0.46 — AI, Automation, Jobs & The Economy w. Jeff Rose of ThinkTopic

Jeff Rose presenting in a very special Boulder Startup Week 2017 talk.   Artificial intelligence is undergoing a renaissance, with the number of relevant research papers, startups, applications, and new ideas expanding rapidly.  These new capabilities will enable people and result in greater aggregate productivity, analogous to the invention of the steam engine that powered the industrial revolution.  At the same time many laborers, drivers, assembly line workers, and even some more skilled roles in society will be made redundant.  This shift will have both positive and negative consequences for individuals’ lives, society, and the economy, which is why it is important to start understanding the trends and preparing now.

Join Jeff Rose, CEO of Boulder AI company ThinkTopic, to discuss the technology, economic and political landscape of our automated future.

0.45 — Programmable Money w. Piper Merriam

Cryptocurrencies have the potential to be TCP/IP of money. What does the future look like if they do to money, what the internet did for information? Learn about Ethereum, one of the top cryptocurrencies of 2017.  Piper Merriam, Ethereum developer, presenting at Boulder Startup Week. 

Video of this talk available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zPoaMC1qNFY and embedded below:

 

 

0.44 — Crypto and the Law with EFA Colorado

EFA Colorado presenting in a very special Boulder Startup Week 2017 talk. What is Cryptography, and why does it matter? What is the history of cryptography, and where is it going in the future? Join this joint presentation of the Future of Tech + Legal tracks at Boulder Startup Week to learn more about the civil rights battles of the 21st century.
Video of this talk is posted at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6RN0F2CmXPU and embeded below:

[bonus] Understanding People is a Superpower; @rands, VP Engineering at Slack

Todays episode is from the archives.  Michael Lopp (also known as @rands) is a Silicon Valley-based engineering leader who builds both people and product at companies such as Borland, Netscape, Palantir, Pinterest, and Apple. While he’s not worrying about staying relevant, he writes about pens, bridges, people, poker, and werewolves at the popular weblog, Rands in Repose. He works as the VP of Engineering at Slack in San Francisco where he’s furiously working on helping teams reinvent work.
Michael has written two books. His first book “Managing Humans, 3rd Edition” is a popular guide to the art of engineering leadership and clearly explains that while you be rewarded for what you build, you will only be successful because of your people. His second book “Being Geek” is a career handbook for geeks and nerds alike.

Michael plays hockey, mountain bikes, tinkers with drones, and drinks red wine in the redwoods of Northern California whenever he can because staying sane is more important than staying busy.

Favorite Quotes:

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[bonus] Engineering Values Roundup

Todays episode is from the archives.

We ask each of our guests what their engineering values are. What we love about this question is that the answers boil down the brass tacks of leadership into 2-3 minutes of fundamentals.

We’ve got a fun little thematic episode this week, with 5 answers to this question “What are your engineering values?” jammed packed into a 15 minute episode.

In order of appearance:

  • Nader Akhnoukh– CTO of Kapost
  • Travis Kimmel — CEO of GitPrime
  • Julia Austin — CTO of Digital Ocean
  • Manuel Mattke — Chief Innovation Officer at Opportunity Education
  • Maria Gutierrez & Glenn Vanderburg — Maria is VP Engineering at FreeAgent and Glen is VP Engineering at First.

[bonus] Great Engineering War Stories

Todays episode is from the archives.  Last week, @owocki’s startup released a new product — The battles last week during this release reminded us of some of our favorite engineering war stories. We ask every CTO on our show “What is your favorite engineering war story?”, and this episode we’re going to play 4 of our *favorites*.

These four stories are ordered by scale.  We’ll start with “just a guy in the garage with a product” to a war story from a large venture scaled startup.

In order of appearance:

  1. Patrick McKenzie – independent software developer
    1. Story misplacing your pager and being unaware of your outage
  2. Travis Kimmel – CEO of GitPrime
    1. Story about after launch the dance of cleaning up your early assumptions and building new features
  3. Jay Zeschin, Lead Architect at ello
    1. Story of “blowing up”, getting tens of thousands of users, and VC funding all at once.
  4. Jud Valeski – CTO at GNIP, acquired by twitter
    1. Story about screening your customers for success

Enjoy!

0.43 — Your Startup is a Pirate Ship w. Jack Dietrich & Ryan VanMiddlesworth

Our guests this week are Jack Dietrich and Ryan VanMiddlesworth of Fount Studio.   Join the partners of Fount as they explain The Pirate Code Of Startups how Pirates were doing workplace democracy before it was cool.  Awesome.

[bonus] Advancing Your Career is like Playing Great Chess w. Chris McAvoy

Todays episode is from the archives.

We are joined this week by Chris McAvoy to talk about growing your people & their careers.   Learn why advancing your career is like playing great chess; It’s not about having a great strategy; It’s about playing positional chess so that you have all of your pieces in place so when an opportunity presents itself you can take advantage of it.

Chris is a technology leader with a passion for open source communities, innovative products, software and architecture.  He is presently a mentor at Techstars and the VP Engineering at Cognizant QuickLeft.  

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[bonus] Reinventing the Organization w. Dan Kador, CTO of Keen.io

Todays episode is from the archives.

Dan Kador is the co-founder & CTO of Keen.io.  He’s responsible for building the technology and team responsible for analytics via APIs (among a million other things) at Keen — a leader in the analytics space.  Join us to learn about the growth of Keen.io at 3, 10, 30, and (soon) 100 team members; and Dan & his co-founders journey to building a different type of organization — with a team that’s got the autonomy, purpose, and tools they need to deliver great analytics software.
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0.42 — Optimize Your Learning Velocity w. Scott Carleton, Andela

Our guest today is Scott Carleton.

Scott has a passion for building communities and empowering self-growth through education. Scott is currently the VP of Technology at Andela, a global engineering organization dedicated to fostering the next generation of elite tech talent across Africa. Previously, Scott co-founded Artsicle as CTO, building a global community of visual artists now featuring over 6000 creators in 100 countries. His work on Artsicle’s discovery engine, which was able to create a personalized experience for passive users, earned NYER’s “Best Use of Technology” award in 2013. 

This episode is for you if you’re into #learning #hiring or #mentorship.

Favorite Quotes

  • You hear a lot that “its all about the people”, but you don’t really get it until it kicks you in the shins.
  • I think a lot about communication through a company in the context of dynamic systems and controls. You can have an input of information where someone’s unaligned or there’s some dissonance, and you’re not going to feel the full impact of that until it works it’s way through the organization.
  • In the early days, I felt like I needed the “best” engineers. That came out as needing Stanford Grads. But what I realized very quickly was that they had very different expectations and needs. I couldnt provide for them the right kinds of challenges because we were still hunting for product market fit.
  • I’ve found that in hiring I should look for “potential” and not “pedigree”.
  • We created a culture of really customer focused engineers. The engineers really own their parts of the product. They *really* care about it’s usability.
  • Friction rises in communication when information doesnt have a place to settle.
  • Chat is a tool. I’m sold on it. A tool is necessary but not sufficient. You need the tool to be able to create the behaviour you want, but you need a cultural change or a behaviour/belief change to use the tool effectively.
  • Chat allows us an always on meeting in its worst form. At best, it’s an asyncronous tool to keep everyone in sync.
  • On chat, my top belief is “Get everything into public channels”
  • The health of an engineering team is: How many issues are raised and resolved, and how fast is that iteration?
  • Finding out how to have the right focus for a conversation in a chat channel is important.
  • When I first started doing 1:1s, I totally didn’t want to do it. I’d make up excuses. Every 1:1, there were engineers who would complain and I just wanted to avoid that. But it turns out 1:1s are invaluable because you’ll always discover something important that you don’t know.
  • If you’re having problems in your organization, a 1:1 is like taking a knife to that problem and sinking it a little deeper.
  • When I first joined an organization with an existing engineering team, the first 1:1s were very much “clearing out the backlog” — Figuring out the existing problems.
  • I have a passion for developing peoples potential.
  • How do we measure someone’s learning velocity – how quickly they’re picking up new skills?
  • The killer problem with distributed teams right now is whiteboarding. It’s just *so* hard to do remotely.
  • Distributed teams are about trust. How do you get the information you need? How do you communicate outward & upward so that we have trust at all times? We need to know we’re all pushing in the same direciton.
  • Whats really incredible about sotware development is that the people who are building the applications have a lot more information about the problems thye’re solving than you do. You really want most solutions coming from the bottom up.
  • I focus on how I can expose business problems to the team. I tell them what we’re solving that quarter, and I put retrospectives on the calendar.
  • Zone of Proximal Development is the Goldilocks Zone for Learning — It isn’t too easy, it’s not too hard.
  • In learning science, you’re trying to “observations”. If you know a skill, you can observe whether an engineer has certain behaviours and beleifs.
  • Customer relationships and ownership of your work are really important for engineers.
  • The height of collaboration is really direct feedback.
  • The most generous thing you can do is give really good critical feedback.