Confessions of a researchaholic

November 29, 2023

Rapid prototyping

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 6:13 pm

When I initially joined Adobe I thought that sufficiently mature prototypes are required for selling to the product partners, but some recent experiences taught me that it is possible to drive progress (including eventual product transfers) via rapid iterations and demonstrations.
The key is to have sufficiently convincing presentations on the most relevant aspects without spending too much time optimizing elsewhere, which depends on good judgement and prioritization on what and when to focus on.

During this process, we can be more comfortable taking on tasks that are uncertain, ambiguous, and beyond our current expertise if we can leverage the collective strength of a strong team, which requires good project management and tech leadership.

November 28, 2023

Cellular reincarnation

Filed under: Imaginary,Real — liyiwei @ 10:45 pm
Tags: ,

These “sleek” cellphones tend to slip and break easily so that new ones have to be bought constantly.

If the process of copying apps and data from an old to a new phone is like reincarnation, then the phone number is like soul or consciousness in that it is unique and can be associated with only one sim-card at a time.

The benefits of being part of a strong team

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 6:11 pm

I used to think that I can take on only projects that I have sufficient competence and interests.
But later I realized that if I am working with strong collaborators, I can trust them to handle the parts that I am less good at or less interested in, which would allow me to embark on more ambitious endeavors.
A strong team also provides me more growth opportunities to learn from others, and to be inspired by their ideas and creations.

November 24, 2023

Thanksgiving dinner sketch

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 9:41 pm
Tags: ,

Familiarity brings comfort, including holiday meals.

November 23, 2023

Why we should take PTO (especially those “unlimited”)

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 12:36 am

This post is inspired by “is unlimited (or more precisely, untracked) PTO a scam”.

Taking a break away from work can enhance mental and physical health, reduce burnout, and provide a chance to see things from a different perspective.
All of these can boost our productivity and creativity when we return to work.

If we stay at work while being unproductive, we are not doing ourselves or our teams any favor, as it could drag down the team performance and negatively impact how others perceive our competence.

After noticing some positive correlation between people’s performance and the amount of PTO they take, I am trying to take more (unlimited and untracked) PTOs, even if just to have time for individually focused works (like reading/reviewing papers) which tend to be outside my main duties (mostly product/management related nowadays).
Company/organization-wide shutdowns remain the best opportunities for me to be complete away during which no co-worker is expected to ask me for anything.

November 19, 2023

Closed streets

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 5:53 pm

Due to the APEC summit, the streets around SoMA were closed and it was quite interesting to see all these empty streets that were usually full of cars and people.
Later I heard that Xi Jinping was living in St Regis even though I did not walk towards that direction.
I wonder where leaders from other nations stayed and how the arrangements were decided.

Sunday morning read

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 11:52 am

So who is going to win control at OpenAI, the ones who can design and train the models or the ones who can bring in the money to pay for the compute and talent?
Both are needed for the success of the company.

In any case they will likely change the corporate structure so that the board better represents the investors.
(It is kind of ridiculous that Microsoft invests 10+B for a 49 percent stake but has no representative on the board.)

November 18, 2023

Saturday morning read

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 11:57 am

After a hectic working week I finally got a chance to follow up some recent tech news, in particular (as you could expect) about the surprise ousting of OpenAI’s CEO Sam Altman and the interim CEO.
On the way I also noticed yet another headline about X.

Looks like the tech industry is no less dramatic than the entertainment industry, but with far more consequential real-world impacts.

November 12, 2023

A political balancing act

Filed under: Imaginary,Real — liyiwei @ 9:31 pm

A small island, squeezed between two big powers, has only a very narrow path to navigate, and requires high political skills to do so.

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