Aug 20, 2014
My employer cannot be the only organization full of busy individuals having difficulty scheduling meetings with each other.
I dream of an instant messenger bot which could schedule meetings on my behalf. It would have access to everybody's google calendar and could negotiate independently with everybody to find working times.
sam: please schedule a 30 minute meeting next week with Sarah, Steve and Brian
bot: sure thing! what should I call it?
sam: project hog wild
The bot would then take a look at calendars for myself, Sarah, Steve and Brian, and choose times with the least conflicts.
If unable to find a time without conflicts, it would begin to negotiate with each individual:
bot: sarah, would you be able to attend a meeting with Sam/Steve/Brian on Tuesday at 3pm?
sarah: I'm not sure, how important is it?
bot: it's about project hog wild, are you familiar with that?
sarah: okay, I can reschedule
bot: great! thank you
And we're done! We'd be first in line to pay for such a thing.
Aug 16, 2014
The author, one Michael O. Church, describes the different experiences of the same candidate applying for a position of “Senior Software Engineer” vs. “VP of Data Science,” a managerial position. As an engineering candidate, he faced five gruelling technical interviews and was arbitrarily vetoed by the last interviewer. As a managerial candidate, he essentially chatted his way through behavioral questions–and was offered a lucrative position with a generous relocation package.
While he has a point, the most broken-ness here is not that software engineers have low social status, it's that hiring for all other roles is far more broken. Way too often the criteria for non-engineering hires is not competence, but lack of competence - you're not an engineer, so you must know how to make good decisions! - and high competence at bullshit.
Jul 10, 2014
I had the privilege of traveling to Bangalore this week to work with a Rubicon Project partner.
The defining feature of the city is the traffic, which appears to be controlled by an AI communicating between vehicles via horn. Here's a sample recorded for your pleasure.
And while driving appears totally chaotic and out of control, they tell me that there are not a huge number of accidents, and those that do happen are rather minor in nature.
Perhaps the libertarians are right, and street signs really are bad for your health. Nassim Taleb would agree:
Some libertarians use the example of Drachten, a town in the Netherlands, in which a dream experiment was conducted. All street signs were removed. The deregulation led to an increase in safety, confirming the antifragility of attention at work, how it is whetted by a sense of danger and responsibility.
- Miles flown: 19,580
- Hours in the air: 36.5
- Hours awake in India: 36
- Hours of sleep: 22.5