The Relicans

The Relicans is a community of amazing relicans

Recursively creating communities of developers; learn, create, teach, repeat.

Create new account Log in
loading...
Cover image for Birthing Unicorns – Growing Companies and Developers with Heather Wilde

Birthing Unicorns – Growing Companies and Developers with Heather Wilde

Mandy Moore
Single Mom 👩‍👧 🐶😺😺😺😺 Owner/producer: Greater Than Code 💕 #DevRel 🥑 WiT/D&I 👩🏻‍💻 Podcast Production 🎙 #BlackLivesMatter #python 🐍 she/her
・27 min read

Relicans host, Kirk Haines interviews theDifference Consulting’s Digital Solutions Lead Heather Wilde about writing her book, “Birth of a Unicorn: Six Basic Steps to Success”, the right combination of ingredients that goes into companies that manage to scale successfully, and playing around with GPT-3.

Should you find a burning need to share your thoughts or rants about the show, please spray them at devrel@newrelic.com. While you're going to all the trouble of shipping us some bytes, please consider taking a moment to let us know what you'd like to hear on the show in the future. Despite the all-caps flaming you will receive in response, please know that we are sincerely interested in your feedback; we aim to appease. Follow us on the Twitters: @PolyglotShow.

play pause Polyglot

Jonan Scheffler: Hello and welcome to Polyglot, proudly brought to you by New Relic's developer relations team, The Relicans. Polyglot is about software design. It's about looking beyond languages to the patterns and methods that we as developers use to do our best work. You can join us every week to hear from developers who have stories to share about what has worked for them and may have some opinions about how best to write quality software. We may not always agree, but we are certainly going to have fun, and we will always do our best to level up together. You can find the show notes for this episode and all of The Relicans podcasts on developer.newrelic.com/podcasts. Thank you so much for joining us. Enjoy the show.

Kirk Haines: So welcome to Polyglot. My name is Kirk Haines. You can find me @wyhaines on Twitter. And today, I'd like to welcome my guest, Heather Wilde. Heather, would you like to tell everybody a little bit about yourself?

Heather Wilde: Yeah. Hi, I'm Heather Wilde Renze. You can find me on Twitter @heathriel. And I am the Digital Solutions Lead at The theDifference Consulting and also author of Birth of a Unicorn.

Kirk: Okay, so just right off the bat, Birth of a Unicorn, can you expand on that a little bit? Because it's a really interesting title.

Heather: [laughs] Yeah. In Silicon Valley slang, you probably know, and a lot of your listeners know that a unicorn is a billion-dollar company, and it's also slang for that rock star engineer that everybody wants to hire. So the book title is kind of a double meaning of how you become that unicorn employee and how having that unicorn team of employees builds a unicorn company. And it's about the 13-year journey to make Evernote that billion-dollar company and my journey to be part of that team.

Kirk: All right. That makes some sense. How did you get started in this whole world? Where was your beginning? Where did you start on this journey that has led you to writing books about building billion-dollar companies?

Heather: Oh, the year was 1984.

Kirk: [laughs]

Heather: I got my first computer when...it was 1984, and my dad brought home a PCjr, and I fell in love. And along with the PCjr came a subscription to a PC magazine. I think it was called PC Magazine. Back in the day, they actually had programs in the magazines for the different programming languages that you could use, and the PCjr was BASIC. So BASIC is a programming language for those of you that don't know. And so I opened the page to the BASIC section, and I picked a program that I started writing, and after about a thousand lines of code, I was done, and I hit save. And then the computer said, “Insert cartridge,” because the PCjr had a floppy disk and a cartridge. So I was like, okay. So I inserted the BASIC cartridge, and the computer rebooted. And I was like, oh no, [laughs] because I didn't save it. And there was no phone call; there was no internet to look up, there was nothing like that. When I opened up the manual, I realized that in order to save a program, you had to have the BASIC cartridge in first and then you could have the floppy disk and save it. So then I just was like, okay, so I failed. But I just had the BASIC cartridge in, and then I typed out the thousand lines again, and then I saved it. And when it was done, I was all excited because I'd written my first program.

Kirk: So, do you remember what that first program was that you typed out of PC Mag?

Heather: Yes. It was a typing tutor, and it was based on the Wizard of Id. So I was really excited because I had the little wizard sprite going across the screen, and if I typed something wrong, it would kill the little gnome. [laughs] So I learned how to type better from this first program that I ever made. And that made me love programming because not only did I hunt and peck my way through making this first thing but that first program that I learned how to make actually made me a better programmer.

Kirk: I was just trying to remember if I saw that particular program or not because yeah, I had an Apple II Plus, and so I did the same thing with Applesoft BASIC instead of Microsoft BASIC. But a lot of those programs that were in magazines you could find the same program in different magazines because they published the article, and they published it in one magazine, but then they’d just change it and publish it in another one too. And it was an experience learning how to interact with computers that is completely different than what people have today. The idea that you'd sit down with a magazine and transcribe code manually from the pages into the computer we haven't done that for a lot of years. [laughs]

Heather: And I remember coming home from school, and my mom would be looking in the magazine, and she'd be typing stuff in, too, because it was fun for her to learn how to do this. And when I think about it, she was about my age now when we had this computer. So she'd be sitting there cursing at the machine if something happened or if it didn't compile. And I look at all of the people that are learning how to switch jobs that think they might be too old at 45 or 50 going into a new career. And I'm like, I think about my mom when computers were coming into the home for the first time, and she was just sitting there with the same PC Magazine that I was using trying to teach herself how to do it, and she did. She just did it at home for fun. But you're never too old. [laughs]

Kirk: No, you never are.

Heather: If this is something that you want to do, then just do it. And the world is changing, but it's always been changing.

Kirk: I think that's the thing is that it doesn't matter whether you're 20 or you're 50, you still have a lot of years to learn things and to apply them. So you went from typing Microsoft BASIC programs into your PCjr to where? How did that lead to the next thing?

Heather: My uncle at the time was working for Continental Airlines, what became Sabre, so programming enterprise software for airline hubs. And then eventually, he went to work for Microsoft, and he worked on their MS project and other things like that. So he was always sending me...any programming book I wanted, he sent me. I remember I wanted to learn Fortran. Obviously, I was never going to be around a machine that programmed Fortran, but I just wanted to understand it conceptually. So every programming book I wanted my parents or my uncle sent me, every Microsoft thing I got because of him, which was great for -- I even remember he got me IBM Lotus because he was able to get that inexpensively. And so I actually set up a build of OS/2 early on. While I was in high school, I had a whole OS/2 system because I just wanted to learn everything that was out there and understand it. So in my bedroom at home, I was having complete servers worth of stuff. But not only was I programming; I was also really into building stuff. I was going to flea markets and haggling down broken motherboards and equipment and stuff so that I could build up anything at home. I was going to RadioShack and getting all those transistor kits so I could create -- The movie Explorers was kind of -- If you remember that movie, the kids go to the junkyard, and then they build a spaceship out of a Tilt-A-Whirl car. [laughs] So this was a movie that was my spirit animal.

Kirk: I don't know if I remember that movie or not, but that evoked an image. I don't know.

Heather: [laughs]

Kirk: It makes me want to go over here and Google it because I don't remember, but yeah, that's really interesting. My background was a little bit different than that, but kind of similar, you know, Apple IIs and building things at home and stuff like that. I grew up in Wyoming. We didn't have flea markets that we could go to and get server parts or anything like that. And so, all of that waited until I was in college and spent way too much money. But I really understand that drive to just build things and see how it comes together and break things, especially in those times pre-internet and then early internet it was really hard to look things up sometimes.

Heather: [laughs] Yeah. Well, we had IRC, and we had DVSs. So people are like, “Oh, what did you do without the internet?” We had the library. [laughs]

Kirk: Yeah, libraries. [laughs]

Heather: I spent so much time at the library. I was always there. I must have gone through all of the -- I made sure all of those mechanics manuals that they had -- People say I dog-eared all of those things. No, I treated all those books reverently. I would never do anything. I wouldn't even crease the spine on anything because I wanted to make sure that they were always in pristine condition for whoever wanted to come after me. I just treat books so reverently because they’re knowledge.

Kirk: Yeah, they were often hard to replace. You couldn't just go get another one. So, how did you go from that beginning to landing at Evernote? Let's just fast forward because Evernote seems like the linchpin that built out a whole bunch of other things. So you went from there to landing at Evernote right at the beginning. So, what happened?

Heather: I was on the path. I was really interested, like explorers going into space. I wanted to become an astronaut, and I was on that path. I went to The University of Alabama, Huntsville, for astronautical engineering. I was going to be an astronaut, but my health isn't the best. You have to be an X-man to be an astronaut. And when I found that out, I did a mini existential crisis and then completely flipped my life around and started over in liberal arts. I'm all about knowledge and learning and wanting to be a polyglot, really. I took the stuff that I already knew and then applied it to a liberal arts degree in mathematics and foreign languages, and that led to becoming a game designer. So I worked in community engineering, and game design for THQ, which God rest its soul, [laughs] but that brought me up to Boston. And Phil Libin his second company, CoreStreet, when he was founding it, he was looking for people in the Boston area, and we'd been friends while I was working at THQ. We were friends hanging out socially, and he was looking for people to start this company, CoreStreet. And he asked me to be one of the founding members of that. So after five years in CoreStreet, we were all a bit tired of Boston, so we sold that and started Evernote in California.

Kirk: Fascinating. That's a fascinating growth story. Something you said reminded me of a mental tangent. And I wish that I had asked my other guests the same question because it's something that fascinates me. But I find that people who work in software, in computer languages, and who have a polyglot mentality about them also often are polyglots with human languages. And I'm always a little bit curious about what other languages a person knows because I find that compared to at least the average of the American population, American software developers are a lot more polyglot in their human languages. And so I'm curious, you mentioned foreign language studies, so I assume that there's something in there.

Heather: Yes. So I took 12 years of Latin, two years of Greek, French, three years of Japanese. I lived in Mexico for five years, so I've got some Spanish in there, but mostly I kept screwing up my French while I was in Mexico. So people would be like, [speaking Spanish] “Buenos dias,” I would be like [speaking French] “Très Bien.”

Kirk: [laughter] I know that feeling in the opposite direction because I took Spanish in high school, all the Spanish that high school offered in my senior year. I was taking both Spanish and French, and my French class happened to come immediately after Spanish. And so whenever I was in French, and my brain couldn't come up with the French, the Spanish was handy. It was right there. My brain was like, okay, I don't know the French, but how about the Spanish? That just didn't work.

Heather: So my pronunciation is interesting because I actually spent the majority of my childhood up until the age of 16 training as a classical opera singer as well. So even though I'm from New York City, you might be able to tell that I have no accent of someone from New York City, and that's because of the music. And there are certain words that I say that aren't accentless because I learned them in certain places. Like, when I say, “Gobsmacked,” it’s British [laughs] because I learned it there and “Y'all” is Southern, picked that one up in Alabama.

Kirk: [laughs]

Heather: There are certain languages that I definitely read better than I speak. And if I'm in Spain for a couple of weeks, then I start speaking Spanish better, but I'm just too slow on the translation in my mind to speak it. I can hear it better.

Kirk: And see, that's interesting to me because, for me, it's the opposite. Like Spanish, I can sit down, and I can read Spanish all right. I can write it all right. I can speak it all right. But listening to somebody else speak is much more difficult. That's where I struggle. That's really fascinating to me.

Heather: I think it's because I learned phonetically because I was singing in foreign languages. So I can hear it, but I can't think fast enough to respond.

Kirk: I've got a daughter with a degree in Vocal Music Performance, and she's getting a Master's in Medieval History, and that has required her to learn old English and Latin. And her professors have commented that they're amazed at how perfect her pronunciation is, and it's because she learned the pronunciation because she had to for her degree.

Heather: From Cambridge, I did advanced studies in medieval literature, and that's the same thing. They were like, “You can pronounce [speaking another language] amazingly, but you have no idea. [laughter]

Kirk: Fascinating. Yeah, that's just one of those things that fascinates me is how human language interacts with computer language, and the brains that are good at one are often good at the other, at least in some capacities. So drawing it back to the idea of, again, unicorns and growing companies and growing developers, if you think about a developer and maybe a developer who isn't right at the beginning of their career but is early career-ish., I know what my biases are, but what are your biases or your thoughts about how that person just looks at their present and looks at their future and figures out how to steer themselves towards that growth that everybody wants? I know it's a wide-open question, but it's one of those things that I think a lot of people wrestle with is I'm here, and I want to be there. But how do I get from here to there?

Heather: Honestly, I think about this a lot, actually. One of the things that I like to point out to people is if your goal is financial, there is a lot of money to be made as a developer. And you'll find a lot of people, especially in the Bay Area, will do something called...we derogatorily refer to it as punching lottery tickets. They'll go from one place, and they'll stay long enough for their options to vest or their RSUs to vest, and then they'll move on to someplace else in the hopes that they'll have been there long enough for them to get something. They will be at Google for two years because they get options after one year, and then they vest in another year and so on and so forth. And that's why you look at somebody's resume in 10 years they've been at five companies, and this is their way of diversifying for retirement. There are other people like me that my optimization for my life path is to do something that will change the world. And my definition of that isn't necessarily to change the world in my lifetime but make sure that the world of the people of the year 3000 have a world that they want to live in.

We're at a precipice right now that the things that we create can definitely make a huge difference. Just look at the past probably 15 years of the things that we've created in our careers that have caused major strife around the world. And if we don't have people in power making decisions -- You don't even have to be a senior developer. You don't have to be a CTO like me. The most junior developers are making decisions in software that they're creating that are causing deaths, like actual deaths in places that you might not have even known the name of yesterday. So for me, my goal the way that I optimize is; there’s another way that people can think about that. Those are the two ways that people generally think about it.

The third is optimizing for family. So it's not just money, and it's not just a better planet, but it's making sure that the people that you particularly care about have had the best life because if you are saying that you're at work to earn the most money so that you can give your family a better life, but you don't actually spend time with your family, then you haven’t balanced that properly. So if you're a junior developer starting out, those are your three paths.

Kirk: Those are your three, I guess, optimized paths. It's one of those things too that I know in my own personal experience and in the experience of people that I know well, there's often this push and pull that comes in when you're looking at where you work and how long you stay there the conflicting -- So not only is the punching lottery tickets a thing, but it's also a thing that if you're at a company for two or three years and you move to another company, you're probably going to get a bump in your salary from one company to the next as well that is more than you would get from yearly raises. But if you're at a company that you really enjoy and you really believe in, then you have to balance out okay, so is that extra 10% or 15% in my salary worth the risk that I'm going from a place that I really enjoy to a place I'm not going to enjoy? And that seems to be a place that it's a real struggle for a lot of people to figure out what that balance is. And yeah, there aren't any easy answers to it either. That's the thing.

Heather: Yeah. There have been a couple of times in my life where I have been offered salaries that would have enabled me to just retire after two years of working for that particular company. I mean, I hit my every retirement goal in two years. And when I thought about that, it was an easy no in two seconds because the amount of work and stress that you put on your body to make that kind of money in that amount of time. Is it easy? No. But for some people, it's like, “Okay, yeah, definitely. I'm going to do that.” And then when you think about who are you working for? Not just what are you going to do to yourself for the type of stress that you put on it, but what is the culture of the types of companies that pay that much to make people work for them? Because those companies have to pay you that much for you to work there. [laughs]

Kirk: For you to stay. Yeah, exactly. There's no free lunch. There's always a counterweight to whatever the carrot is. It's a really interesting thing. So let me ask you this, this is just one of those things that you're a CTO, and you're a CTO because there are things about being a CTO that you like. [laughs] But I've known a lot of CTOs that, at the same time, there are things about not being a CTO that they really miss. Do you know what I mean?

Heather: Mm-hmm.

Kirk: And so I'm just curious if you weren't where you're at right now, what would you be doing? There are things that I know that you miss about previous roles or whatever. And if you had decided okay, I want to pursue that instead of this, what would you be doing right now?

Heather: So if I wasn't in the role that I'm in right now, I would be 100% philanthropy. I have a nonprofit, and I would just be doing that full-time. And when I started as a CTO, it was interesting because I’d just left Evernote. And I couldn't get out of the drama triangle of -- I was so used to people needing me to fix stuff all the time. Like, something happens, they need me; I need to come in. I get to be the savior, and yay. And as the CTO, you can't be in the weeds all the time. You can't be the fixer. You have to be looking at everything to make sure that nothing happens, that nothing gets to that point. And if something does, then you screwed up, but you definitely will fix it. But you have to make sure that nothing gets to that point. And it's a very different kind of role. It's, in some ways, much less stressful than the role that I was in. So I had to take a definite break in between the two to get my mind out of that cycle. And once I did, I was like, I never want to go back there. I never want to be that person who everyone relies on to fix everything because that's dangerous for a company. And now I'm the person that everyone relies on to make sure that everything's running smoothly, and that's so much better. Because it's a completely different mind shift for the company because now they're not expecting things to go wrong; they know things are going to go right.

Kirk: Okay. That makes sense. And that's one of the things that’s kind of a Catch-22 almost for a lot of people that they find themselves in this role where they're the person that has to fix things. They're the person that is crucial to making sure that everything works right. And eventually, that is just draining. It often demands a pace that people can't keep up with, but they don't often realize that until they experience it, and until then, it's just theoretical. I think your experience on that and your perspective on it is a really interesting one that I don't know if I've ever heard expressed. A lot of people, even while they're doing technical leadership type work, still miss that day-to-day excitement of being in the trenches and the perspective that you expressed of no, I wouldn't go back to that. I think is a really interesting one because it's an addictive thing in a way. And I found that most people do really just a little bit miss that because it's addictive, but it's also a trap.

Heather: The thing that's addictive to me is building companies to scale that are going to succeed that people love. What's not addictive to me is having problems come up that make me the center of attention because I am the fix-it savior. So as long as I can make sure that everyone trusts that this company is going to succeed and that there's never going to be any problems for my department because I'm always going to have the resources, I'm always going to make sure that we have the right tools in place and they can trust that if something does go wrong that I'm going to be on top of handling it so that it's not going to keep us from scaling and growing, then that's what keeps me happy.

Kirk: So that leads me to another question. Something you said just brought up in my head what is it that companies do? They start little, they want to be able to scale, but some companies completely fail at that, and some companies do it well. What is, I guess, the secret sauce? What is the right combination of ingredients that goes into those companies that do manage to scale and not fail at that?

Heather: Well, one of them is they use tools like New Relic, and that's not just a plug; it’s true. Being able to have the data so that you know what's going on in your business…I have dashboards upon dashboards so that I know at any moment, like, did this thing go down? Do I have things expiring? Who's using what? And having employees trained on the tools that you use is important because you can't, especially when you're just starting out, afford to make stupid mistakes. And everyone makes stupid mistakes with security early on. And one of the main problems I had with Slack is if you just look at their history of bug reports from their early days, how many times was Slack and other companies like that hacked early on before they got to their series whatever? Most people don't care about security, but I start day one with security because if you expect to grow, then you have to show the people that you're working for that they can trust you. But honestly, most of it comes down to luck and time. Your luck surface ratio is the thing that makes most companies succeed. Do you have the network to get the money or the contacts or whoever you need? You could have the best company in the world, the best tool, the best everything, but if you can't get people to use it, then you're going to fail.

Kirk: It's been described to me before that being in a Developer Relations position is basically about making friends. You're just making friends, but it is kind of the same thing when you're trying to get a company to succeed. The company needs to have friends in order to have that surface area you're talking about, to have the opportunities for success. And if you can't find a way to get that surface area, then it's really hard.

Heather: Yeah. And one of the reasons why I started speaking at conferences is not because I needed to -- I've never needed to sell anything. I've never needed to market anything. I never worked for companies that even directly sell to consumers. So I started speaking at conferences because, honestly, I actually had something to teach people. And I became friends with a lot of the DevRel people and the other speakers and stuff and all the people that exhibit at conferences because they were just like, “Wow, you're such an anomaly. You're actually here, and you're not trying to sell anything.”

Kirk: [laughs]

Heather: “And you're not a developer trying to learn anything. And it's weird.” [laughs] But it's that network. But it's like, hey, if you can become that Malcolm Gladwell super-connector that could connect the people across the different groups, then that helps. Becoming that networker that can say, “Well, if you're trying to reach someone in the marketing community or the FinTech community or the whoever, just talk to me, and I can help you.”

Kirk: Yeah, it's a really interesting aspect to the whole thing. What are you doing right now?

Heather: So I've been playing around with GPT-3.

Kirk: Yes. We talked about that a little bit, GPT-3. I've played with that too. It's really fascinating.

Heather: Yeah, and it's really neat. One, it's hard to get the API key, but once you do, you get invited into the developer network, and they give you all the resources and stuff. But I was so excited to finally get in. And then, once you start playing around with it, you start writing tests. And I was like, oh no, what am I going to actually create? [laughs] It doesn't actually do very much. It does a lot but only in a very narrow way. And I'm like if I want to do some text summarization, great. But there are other tools that do that already. And I'm curious, what you were thinking about creating?

Kirk: I've been playing with GPT-3 mostly...in part, it's an educational tool for myself, just to understand where the technology is at and what it can do. But one of the things that -- A couple of years ago, give or take at a job that I was at, I set up a bot. It was a very small engineering team, but there were things like doing deploys of the product or even checking on system health and stuff like that wasn't super accessible to a lot of the rest of the engineering team. And so I built this chatbot and implemented a bunch of ChatOps functions in it so that when we're in Slack, if we need to check something, let's go check it because they're in Slack all day and things like that. And when I did that, it was just one of those things where I thought; you know what? It's really just boring when you mistype something, or you type something that the bot doesn't understand to just get an error message. I wanted to do something more interesting.

And so I went out, and I found a conversational AI implementation that was called Cake Chat. And Cake Chat, even at the time, had been archived. It wasn't seeing any new development, but it had been trained off of Twitter, Twitter conversations, like 50 million Twitter conversations. And so it was capable of sometimes producing very strange but almost coherent conversational responses, and it was just kind of fun. And so, I actually have been playing with GPT-3 simply within that perspective. It's just like, okay, if I give it a prompt telling it that it is a helpful AI, blah, blah, blah, if I tell it some things to frame its personality and its perspective, can it carry out a real conversation with somebody? It may get weird sometimes, but it isn't obviously broken; if you frame your prompts the right way, you can ask it questions, general knowledge type questions. In the information I read about you, you were on Jeopardy. And you can ask GPT-3 Jeopardy-style questions, and it will answer them. And a surprising amount of the time, it gets them right if you frame the prompt in the right way; if you don't frame the prompt in the right way, who knows what you're going to get? Which I find really interesting too. And so that's where I've been playing with it.

Heather: And I've been trying to do complex integrations where you string maybe a voice. One of my favorite authors of all time is Douglas Adams. And he wrote Dirk Gently’s The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul. And in that, Gordon Way, the character, was trying to take financial statements and turn it into music. So my goal with GPT-3 is to use all different integrations and take financial statements and turn them into music.

Kirk: And have you had any success with that?

Heather: Well, somebody else has, but it was with a different AI integration. And they weren't trying to take financial statements; they were taking prose and making Jane Eyre into music and that kind of stuff. So my goal eventually is to try and make Douglas Adams’ financial statements to music real.

Kirk: Okay. That's kind of cool.

Heather: [laughs]

Kirk: And again, it's not anything that you can directly commoditize. But at the same time, it's really fascinating that our technology has reached the point where we can do this. And this is a model that was trained two years ago. That's the thing, GPT-3 is a couple of years old now. It's not even really brand new technology. And so, I don't know; I think that the future of AI in our everyday world is going to be really an interesting one.

Heather: Yeah.

Kirk: Kind of a creepy one, you know?

Heather: [laughs] Well, and that's the thing. If somebody is listening to this and figures out a way to do that, I want to hear from you.

Kirk: That's interesting. I've seen examples where GPT-3 has been used to create art from text.

Heather: Well, that's DALL•E. That's not GPT-3.

Kirk: I've seen examples with GPT-3 where it's been used to create art from text descriptions. After we're done here, I'll go see if I can find it because, in my explorations, I ran across some examples of that. And it's the same application as you're talking about, just the visual instead of music. But I'll have to see if I can find it because --

Heather: I've seen that with DALL•E, and I've also seen that with DeepAI, but I haven't seen that with GPT-3.

Kirk: And I can picture the webpage I was looking at in my head. So I might be able to find it and point you at it. But yeah, it's a really fascinating thing where AI is going. I think that there are things like not so much natural language processing things, although that's really interesting, but there are other aspects to AI-type systems that there are a lot of interesting implications for. One of the things that I find interesting, just in sort of a narrow scope, is renewable energy. You have wind turbines, and you have solar and renewable energy sources. But from the perspective of a power company that is delivering power, one of the problems with those is that they're difficult to predict. And if they're difficult to predict, the company doesn't know how much short-term energy they need to be providing for at any one point in time. But I think that with the right application of certain AI technologies, that might be one area where you could develop reliable predictions because any given solar installation or wind installation is going to generally behave the same way given the same inputs. And so, if you can predict those inputs, then you can predict the outputs. And so that's one of the areas that not with GPT-3 but with some other things that I've been playing with too in AI, and it's an interesting world.

Heather: It's amazing. I've been doing a series of articles in my column on Inc. Magazine for non-developers, like for traditional small business owners, to help them understand tools that they can use to run their business without hiring other employees that they wouldn't be able to afford or would normally have outsourced but shouldn't have. So they can do all sorts of marketing copy and even landing pages and all that with just a quick description. They can use quick tools that people are building on GPT-3. They can create very low-level podcasts; I think Bubble…something. There are all sorts of AI tools that can help grow a business for the average person. It all started with Squarespace, and now you can do basically no code businesses for these retail brick and mortar stores that really need it and don't have this budget. The mom-and-pop shops can have a whole online new world without even having to spend the money to hire a new employee, and that's really, really cool. I love that we enable this kind of expansion in the world, that the food truck on the corner can have a full digital marketing campaign for the price of a couple of tacos. It's awesome.

Kirk: Yeah, it's a new world. There are so many things, so many things that every day is living in the future. So is there anything else that you want to talk about, tell people about that you've been doing, or that you might want to draw attention to before we sew everything up?

Heather: I mentioned earlier that I'm a Director of a nonprofit that's called Serenze Global. Our main thing every year is that we run global technology grants. So as part of that, we have a global cohort of people who are upskilling, transitioning into AI careers, or development in AI careers that are from underprivileged, underserved communities, and that's open to people around the world. And so we're always looking for volunteers, donations but also people that are willing to just take some time and mentor the people in the group. So if you have time to do some mentor sessions or if you have internships available for people in machine learning, Java, especially, we've got a couple of people that are looking for Java internships. But just let me know. Feel free to contact me. And we would love to get these people skilled up and into jobs.

Kirk: Cool. And can you just remind everybody where they can find you, where they can contact you at?

Heather: So I'm @heathriel, H-E-A-T-H-R-I-E-L on Twitter, Instagram, heathriel.com, or you can email me at heather@roceteer.com.

Kirk: Fantastic. Fantastic. That sounds like a really compelling nonprofit you're involved in. So that's interesting. I might actually have to talk with you offline here a little bit about that. But I want to tell you thank you very much for coming on and chatting with me. It's been a lot of fun. And for everybody out there, thanks for listening to Polyglot. You can find us on Twitter @PolyglotShow. And this is Kirk Haines for The Relicans. Thanks for tuning in, and we'll catch you in another week. Thank you very much.

Jonan: Thank you so much for joining us. We really appreciate it. You can find the show notes for this episode along with all of the rest of The Relicans podcasts on therelicans.com. In fact, most anything The Relicans get up to online will be on that site. We'll see you next week. Take care.

Discussion (0)