If AI development were a sport, it’d be closer to baseball than boxing. Headlines might make it seem like AI breakthroughs happen with a big knockout punch, but the reality is more akin to a baseball team grinding through a 162-game season. It’s a process that involves having the right people in place over a long stretch, and fielding the best team is essential for success.
Oscar Wilde once argued that life imitates art more than art imitates life. Strangely, that’s proving to be the case when it comes to AI development – but not in the way some had hoped.
Digital experts often compare data to oil. It’s immensely valuable, though mostly hidden. You need resources to mine it and experts to refine it. And, most importantly, it must be handled with extreme care to prevent the worst-case scenario: a massive spill.
Six years ago, we published a conversation one of our employees had with his mom about the company I’d founded the same year. Here’s a preview of the conversation I’m likely to have with my mom this holiday season about the company that has outsmarted outsourcing.
The combination of technology and startup thinking can force us to challenge long-held, collective wisdom. It’s a reality in business today that we’ve seen before, in the bestselling novel-turned-movie Moneyball, a true story about the Oakland Athletics baseball team and its general manager, Billy Beane.
One year ago on April 25th, 2015, a devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit Nepal and the very next day our team jumped into action. The people and families of CloudFactory were shaken to the core. Overnight our tech company had turned into a humanitarian aid center. On the second day, the team was on the phone contacting over 120 core staff and over 1400 cloud workers.
Greetings from Nepal! I’m both grateful and humbled to be here with the CloudFactory family during this incredibly challenging time. While aftershocks continue to rattle the Kathmandu valley, they are slowly subsiding. Electricity has been restored in much of Kathmandu and the resiliency of the Nepali people inspires me as always.
Our first priority is to care for the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of the CloudFactory team and their families. We’ve been overwhelmed by the support and prayers of so many.
A major earthquake hit Nepal April 25th where CloudFactory has 125 employees and about 3,000 cloud workers concentrated in and around Kathmandu. Thank you to everyone who has reached out - we appreciate your thoughts and prayers in this difficult situation. Our primary concern at this time is for the safety and well-being of our workers, their families and the people of Nepal.
We’re in contact with key team members and have heard from the majority of employees who are safe. The CloudFactory offices themselves have been reported to be unaffected and at this time we know of no fatalities or injuries among our team but family homes have been destroyed in some cases. We will be sharing updates below as additions to this blog post as we gather more information.
Everyone has a guilty pleasure. Mine is watching all the youtube clips from the many music reality shows like American Idol, The Voice, Britain’s Got Talent, etc, etc. Hours and hours, late into the night I watch one after another – any clip with more than 1M views is a must see. I get extra excited when I see a new clip trending fast and I also love re-watching the classic viral auditions with 10M+ views.
The storyline is almost always the same – a young or old, definitely quirky, often less attractive person almost certainly with a boring minimum wage job is previewed backstage before walking out on to stage to face the judges. They give an awkward but short introduction and then take a deep breath as the music is cued. The judges and crowd have been listening for hours to lackluster or disastrous auditions and before that opening note there is absolutely NO WAY to know what level of talent someone has. They can look all hipster cool and yet sing like a tortured animal … you just never quite know what undiscovered talent is right around the corner about to step on stage.
As I've been spending more time in the CloudFactory USA office this last year I have come across some fantastic new businesses that wow me. One of those has been Jimmy John's and their "Freaky Fast" subs. I love finding parallels between completely different businesses and industries, here are two from my recent visit to Jimmy John's:
1) Freaky Fast Production Lines
I have ordered submarine sandwiches online for delivery about 10 times but I had never actually stepped foot inside a Jimmy John's until a few days ago. I ordered my sub at the cash register and walked over to fill up my drink at the fountain pop machine when, literally 20 seconds later, they announced my sub and put it up on the counter for me. Out of the corner of my eye I had seen 1 guy pass my sub on to another guy and then to another guy who wrapped it and ... voila. They had the work area perfectly setup for speed and a system in place ran by trained employees - it was a thing of beauty for someone who's world revolves around production lines. At CloudFactory we focus on digital production lines that process data, not sandwiches - but I get excited seeing a core business process that is so efficient, innovative and repeatable. Especially when it forms a key part of the value proposition for a company, like "freaky fast" for Jimmy John's.