2018 Winter Thoughts

Chess and Coding

Even software professionals can be rated like chess players. Whether it is successfully delivering a complex project or getting rewarded based on an innovative solution, the pressures of keeping up with one’s own rating can be obsessive. They can cause stress and anxiety. When a chess player faces tough competition in a rated game, the fear of losing that leads to a rating decline can be overwhelming. But if the game is treated as unrated, then ones’ rate would not be impacted by the win or loss. Stakes will be lower and the pressure will be less. We can do the same for the software development process as well. Why not pick up an unrated project, such as something of your choosing or a new type of code you always want to try but are afraid to be measured. Do it under your own pace. Once you feel more comfortable, take a similar project as a rated challenge at your job or in your community. You will then feel more confident and more comfortable with what you do. That’s what I do when I either code or play chess. #technology

Staying on top of your game

The big challenge to staying on top of your game is staying focused, being organized, and keeping learning. Supervised learning is the way to go when you are young but it gets more complicated with unsupervised learning as you become more independent. I believe that reinforcement learning is the way for humans and machines alike to continue advancing together. It keeps humans fit, just like machine learning models with deep learning. Learning from mistakes, thinking of alternative paths, and staying positive on every track are keys to staying top of the game. (last minute thoughts before heading to the gym in the morning and later to work 🙂

Are you scuba or a skin diver

Both scuba divers, those with oxygen bottles under water, and skin drivers, those floating over the water looking down with snorkeling masks, can find treasure. Which one can be like you? A scuba diver would stay deep underwater but can’t stay long because the oxygen in their bottle is limited, and their equipment is heavy over the water. The skin diver carries light equipment and can cover more surface area because they breathe unlimited air but can’t search deep down underwater like scuba divers. When it comes to research and learning opportunity in the workplace, which one can be you? The answer is in nature. Watch how the cormorants birds that dive deep under water do it with speed and focus then think of its approach as an opportunity for you to do just that in your next project. Check the video of Cormorants: Birds That Swim

Game-playing in the enterprise

Scott Adams, the creator of Dilbert and computer game software pioneer, once said “Man is a game-playing animal, and a computer is another way to play games.” The breakthrough in personal computers also started with games thanks to the homebrew nerds that collaborated in the late 70s. If what we do for our customers in the enterprise is with a game-playing mindset, where the winner must always be the customer, and the goal is to ensure customers are first, then it is a win-win for everyone – the customer, the business, and us.

Sum is not necessarily better than its parts

The sum of all parts does not always make it better than its parts. Take the words “block” and “chain” in the blockchain. Blocks in toys were invented as early as the 1500s, way before Minecraft made history with its digital blocks. Chains were used in 225BC to draw buckets of water and, in the 16th century, Leonardo Da Vinci sketched the first steel chain. Such inventions took ages to popularize, but the blockchain is not an invention. It is a useful functionality that, if we treat it as such and not as some grandeur product, we can invent products that make use of it. Let’s take a simple, pragmatic approach and not force ideas for the sake of ideas to deploy blockchain. Da Vinci or Minecraft players will probably second that idea.