Skip to content


Hiring MLEs at early stage companies

Build fast, hire slow! I hate seeing companies make dumb mistakes, especially regarding hiring, and I’m not against full-time employment. Still, as a consultant, part-time engagements are often more beneficial to me, influencing my perspective on hiring. That said, I've observed two notable patterns in startup hiring practices: hiring too early and not hiring for dedicated research. Unfortunately, these patterns lead to startups hiring machine learning engineers to bolster their generative AI strengths, only to have them perform janitorial work for the first six months of joining. It makes me wonder if startups are making easy-to-correct mistakes based on a sense of insecurity in trying to capture this current wave of AI optimism. Companies hire Machine learning engineers too early in their life cycle.¶

Many startups must stop hiring machine learning engineers too early in the development process, especially when the primary focus should have been on app development and integration work. A full-stack AI engineer can provide much greater value at this stage since they're likely to function as a full-stack developer rather than a specialized machine learning engineer. Consequently, these misplaced machine learning engineers often assist with app development or DevOps tasks instead of focusing on their core competencies of training models and building ML solutions.

After all, my background is in mathematics and physics, not engineering. I would rather spend my days looking at data than trying to spend two or three hours debugging TypeScript build errors.

Data Flywheel Go Brrr: Using Your Users to Build Better Products

You need to be taking advantage of your users wherever possible. It’s become a bit of a cliche that customers are your most important stakeholders. In the past, this meant that customers bought the product that the company sold and thus kept it solvent. However, as AI seemingly conquers everything, businesses must find replicable processes to create products that meet their users’ needs and are flexible enough to be continually improved and updated over time. This means your users are your most important asset in improving your product. Take advantage of that and use your users to build a better product!

A feat of strength MVP for AI Apps

A minimum viable product (MVP) is a version of a product with just enough features to be usable by early customers, who can then provide feedback for future product development.

Today I want to focus on what that looks like for shipping AI applications. To do that, we only need to understand 4 things.

  1. What does 80% actually mean?

  2. What segments can we serve well?

  3. Can we double down?

  4. Can we educate the user about the segments we don’t serve well?

The Pareto principle, also known as the 80/20 rule, still applies but in a different way than you might think.

Tips for probabilistic software

This writing stems from my experience advising a few startups, particularly smaller ones with plenty of junior software engineers trying to transition into machine learning and related fields. From this work, I've noticed three topics that I want to address. My aim is that, by the end of this article, these younger developers will be equipped with key questions they can ask themselves to improve their ability to make decisions under uncertainty.

  1. Could an experiment just answer my questions?
  2. What specific improvements am I measuring?
  3. How will the result help me make a decision?
  4. Under what conditions will I reevaluate if results are not positive?
  5. Can I use the results to update my mental model and plan future work?

Anatomy of a Tweet

The last two posts were hard to write, so this one is easy, but it gets my words in for the day. This is the equivalent of not wanting to miss a gym day and just walking the elliptical for 25 minutes better than nothing.

The goal of this post is basically to share what I have learned about writing a tweet, how to think about writing a hook, and a few comments on how the body and the cta needs to retain and reward the user. Its not much, I've only been on twitter for about 6 month.

Recommendations with Flight at Stitch Fix

As a data scientist at Stitch Fix, I faced the challenge of adapting recommendation code for real-time systems. With the absence of standardization and proper performance testing, tracing, and logging, building reliable systems was a struggle.

To tackle these problems, I created Flight – a framework that acts as a semantic bridge and integrates multiple systems within Stitch Fix. It provides modular operator classes for data scientists to develop, and offers three levels of user experience.