Showing posts from 2016

The Myth of Machine Learning

Recently there has been a surge in the number of companies claiming machine learning capabilities, from startups to large organisations. The media is full of "machine learning" claims, investors seem to be dropping large amounts into startups claiming to have "machine learning" or "artificial intelligence" capabilities. From Logo design companies to delivery companies, they all claim to have implemented "machine learning". I recently saw a press release for a US based app development company that had raised a significant 7 figure sum, claiming they had developed "Human assisted machine learning" ! One has to ask, what is that ? Any machine "learning" has to be assisted by humans anyway, who would configure the algorithms, applications and hardware, not to mention the training ? Neural Networks and AI genetic algorithms have been around for a long time. So why now ? The answer is data (and to some extent computing power).

The CTO journey: 5 Things I have learnt

I remember hearing a quote from Herb Cohen, the respected US negotiator. It went something like "I never get called when everything is going well, I dunno who get those calls, but it ain't me !".  This is true of many startup CTO's. Usually there is some failed outsourced relationship, or a technical co-founder who takes the product to a point and then gets stuck. I have received many calls over the years and the problems are usually similar. This was indeed the case at my current position. Here are some things I have learnt .... Focus on the core product: There will be a lot of noise around the product, features that are not essential, wish lists, dreams. Stick to the basics ! Unless you get the fundamentals sorted out there is no future for the product. This requires single-mindedness, and possible a few "debates", the founders will want to get as many features in the product as possible. Don't give in ! The main role initially is knowing what

Shold Cloud Computing Costs be Regulated ?

I am not one for bureaucracy, in fact the contrary. I cringe at unnecessary bureaucracy and regulation. The face is that we are becoming a more highly regulated society, that being stated, I do feel there are some areas where we need regulation to protect the consumer. One such area is the regulation of costs by commodity suppliers, telecommunications, energy, fuel etc. As CTO of a emerging start-up I am responsible for ensuring that our systems run on the latest and most secure technology.  Cloud services provide that scalable infrastructure and so naturally I use them extensively. However, let me tell you a story of one warm Friday night last July. I was just about to go on paternity leave and settling down in my lovely new bath for a Friday night soak, when the phone rang. A chap was phoning from Amazon Web Services (AWS). He politely enquired if I was aware that our company had just incurred over $20 000 dollars of charges transferring some data from Glacier to S3 storage. My