2023-10-22

Another Sunday morning and another opportunity to be sat with my thoughts, as the rain pours and the eldest attempts to play basketball at the Y. I say attempts, as his hand/eye coordination is still astoundingly bad. During one of his assessments this week he managed to catch only 3 of 6 balls thrown to him, which for a 7 year old I find a little shocking. At this point I feel like I already had a set of juggling balls and was embarrassing myself. But that’s why we’re here. Getting him to practice this stuff in a fun environment is exactly the sort of thing that gets the reps in, that will make it easier in the long run. But then, I also remember as a kid playing catch with soft balls and my dad a lot.

It’s been a funny week. Again. I feel like I’m just riding the wave between subsequent diseases and just as I sort of begin to feel human again the next one strikes. I’m sort of of the feeling with a newborn where I just haven’t slept for two days. Clearly I must have, and I have the sleep tracker logs to show I at least slept some, but I’m in full zombie state. There’s no rest for the wicked, and an absence of recovery isn’t helping.

The week’s primary focus has been this stupid request for proposal from the previous client. 19 pages of requests. A full blown wish list of everything they want for a full digital transformation with a new analytics platform. Essentially a five year roadmap to be delivered within the next financial. Obviously my own business team has been completely absent from any direction or support, so I’ve been shooting in the dark with the proposal. I haven’t even talked with the user interface or science teams, so I don’t know if we’re shooting in the same direction.

To keep things interesting, the current client has maintained form. Constant interruptions. Constant rehashing of the same details we settled months ago. The same lack of direction or anything that could be described as strategic. The exec call was topped when after a few million dollars and two years of work and goalpost moving their chief asked “so what does this application do?”. Exactly.

If you have someone with no product experience running the show, and strong opinions about nothing, it’s funny how all the projects they end up on all sort of looking the same.

But it could be worse. At least I only have one client at the moment. Mercifully. It was looking challenging there for a moment when one of the new team leads that I’ve been mentoring (unofficially, when I noticed they were struggling) handed their notice in. But given his project is in flight and in the aviation space it was looking like I was the obvious choice to cover two projects going live before Xmas for demanding clients.

I dodged that one just about. But it was close there for 24 hours.

Last week, I reflected that maybe I was doing weekends wrong. This weekend my Saturday started before six and ended a little after nine. In that time I managed to find less than 20 minutes to myself and that was in the shower. And even in that time, thanks to the absence of a lock on the door I had a visit from a toddler and a wife asking irrelevant questions that could have easily waited.

Three hours of parenting, lead into taking the dog and the eldest for a walk in the park out of desperation for them to burn some energy off. But instead, I just had a dog drag and a boy complain for 90 minutes in the rain.

I came back to several hours of Lego with the eldest, and when I was relieved from Lego duties I then proceeded to play with the youngest.

I thought I might get some “quality time” alone with the Mrs at the supermarket. Because grocery shopping is what passes for time off in my world. But having got ready the Mrs decided to put the little guy down for a nap and join him for two hours without telling me.

Afterwards, I resumed solo parenting as the mother in law decided she wanted to go out - and the supermarket is as much as she does.

Two more walks concluded the day. One with the youngest as he was driving me crazy from having not been out all day and the other with the dog again.

I don’t know why I put in so much effort. Why I do it all. Why I can’t see a problem and just leave it alone.

Why after 15 hours of parenting, am I the one putting the kids to bed. Why am I up again this morning to find a bomb site of a kitchen. Why am I doing two hours of kitchen cleanup because some assholes definition of pulling their weight is cooking some chicken once a week.

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2023-10-19

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2023-10-30

What distinguishes you from other developers?

I've built data pipelines across 3 continents at petabyte scales, for over 15 years. But the data doesn't matter if we don't solve the human problems first - an AI solution that nobody uses is worthless.

Are the robots going to kill us all?

Not any time soon. At least not in the way that you've got imagined thanks to the Terminator movies. Sure somebody with a DARPA grant is always going to strap a knife/gun/flamethrower on the side of a robot - but just like in Dr.Who - right now, that robot will struggle to even get out of the room, let alone up some stairs.

But AI is going to steal my job, right?

A year ago, the whole world was convinced that AI was going to steal their job. Now, the reality is that most people are thinking 'I wish this POC at work would go a bit faster to scan these PDFs'.

When am I going to get my self-driving car?

Humans are complicated. If we invented driving today - there's NO WAY IN HELL we'd let humans do it. They get distracted. They text their friends. They drink. They make mistakes. But the reality is, all of our streets, cities (and even legal systems) have been built around these limitations. It would be surprisingly easy to build self-driving cars if there were no humans on the road. But today no one wants to take liability. If a self-driving company kills someone, who's responsible? The manufacturer? The insurance company? The software developer?