Showing posts from October, 2023

Big Tech needs Leaders

Consensus building takes a lot of time. Decisions take exponentially longer to arrive at with each additional person involved. And because big tech works in a fashion where everyone has a say and each say matters , decisions take ridiculously long. And this is where I've concluded: Big Tech needs leaders. You need a leader sitting at the helm of each product who dictates  the direction of the product. The whole org working under them just worries about how to make it happen , rather than aligning themselves on what decision to make . I highly respect leaders who: Listen to all arguments. Think from first principles, so that their decisions hold value when tested. Make decisions that are self consistent and based in logic. Make opinion based decisions unwaveringly. Decisions often come down to making a tradeoff. Have the magic sauce. That is, they generally have a good sense of intuition. Are transparent about their values. Say: We're doing xyz . Get it done. Naturally, the le

Moving Mountains

Nisar works at the Ministry of Road Transport. If you don’t know much about government jobs, there’s surely one thing you know - things move at a snail’s pace. I met Nisar after many years, and naturally we got to talking about his job. “I’ve been in this department for 7 years now. 7 years! It’s incredible how much power you have once you’re in the system”. He speaks of his job very passionately. He’s the lead ML Engineer in the Ministry, having created the position when he first joined. He has since led initiatives for where roads should be constructed based on all the data the government has collected about public movement. He describes how his team decides where the roads should be built.  He tells me how they end up using really simple ML models, and most of the things can just be done using regular Excel Sheets (!!), and that the core engineering isn’t actually very difficult.  “Doesn’t that bother you though? That you you're far from doing sophisticated engineering, and th

Practical vs Ideal & Building Traffic Lights

You’re a team member of a construction company and you’re tasked with solving a discomfort for commuters at a three-way intersection. It’s a moderately busy street with pedestrians, cyclists, cars, and trucks all crossing by, and the way the traffic lights are configured result in everyone waiting far longer than they ideally should. Now the situation is in no immediate need of fixing - it’s a mild discomfort, but the people accept it for what it is. However, the city is growing and your team knows this intersection might be a cause for concern in the future. (Side Note: Mini Motorways is just such an aesthetically pleasing game!) What do you do? Well, there are two approaches to solve the problem at hand. You modify the current traffic lights configuration with the caveat that the road will be in need of change once the city grows. You make an extensive, elaborate plan to understand what the future potentially holds, and preemptively fix the situation before it ever possibly arises.