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Credit: NewsWire, The TakeOut.

Whether you are responsible for user experience and product strategy in a customer centric company, or sitting in your couch watching movies with loved ones, chances are you are already aware of some ways that recommendation technology is used to personalize your content and offers.

Recommendation systems are one of the most common, easily comprehendible applications of big data and machine learning. Among the most known applications are Amazon’s recommendation engine that provides us with a personalized webpage when we visit the site, and Spotify’s recommendation list of songs when we listen using their app.

Last time, we got to…


Image source: Intellias

The ability to get from one place to another, anywhere in the country, is one of the most remarkable gifts of our modern technology. Maps represent the real world on a much smaller scale. They help us travel from one location to another. They help us organize information when we plan for trips. They present us information about the world in a simple, visual way.

Maps are so useful that our dependence on automated directions like Google Maps has quite eroded our ability to navigate for ourselves — at least for me. GPS-enabled smartphones are typically accurate to within a…


Image credits to AARP.org

When I first helped the Autopilot team at Tesla in launching our Full Self-Driving beta release last year, I had never felt so close to the quality of our customers’ experience. Working alongside engineers who fought so hard for and cared the most about everyone’s safety, I could not help but imagine what the world would be like in 5 to 10 years from now when autonomous driving becomes the norm.

There will always be issues to fix and features to improve, but the indescribable thrill of having experienced the self-driving software firsthand might be well-compared to that when we…


Credits: Wallpaper Safari

During the first few years of my journey as a software engineer and a data scientist, I have watched good, ambitious goals and projects crashed with a little or no use despite months of development. Making sure we set and achieve high-impact goals is a critical responsibility at the start of the project cycle. One framework I came across, that has successfully been adopted by a variety of industries from high-tech companies like Google and Netflix to retail startups like Allbirds is the OKRs (Objectives and Key Results) concept.

The OKRs (objectives and key results) can help you achieve your…


Credit: The Boss Baby (vox.com)

When I first plunged into the self-driving industry, I didn’t know what I signed up for. Insert the following into the picture:

  • engineering problems with solutions not yet invented, which can make work always exciting and full of challenges
  • a hyper-intense environment with long hours, which can make work feel nonstop (read: soul-sucking)
  • highly competitive individuals and inevitable politics at work, which can make things a bit too brutal and cut-throat
  • an endless sense of impostor syndrome (excuse my personal rant)

This working environment though, was a true test of strength and depth of anyone’s character as soon as they…


source: Pinterest

I’d like to dedicate this Valentine’s day to someone I recently got to know better. Like all great love stories, our relationship did not start out easy. Despite all the fairytales you’ve heard, it wasn’t love at first sight. In fact, it was rough for so many years. How we met is a blur, but we had great memories. Over time, instead of seeing the good, the potential, and how I could fall in love with this person, I decided to make our relationship complicated. I demanded highly and sabotaged this relationship many times without ever appreciating it for what…


“Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.” — Rumi (image: NuWallPaper)

Eighteen weeks prior to my decision to step back and move on to a more laid-back team, I reached my breaking point at work. For the first time in my career, I experienced a complete burnout. I caught myself constantly having a hard time breathing and almost fainting just sitting on my desk.

The worst thing was, I didn’t know how burned out I was, so instead of acknowledging that I was tired and getting behind, I doubled-down my efforts at work. With software updates and bugs that were continuously coming in, I struggled to manage so many tasks at…


Credits: plot.ly

In the past two years working in the tech industry as a data scientist, I have used a variety of exploratory tools to build web apps for both technical and non-technical stakeholders. Plotly, among many others, is a graphing library designed especially for data scientists, engineers, and programmers to easily visualize trends in their data using Python, R, Matlab, or Javascript.

There are definitely other tools out there that can help you plot your data, such as Matplotlib, Seaborn, Bokeh, and even D3 if you want to build a visualization dashboard like those popularized by New York Times web pages.


Photo by Arman from his office rooftop at Google, NYC — on the last day of my trip.

I left my blue seat across from JFK C66 gate to head back to San Fransisco, a place I have called home for the past fifteen months. It’s still so hard to leave the City every time I come visit, but this time I made a conscious decision to let go of the past. I am moving on.

That weekend felt less like a vacation trip and more of a proper closure for my life chapter in New York City, at least for now. I was surrounded by closest friends whom I consider like a family of my own. I…


Golden Gate in San Fransisco, California. Credits to MaxResDefault.

About half a year ago, I moved cross-country from New York City to San Francisco for a tech job, with luggages full of uncertainty, but mostly hunger and curiosity. Ever since graduate school, I’ve always wanted to work for a tech company and test what life would be like in the tech capital of the world.

But choices become harder as we get older. Choosing a temporary career in Bay Area, among full-time offers I was lucky enough to get in New York and Europe, became my hardest dilemma. Declining a much higher position or salary somewhere else and the…

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Musings about life, engineering, and anything in between.

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