Saturday, November 12, 2016

Udacity talk 1, Tony Fadell

2016-6-1. Tony Fadell is the father of ipod, founder of Nest.
Sebastian Thrun: Is it possible to find fulfillment working for a company or found your own company being CEO brings more?
Tony Fadell: Fulfillment is in the eye of beholder. You have to look for what you’re trying to learn. you need to set your own goals whether it’s as a startup as an independent or inside a big company.
The big thing that I asked when I interview people: what do you want to learn when you come here? Not what can you do for me. What do you want to learn? Because if you are always trying to learn then I know you’re trying to improve yourself and therefor you’re going to help the company improve as well.
Sebastian : How do you pick a candidate in the interview? How do you assess for the people really willing to learn
Tony: The other thing I ask is about their background so I go through their resume or any even if they don’t have experience. How did you pick your major? How did you discover what you wanted to do, what you really want to know? How did you know when you wanted to become an engineer or a doctor? I always want to see that insight. Do they understand what their gut is telling when they articulate that and then understand if they are really about pleasing you or trying to challenge themselves and get better. so you have to really listen closely.
S: you wanna be open to learning, open to failure.
T: Absolutely. We don’t learn to walk when we don’t walk out of the room. We have to learn everything in this failure on the way and you have to understand those moments of adversity and those moments of triumph, and how those people dealt with it. That’s the way I can assess.
We are adaptable creatures. we can learn all kinds of things if we want to learn.
Every single place you go there’s always something you can learn. You just have to be tuned into it and so yeah I learned a lot of great things in Apple. But at the end of the day, it boiled down to tenacity the people you know and things you need through your experiences. You can’t build a new company without understanding yourself but also knowing a network of people who can help you build. Most company is not just one person. It is a group of people. You need to have a network of people to help you and empower them to help you.
S: what is the rule for you to add a new feature?
T: First you have to segment out: are you a business to business product(service), or you’re business to consumer product. Very different things. company has very specific requirements and customer has very limited amount of requirement.
In General Magic we spent 4 years building something because we thought we needed every single feature. general magic lost a billion dollars and was one of the biggest failures in Silicon valley, because we put too many features in and it took 4 hours to explain what the product was. People have very limited time. You only have 3 or 4 amazing things to tell people.
Remote control is an example of Over design.
In the early days, we were trying to impress the person next to us. I am trying to say that I’m gonna make something so cool to impress them. You are doing something for someone who really understands and it gets really geeky. What your job as a great engineering designer is to not make things for the engineer next to you, but it’s to make for the common person who doesn’t understand the technology. Also, the product is empowering that person who buy the product a superpower. you make it so simple for them. They use it and feel like they have a new superpower they’ve never had.
S: how to say no if I want to add a new button.
T: there are data-driven decision, and opinion-based decision. the previous one is easier to look, and the later only takes 1 or 2 person to take care.
S: how do you learn from your failure?
… Your brain doesn’t come from the superficial success but from the learning success.
S: how do you convert from ipod to thermostat
T: frustration
T: I am chasing the passion, the thing that I really want to fix, that I thought was meaningful.
Don’t point to the market size. Point to the impact it could have as you do it right.
S: How do you do market research and something that doesn’t have a market yet?
T: You have to start with the idea what are you changing, and you have to take bold steps in terms of making something and trying it.
S: When I grow up in German, my professor never ever ask a question. They are supposed to know everything.
T: I went to 12 different schools in 15 years. Every time I was always learning because I was always in a new environment. I never was a master of in my environment because it was always changing. you should never think you’re a master of in your environment. This is about staying beginners to know what kind of product you’re going to make.
There are 2 things. One is always question. If you always question that means you’re curious, you have the potential to learn. The other one is just keep trying, keep listening ,keep learning, keep applying knowledge.

Emotional intelligence vs STEM: which one is essential to innovation

Emotional intelligence vs STEM: which one is essential to innovation?

it’s important to step back and look at whether our children, the innovators of the future, are gaining social and emotional skills — like sensitivity, empathy, social mindfulness, teamwork and an ability to imagine very different life experiences — in elementary and middle school. These are the interpersonal essentials for innovation, the precursors and prerequisites for harnessing outside-the-box thinking on behalf of others, and they’re just as important as math, science and technology training.
Think about some of the specific non-cognitive skills and attributes that lead to successful innovations — an insightful understanding of the end-user; collaborative connections with colleagues on an integrated design; and a true openness to the surrounding world. In the end, as I’ve learned through the Committee for Children, which is helping youngsters develop vital social and emotional skills, awareness counts as much as algorithms.
If I had to pick one skill that’s fundamental for innovators, however, it would be empathy, because of the way it allows us to see things from another person’s perspective. In other words, “How can I, as an innovator, help fill gaps and needs in people’s lives?”
There are other school-based skills that contribute to innovation. Thom Markham, a psychologist and school redesign consultant, feels that concepts need to be taught versus facts; creative and thinking tools ought to be employed; discovery must be rewarded; reflection should be encouraged; and teachers, themselves, have to establish and model an innovation ethos in the classroom.
One school of thought, for instance, says that to innovate effectively and generate a dynamic flow of valuable ideas, people need structure and methodologies, rather than conventional brainstorming sessions.
disruptive innovators generally possess five key skills, according to Gregersen and his colleagues, Jeff Dyer and Clayton Christensen:
  • Questioning: challenge the status quo and consider new possibilities
  • Observing: detect small details that suggest new ways of doing things
  • Networking: gain radically different perspectives from diverse backgrounds
  • Experimenting: relentlessly try out new experiences, take things apart and test new ideas
  • Associational thinking: draw connections from questions, problems or ideas from unrelated fields.

A/B test

A/B tests means that you can get data to make decisions rather than relying on intution or highest paying person’s opinion.
It’s not about how to implement an A/B test framework, it’s about how to design a task, choose metrics, and analyze the results.
John Lilly, CEO of Mozilla,
A/B testing is really useful for helping you climb to the peak of your burrent mountain, but isn’t so useful on deciding which mountain you want to be on.
  • new features
  • addition
  • different look
When Amazon first started doing personalized recommendation, they discovered people bought more stuff and actually had a significant increase in revenue.
For every 100 ms latency added to the page, they actually had a 1% decrease in revenue.


  • change aversion vs novelty effect
  • A/B testing can’t really tell you if you’re missing something.
  • can’t have immediate feedback for long-term, big decision
A/B test in other area:
  • agriculture
  • medicine: clinical trial
The key thing is you have a consistent response from your control and experiment group

customer funnel

users are trickling down the funnel:
page visits -> explore the site -> create account -> complete

binomial distribution

binomial distribution: In a sequence of n independent yes/no experiments, each has a success probability of p. Each experiment is also called Bernoulli experiment.
The probability function for k successes is Pr(k)=\frac{n!}{k!(n-k)!}p^{k}(1-p)^{n-k}
standard error SE=\sqrt{\frac{p(1-p)}{n}}
margin of error m=Z*SE
Z distribution is normal distribution with mean=0, sd=1: \phi (x)={\frac {e^{-{\frac {1}{ 2}}x^{2}}}{\sqrt {2\pi }}}
for a confidence interval of 95% in a 2-tailed test, each tail contains 2.5% distribution, corresponding to a z score of 1.96. So 1000 page visit with 100 clicks m=math.sqrt(0.10.9/1000)1.96=0.019, will have a confidence interval of 0.1-0.019~ 0.1+0.019

hypothesis testing

  • Null hypothesis : no difference
  • Alternative hypothesis