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

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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

Seattle’s Mojo!

As Seattle old timer. I think Amazon is adding to the Seattle vibe in a very positive way. This is also do to Paul Allen’s development of the South Lake Union area. It went from being a run down/warehouse part of town to a booming and modern area of town. I have been spending more time town town lately and Seattle is really hiding its grungy under belly.

~mojo

Here is the article that inspired this post about Renee Erickson opening a restaurant and bar in the Amazon Spheres.

Photo credit: JEREMY GONZALEZ

 

10 Best-Kept Secrets for Selling Your Home – Via HGTV

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Over the past few months I have enjoyed learning about the real estate business as I have worked with my client Rain City NW creating video content to help market his business and sell homes for his customers. One thing that stands out is the amount of work that goes into listing and selling a home. I did not realize how much goes into this process. There is a lot that goes on behind the scenes and it’s clearly a team effort. There are so many little details that need to be taken care of in order for the home to sell in a timely manner and for it to go for the price it deserves. You want to put your best foot forward so to speak.

I remember when I was young and my parents where selling their home the amount of extra effort my parents seemed to put into an open house. Specifically I remember my day putting on a DVD in the family room called Over Washington. He turned the sound all the way down but he was just looking for the visuals of the beauty of our area. We lived just south of Seattle at the time. The DVD was an amazingly done documentary of the scenery of Washington State. The cinematography was beautiful. I also remember that he would either have mom bake bread of cookies just before the open house. I remember the feeling it gave you as you walked into the house and interest the TV room.

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Small details but it seemed to make a big difference when it came to how it made you feel in the house. Just this year when filming a video for Rain City NW I discovered they would bake cookies for the event. Sure they could have just swung by the store and grabbed some cookies but you would miss out on that home baked smell.

As in most things we do its the little things that make the big deference in the end. Sweat the small stuff. Go the extra mile.

The difference between try and triumph is a little umph”. ~Author Unknown

Here is the article that inspired this post. 10 Best-Kept Secrets for Selling Your Home

 

 

Lyrics of the week – Foo Fighters-All My Life

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All my life I’ve been searching for somethin’
Somethin’ never comes, never leads to nothin’
Nothin’ satisfies, but I’m getting close
Closer to the prize at the end of the rope

All night long I dream of the day,
When it comes around, and it’s taken away
Leaves me with the feelin’ that I feel the most
I feel it come to life when I see your ghost

Come down don’t you resist
You have such a delicate wrist
And if I give it a twist
Something to hold when I lose my grip
Will I find something in that
So give me just what I need
Another reason to bleed
One by one hidden up my sleeve, one by one hidden up my sleeve

Hey, don’t let it go to waste
I love it but I hate that taste
Weight keeping me down

Hey, don’t let it go to waste
I love it but I hate that taste
Weight keeping me down

Will I find the believer?
Another one who believes
Another one to deceive
Over and over down on my knees

If I get any closer
And if you open up wide
And if you let me inside
On and on I got nothing to hide, on and on I got nothing to hide

Hey, don’t let it go to waste
I love it but I hate that taste
Weight keeping me down

Hey, don’t let it go to waste
I love it but I hate that taste
Weight keeping me down

All my life I’ve been searching for somethin’
Somethin’ never comes, never leads to nothin’
Nothin’ satisfies, but I’m getting close
Closer to the prize at the end of the rope
All night long I dream of the day
When it comes around and it’s taken away
Leaves me with the feelin’ that I feel the most
Feel it come to life when I see your ghost

And I’m done, done onto the next one
Done, done and I’m onto the next one
Done, done and I’m onto the next one
Done, done and I’m onto the next one
Done, done and I’m onto the next one
Done, done and I’m onto the next one
Done, done and I’m onto the next one
Done, I’m done and I’m onto the next

Sing it Dave!

Done, done onto the next one!
Done, I’m done and I’m on to the next one!
Done, done onto the next one!
Done, I’m done and I’m on to the next one!

Hey, don’t let it go to waste
I love it but I hate that taste
Weight keeping me down

Hey, don’t let it go to waste
I love it but I hate that taste
Weight keeping me down

Done, done onto the next one!
Done, I’m done and I’m on to the next one!


Watch the video and relive a sliver of the 90’s. Long live Rock’n Roll! You can all it grunge if it makes you feel better!

This one is dedicated to my buddy Erick. We shred this!

Lyrics of the Week – Your My Best Friend

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Queen – You’re My Best Friend

Ooo. you make me live
whatever this world can give to me
It’s you, you’re all I see
Ooo, you make me live now honey
Ooo, you make me live

You’re the best friend
that I ever had
I’ve been with you such a long time
You’re my sunshine
And I want you to know
That my feelings are true
I really love you
You’re my best friend

Ooo, you make me live

I’ve been wandering round
But I still come back to you
In rain or shine
You’ve stood by me girl
I’m happy, happy at home
You’re my best friend.

You’re the first one
When things turn out bad
You know I’ll never be lonely
You’re my only one
And I love
The things that you do
You’re my best friend

Ooo, you make me live.

I’m happy, happy at home
You’re my best friend
You’re my best friend
Ooo, you make me live
You, you’re my best friend.