1,000, it’s actually almost nonexistent.

But every company that is growing to a certain size is starting to accumulate all of those very quickly, and you’re going to end up having 100, and then 1,000, then 2,000. And if you don’t start tackling it from a very early point, you find that you have a lot of migration to do, which is always very hard. Instead of this agility that you get because everybody did what they wanted at the beginning, it’s actually becoming a terrible thing for agility when you have 20 or 30 services, and then, when you have 1,000, nothing can really happen.

This is one of the most important things we tackled, and it requires a lot of discipline. And now, none of the developers like the concept of discipline, meaning, “This is how you do it.”

Especially on the web.

Well, anywhere. The developers, they just read a very fantastic post by somebody on how to do something in a much nicer or interesting way, and then they want to try it. They want to play with it. They want to build something with it. And suddenly, it’s like, “Oh, no, this is how we do it. You have to do it like that.” Or you have to upgrade the old system for everybody, which is a very pricey project.

But after a while, what happened is that, if I look at Nile, which is one example — and we have a few of those — in the beginning, nobody wanted to use it. And we actually had probably more people threaten to resign from Wix if we continued to work on that or do that than any other thing we ever did in the history of the company. But as that survey infrastructure became more and more mature, now everybody just wants to use that.

There is a point where the value of the platform is getting to this level that it becomes, “Oh, I just want to do that.” And then, people start to, at the same level of energy that they used to say, “I will never use it,” now, they say, “Well, yes, I absolutely want to use it.”

And then, it’s another thing happened. I want to go back and say, “Well, I don’t just want to work on this business logic in those applications. I actually want to go work on that infrastructure.” And we have a bunch of projects like that, and we’re seeing it pretty much continuously in all of them. You just have to be very patient and make sure that your infrastructure is very developer-friendly. And developer-friendly means a lot of things, but once you get that right, I think it’s very, very important.

So you’ve got heads of business who are working in the business logic for different categories. You’ve got infrastructure. You said it’s about 5,000 people. How is that split? How big is each little division?

It depends. I think the smallest one we have is about 15.

And is that engineering, design, product management? Is that a standard little product team, or how does that work?

Yeah, exactly like that. You touched it exactly. And the concept is that they need to prove what they’re doing is actually viable. At some point, they come back and say, “Okay, look at the numbers. Obviously, there’s an opportunity here. We’re not thinking there’s an opportunity. We can prove there is an opportunity.” And from that point, we’ll start to increase it in order to maximize that opportunity. And the largest one would be, I don’t know, 190 people.

Which one’s that? What is the smallest one? What is the biggest?

Well, the smallest one is in regards to education things on the web, how to do online classes. There are a lot of things that are done there. I think that’s the smallest one. And the largest one, I believe, is the editor team.

That’s the new editor, the Editor X?

No. All of the editor group is managed as one, and then it’s broken into two small statuses between and below that.

Okay. And that’s the thing you actually use to make a Wix website?

That team is—

The new one is called Studio, by the way, Wix Studio.

Okay, here’s the classic Decoder question. You’ve now been the CEO for 17 years, more than 17 years. How do you make decisions?

It’s one of those things. A lot of the time, I talk to entrepreneurs, and most of the time, younger entrepreneurs, they talk to me about the fact that they make a lot of decisions every day. And I usually say, “Well, I make probably four every quarter.”

And I think the number one thing is to understand that it’s much better to make four every quarter than a dozen every day because I mostly try to delegate and to make sure that we know: What are the rules? How do we measure success? How do we enable other people to make smart decisions? And they’ll come and tell me what they want to do, but essentially, it’ll be mostly their decisions and not mine. It’ll be my responsibility but their decisions.

We have a full method of how to make decisions. Everything is measured. This is number one. We are fanatic about it. We measure everything. If you did something that cannot be measured, then nothing happened. That’s our philosophy. In fact, a lot of the time, don’t tell us about it. Don’t come and show off a project that cannot be measured. You can come, by the way, and show us a project that you measured and had a negative effect, and you’re going to get the same amount of cheers as you would for a project that had positive effects because we want to encourage that aggressiveness in testing and going to new places.

A lot of data we measure — from conversion, to what people are saying, to customer feedback, our customer support feedback. And from that, we’re trying to create this big table of the things we think we should be doing and try to assess their value. And from this, we actually build the roadmaps. This is one layer. The other layer is where we want to get to strategically. Where we want to get to strategically is another important part. And then we make sure that it’s written, it’s well understood. And then we broadcast it to everybody in the company.

The tension I’ve always found there is that data can only tell you about the past. And big strategic thinking, big strategic bets — like your bet on AI, for example — there’s no data that tells you that’s going to happen. You just have to know. How do you manage that tension?

This is part of what we call strategic. Because you can do those gradual changes, and the internet is a very good place for winning those small bets, but those small bets only take you that far. At some point, you need to change the rules of the game in order to go to the next jump so you can iterate again.

I think that there is no single way to anticipate what kind of a change will happen. Sometimes, there is some kind of way to assess things because you understand your customers very well. I can tell you that if I build something in AI that will help my customer write blogs, I will definitely utilize more blogs, because I know the pain is there, because I can assess the pain that the customer has. But it’s not always true. And I believe that that’s fine. That’s why I said it’s okay to do things that won’t make a big change. The only thing that is important about that is to recognize the fact that this might happen and to encourage that because you want to take big bets. But the number one metric that we have to predict the future is understanding what customers are saying.

If you’re working at Wix and you work in product, we actually measure how many conversations you have with customers. And we used to actually really have a number for that so we know exactly how many you had in order to encourage you to always do that. Because the most important work of a product guy is to understand the pain of their customers.

My philosophy, when it comes to building product — I think it’s a bit different than most — but I’ll say it: it’s that everybody always used to tell me that the most important thing is to know, “Who is the customer?” We spoke about Excel. Who is the customer for Excel? Who is the customer for an iPhone? Who is the customer for Chrome? Well, everybody, right? That’s not a really good answer.

But let me ask you, what are they trying to do? What is the guy using Word trying to do? What is the guy using Chrome trying to do? Suddenly, it’s very easy to answer. I believe that to predict good product is to understand, “What is the customer trying to do?”— not who he is. And then, when you understand what they’re trying to do, to build something that makes it easy for him to do it or fun for him to do it. And if you got that right, you can pretty much predict the future.

I want to talk about that because you’re making a big bet on AI across the company. I am obsessed with what AI will do to the web. This is why we started talking, because you’ve made this big bet, and I think everyone knows that I’m obsessed with the future of the web right now. That’s something you had to impose, right? You had to go to all these product teams and say, “Alright. We’re doing AI now. You’re not all in your little silos.” How did you execute a decision like that?

Actually, that’s an interesting story. My background is [as] a developer, as you can probably guess from all the technical details. We started to work on AI-related projects in 2014, and then, in 2016, we released ADI, which is AI that was creating websites. You told it a little bit, and it created everything for you. It’s very basic AI — not transformers and not attention-based transformers, of course, that was actually invented in 2017 by the algorithm, but it created decent websites in seconds.

But when I tried to get the company, all the team, to use an AI-based project, it was very hard. And I think, last year or a year ago, it became very easy. Everybody wanted something to do with AI. Before, it was an uphill battle, I think, in many ways. I think ADI was the first mass-market product, at least, that actually allowed people to create something with AI. I’m not sure about it. I think it was because millions of people used it. And we learned a lot from that interaction. We learned a lot, so I’m with you. I think that it’s going to be a huge change — not just in the web, in everything we do.

Are you running on OpenAI’s models? Do you have your own LLMs? How does that work?

We don’t have our own LLM. I think that LLM, I hope Sam Altman won’t get mad at me for saying that, but I think LLM is a commodity, and we don’t have any advantage in making one of our own. Of course, there are gaps. We are using OpenAI, which I think are the best currently, [the] best in class at this stage, and we’re very happy with the partnership with them. But I think, long term, the difference between the quality of the text that you get from one to the other will continue to shrink.

How do you measure quality of text? I feel like you can measure quality of code, which, when I talk to people, everyone is very excited about the programming aspect of LLMs. My view about the text aspect is that it’s a C+, and that’s where it tops out. How do you measure quality of text versus quality of code?

We have a way to look at it, right? We see how much of our customers are actually happy about it. And when we’re talking about our numbers, it’s a pretty decent way to measure it. But to be fair, we never tried to use Bard or any of the other ones. We’ve used OpenAI for, I think, almost a year, more than a year now.

OpenAI is a cost, right?

You’re obviously paying them. You’re reselling whatever they’re giving you to your customers. You’re obviously making a margin.

We’re actually sponsoring it, at this stage, for our customers, because the value in the conversion is such that it’s worth our time.

Okay. But at some point, you’re going to charge for it, right? You’re going to put a margin on top of that service, or you don’t think so?

I don’t think so. Maybe to some things, but essentially, if you come to Wix today, you can have Wix’s OpenAI fill the template with the content that is relevant to you and create a lot of different things with the content that is relevant to you, all using OpenAI. And the value in the conversion from free to paying that we get is higher than what we pay to OpenAI, so I prefer, actually, to keep it free.

And you think that cost is going to come down — the OpenAI cost is going to come down? Or you’ll be able to go to the market and say, “Okay, this is a commodity now. Who’s the cheapest?” and the quality level will be the same.

Yeah. Well, I hope to stay with OpenAI, because I’ve been their partner for a long time, but I do believe that the cost will go down. What do you think about it? Let me reverse the question for a minute.

I think the web is in an enormous amount of danger from tools like this, and we haven’t quite reckoned with what happens when we take a statistical averaging of the web that existed until today and publish millions of more websites with it. And there’s a feedback loop in there where I don’t know where the new ideas come from. And I don’t know why anybody with new ideas would look at that state of things and choose the web over TikTok or over YouTube.

There’s something there that I think is really interesting and really fascinating, and potentially really dangerous, which is probably why I think it’s really interesting, but I haven’t quite sorted it out in my mind. That’s why I want to talk to so many CEOs of companies that make the web, because it feels like there needs to be some limiting principle on how much AI text we publish because, otherwise, we’re going to choke out all the people.

But you have an interesting assumption here.

I agree with you on the averaging thing, and I agree with you on the fact that it’s only recycled information. LLMs are not meant to invent information, but you assume that it’s not going to happen on TikTok and Instagram. Well, I believe that it’s a matter of a year or a year and a half, and we’re going to see it happening on Instagram and TikTok. Most of what you’ll see on TikTok can be generated with the equivalent of LLM. And that will, again, recycle information.

Look, I don’t disagree with you there, and YouTube has a new policy about deepfakes and taking them down, and I think every platform is going to have to come up with some policy about AI-generated content or synthetic content. I think that’s a real tension for every platform.

I’m saying, specifically for the web, which is more or less a text-based platform, there’s no way to detect it reliably. And then the recommendation engine for the web is Google, which is, I think, losing the war against SEO spam, broadly. There’s just a feedback loop on this platform that I think is different than the feedback loop on Instagram or TikTok.

I’ll ask you the question in a much more direct way. If you were a younger person today, and you have a great idea or you want to communicate or you want to build an audience, why on earth would you start a website instead of a TikTok channel?

I think you should do both, but essentially, and I see examples every day, the combination is way more powerful than just one. And a lot of people still go to Google and do a search. And TikTok, when you do a search, you’re not necessarily going to get what you expect. On the web, you still get what you expect.

I think the question of why there is an SEO battle is a really interesting one because I think Google is way smarter than we give them credit for. I don’t believe that you can fool Google by changing your alt text to something. And for some reason, a lot of the time, it does work. And obviously, there are super smart engineers at Google, so I would think that a lot of it is on purpose.

I also probably have the luxury place of being in the spot where I see more websites than anybody else on the planet, and I know the results on Google, so I can see a lot of the things behind the algorithm. If Google will decide one day to remove fake content, there’ll be no fair content in Google.

I really believe so. Maybe I’m naive when I give them too much credit, but I think they’re really smart engineers. But for your question, let’s use a business, okay? Let’s say, you said a gym before. If you’re a gym, how do people go to check what’s happening in a gym? You’re not going to go to TikTok for that, right?

But you’re increasingly going to go to Instagram for that. I know dozens of restaurants in New York City that have horrible websites, and their answer is, “Go to facebook.com/myrestaurant,” or, “Go to instagram.com/myrestaurant. Our menus are posted on Instagram daily.”

It’s true. By the way, for restaurants, it might be more true, but for a gym when you have this specific activity as an event, a thing you need to register for, it’s not something you’re going to do on Instagram. And by the way, for a well-managed restaurant, I would argue that a lot of the things you want to do, you need to be able to communicate with your customers more directly than hope that somehow the Instagram algorithm will push it to your customers. And I think, for a majority of businesses, that’s the case.

If you want an issue, by the way, a new makeup company for 12-year-old girls, you don’t need a website. You definitely need to be on TikTok and Instagram. But for a lot of the others, if you are a doctor, if you are a gym, if you are a lot of e-commerce businesses, I think you still find that your communication with the customer essentially has to be something that you control.

You’re saying something here that I think is really important: direct connection to customers. I run a publisher. My whole thing is, we need to have a direct relationship with our audience. People need to know us. They need to know The Verge. They need to trust us. That is us doing the work. If I start publishing lots of AI-generated articles, that trust is going to go down. I think people will sniff it out instantly.

If you’re a doctor and you sign up for Wix, and you let the AI fill out all the content on your website, you’re just trying to convert them into showing up at your office so that you might personally build a connection with your patients. But that part where you’re just doing content marketing, that’s the part that seems dangerous to me. It’s all going to be kind of the same. It’s all going to read kind of the same.

Yeah, it’s true.

It might be in the same templates, even. That’s the thing I’m worried about, the differentiation there. Even the text starts to collapse to the same thing.

I agree, but this is assuming they all just go in and click a button. Let me tell you the number one lesson we learned from ADI, which is you could go in and say, “I’m a hairdresser from New Jersey,” or, “I’m a doctor from Montana,” and it will be a fantastic website. And then people didn’t want that. What they wanted is to tell their story. The most important part of ADI was not just the ability to build and immediately start with a template. It was actually going in and editing that to your picture, to your images, to your story, and helping our customer achieve that. Once we got that right, it became a very successful product. The magic of the AI was really inspiring to see, but it didn’t let people take their story and put it on the web, and I think that was a huge difference.

From that, what I learned is that, it’s actually proof to your point, which is to make even our customers, not their customers, happy, they need to be able to tell their story, their personal story. I can generate on Midjourney amazing pictures of dishes in a restaurant, fantastic-looking dishes in an amazing restaurant, but if it’s not the real restaurant, it doesn’t really help. So they want to take their images, they want to take that to tell the story of the chef, to tell the story of why they do it. And I think a lot of that is really important and needs to be carried into the story. The good thing is that it’s very easy to see that the text is written by AI.

I hope so. I’m not sure everyone can see it. I can see it. I’m not sure everyone can see it.

Well, for machines. For machines, it’s very easy—

You think so? Actually, I’m not sure about that, either. OpenAI had a tool, and they had to pull it down because it was inaccurate.

Yeah, but because it’s trying to predict 100 percent, and to predict 100 percent is very hard, but to see that almost always the next word is the most likely word to be, or one of the 20 most likely words to be, or one of the 1,000 more likely words to be. So I would imagine that, when Google decides to know that, they’ll know it.

Do you sell your customers on, “You will rank highly in Google if you use Wix”? Is that a part of your marketing? Is that a part of your value proposition?

We don’t sell it like that because you can never guarantee that. And if you want to do a, “I’m a restaurant in New York,” and to tell you that you’re going to be number one ranking, it’s a lie. You might, but it’s not honest.

I can say without a doubt that Wix, probably today, is the best platform to be ranked by Google. When I actually asked Google about it, I got a very interesting explanation, which is, you can hardly do any fake SEO things on Wix. The websites are very honest. The SEO engine looks at them the way the website is, while, if you look at other platforms, especially the open-source ones, it’s very easy to do a lot of fake stuff.

Now, one of the parameters that the bot has, the SEO AI, because it’s all AI today, is, “What is the platform?” If you look at all the open-source ones, a lot of them look better than they really are. They have this thing that they look better, but Google and Wix sites look exactly like they should be. What happened is that Bard learns it because they keep testing how people interact with the content, with the website. They actually get this penalty, on a relative basis, to a Wix website. So the results… and it’s not just Wix, I’m pretty sure that Squarespace will have the same phenomenon. If you build a site with a platform that is very clean, you actually get a positive, on a relative basis, you get a positive ranking boost.

How much time do you spend thinking about SEO?

Well, I used to do it a lot because I really wanted to understand it, but now it’s a time when I understand the basics of it and the principles of it, so we have a very smart team that is doing that.

How big is that team? How big is the Wix SEO team?

I think, overall, it’s about almost 50. A lot of them, their effort is mostly about our customers’ websites, not our website. We use Wix to build Wix. When we need something in SEO, everybody gets it. All of our customers get it.

And how would you characterize your relationship with Google?

Mostly friendly. We are a big customer. We are the biggest reseller, as far as I know, of Google, of Gmail, so I think pretty friendly, as much as you can be friendly with Google.

Yeah, I’m just asking because, again, Google Search is the biggest referral engine for every website, essentially. As they do more and more of the Search Generative Experience, they start answering the queries with AI, that referral traffic starts to drop, that ranking question gets a little more contentious. I’m wondering if you’ve seen any change or you’ve detected a change from your customers.

Not yet, but I think that it will actually be a beneficial thing, because if you look at websites that compete on exactly the same thing, yeah, it’s not so good to be… for those websites. But if you look at most of our customers, which have real substantial businesses, then Google being able to find them and get some of the content easily to the search side and then allow you to go and do the reservation and order, either on the website or on Google, it’s actually going to be beneficial for our customers, so I think overall, it’s a good thing.

I have been talking to other CEOs of web companies. I had Squarespace CEO Anthony Casalena on the show. I had WordPress’ Matt Mullenweg. I think, when you say the open-source ones, you’re talking about WordPress.

There are a few open-source platforms. I’m not going to be picking which one.

Fair enough.

But there are those that have a huge amount of SEO plug-ins. We try to make your site look better than it is. And the result is that all of the other ones who are using the same platform will be affected by that. Every time you do that, you’re affecting everybody and taking everybody a bit down. And then Squarespace doesn’t do it, right? So their website, when the AI looks at them, it knows that what it sees, it is what it is. It’s a huge difference.

Anthony Casalena, the CEO of Squarespace, I asked him the same question: why would anybody start a website instead of a TikTok channel if you’re young? And he said, “Well, look, everyone starts a TikTok channel or an Instagram channel. And then the reason you need a website is because you’re doing e-commerce and you don’t want to pay a 30 percent fee to Instagram or Apple or whoever it is. You want to kick people out to the web and do the transaction there so you can take 100 percent of the revenue.”

Look, I think that’s honest. I think that’s direct. I think that is the right answer. I think it makes economic sense. It felt, to me, very cynical. The only thing we need the web for is lower transaction rates.

We don’t see it like that. We don’t see it in our customers. And if you look at a lot of them, it’s more about the fact that they need a relationship. And I think that is essential. I think, still, most people, if they want to find something, they still go to Google. They don’t go to Instagram and start doing searches for local things.

That’s changing, though, right? The data shows that younger people are starting to use TikTok for search instead of Google.

Yeah, but for what? For restaurants.

It’s the same as you. What is the customer trying to do? They’re trying to find things.

Yeah, but you’re not looking for your gym, probably, on TikTok. Maybe you do. I don’t know, but we don’t see a decline in traffic. I might be wrong, but I think I have the most broad view on the planet except Google because we have more websites than anybody else that we actually manage. And I think we’re about twice the size of Squarespace in terms of sites.

Do you have a hedge against a big change to Google Search? Is there something in the back of your mind that you’re paranoid about?

I’m not, actually. I’m not so concerned. I never understand the concern here so much.

If you can explain to me the concern better, maybe I’ll know what—

I think the concern, generally, from publishers I’ve talked to, from website owners that I know, is that Google’s search referrals are the last source of big referral traffic on the web. Facebook doesn’t send you any traffic anymore. TikTok never did. Twitter never really did actually. You have one thing left, and as that declines, because Google is going to do more and more AI-written summaries of search results, then you will have to find another business, that you’ll have to find another source of traffic or pivot to another revenue platform.

And that affects up and downstream. It has effects on the publishers themselves. It has effects on the business themselves. And it would have an effect on you because, if your customers’ traffic starts to decline, your revenues would start to decline.

Of course. But I think a lot of it is mostly for publishers. And I think, publishers, yeah, they do have an issue, and we know that. Why? Because they used to be able to publish their articles on Facebook and then get people to come to their website. And that stopped because Facebook stopped it. It never did it, as you mentioned. But I think small businesses are in a bit of a different place. Maybe I’m wrong, but we don’t see a difference in the amount of traffic that is coming. In fact, over time, we see an increase.

And I think that AI that is able to, if Google Bard becomes a tool on the internet where you’re able to do a lot of the transaction from Bard itself, it’s a good thing for small businesses because you’re still going to need your business stack.

You’re still going to need to do the transaction, the registration to events. You still need to be able to say, “Oh, we have a discount.” You still need to be able to do, “Okay, you can buy this and get that.” You still need to manage the whole offering, your story, the story that Bard tells. Unless Bard is going to be a way for you to start composing the content as well, you’d still need to be able to tell your story, your images, your content, your product, your sales, your special offers. And if Bard is able to communicate with that and increase conversion for small businesses, I think that’s fantastic. And by the way, it’s fantastic for us as well.

Right, because you would be the provider of all that business.

I think that, hopefully, we’re going to see more of that and not less of that. If I were The New York Times, I would have a lot of concerns, but that’s a different story.

Yeah. They’re pretty bad over there, from what I gather. You’ll notice, by the way, that almost every demo Google does on Bard ends in a transaction. They’re very focused on it.

No, I know. But I think that’s great. I really believe that this can help a lot of our customers. I’m not sure, by the way, what’s going to be the business model. That’s another interesting thing.

I think they’re going to take a cut of all those transactions. I think this is the thing people worry about, right? They’re going to shift the business model. Google’s not bad at making money.

Yeah, but they usually make money out of two things: advertisements on YouTube and advertisements on the web. And the cost of most advertising is higher than the value of the transaction, meaning that you always, in a lot of businesses, you actually make money on the second transaction. You’re trying to capture the customer, but the cost of the ad is much higher than the value of the first transaction, so taking 30 percent of that would mean that they cut their revenues by about 80 percent. I’m not sure I understand how that would work, but they’re smart guys. As I said, they have really smart people there.

They have a long road ahead of them. I want to end here by talking about the bigger picture.

Of course.

Wix is an Israeli company, you’re an Israeli CEO, there’s a war going on. You performed your compulsory military service in a very famous intelligence unit called Unit 8200. What is it like for you right now running your company in Israel?

Also, we had covid, which here, it was a big thing. Not in Israel specifically, but for Wix, because we had all those people that joined Wix and really needed us in many ways. We had our own small war of assisting millions and millions of small businesses survive covid.

Then we had about 1,000 employees in Ukraine, so we had the war in Ukraine. And now we have this one here. I got to say, those are a hard couple of years, and I really hope the next year will be very boring. No big wars, no big plagues. Of course, to say that we are more practiced now and how to handle such crises, it’s pretty much a sad thing. I think Wix is a strong company. We have international teams, local teams, and I think we’re in a place that we can navigate that in the best way we can at this stage.

Again, we started talking about this conversation a while ago, and even just in doing the research, there’s some whiplash here. Several months ago, I would’ve asked you about your employees joining a general strike, protesting the changes to the judiciary in Israel. There were ads around that move taken out in all the major newspapers, full-page blackout ads, calling the [Benjamin] Netanyahu government’s moves around the judiciary, and this is a quote, “a black day for democracy.”

Executives from Wix were in Wired magazine saying, “We have to support liberal democracy. We have to fight for what’s right. We have to make Israel a good democracy.” Here we are now, in November, the war is on. And inside of Wix, there have been Slack channels called “supporting Israeli narrative.” That is pretty intense whiplash, right?

I’m not sure I understand—

The company’s relationship to the government, how are you managing that?

Well, I think that, at this stage, what we do is try to focus on helping humanitarian aid as much as we can, locally, here. Something that you don’t know, we actually have people working for Wix in the West Bank. Think about that for a minute. We have people, the same thing as we have in Ukraine. I think our goal, as a company, is to focus on the human side and to do our best to help the humanitarian efforts and supporting food for people that were evacuated from homes and do what we can to do that.

What is your relationship to the government of Israel like? Before, it was fairly opposed, right? Your employees, at least, were saying, “We don’t like these moves that this government is making.” Now, it feels like, nationalistically, it has to be different.

We have employees, I think, from both sides. We have here non-religious Jewish, Orthodox Jewish, Arabs, Muslim Arabs, working at Wix. We have all of the different kind of colors, and I think that’s a good thing. Personally, I’m not a political figure. I don’t know a lot about the reform, the suggested reforms. I think democracy is a value, is a super important one, and we should do everything we can to make sure that democracy is maintained here, and by the way, spread around the world.

Here’s the part that I think is very complicated for any tech CEO in your position. You make a platform that publishes speech. You have content rules. I went and looked at the form for reporting bad Wix websites today. You can report a Wix website for having hate speech on it or harassing people.

Yes, that’s true.

Is there content you would not allow in Wix related to the war?

Yeah, absolutely. Every hate speech.

Hate speech. So if I make a pro-Palestinian website, that’s allowed.

There are many. I’m not trying… By the way, I want to be clear. I think that, if you go to Israel, 90 percent of people are pro-Palestinian, which I don’t think that Hamas is pro-Palestinian. I think there is a big difference. I think [Joe] Biden was the one emphasizing that. And I think our goal, as a publisher platform, is to make sure that hate speech, racism, in every kind of its forms, is not something that is on our platform. And there are other things. By the way, if you upload pedophile content, we’re not just going to remove it, we’re also going to report you to the FBI. And this is, I think, some of our moral obligation, and we need to maintain that.

As an Israeli company, do you feel pressure from the Israeli government to support the Israeli narrative?

No, actually, absolutely not.

Is there a line for you that you can point to that says, “Okay, here’s where pro-Palestinian bleeds into being pro-Hamas, and we won’t allow this?”

I’m not sure I understand the—

If I publish a website and it’s a pro-Palestinian website, you’re saying that’s allowed on Wix. Is there a line in the content of that website where you would say, “Okay, this is no longer allowed, this is pro-Hamas.”

Well, I think it’s quite obvious.

By the way, if you go around here and talk to most of the Palestinians, they’re not in support of Hamas.

Sure. But let me give you a very specific example. Yesterday, my friend Casey Newton published on Platformer a story about Etsy. And Etsy has made the decision, a big decision, to no longer allow merchandise that has the words “from the river to the sea” on it. This is obviously a loaded phrase—

calling to the destruction of Israel, yes.

Would you allow a website with that phrase on it?

Again, Etsy had to take a huge process review to do this because the meaning of that phrase has changed over time. Would you allow websites with that phrase on it?

How has the meaning of that phrase changed over time?

Well, from the ’60s to now, it has changed. It’s being used in a different way now that I think is very loaded. I think, on Etsy, where there’s not a lot of context, it’s just T-shirts. They’re saying, “Look, we can’t offer people the context of history—”

I think you’re making me very uncomfortable now. I would rather not—

Well, I’m just asking. This is the thing you do, right? You have to publish people’s websites. Here is a phrase that some people might want to publish. Would they be allowed to publish that phrase?

I’m not sure how the meaning changed there. It’s the same river. This river has been for very long… How did the meaning change from the ’60s to now?

I don’t think it always implied the destruction of Israel. I think a lot of people—

There is one—

It doesn’t even now when they want to use it. But there is that secondary meaning now, and that is a very important meaning. And some platforms are like, “We don’t even want to be associated—”

It only exists from the river to the sea. There is no other thing.

I understand. So you’re saying that would not be allowed?

Actually, I haven’t checked.

I haven’t checked that. I trust my team to do what is right, but I haven’t specifically checked that.

Is there a difference between how you think about the speech that is published on your products and the speech inside the company? There was a report that an employee in Ireland was fired for posting some pretty incendiary things about the war in Israel. They called Israel a terrorist state, and they were fired. Is there a difference there? Would you allow that to be published on Wix, but you don’t allow it inside your own company?

I got to tell you, no, she was not punished because of the contact of the political context. It’s that when you call a terrorist to somebody who’s a colleague of yours while his family has been kidnapped or assassinated, we look at you as a bit of an asshole, and we have a policy that we don’t hire or employ assholes. We were very clear on the behavioral side of that, and employees should have whatever political opinion they want.

Yeah, I’m wondering, right? Because where you sit in the moderation stack is very important. I would not expect a company like Cloudflare to scan all the bits on its network and remove that content. I might expect a platform company like Etsy to remove that content or even a social network like Meta or X or something to say, “Look, we have a policy around this phrase. It’s very loaded. We don’t want it here.” You’re right in the middle, right? You’re in a very blurry place in the middle of those things.

I don’t think so.

I’m just curious where you think—

I actually don’t agree with you.

You don’t think so?

I think that the obligation to remove hate speech is not a blurry place.

I think it’s a very clear place. And I think that the difference, most of the time, is very obvious. And by the way, we would remove a lot of things that… if we had a KKK website. It’s a real story: that it is nice; that people give us the worst reputation; we’re a new kind of KKK, and we want to sell those things, look at them, none of them is about hate speech. We wouldn’t allow that because it’s very obvious. I don’t necessarily agree with you on the fact that we are in a blurry place on Wix, on the stack. We are very clear that, use our software for anything you want, but don’t spread hate, don’t spread pedophiles, don’t do scam sites, don’t do any of those things.

Here’s what I’ll say. That is more clarity from a platform CEO than I’ve heard in a long time. I’ve had other platform CEOs on, and I’ve asked similar questions, and there is, I think, immediate retreat to ambiguity or the need for a law or,  “Someone else should do it,” or, “We’re not going to discuss our rules in that way.” It seems like you have a lot of clarity here. Do you think that clarity has been heightened by the war? Do you think that it has been shaped by it?

No. No, I think that policy’s been existing for a very long time. And by the way, we are very proud of it. One of the reasons we never went into China, which probably cost us a lot of money, is that it was obvious what it requires, what it entailed. And we felt that this is something that we can’t do with our values, anything… That’s another example. That was always a part of it. You can do, really, almost anything you want to do with Wix. If you want to build a porn site, that’s fine. We’re not going to take it down. We’re not going to tell you anything. But once you cross the line, and that line is very clear. Hate speech, it’s pedophiles, it’s scam sites, spam sites, a lot of other things, we will immediately do our best to remove you. And I think it’s very sad that this is not a bigger phenomenon. I think that creates a lot of negative things on the planet.

Yeah. In the United States, there’s a big debate about where you would put these regulations. I think it is totally inappropriate for us to put speech regulations on internet service providers: AT&T or Comcast or whoever. We should not control what goes through the pipes. It’s too hard for people to see. It’s not a competitive space here. One level up at Cloudflare, there’s a lot of angst at the sort of Cloudflare level of service providers about content regulation, what sites they might leave up or take down or service.

You get all the way up to Instagram, they have a ton of rules, and they are happy to tell you what they are and what you can and cannot do there. And that’s a more competitive spec for consumers. I understand you’re saying you don’t think it’s blurry, but can you at least put yourself in the stack somewhere? Where do you think you sit in terms of how many rules you should have and should not have?

Well, we should have less rules than Instagram. I do understand why you don’t have porn on Instagram, because kids are exposed to that and other people that might be surprised by that. I think that the amount of safety that they should impose on content is much higher than us, which is on the web.

However, I do believe that, in many ways, we’re a publishing tool like Instagram, so in many ways, we have the same similar responsibility, just on a smaller scale. And I think that is a good thing that we are seeing companies making sure that they provide quality, which is not propagating hate or other terrible things and instead trying to mediate that.

I agree with you that I don’t think it should be imposed by the internet providers or by Amazon, AWS. I think that that is maybe one level too low. Everybody always talks about free speech, but free speech is illegal in most countries, including the United States. You cannot go and say anything you want. And if you do say a lot of things and somebody will kill you, it’ll be acceptable, and maybe for good reasons. I think, like every ideal, free speech is a beautiful ideal, but then apparently people need to manage it.

Yeah, this is the central tension, I think, of the entire internet. When you think about letting people use AI to write the copy on websites, do you think about responsibility there? Right now, it’s not necessarily your customer speech. It is Wix’s speech delivered to them through an OpenAI model. Have you put content moderation tools in that loop?

We do some things there, yes, but we never felt that there is too much of a need. We didn’t see examples where we needed to really do a lot there. Not as much, maybe, as you might think, but I think OpenAI is doing a really good job at that. It’s very hard to get the model to say something that is not politically correct.

Yeah, that is true. And they’ve been criticized for it, which is interesting.

By the way, that’s a very good question. Should OpenAI, how much should they impose that? That’s even a more interesting question than Instagram or Wix.

Especially as they begin to publish more and more of the web. Again, I think this is the most interesting question that you can ask about the modern internet: Who gets to control what and when and those forces? And who will have the clarity to just say what they think? To me, it all lands on a company like Wix, which is the underlying platform for so many people and businesses. The vast majority of them, actually.

OpenAI, it’s really interesting. Is it okay that they are very, well, kind of, I don’t know, in my mind, I’m biased into one very liberal opinion, which I share a lot of it, so maybe it’s a good thing for me personally, but is that okay that they remove a lot of the other sites? I don’t know. What do you think?

I think that OpenAI is being very careful, and I think, ideally, in a free market, other people will be less careful, and the market will pick the one that is more careful. We will see if that works.

That has been the case, for example, for social networks. The market routinely picks the social networks with more moderation even as other people yell and scream that what people want is totally unfettered speech on these networks. People, in reality, head toward the most heavily moderated networks, over and over and over again.

Interesting.

I’m curious to see if that plays out in the transformers space.

Also very interesting. I think that, essentially, it might not be the best thing for free speech, but it’s definitely the best thing for the business of OpenAI long term.

Yeah, I think the demands of the market and free speech are often in tension, and I think people pick the most comfortable experiences they can have on the internet, and those are often the most moderated ones.

I never thought about it like that. I think that’s really interesting. By the way, I think I do agree with you. I think that the more LLMs write the content that most of us read, it should be even more sensitive than Instagram or Facebook.

It’s interesting. They’re careful when it comes to political correctness. They’re not careful when it comes to factual accuracy. These are LLMs that constantly make mistakes, and there’s intention there, too, because the market does not correct for the truth.

I got to tell you something, I’m the opposite of everybody else about hallucinations. I think the hallucinations are the best part about LLM, because I think hallucinations are when the LLM is creative.

Interesting.

And I think that this is the only spark of intelligence we actually see there. I think the rest of it is just those compressed data in the neurons that is coming out. But when it comes to inventing things, this is where it kind of uses the equivalent of intuition to create low-level intelligence. I’m actually more impressed by that.

And it’s true that you cannot trust the facts that it gives you. And there’s a good chance it’s going to take a long time to fix that, as hallucinations are essentially a huge part of the algorithm. But I still think that, for me, it’s the most fascinating part of the algorithm.

Well, I cannot wait for Wix to publish an entire website made of hallucinations. I think that’d be pretty good.

Actually, you can probably do that already. We have a new version coming, which is AI that actually fully creates the website for you. It’s a very, very modern generation of ADI that we did in 2016. And maybe we can give it a mode to make everything hallucinated.

“You’re a doctor, but let’s make everything up.” Is that something you have to think about? “Okay, we have a bunch of business clients, we should not hallucinate facts about their business.” Is that a control that you have or something you’re thinking about?

Well, yeah, of course. This is actually one of the big things that we always have to work with. And to make sure that it’s obvious what is a text that it was reading for the business owner, and what is the text that it should review, and what is the text that it shouldn’t review, and how do we give them tools to fix it and to correct things and to make sure that they don’t repeat.

And this is even getting more complex in some of our projects where it’s not just one interaction but multiples. But I think everybody who’s using LLMs for anything real is facing similar challenges. And the issue is that the hallucination is essentially a huge part of the algorithm. It’s going to be very hard to take it out and getting something that is factually corrected without just going around and doing searching, if that’s the correct answer, by doing search.

I’m obsessed with this entire situation right now.

You mean about…

AI and the web. I’m obviously very interested in free speech, and there’s a real tension there. If almost all the speech on the web is created by an AI that OpenAI is making careful.

It’s almost there. I think that, from what I understand, currently, there are probably around 8 million bots running and managing most of the messaging on the internet, which is insane. Think about it. Just think about it. You’re having a conversation on things, and the ones who push agendas are bots run by AI models, not humans anymore. And this is like, “What?” And we are at version 0.1. We’re not even at version 1.0 of that. I think that 10 years from today, the human mind will be so heavily influenced by bots and by AI models that we can’t even imagine that. And that is really scary because… I think it’s super fascinating. It’s really going to be probably one of the most important subjects of the near future.

My firm belief is that there will be an internet for robots and an internet for people, and the people will not allow the robots on the internet.

That’ll be amazing.

The market will actually demand people.

How do you distinguish?

I don’t know, but I see that split. I can see it in our own audience. I can see it in the products and services that I want to use. I can see it from my friends — that everyone would rather have a person than a bot. Even if the bot is very convincing, everyone would rather read a person than LLM output.

I think it’s actually different… I think what’s interesting right now is the engineers that I talk to, they love the code. They love that it can do programming with them. And then the people that I talk to, the nonengineers, are looking at the written output, and they’re like, “This is horrible.” I’m going to use an LLM to write an email to someone who’s going to have an LLM read the email and write an LLM email back to me. That is a disaster loop. And we’d rather just have people, and I think there’s a real split coming.

But I got to say, I love the coding thing. I love Copilot. I think it’s fantastic, especially when you’re old like me and you don’t code every day, then what happens is that you don’t remember the syntax all the time, and it just does it for you immediately. That’s fantastic.

But I also use it. English is not my first language. And for me, when I write something and I want to make it a bit better, I use ChatGPT for that, and that’s really helpful. But it’s usually my message. I got to say, I think both uses are fine. And yes, probably I would love to hear your interview with you and not with an AI who tried to do the average of what you said over all the conversations that it trained on. That’s probably going to be extremely boring, right?

But I hope so. I don’t know. I think it’s going to be interesting. I think the Trump election was the first one where we’ve seen the massive effect of bots — or at least it was suspected, I don’t know if it’s true or not, I never managed to understand — on the election, and I think it’s just growing every day. I think we’re seeing it every day, that there’s going to be more and more influence of bots on our life, on our opinions, on the creation of human interaction, on fake news, on so many other things. It’s really, in many ways, as you said, scary.

Yeah, and that’s what I mean. I think the market will pick. If I was starting a social network today, I would say, “I’m starting a social network, and we will not have bots.” And I think that would be very difficult to do. I don’t think that would be—

But how? That’s what concerns me. I’m not sure I understand how.

There’s stuff you can do that’s very uncomfortable. You can do a bunch of driver’s license verification. You can have people show up to an office and put their thumbprint on something. There’s all this stuff you can do.

Oh, right. You can do that. You can do that. Okay.

You can link it to a Facebook profile and—

Those are probably mostly owned by bots.

… piggyback on Facebook’s verification. There’s stuff you can do. I don’t know if any of it will be successful. I don’t know if any of it will be good, but there are attempts to do this thing that I think are somewhat fascinating.

I tend to believe that it will be necessary because, if not, we’re going to need to be in a place that most of our online conversations are going to be not with humans. I think we both can agree on that. LLM is what? The first article was written in 2017. That is transformer-based architecture. And we are what?

Attention is All You Need.” That’s the—

Yeah, “Attention is All You Need.” And we are just starting. We’re not even version, as I said, 0.1, and it can already imitate behavior completely, again, with very processed and repeated information, but it can carry very clear messaging. And what will happen in 10 years? We’re going to have… Just the amount of resources placed into that now is exponentially bigger than it was in 2018 or 2019 or 2020. And it keeps growing. And of course, you can now make full Instagram profiles of people that don’t exist and images from them everywhere.

Instagram doesn’t love it. I think they’re going to have to figure out a way to detect that stuff. YouTube is trying to detect that stuff. But I really do, my belief, maybe this is my hope because I’m a person who writes, but my belief is that the market will put a premium on people, and that will actually have a number of crazy downstream effects.

I really hope so because, if not, it’s going to be a concern. I always tell my wife that I think we should make sure that our daughter has a profession that is AI-resistant, resilient. And then, she’s like, “What do you mean?” I said, “Well, she should probably—”

My mom still asks me if I should be a doctor. She’s like, “The world will always need doctors.” I’m like, “I can’t do it anymore, mom.”

I should tell her that, actually, doctors are probably not AI-resilient.

Actually, they will be replaced by AI at some point. I always said, “a PlayStation professional player.” And there, she has an advantage as a girl, I think, right?

They have an advantage. And then a TikTok influencer, but apparently a TikTok influencer can be replaced by AI, so maybe that’s not going to work.

Avishai, you’ve given me so much more time than I asked for. I really appreciate it. What’s next for Wix? What should people be looking for?

I think number one is that you’re going to see some really good projects built with AI that are coming. And we spoke about them, and I’m very excited. The first one that we’ve released has seen tremendous results, measurable results, the first couple of projects, which I’m very excited about.

More than once, I was surprised by how much of a difference it made or how engaged people are with AI models. We’re going to continue to evolve Wix Studio, which is our developers agencies product for agencies. It’s been doing very well so far. We just launched it. And I think the next version is actually going to have some really interesting way of how to manage your data and design. Again, some of it is powered by AI, some by algorithms, but I think there are a lot of really cool things that you can change, so a lot of that.

Alright. Well, I look forward to the entire next version of The Verge being published by AI and Wix. I think it’ll be a good time. Thank you so much for being on Decoder.

A pleasure. Cheers.

Decoder with Nilay Patel /

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