I recently stumbled upon a rather controversial post written by a former manager who worked at Microsoft’s AI Platform division from 2021 to 2022. The post defended the thesis that merit is undermined by diversity and inclusion efforts at Big Tech companies. The writer used factual information and sadly twisted it until it matched his false narrative. So today I’m going to dissect his article and explain how this person totally missed the point of all the training he received. Buckle up, because this is going to be a bumpy ride.Continue reading “Debunking diversity and inclusion myths in Big Tech”
When I started using the new Samsung Galaxy Z Fold4 —my first foldable device—, I was convinced that folding phones were going to be the next big thing. I thought that over the next few years most people would end up with a foldable smartphone. Now, a bit over a month into using one myself, I’m not so sure anymore.Continue reading “Why foldable phones are not the next big thing”
Another year, another iPhone with minimal changes. Virtually identical to the 2017 design except for the flat edges, the iPhone 12 that Apple recently announced doesn’t surprise. It pleases, but it doesn’ dazzle. 5G and a series of back magnets, named MagSafe, complete the highlights of a device that will sell well, but that won’t do anything to push the envelope.
Is there anything else Apple can do with the iPhone of the future? Of course: a high-frequency display, more and better cameras, eliminate “the notch”, resuscitate Touch ID… all iterative improvements. Fun for some, boring for most.Continue reading “I cannot wait for the 2027 iPhone”
When I started studying computer science in 2003, working for a Big Tech company was a dream almost impossible to reach for me. I was born and raised in Spain, and that’s also where I went to college. Studying over 5000 miles away from the tech scene of Silicon Valley had an interesting effect on me, I’d watch Apple’s tech events and Microsoft’s product announcements as if they were Hollywood movies. I could never imagine myself being part of them.
The main reason why Big Tech companies felt unreachable was because none of them had software development centers in Spain. The only way of working for companies like Microsoft or Google as a Software Engineer was to move to another country, which made the dream feel more unattainable on top of the already challenging interview process. A lot of talent was left untapped in Spain, and a lot of engineers who dreamed of an opportunity in Silicon Valley never got it.Continue reading “‘Can you hear me ok?’ The benefits of remote work”
It’s Saturday morning, and my phone has been burning for the past few hours. Just after I wake up, I stare at the screen and I have several messages from my parents, who live on the other side of the world, telling me that they miss me and that they are ready to talk.
As an immigrant in this country and with all my family living in Spain, this is not an unusual situation at all. Keeping in touch with your loved ones across different time zones and geography is challenging enough already. You have to add the technological breach existing between their generation and mine to make a perfect cocktail for frustration and bad quality communication.Continue reading “Facebook Portal TV in the wild”
If you have never heard about Deutsch + Gosling’s fallacies of distributed computing, you are missing out big time! I encourage you to check them out here. Those delusions are widely considered in the distributed systems field as some of the most painful assumptions any junior systems designer, or architect can make. I like to call them “career-limiting choices”.
When I first learned about these eight fallacies a few years ago, I decided I needed to keep them around. I wrote them in a piece of paper and taped it outside of my office. The piece of paper is still there, except that it now has eleven statements – I guess some random folks added a few more fallacies.Continue reading “The cacophonies of distributed systems”
As a product manager, it is critical to have a meaningful roadmap with a backlog of work. Being able to ideate and constantly iterate makes our products better. However, it is critical that we are able to find which of our ideas are going to be the most impactful ones. Over the past year, my team has been working on refining how we approach this and found some things work better than others. The following are some of the things we found really useful.
1. Understand the goal – the first thing you must do is to really understand what is the goal you and the business are trying to achieve. If there is any misalignment you must align before continuing. It was amazing how many times we went and implemented things where the goal was not understood, or it was misaligned. Having understood this from the beginning would have saved us a lot of time and resources. Understanding the goal will take you to different paths, for example, a goal of driving adoption will lead you to do different things than driving for revenue or usage. If you do not understand this, you will cycle and leave things to chance.Continue reading “Product management and the art of focusing on what matters”
The past couple of weeks have been a big roller coaster for MoviePass. I got to experience the Thursday July 26 outage when I was going to see a movie with a friend. We were upset but decided to go for happy hour instead which turned out to be great. The next day we found out it was because they had run out of money which indicated that the end was near. MoviePass was able to get their emergency loan and service was restored. On Friday my friends wanted to see Mission Impossible but the option was grayed out however, after refreshing several times, I was able to get a ticket with an outrageous $6 surcharge. This grayed option turned out to be a change in plans where new movies were not going to be offered anymore. This was a breaking moment for me. I had to make a decision to stay or not before I would be charged the next month.Continue reading “Thank you MoviePass and goodbye”
How many times have you heard that Artificial Intelligence (AI) is humanity’s biggest threat? Some people think that Google brought us a step closer to a dark future when Duplex was announced last month, a new capability of Google’s digital Assistant that enables it to make phone calls on your behalf to book appointments with small businesses. You can see it in action here:
The root of the controversy lied on the fact that the Assistant successfully pretended to be a real human, never disclosing its true identity to the other side of the call. Many tech experts wondered if this is an ethical practice or if it’s necessary to hide the digital nature of the voice.
Last April I decided to take a big jump from building enterprise software to building consumer products. I am very grateful to have found a place that would allow me to learn the ropes of the consumer business without sacrificing any of the internal goals. This past year has been a great learning experience with big learnings and here are my key takeaways.
Enterprise vs Consumer? What’s the big deal?
Building enterprise software is a different beast than building it for consumers. They share several core components such as requiring a secure, reliable infrastructure and following best software practices including sprint models. However, I see three key differences.
Difference 1: Knowing what your customers want
In the enterprise world you go out and talk to your customers and it’s fairly clear what they need. Even building roadmaps is fairly easy. In the consumer world it’s not as easy. Because you are building software for millions of customers you can’t talk to all of them, so you have to find proxies to it. Unfortunately, many times these proxies are not perfect hence you require to test a lot (and I do mean a lot). On the good side, because consumer software is used right away you get instant feedback and know if you have a success or a fail.