During latest Christmas holidays I read State of Phygital Report that covers definition of “phygital”, use-cases and analysis of impact on existing industries and verticals. Below are some my thoughts around it.
I guess, many of us wait for more AR/VR features in our smartphones and consumer electronics. In fact, there are already dozens of features and apps are available today. So, what is the next step? The authors of the report believe that is is a Phygital revolution.
We see Phygital as the philosophy of a new world order, where Phygital essentially enables the close integration of the virtual environment (digital) into real human life (physical).
Last year the list had a decent mix of professional, fiction and non-ficton books. In 2022 I am going to concentrate to learn more about following topics:
Psychology of decision making and influence. How we make decisions? What can persuade us and why? Answers on these questions help to understand how to build inter-personal communication and inspire people.
Organizations’ efficiency. It is quite astonishing to see how different can be efficiency of organizations. This year I continue to study this area and learn about mechanisms that creates “1+1=3” effect.
Visual story telling. Even I work today in a company that heavily relies on writing texts instead of creating slide decks, visually compelling content is a king. Structure, composition, color, size of picture and text are key components to keep audience’s always reducing span of attention on the topic.
Personal efficiency. Last year I was trying to implement several useful habits to my daily routine and was only partially successful. I have realized that I need to learn how to create habits more efficiently. And, of course, continue to train ability to concentrate.
Plus, some non-fiction titles as an entertainment.
I have recently came across State of AI report and want to share some of my thoughts around it.
First of all, the report has a lot of data but most interesting for me was Industry part that talks about companies and their products in AI area. I believe it is obvious by now that almost every industry is or will be affected by infusion of AI/ML features into products, workflows and processes.
Some notable examples from the report:
Use of AI-based microscopy to find most effective cancer drug to improve survival
UK National Grid Electricity System Operator has implemented new electricity consumption forecast system that more than doubled precision of forecasting
More than 300 different apps are using OpenAI GPT-3 integrations that currently generate an average of 4.5 billion words per day
And it is not surprising. Almost every industry has to deal with capacity planning, future prediction and forecasting – areas where AI is superior than humans.
Among other apps that are using GPT-3 integrations is Github Copilot which is basically converts comments to the code, can create functions and suggests unit tests. How fast such systems will replace Software Engineers?
And it is not a rhetorical question – in a world-first, South Africa granted a patent to an AI system. The system, called Dabus, invented a method to better interlock food containers. Most countries, however, do not recognize a machine as an inventor.
The patent application was submitted to patent offices in the US, the EU, Australia and South Africa. It was rejected in the US and the EU, and a particular ruling on this patent is still in waiting in Australia. In the US, a judge ruled that only a human can hold a patent, not a machine. This is because according to American law, “a natural person” needs to take an oath that they are the inventor. A contradictory ruling came out in Australia, which stated that an AI can be named as an inventor in a patent application.
Now the question is will we have enough of Critical Raw Materials to meet demand of High Perfromance Computing systems for training and running AI/ML models.
Countries accounting for largest share of EU supply of CRMs
At September 2020 I have joined AWS as Senior Technical Account Manager in Nordics region. Our team is growing with amazing pace and we are hiring in all Nordics countries. One year later, already in a new role, I am writing this post to share insights about what Technical Account Manager (TAM) role is.
FAQ below will help candidates to understand better TAM role, Enterprise Support organization and Amazon culture. Feel free to post comments with your questions or reach out to me via Linkedin
Q: What Technical Account Manager role is at AWS?
A: A Technical Account Manager (TAM) is customer’s designated technical point of contact who helps customers onboard, provides advocacy and guidance to help plan and build solutions using best practices, coordinates access to subject matter experts, assists with case management, presents insights and recommendations on your AWS spend, workload optimization, and event management, and proactively keeps customers’ AWS environment healthy.
Wikipedia defines cognitive bias as “systematic pattern of deviation from norm and/or rationality in judgment”. And the list of biases in the same article is impressive. Humans are quite irrational and our judgement does not always follows rules of logic. The one cannot remove biases and mental shortcuts – it is not possible to override thousands years of human brain evolution. But, the one can detect situations where biases are triggered and stay alerted.
Daniel Kahneman got his Nobel prize back in 2002 for his prospect theory that basically created behavioral economics. The theory also challenged assumption that Humans are economically rational species. Here it is in a nutshell:
Faced with a risky choice leading to gains, individuals are risk-averse, preferring solutions that lead to a lower expected utility but with a higher certainty
Faced with a risky choice leading to losses, individuals are risk-seeking, preferring solutions that lead to a lower expected utility as long as it has the potential to avoid losses
A book Thinking, Fast and Slow provides detailed explanation how this theory applies to various situation in our daily life and how it impacts our decision making process. (Spoiler: it impacts a lot and we not even aware about it). However, this is just a small part of knowledge that I got from the book.
The book starts with a description of simplified version of a human “thinking” mechanism that consist of two systems that play different roles in cognitive process. It explains how associative machine works, how cognitive ease derails us from original question and makes us to substitute it and etc.
Then the book goes into details of selected biases and heuristics – availability, anchoring, stereotyping, framing and others. There are a lot of mechanisms that allow us jump to conclusions without mental effort and the book gives overview how they work and how small change in a question’s frame can sway an answer to an opposite direction.
The author concentrates a lot on two important topics – overconfidence and choice. I was surprised that there are numerous studies which clearly demonstrate how bad we are in predicting the future and how often experts’ intuition is wrong. The book also gives an explanation how overconfident view, planning fallacy and optimism are important drivers for economy.
Choice, risk assessment, value assignment are parts of prospect theory and covered in the book as well. These chapters helped to understand my own thinking process when it comes to risky decisions and gambling. It also gave an insight why the same outcome may have different psychological effect depending on the context and framing.
The last part of the book is about two selves – experiencing self and remembering self. This part gave me rational explanation why our memories of events are more important than actual experience we had during the events.
After finishing the book I became even more critical to my judgements and intuition. So, I am more prepared now to employ critical thinking when it is necessary. There are several mechanisms that I will keep for my professional life – pre-mortem to fight planning fallacy, outside view and base rate. Read the book and I am sure you will find it useful too.
Overall, 5 out 5. Thinking, Fast and Slow is a perfect book for everybody. I highly recommend it.
Migration to Cloud impacts whole enterprise organization from engineering to marketing. Procurement and financial teams are not an exclusion as well. In fact, these teams need to adopt completely new mental model – shift from CAPEX to OPEX, shortened procurement cycles and high pace of change.
The new way of working between Financial and Engineering parts of organization in Cloud is FinOps or Cloud Financial Management. I am going to write a detailed article about FinOps implementation in large enterprises at some point in time. But even if organization does not plan to implement FinOps practices, they still need to teach procurement and finance how to operate in the new reality.
Disclaimer: This post is on my own and doesn’t necessarily represent Amazon Web Services’s positions, strategies, or opinions.
How you do that?
The challenge is that last 10-15 years of technological innovation did not change procurement process much in large enterprises. So, the gap is significant. In my experience, organizations tend to forget about it or do not realize that it exists. As a result, engineering organization may already adopt Cloud, while for finance team it is still an unknown land and their processes are not aligned with Cloud Economics.
I came up with a list of AWS Whitepapers and other resources that can be used as “Introduction to Cloud Economics for Procurement”.
We start with some chapters from Overview of Amazon Web Services, specifically – “What is Cloud Computing?”, “Six Advantages of Cloud Computing” and “Types of Cloud Computing”
The post from May 2021 had created a lot of traction, so I decided to convert it to a short article and translate to English.
Bad relationship with manager may be not a first reason why people quit their jobs, but it is definitely in top 5. And is in any human-to-human interactions, if communication is broken, most probably relationship are in bad state either. Let’s try to figure out what are the key mistakes in communication with management and how to avoid them.
Everyone has a management. A person or group of people with whom we discuss results of our work and who interested in positive outcomes of our efforts. A Software Engineer has a Product Owner, a Sales Rep has a regional VP and a CEO has Board of Directors and shareholders.
And (surprise!), they are all humans. Humans are biased, they have limited amount of memory, their physical and emotional capacity is not infinite and they have ingrained or adopted beliefs and preferences. What is more important – they have own challenges and goals because they have management as well. There is no ideal manager, like there is no ideal human. But it does not mean that you cannot build a successful communication.
Here is my definition of a good manager (if we will not take functional skills into consideration):
They listen and not only talk themselves
They delegate and inspect results
They give freedom of actions, but they give guidance and set expectations
Summer break is over and I am back to my favorite post type – book reviews. This time I want to share my thoughts about practical guide how to create, maintain and evolve a technical blog. This book covers all steps – plan, build, promote and scale.
Writing is not easy. Formulating ideas in a concise and clear matter requires efforts and time. But even if you are great in writing it is not enough to make you voice heard and opinions spread. There are around 600 millions blogs on the Internet today but only 32 millions are active. It means, that blogging is “easy to learn, difficult to master” thing.
When I decided to start my blog, I had close to none knowledge about how to do it. I knew how individual pieces of technology enableand simplify blogging, but I never tried to create one on my own. So, I had to find “installation manual”. Luckily, I came across Technical Blogging by Antonio Cangiano book that helped me tremendously.
The book focuses specifically on tech or close-to-tech blogs that distinguish it from thousands of other materials that mostly talk about personal blogs, online retail and etc. The book starts with guiding a reader through a planning phase and helps to find a proper niche, estimate audience and generate initial list of topics for your blog.
The next step is more technical – how to build a blog. Even if a WordPress (and the book’s focuses mostly on it) is super user friendly and straightforward, you better have more detailed explanation how key elements of the platform work, how they are integrated and etc. And the book does a good job in doing that.
The cornerstone of a blog – content – is covered in a great details. The books answers on questions how to find ideas for new posts, when and how often to post and other nuances. Probably, it is a key chapter of the book. Then the book concentrates on topic of a blog promotion via multiple sources and benefits of each of them. I have to say that I did not implement even a 30% of promotion advises. Some of them are outdated, others are not applicable for my niche, but you will find something useful for you for sure.
The last two chapters are about monetizing and scaling a blog, but for most of readers there will be long and effortful journey before they come to the need of finding additional authors or making money out of the blog.
If you are looking for a beginner guide how to start a blog, this book is for you. I rate if 5 out of 5.
There are 27 million Software Developers world wide according recent estimations. If we will take average span of control as 10, we will get roughly 2,5 million Engineering Managers. That is an impressive number. But who are those people?
While it is clear what a Software Developer should do well (write good quality code), it is not that straightforward what set of skills an Engineering Manager should have. Or how career path from a Developer to a Manager may look like in tech companies today. Of course, every mid- or large size organization has a blueprint that describe career ladder and number of job descriptions for Engineering organization. But it does not help a lot in practice.
The book outlines a path from Software Developer to a VP of Engineering/CTO in today’s IT world. It describes all intermediate states – Technical Lead, Engineering Manager, Manager of managers and etc in a very structured way. It starts from very basic fundamental knowledge and takes a reader to more complicated topics, like organizational culture, stakeholders management and etc.
If you are a manager today, this book most probably will not give you a lot of insights. But if you are in the beginning of your career and looking for a management position, it will be definitely useful. The book indeed gives a path that is almost the same in every enterprise that has an Engineering organization.
The author spends a lot of time explaining technical leads/senior engineer role in a team. IMHO, this role is underestimated in a lot of companies and the book has ready to implement guidelines.
Overall score – 4 out of 5. I can recommend this book to folks in the beginning of a career in Engineering organizations or Senior Engineers who would like to make a step to a management role.
Write in comments – how a good manager should look like?
Time is a limited resource. It is the only resource we cannot reproduce. If we want to achieve more then we need to increase productivity. Individual productivity depends on how well a person can concentrate and manage distractions.
And our world is full of distractions (surprise!). Everything competes for our attention all the time. Ads, social media, Slack messages, emails. The list is infinite. The world is not going to change (in fact, it is going to be worse over the time). So, we have to adopt to stay focused and keep a steady course to our goals.
There are different opinions on what is happening with human attention span and how digitalization affects it. Some researchers are saying it decreases, others disagree with that. However, the trend to short everything from entertainment content (TikTok videos and Instagram stories) to educational content (“bite-sized” lessons 3-5 minutes each) is clear.
This article is a summary of mechanisms and habits how to manage distractions and improve concentration skills. Some of them I already adopted, others are in the backlog or in progress. I cannot guarantee they will work for you, so feel free to modify them to fit your personality and lifestyle. The mechanisms are not in the priority order and you can start to adopt any of them in any point of time.