What I have learned working with scientists in my time at Amazon

Featured

What I have learned working with scientists in my time at Amazon about building algorithms for solving business problems.

For the past few years I have been working with Amazon’s Machine Learning University. My role has been to help them scale and reach more Amazonian’s. We accomplished this by creating a learning platform with supportive course content, an emphasis on strong visual and interactive learning. We basically flipped the classroom. My focus has always been to put the experience of the learner first. Providing a clean design, removing noise, with engaging content so the student can focus on learning. The approach has been a great success in teaching Amazonian’s to solve Amazon business problems with Machine Learning.

Enough on what I did and back to what I have learned.

I think one of the first lessons was the importance of gathering data. Data is at the core of understanding the problem. We often approach problems in business or personal for that matter without taking in good data. We lack a complete understanding of the problem.

Until you have data you really can’t build an understanding of what ground truth is. This is very important because everything builds from ground truth. You must explore and visualize your data to establish this. You need to make sure you understand the details that may be hidden in your data. Establish things like context, sentiment, frequency to establish relevancy. Remove the unimportant stuff and focus on what is really important. To do this you may have to do the math, yes, the math. Math is the magic used manipulate and visualize your data. This may sound simple but remember its math. There may be some work to do as you build your algorithm and try and find ground truth. You may need to do some tuning, adjusting your algorithm there is not always a predefined path but more of a process or framework to help you get to your final output.

It is at this point, the point when you see things clearly. But that’s not it. There is something bigger than solving the problem. What? As you know solving problems can sometimes be like putting your finder on the dike. The problem may come again or one like it.

The real value comes in prediction. Now that you can see clearly what has happened in the past and today using insights from your data you can start to predict what will happen next. It’s something Amazon does very well. You know “I see that you purchased that guitar, would you like to look at guitar for dummies or perhaps something to tune that thing please. It’s the secrete sauce, yes, I’d like to solve my problems in the future.

There is one more thing and it maybe my favorite. In my time at Amazon I have discusses quantum physics, robots & rocket science and lots of other geeky fun topics sometimes while playing ping pong. What a privilege that has been to work with some truly inspiring people at Amazon. That said the real insights I gained where from working with the amazing people at Amazon. It’s their drive to solve problems, innovate, willingness to work hard and learn as they go. I’ve worked with some of the smartest people I have ever met here. Many of them are physicists, mathematics masters and rocket scientists. Yet they don’t pretend to know the all answers but they do know how to work hard to get them. I also appreciated the great leadership I worked with in my time at Amazon. Nothing happens in an organization without true leaders and inspiring people who establish clear expectations and remove obstacles it’s truly part of the algorithm for success.

Jeff

Instructional and Learning Experience Design

Jeff@mojocat.com

New York Trip – Multi-Media workshop

Screen Shot 2017-09-01 at 8.55.44 PMI ran across this video I produced with my students of the ASTD Multi-media workshop. That was a really fun trip! I really enjoyed the people and sights of New York. I need to get back again soon.

The workshop focused on creating rapid video and audio without spending a ton gear. Desktop video and audio production.

 

 

Mojocat.com site update

Mojocat_logo_2017I am excited to announce that I am relaunching www.mojocat.com with the refocus on video production, motion graphics and interactive media. The difference is I’m splitting my branding up.

I will point my domain  www.jefftillett.com to my old digital resume

Screen Shot 2017-08-23 at 4.55.10 PMfocusing on my instructional design career. The domain www.mojocat.com will be focused on my business Mojocat Creative Services. The new Mojocat site is draft one of a site build on WordPress. I have plans on taking this site to the next level but for now I am hoping this simple site will do. I think it does a pretty good job of explaining who Mojocat is and what we do. As acompanion to the domain Mojocat I will leverage the Facebook page www.facebook.com/mojocatcs/

Have I confused anyone yet? I hope not.

~mojo

Hats off to this series of blog posts by Intrepid Learning.

BlogImage_DeclModernLearnerRights

Series: Declaration of Modern Learner Rights blog posts VIA – Intrepid Learning

I just ran across this great series of blog entries from my friends at Intrepid Learning by Sam Herring on LinkedIn. Besides being a local company here in Seattle I’ve always respected the great work they do. I was first introduced to their work while I was at T-Mobile. I also respect their accessibility locally and involvement in ATD. Sam Herring who is CEO at Intrepid served on the ATD board of directors for 4 years and made big contributions to the learning community. Here is an interview I did with Sam for the ATD Puget Sound 2012 Workplace Learning Conference.

 

There are some really great blog articles in this series. I recommend you check them out and sign up to follow their blog. Don’t forget to download the cool infographic from the blog article I ♥ infographics . Enjoy!

https://www.intrepidlearning.com/blog/series-declaration-modern-learner-rights-blog-posts

~mojo

 

State of Learning and Development Today an Interview Series

My conversation with Shay Howe of Groupon

My conversation with Shay Howe of Groupon at 1871 Chicago during TechWeek 2012

For the past almost a year now, I have been working closely with a really great company Entirenet on some really cool projects. Entirenet is an experienced organization in L & D and has some very talented team members. One of the big projects we have been working on is a series of safety videos for the Washington Wine Industry. It has been a fun project. I am looking forward to sharing this project with you all when it is complete.

One of the conversations I have been having with Entirenet’s leadership team is about all the great things happening in learning and development today. As part of those discusions we have talked about our mutual belief in community and sharing our expertise. They really like the interviews that I do with industry thought leaders and asked if I could produce a series for their blog readers and community. I of course was flattered and jumped at the change to collaborate with them on another project.

Paolo Tosolini @ DevLearn 2009

Paolo Tosolini @ DevLearn 2009

As I was thinking about who I was going to interview and what I would talk to them about it occurred to me that there is an opportunity to put some thing really special together. Because my interviews in the past have been intentionally spontaneous and unplanned.  This particular interview series offered something a little bit different. I could be a little bit more strategic about my line of questions and choices in interviews. This type of approach would result in a more comprehensive outcome. What that means to me is that with a little planning this interview series could offer a relevant snapshot of the landscape of learning and development today.  We will take a look at important topics, issues and opportunities happening in our industry.  My goal is that by watching this series of interviews one could potentially leverage the combined expertise and insights of today’s thought leaders to build key strategies and roadmaps for an organization.

The 1st interview in this series Is with well known author, speaker and media expert Jonathan Halls. I caught up with Jonathan in Washington DC during ASTD ICE. We talked about the state of L & D today and how it has been changing in this post industrial age.

For the next series of interviews we will be taking a look at the next iteration of SCORM now called Experience API.  I believe that experience API is a game changer for our industry.  There is tremendous opportunity here and it is important that as a community we help shape this and take full advantage of what this new way of tracking learning has to offer.

Please join me and follow this series of interviews on the Entirenet blog. Click the link below.

http://info.entirenet.net/the-state-of-learning-today-a-conversation-with-jonathan-halls

UPDATE: Here is the second interview! 

http://info.entirenet.net/xapi-following-up-on-the-next-iteration-of-scorm-with-aaron-silvers

Charles Dickens changed the world

I love this perspective on how Charles Dickens changed the world.

Ideas for success

charles-dickensIf I voted for the best writer of English literature, I would vote for Charles Dickens. His writings about orphans enlightened and changed the way people perceived homeless children and brought about great positive change for them. The photo is Dickens as a boy.

Dickens had to quit school and go to work in a factory after his father went to debtors’ prison. He had very little formal education, but he became one of the greatest writers of English literature. He enjoyed more popularity and fame than any writer of his time.

One reason his writing is so good is that he published novels on installments. That means he published a little each week and eventually the writings made up a complete novel (similar to blogging today). He got feedback regularly and changed his writing accordingly.

Many believe his extreme poverty as a child drove him to succeed even though…

View original post 165 more words

College Lectures: Not the Best for Learning, Says New Study

sleeping-studentPlease tell me that we are not surprised at the results of this study. I believe most educators and learning and development professionals know that a good hands on experience or interactive module will achieve a better transfer than a lecture any day. Don’t get me wrong lectures have a place in learning but its just not where the real learning takes place. In my option lecture is the place for bringing all the experience and activities together, sort of connecting the dots. To me a lecture is sometimes like drinking out of a fire hose.

I always enjoyed the lab days in school. I still remember some of the experiments we did in science class. Who doesn’t remember lighting things on fire or dissecting frogs. Just saying! The value is in the experience and actually trying things for your self. This is where you start to see the value of concepts like the flipped classroom. There is nothing new about activity based learning isn’t that what an apprenticeship is? Learning while doing is where it is at. Below is the article that inspired this blog.

College Lectures: Not the Best for Learning, Says New Study | IdeaFeed | Big Think.

Shooting Video with an iPhone

iPhone Rigging I’ve written several blogs on using your iPhone for video. I use my iPhone for some of the file leadership interviews I do and it works great. I saw this good video today on this exact topic. It’s a fun video and supports some of the things that I’ve been blogging about. Here’s the link to the video. Shooting Video with an iPhone.
Here are the links to the blogs I have written on the same topic.

 

 

 

 

Mojotillett – Introducing the History of Me!

Here is a little interactive resume I put together to give people an idea of my background and the type of services I offer.  It’s a short little e-learning style presentation with narration that I did here in my studio. This particular interactive piece was done in captivate. I hope you find it valuable or at least fun. Just click on the picture below to check it out.  Enjoy!

History_of_me Because this is a Captivate course that has been exported as HTML 5 there may be some browser incompatibility.  I also created a version where I removed the buttons and exported the course as an MP4.  This is really a great way to create movies without having a video production skill-set.  I uploaded the video to YouTube and then included the embedded version below.