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Join me at Machinery.ai November 7th

Robert Dempsey, Speaker, Machinery.ai DC

I'm proud and excited to announce that I will be speaking at the Machinery.ai conference on November 7th in McLean, VA. I'll be joined by an excellent lineup of speakers including Vicky Fu from Microsoft, Mark McGovern from CA Technologies, and Elizabeth Haubert of OpenSource Connections. It's a full day of machine learning awesome!

My talk is titled Building a Production-Level Machine Learning Pipeline. Here's what it's about: [Read more…]

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A Better Way of Learning Machine Learning

Do you find yourself frustrated in your attempts to learn about machine learning? Do you find, like me, that many of the online classes you attend require a masters or PhD to understand, and that the books you read work with data that looks nothing like what you experience in real life?

My philosophy and approach to software engineering is, “keep it simple, make it work, then make it work better”. I use the same approach for learning. And when it came to digging into machine learning, or ML for short, was it simple? Not so much. But it can be with the right framework in place.

Perhaps you want to learn ML because you see that's the direction the technology industry is heading in and you want one of the jobs that the news people tell us will replace hundreds of others. Perhaps you want to learn ML because you would like a new position at your current job or a new job entirely. Perhaps you don't need ML today, but want to be the technology leader that brings it to your organization and creates a metric ton of business value.

I believe I can help you, but you to tell me if you think that's true.

Today I'm happy to announce a new online course for software engineers who want to gain a foundational knowledge of ML, engineers who, like me, subscribe to the philosophy of Keep it Simple and Make it Work™.

“So what Rob?!”, you might say, “There are tons of courses online where I can learn big data things.” And yes there are, but they aren't like this. They won't give you the complete foundation or support you need, or that added ingredient to get you past the finish line.

Visit the Introduction to Data Science course page to find out what I mean >>

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Career Advice From a Unicorn

Since leaving Snagajob one month ago I've thought a lot about what I've done in my career – what's worked, what hasn't, what's truly important to me, and what I want from a job.

I've been fortunate to be in the right place at the right time with the right skill set surrounded by the right people. In looking back I realized the path I've been on is one I purposefully created. It is my belief that you can have a similar experience, and blaze your own path to success.

In this post I'm going to lay out the lessons I've learned over the past 17 years in the tech industry. While these lessons can be applied generally my experience is in tech, specifically IT and software development. To that end my goal is to share the lessons I've learned in the hopes they will help you have a long career in tech, an industry full of rapid advancement and continuous change.

As with many things in life, it starts with a solid foundation. [Read more…]

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Notes on Stick With It: A Scientifically Proven Process for Changing Your Life-for Good

I recently completed the book Stick With It: A Scientifically Proven Process for Changing Your Life-for Good by Sean D. Young. It's an excellent book I picked up after hearing Sean interviewed on the Art of Manliness podcast.
In the book Sean discusses a scientific approach for changing behavior – either your own or that of others (use wisely!). He talks about why most self-help books fail to bring about lasting change, and the SCIENCE model he's created that's been proven to work.
Below are my “cliff notes” on the book. Let me state up front that I have written, at times verbatim, passages from the book in these notes, though mainly it's my summarization of what was written.
I hope you find these notes useful, and I highly recommend you both listen to the interview with Sean, and pick up a copy of his book.

[Read more…]

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Winners Know When to Quit

“Winners never quit and quitters never win.” – one of the worst pieces of advice there is (according to many successful entrepreneurs, investors, authors and others). It's not that winners never quit, rather they are smart about when to quit; they are strategic quitters.

This morning I finished reading an excellent little book by Seth Godin titled, The Dip. In The Dip Seth talks about three states in which you may find yourself:

  1. The Dip
  2. The Cul-de-sac
  3. The Cliff

[Read more…]

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The Four Noble Truths & Eightfold Path of Buddhism in Plain English

For the past few years I've been studying Buddhism, as it's the religion I identify with the most. Within the past six months I have come across a few books that have helped me to understand and incorporate into my life the core concepts of Buddhism.

I'm going to keep my “previous marketer OCD tendency to SEO-optimize every post I write” at bay and simply put onto this blog my current understandings, in plain English, of what I learn. I hope this helps you to understand these concepts as well.

If you have any questions about what's written in these posts, please leave a comment and I'll answer, to the best of my ability and current understanding, in a reply or another post. [Read more…]

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Foxtato: The Key to Winning at Life

Foxtato You Can do the Thing

Every so often something so powerful happens that it causes you to reevaluate what you believe, and how you've been acting on those beliefs.

For years I've been acting a certain way towards those I work with, whether it was when I was running my own business, or, as I am now, working for someone else. I've also been acting this way at home. I see my children starting to act this way too. It's a way of acting that I simply didn't want to believe I was doing.

That's not possible.

– Me

What I was doing was operating with a defeatist attitude. [Read more…]

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DDL Data Science Project Pitchfest 3

DDL Incubator

The Spring cohort of the District Data Labs Data Science Project Incubator is coming to a conclusion with Pitchfest this Friday evening. I'm inviting you to join us and check out the projects that the teams will be presenting! [Read more…]

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Stop Working Out and Create a Practice

Create a Practice

When it comes to exercise, many people drag themselves to the gym a few days a week to do a workout, wherein they break themselves down with excessive cardio routines or lengthy weight lifting sessions. The same goes for people's professional lives – they wake up every day only to take a long commute to work simply to make it through the day. This is working out. [Read more…]

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Application Skeleton for Flask and AngularJS

Flask and AngularJS

A constant challenge we face at IST Research is ensuring we build all of our applications in a way that makes them easy to scale. During my practice of deep work this week and thinking about that challenge, I decided that every application I build needs the following three things:

  1. Logging
  2. Statistics
  3. API (Application Programming Interface)

All three of these are very important when building and scaling fully distributed applications. [Read more…]