Always hungry for better systems, better self,better world, better communication, better processes etc….
Better, varies among the dimensions of precision,speed and reliability, depending upon circumstances.
Going forward, i would be happy with my life, if i can reduce the noise/unclarity in interpersonal communications by 1%. Think/Believe the first place to start is by being clear/open about emotion/tone in the communications(natural language).Also realise it is hard to expect, people to be proactive about it. So figuring out tools to simplify/automate that part of communication is a good start. And oh,the lymbix people have taken a few baby steps in that direction.
Starting in 2015, I also organize a Less Wrongers’ bangalore meetup.
I got tired of being asked some questions( sometimes during interviews, sometimes in other social situations, so wrote this as a stand-in for both answers(when am in a hurry to come up with wrong/inaccurate impromptu ones) and a disclaimer for my blog content.
How true or close to accepted current scientific research are your posts?
It will vary. My motivations to write a new post, waver from “learning by teaching(lecturing?)” to “I need to get this out of my head, else I’ll obsess”. So, I specifically avoid trying to look up research papers as I write, so that they support my ideas/thoughts (more simply to avoid adding to the list of “I need to get this out of my head”). But as for them close to being truth, I’d advice everyone to do their own research. The weakest post will be one “I’ll bet this way, if I am at gunpoint and have to choose”. The strongest is only likely to be ” I’ll bet 10% of my life on this” .
Why did you decide to move to the software industry from mechanical engineering graduate degree?
Phew.. I get asked this one hundreds of times, I tend to answer based on the frame of mind, but it’s time to summarize the variations.(am tired of forgetting one or the other and believing in what i said last)
- My first preference was EEE or ECE, because i thought they had some interesting physics lessons, electrons, circuits etc..I took up Mech. Engg. as i couldn’t have gotten into TCE otherwise and it was a fairly large quality difference.
About a year into the course, i had started to drift away from coursework(i found it rather boring and passable by just reading when i was interested and applying statics i learnt back in school. ) I stumbled upon a RDBMS book,OOAD by grady booch,Genetic Algorithms by Melanie Mitchell.* Those aroused an interest, (mostly theoretical,on the practical front i was just learning C++ and in infatuated with inheritance, hiding etc.. ) in CS.
By the time I was in 3-4th year, I had crossed Statistical Quality Control, Machine Design, Machine Shop– lab etc.. And had concluded(perhaps incorrectly) that most of the problems/work challenges involved would be routine work and I would find it boring. Since I was predisposed towards IT companies already, and by the time IBM came in was desperate, since the rest of the companies to follow were not known to open for Mech. Engg. students.
And just realized now(03-Sep-2013)
- I loved logical reasoning. It was one of those few things I was good at and think the main reason, I still like making excursions into math for fun. I think I prefer deductive ones over inductive though.
Why after choosing a Master’s by research did you choose to come back?
Phew, this is a complicated one, but here’s an attempt:
- I realized that although becoming a scientist has been a goal for a long time**, which was part of the reason, i went to do that M.Sc, after working for sometime, but i realized, i don’t need to follow the ph.d, post-doc route to become a scientist.
- I don’t have the level of objectivity/indifference/calmness to succeed in the competitive world of academia, and would most likely be depressed and gloomy if i continue that route.
- I realized i can make either same amount of money or better money in the industry.
Or as [Randy Pausch] (http://zenpencils.com/comic/86-randy-pausch-the-brick-walls/) puts it and this comic puts it Am one of the others. I have climbed enough brickwalls in my life, and have chosen to avoid climbing them.
- Or to shorten, “I was afraid, I would become Robert Staedler ”
Are you a big picture guy or details-oriented guy? AKA What are you an expert in? AKA Are you an expert or generalist?
Seriously, do they have to be mutually exclusive?. I guess you want to see where i fit in your organization and what role, but that suggests to me you haven’t paid more attention to my profile. I don’t bother with trying to distinguish from these two options and it has served me well. I do know the difference, just haven’t tried to spend a lot of time on them for my decision-making process. If you have to ask this question, we’re probably better off working on a short-term contract one-on-one to decide if we can work towards a common goal or not. Interview is a bad way to figure out an answer.
Or to borrow from Robert Pirsig the answer is ‘mu’.
What is the project you are most proud of that you have done?
Hmm.. I have been proud of so many projects in the past(during completion time), but now not so anymore. My point being, pride varies over time and I have no project that went viral among techies who adopted it.:(. On the other hand, there are quite a few blog posts i am proud of having been able to write(here) and seem to generate views more than a year after publication.
Why do you have so many short-term work-experience in your profile?
Hmm.. well, just by asking you are presuming it is something that needs an explanation. A -ve score in my book.But here are some answers:
- I don’t like playing games, where another human sets/changes/deletes the rules. So, I have left in cases, where the person I was reporting to, seemed more like playing with the rules/incentives, rather than trying to communicate the reasoning behind his decision.
- I prefer to have visible (even if small) effect(in my professional work) over short periods(think fiscal quarter) of time and if I can’t see the effects am out.
- I thrive on quick, short, feedback loops and when I see them(feedback loops) muddled and no way to find clarity, I look for positions where I can.
Why do you call yourself software mechanic?
Well, if my twitter handle description didn’t answer(let’s face it, it has a lot of jargons), you can read a longer discourse/rant here.
– Not necessarily in that temporal order i might have read RDBMS and GA a year later.
* — I remember standing up in 7th grade class (what do you want to become?) and saying i want to become a scientist, but because somebody had already taken pilot
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