Staff vs Principal Software Engineers

One View on Differentiation

As a follow-up to my last post Designing Engineering Culture @ Shutterstock, I wanted to get a little bit into some of the rationale behind the decisions that were made. As a quick refresher, here’s the general track framework: I’d like to drill a bit into the bifurcation that we created as part of the IC Track at Shutterstock, specifically between team and organizational dimensions. At a large number of places I’ve worked, there have always been IC engineers that were exceedingly good at solving deep technical problems in their domains and products of choice, but, at the same time, had little to no interest in marketing themselves outside their respective teams or increasing their visibility beyond the work that interested them (coding). [Read More]

Designing Engineering Culture @ Shutterstock

Directed Evolution of Organizational Design

Clear definition of levels and active enablement of individual career development are cornerstones of healthy, high-performing, highly-engaged engineering organizations. At any given point in time, it is important for engineers and managers of engineers to comprehend where they stand, the possible paths before them, and the specific behaviors and impact expected of them at each level from both performance and career progression perspectives. Although tech companies generally share many traits, what expectations are deemed important at a given company are highly dependent on their own unique engineering cultures. [Read More]

Jekyll Blogging Integration for iOS

Per my last post Blogging on iOS with Pythonista, Gitlab & Dropbox, I pushed the integration to Github. I’m going to publish this post using the plugin. Everything seems to check out during tests and the integration has been pretty seamless with one exception that I’ll fix in the near future, namely: committing new posts to the Gitlab repo and subsequently using Dropbox sync to move the new post to the appropriate Jekyll location fails to account for the fact that the local Git repo in Dropbox isn’t aware of the new commits and sees it as new files the solution to this is to run a script on the server after successful publishing which performs a hard reset to master using the following: git fetch origin git reset --hard origin/master git clean -f -d Here’s the gist for the Pythonista integration: Here’s the link to the project. [Read More]

Blogging on iOS with Pythonista, Gitlab & Dropbox

I’ve been playing around with Pythonista on my iPad Pro trying to figure out how to automate a blogging workflow that begins and ends on this device. My primary objectives were to: be able to write new posts from my iOS device automatically commit posts to my remote git repo, both draft and final automatically sync the file to the correct Dropbox directory (which is synced to a headless Dropbox instance on my server, from which the post is auto-generated and made live) I’m able to address these goals with a single solution that’s built with Python on iOS. [Read More]

English to Computer Science

People are often more surprised than not when they hear that I earned my undergraduate degree in English Literature/Literary Theory—not as a fact in and of itself, but when considered alongside my graduate degree in Computer Science. There is a perception that these disciplines are diametrically opposed, where one is a hard science and the other is something that seems entirely otherwise. Though this was not a course I’d deliberately charted out in undergrad looking forward, in retrospect it is easy for me to see the path that led me between these areas of study and through the course of my career. [Read More]

Parting Lessons in Leadership

Lessons in Leadership Yesterday was my last day at Etsy. I’m leaving after over 1.5 years of leading the Maker Innovation/Pattern/Multichannel Services engineering team(s) through initial launch in April, 2016, through Pattern V2 launch in May, 2017 and through the dramatic organizational changes since. This is my attempt to document my time there and the lessons I’ve learned as a leader. Please note that the list is obviously incomplete, but are the concepts that jump out at me at this point in time in these current circumstances. [Read More]

Etsy's Charter of Mindful Communication

It’s tough to navigate a chorus of personalities without a common, shared foundation upon which to base communications. This charter was conceived and rolled-out by Etsy’s Culture & Engagement team, embodying the best of its culture and mindfulness in order to achieve optimal benefit. It’s a brilliant articulation of how to ensure a diverse group of people can communicate and work effectively together by following a few basic principles. Etsy’s Charter of Mindful Communication We strive to embody the behaviors outlined below in all our interactions (with fellow employees, Etsy sellers, vendors, partners, industry peers and even strangers in the elevator) to ensure a foundation of mutual respect, accountability, open-mindedness and productivity. [Read More]

Continuing Adventures in Machine Learning

In the last post, I wrote about calculating the cost of linear regression learning models combined with using gradient descent to find the minimized cost. Quick review of the key equations. Hypothesis: \(h_\theta(x) = \theta_0 + \theta_{1}x\) Parameters: \(\theta_0, \theta_1\) Cost Function: \(J(\theta_0,\theta_1) = \frac{1}{2m} \sum_{i=1}^m(h_\theta(x^{(i)}) - y^{(i)})^2\) Goal: \(\underset{\rm \theta_0,\theta_1}{\rm minimize}\) \(J(\theta_0, \theta_1)\) With these tools, we can perform a gradient descent, an optimization algorithm designed to find \(\underset{\rm \theta_0,\theta_1}{\rm minimize}\) \(J(\theta_0, \theta_1)\). [Read More]
math  ML 

Pictures Around NYC

Just so I can catch-up, I’m dumping a bunch of photos I took in and around NYC over the last couple years. This photo is of the 69th Street Transfer Bridge in Lower Riverside Park in the Upper West Side. This was along the route where I logged thousands of miles running. Also part of the 69th Street Transfer Bridge, I thought this was a perfect example of urban decay. This is the statue on the southwest corner of the park, in Columbus Circle, where we used to live. [Read More]

Rediscovering Math Through Machine Learning

There are two major, obvious, technology trends of interest to me that are being used to solve business problems today: blockchain and machine learning. The promise of AI has tantalized computer scientists and the general public for a long time, with general human intelligence out of grasp even still, however, modern advances in approaches to implementing machine learning algorithms coupled with a dramatic growth in computational capacity have yielded powerful tools to address discrete problem domains. [Read More]
math  ML