The only thing that really matters is | 唯一重要的是…

We watched this very informative, entertaining and inspiring video by GitHub co-founder Tom Breston, who tricked the audience to chant on three separate occasions during this short presentation from 2012:

  • “The only thing that really matters is people 是人”
  • “The only thing that really matters is product 是产品”
  • “The only thing that really matters is culture 是文化”.

So what is the one thing that really matters? 到底是什么呢? It is the trichotomy 三分法 of people, product and culture.

From one Tom Breston’s personal blog dated 2008, he once wrote:

“In the end, just as Indiana Jones could never turn down the opportunity to search for the Holy Grail, I could no less turn down the chance to work for myself on something I truly love, no matter how safe the alternative might be. When I’m old and dying, I plan to look back on my life and say “wow, that was an adventure,” not ‘wow, I sure felt safe.'”

I have been complaining about how FEW women startup successes. While I realize it is harder for women to make it due to many reasons including stereotypes and discrimination, but I cannot help wondering: ladies, ARE you prepared to take risk as Tom did or do you prefer to feel safe? 女生们,你们愿意冒险或守着安稳?

Women, men and money

From a dataset on restaurant tip included in the Python seaborn library, we investigate using Python with Jupyter Notebook how much money women and men relatively make, and why.

Most people don’t tip more or less because of server is a man or woman, but we do tip according to tip amount (for equal services).

I will tell you base on data analysis the real reason women make less is mostly because:
1. women work mostly lunch shifts
2. lunch bills are smaller than dinner ones.

Indeed, in every industry, including food services like in the restaurants, women have shouldered more share of the most difficult job in the world: parenting, and dedicated their time and energy to their families.

As a result, they have earned less money than men on average. Let’s give our appreciation to women for their roles in taking care of families!

There is a profound reason why we say “Mother nature”!

Should women work more dinner shifts and leave the important job of taking care of children to …?

That is a difficult question… Take a look at this Jupyter Notebook for the detailed data analysis.

Woman startup 女人创业

I have not seen a single woman billionaire startup (after the only one failed). Every single one lecturing about successful startup is a man.
Do women work hard enough?
Are women innovative enough?

Grace Hopper

Humans are allergic to change. ” They love to say, “We’ve always done it this way.I try to fight that.  That’s why I have a clock on my wall that runs counterclockwise.” — Grace Hopper

I watch a lot of videos on programming from YouTube.   Never once was Grace Hopper recommended to me.   So I am recommending four videos here after watching a dozen of videos on YouTube.

  1. The first video is from computer programming online school UdaCity.  It is a good short summary.
  2. The second one is from Kurt Beyer.  It is very long and but is the most interesting one!  You need to be a little patient during the clip from 1:00 to 5:00.    This talk tells the story in history, and the event (Pearl Harbor) that change the history of computing.  
  3. The third video is from Department of Defense, which is official.
  4. The fourth one is funny:  her interview at the David Letterman show, where she gave Mr. Letterman a nano stick.

Grace Hopper is an American mathematician and computer scientist.   She served in the Navy and ranked Admiral Rear at the end of her career.   Her greatest technical achievement was to create the tools that would allow humans to communicate with computers in terms other than ones and zeroes, such as a compiler that compiles higher level language to language that computers understand, which are zeros and ones.   This advance influenced all future programming and software design and laid the foundation for the development of today’s user-friendly personal computers.

You can read more about Grace Hopper at many websites.  An example is History of Computers and Programming.  But the book or the video (the second one above) by Kurt Beyer is more interesting.   The story is informative and engaging.  Did you know that she was arrested for drunk driving and was in rehab for being alcoholic after the war?  Innovators and pioneers are humans.  Wow!Not only did he describe the time and place that created Hopper and computers, but also her life and her career development, technology such as compiler that helps computers.    Compiler helps computer to help programmers program itself.    Doesn’t it ring a bell?  Deep learning?

An inventor has to be a good salesperson.  Hopper was a good salesperson.   She involved as many people as she could.  She made institutions to push her visions forward.  Seventy percent of active code is COBOL, the language she led the development and marketing.   It was not a good language.  But she knew how to get it to work, including having 1950s movie star Marylyn Moroe, who was a high school graduate, become a COBOL programmer within 4 weeks.

You manage things and lead people.” How to lead people?  Give them a purpose, an urgency, a vision (which includes war unfortunately).

Learning from the margins: experts sometime cannot think outside of the box.  One way to keep the box open is to learn different fields.

Technology is not inevitable: human beings at the early part of a technology development can influence how the technology develops.   She had a counter clockwise clock in her office.  The point is that: you can design it anyway you want it to be.

She had a sense of country and devotion that is rare in Silicon Valley today, as Kurt says.   In other words, her patriotism is exemplary.

My new role model Oksana

“I think when someone has a purpose and is determined, anything is possible”.  Well said and well done.   Oksana Chusovitina is my new role model.

On career and jobs

Sometimes I read/hear complaints about not able to find a great job despite having advanced degrees and/or having been published. But I have never heard anyone complain of not being able to find a great job despite having some highly sought after skills.   The importance for your career is what you CAN DO now; it is not what school you graduated from, or the master/PhD you obtained a long time ago.