It was Saturday. Sam is still in town, four weeks into his annual return to Sydney. This reminds me... I still have to buy a wedding present for AJ's wedding that I missed in October... oh crap. Sorry AJ!
Mum and Dad rarely go out for food... or anything. To me, they are the quintessential examples of homebodies. Dad enjoys working on handyman projects in the backyard, on the work bench he built himself from scrap metals. Mum enjoys lolling around the house, cooking this and gardening that. Occasionally, they would go out to the markets for a bulk buy, and retreat once more to the comfort of their home.
I met someone at a seminar at Squire Patton Boggs on Friday last week who pointed out a problem in modern urban societies - there is a problem of increasing social isolation - she was trying to fix this for a specific segment of society, and I will find out more about this from her when we meet for a coffee later. In the context of folks like my parents, this "problem" of isolation is not really that problematic.
So, we will need to change one limb of the VIVA algorithms to allow for contextual adaptation based on someone's underlying desire to be social.
(that was a rather inelegant segue - I think I need to relax my mind a bit more - shake it up - and this isn't the forum for that - I will be back to post more stuff later - maybe after I work on the algorithms for a while)
Saturday morning, and here I am back in front of the battle station. I am calling my home office the "battle station" to give it a fantasy ring, in my head. I am still in my Qantas pajamas - the battle uniform - that I got when I used to flying to Mozambique every month. Those were great times. I wish I had saved more of these Qantas pajamas!
"I am going to be at home on Saturday night doing client work," Andrea lamented at the end of our Friday marathon marketing blitz.
I want to create a shared office where only approved people (like Andrea) are allowed to work there, so that everyone can help each other and do amazing things together. I think that idea has already been implemented by the folks at Work Club where Matt and Anthony have their offices.
(Wait a minute. Isn't that a bit elitist?)
Two more of the junior lawyers are leaving the law firm in the next week, and so they organised an informal farewell drinks last night at Uncle Ming's in the city (they have a very cool YouTube video on their site, which I only just discovered - I am now rocking out to the music in my battle uniform - what do you call this genre of music - 70s rock? Country rock?).
I miss those guys a lot. I think the big reason I want to create a Work Club environment is so that we could have a big family of work peeps again.
Ian and I went through the current algorithms we are using in VIVA on Friday morning, and we talked a little about our secret weapon - the algorithms that figure out whether any event is going well or not well in real time. That secret weapon won't be live for a little longer - at least not until we have gathered more data for the predictive model. I had been trying to learn Python in my spare time to prepare for when we have gathered enough data - for those who are not into computing, Python is a coding language. It is not the animal, though I could probably learn parseltongue a little faster than the coding language.
This division of labour makes sense - Syed and Hassan take care of the apps, Ian takes care of the server and web side, and I take care of the machine learning coding.
Syed and I changed venues to El Jannah in Granville for today's meeting. Ever since Elliott took me to this place two weeks ago, I have been looking for an excuse to come back.
"It is from Arabic. In our religion, when you die, you are judged. If you are good, you go to 'aljana', if you are bad, go to 'aljahim'. El Jannah is from aljana."
"So, we were just in heaven."
We are going to get fat in heaven.
Today's meeting lasted a semi-marathon three and a half hours. Earlier this week, when I was at the Zambesi launch, when I was supposed to be listening to the talks and mingling with the crowd of startups, I was actually writing the latest iteration of our recommender system. I had been working on a way to simplify the probability density functions in our propensity algorithms into simple operations that can be done on any mobile phone in real time.
I think I figured out a way to achieve approximately the same mathematical outcome using three layers of simple arithmetic operations - turning this monster truck into a Ferrari. Unfortunately, I cannot share the solution on the blog! If what I propose works, then we might have cracked something pretty amazing, increasing the power of our algorithms and increasing the speed simultaneously, and that would be a proprietary technology.
The new tech is probably six months away from implementation. We will have to write the codes and test them first.
Ian and I had a 3 hour coffee this morning to talk about VIVA's data structure and algorithms. Like with Tom yesterday, I forgot to take a photo of Ian.
I keep forgetting to create content for this blog! This is why I have taken a crappy photo of tonight's launch of Zambesi from the back of the room.
This subpar photo was taken before approximately 25% of the audience slowly trickled away.
Going to the Zambesi launch tonight reminded me how powerful it will be when we refine VIVA's current algorithms to read beneath the superficial self-reported layer of information - figure out what an event *actually* is, and then show that event to the people who *actually* want to be at that event.
I managed to squeeze in a meeting with the head of Sydney's machine learning meetup group, Paul Conyngham, before the Zambesi launch.
"So it is a feed-forward neural network? Do you know that term?"
"Yep. I know it."
"You should use the right terms. You would sound smarter."
Oh, that was blunt, I thought...
I have never referred to the VIVA algorithms as that before. I didn't even know I was creating a machine learning algorithm when I first designed VIVA... lucky for me, Steve is around to give me some vocabulary in the area... though apparently not enough.
I went to my first Sydney Machine Learning Meetup today. Anthony at The Last Pickle recommended joining this group when we met about a month ago, and I happened to stumble across one of their ads on Facebook or something late September. I invited Ian and Syed to join me tonight, but tickets were sold out by the time they looked, so I went solo (I read a great joke about Han Solo once upon a time, but I cannot remember it right now).
It was a surprisingly good event. Now I want to learn more of the development side for implementing machine learning so I can do it myself - instead of relying on others to implement my formulas.
There is a lot of buzz around using TensorFlow, and one of the speakers tonight is using it in Pascal 51. Frankly, I don't know enough about TensorFlow to have an opinion on the matter. My friend Jon in New York knows a lot about it, but he is in New York and I cannot just knock on his door for a beer and a chat. Steve might know something about TensorFlow as well, but he lives in Berlin and already has a heap on his plate.
I still want to learn though, especially after tonight. Maybe Nishant and I can have a go at it together. He already knows how to code in Python, so he is a step ahead of me.
Damn, I need to get their events onto VIVA.
Lurnea's graduation presentation was on tonight at Academy Xi, where she showcased her work alongside her six classmates, Vienna Chen, Roger Saxby Heath, Wharton Law, Amanda Maykot, Mark Potter and Tobias Robinson.
I wished I stayed longer to chat to everyone.
There is a sort of exhaustion you feel only after travelling. I imagine this is what time travel feels like... (ignoring that time travel in the conventional fictional sense isn't possible based on our modern understanding of science, but pretending time travel is possible, then this is what I imagine it must feel like)
Time is a big, huge, enormous topic, and a theme I return to contemplating almost every day.
Time is the only objective constant between people. We all have the same amount of time (an aside, even though we each have the same amount of time, we do not all experience time in the same way, and that is where things become really interesting, but more on this when I am not exhausted).
This equality is why time is the one thing that we try to measure with impeccable precision using VIVA. Rather than measuring social networks, spending habits or search terms, we measure time. This is how VIVA will provide reliable information... because we remove everything from the equation that has nothing to do with time. We measure two fundamental and comparable things - our propensity for what we want to do with our time, and the value we give to our time - and then we build personalisation algorithms on top of those foundation principles.
Or, maybe I am exhausted because I caught a cold in Melbourne.
This philosophical drivel will have to wait for another day.