The Studio Blog

Weekly Journal: Week 11, 2019

Well hello there… just checking in on last week? It started with continuing the team performance reviews. This quarter I am using Enable HR and it’s actually really great for undertaking reviews. I have generally used the review process prescribed by Andy Grove in his classic book High Output Management – this approach is closely matched by the Enable HR software. I also use the One Page Strategic Plan from Verne Harnish to help define the objectives and performance indicators that are then used in the OKR’s in the review process. So far, so good…

This week I stumbled across this great video from the Game Developers Conference on Procedural Design – this is a concept I have long been aware of from the PC demoscene – with the likes of mind-blowing 64K demonstrations like The Timeless. What was interesting about this talk was the transition to ‘offline proceduralism’ – that is, transitioning the offline workflow to be made of a pipeline of operations rather than ‘designing assets’. This is very similar to the work we are doing at the moment with the data science pipeline – however, when you think about this with creative I kind of see the future of advertising. Pretty much everything that goes on in design studios today could be pipelined procedurally and companies could save hundreds of millions in global production costs.

Tonight I am giving a guest lecture for a postgrad computer science class at UOW. I spent some time working on a class that would be as relevent as possible for a bunch of graduates in Research Project and professional Practice. I came up with: “The Skills to pay the Bills.” which is a few key concepts to keep in mind when entering the workforce. I will share next week.

Other activities this week – working with clients and the team on getting latest projects live, updates to marketing and working with the sales team and also spent a day working on solution design for a new project.

Ongoing work on the Data Science modular pipeline – defined a JSON scripting language and refactoring all the modules to support the new approach.

Heavy Karate focus on the evenings at the start of the week – training for at least an hour every night, I felt fantastic by the time Thursday came around…

Friday night was spent with the DEFAME crew, hanging out, watching demos and working on my new little AI project – I also had the pleasure of meeting a musical legend Jeroen Tel. Spent quite some time talking and listening to his unreleased tunes. Gosh, I remember listening to his music back in the 1980’s.

Have a great week!


Reading List

These are books I have read and either loved entirely or at least found some gems inside.

Software Estimation: Demystifying the Black Art
by Steve McConnell

Often referred to as the “black art” because of its complexity and uncertainty, software estimation is not as difficult or puzzling as people think. In fact, generating accurate estimates is straightforward—once you understand the art of creating them.

Don’t Just Roll The Dice – A usefully short guide to software pricing
by Neil Davidson

How do you price your software? Is it art, science or magic? How much attention should you pay to your competitors? This short handbook will provide you with the theory, practical advice and case studies you need to stop yourself from reaching for the dice.

Serious Cryptography: A Practical Introduction to Modern Encryption
by Jean-Philippe Aumasson

This practical guide to modern encryption breaks down the fundamental mathematical concepts at the heart of cryptography without shying away from meaty discussions of how they work. You’ll learn about authenticated encryption, secure randomness, hash functions, block ciphers, and public-key techniques such as RSA and elliptic curve cryptography.

Beyond The Little Blue Box: The biographical adventures of John T Draper (aka Captain Crunch).
by John T Draper (Author), C Wilson Fraser (Author), Steve Wozniak (Foreword)

Welcome to the world of John T. Draper, better known as Captain Crunch, an eccentric genius who went from being a penniless hacker to a millionaire and back again. Along the way, he developed some of the most significant tools of the computer revolution, but for every success, there have been setbacks and hurdles of literary proportion. Featuring a foreword by Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak and cameos by the who’s who of early computing, this Kerouacian journey gives us an inside look at the birth of modern computing through the eyes of one of its most influential pioneers.

The Education of a Value Investor
by Guy Spier

What happens when a young Wall Street investment banker spends a small fortune to have lunch with Warren Buffett? He becomes a real value investor. In this fascinating inside story, Guy Spier details his career from Harvard MBA to hedge fund manager.

The Power of Habit
by Charles Duhigg

In The Power of Habit, award-winning New York Times business reporter Charles Duhigg takes us to the thrilling edge of scientific discoveries that explain why habits exist and how they can be changed. With penetrating intelligence and an ability to distill vast amounts of information into engrossing narratives, Duhigg brings to life a whole new understanding of human nature and its potential for transformation.

Made to Stick: Why some ideas take hold and others come unstuck
by Dan & Chip Heath

What is that makes urban myths so persistent but many everyday truths so eminently forgettable? How do newspapers set about ensuring that their headlines make you want to read on? And why do we remember complicated stories but not complicated facts? In the course of over ten years of study, Chip and Dan Heath have established what it is that determines whether particular ideas or stories stick in our minds or not, and Made to Stick is the fascinating outcome of their painstaking research. Packed full of case histories and thought-provoking anecdotes.

Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World
by Cal Newport

Many modern knowledge workers now spend most of their brain power battling distraction and interruption, whether because of the incessant pinging of devices, noisy open-plan offices or the difficulty of deciding what deserves your attention the most. Newport shares an inspiring collection of tools to wring every last drop of value out of your intellectual capacity. He explains why mastering this shift in work practices is crucial for anyone who intends to stay ahead in a complex information economy, and how to systematically train the mind to focus.

The One Device: The Secret History of the iPhone
by Brian Merchant

The secret history of the invention that changed everything and became the most profitable product in the world. Odds are that as you read this, an iPhone is within reach. But before Steve Jobs introduced us to ‘the one device’, as he called it, a mobile phone was merely what you used to make calls on the go. How did the iPhone transform our world and turn Apple into the most valuable company ever? Veteran technology journalist Brian Merchant reveals the inside story you won’t hear from Cupertino – based on his exclusive interviews with the engineers, inventors and developers who guided every stage of the iPhone’s creation.

A More Beautiful Question: The Power of Inquiry to Spark Breakthrough Ideas
by Warren Berger

To get the best answer-in business, in life-you have to ask the best possible question. Innovation expert Warren Berger shows that ability is both an art and a science. It may be the most underappreciated tool at our disposal, one we learn to use well in infancy-and then abandon as we grow older. Critical to learning, innovation, success, even to happiness-yet often discouraged in our schools and workplaces-it can unlock new business opportunities and reinvent industries, spark creative insights at many levels, and provide a transformative new outlook on life. It is the ability to question-and to do so deeply, imaginatively, and “beautifully.†? In this fascinating exploration of the surprising power of questioning, innovation expert Warren Berger reveals that powerhouse businesses like Google, Nike, and Netflix, as well as hot Silicon Valley startups like Pandora and Airbnb, are fueled by the ability to ask fundamental, game-changing questions.

Scaling Up: How a Few Companies Make It…and Why the Rest Don’t (Rockefeller Habits 2.0)
by Verne Harnish

In Scaling Up, Harnish and his team share practical tools and techniques for building an industry-dominating business. These approaches have been honed from over three decades of advising tens of thousands of CEOs and executives and helping them navigate the increasing complexities (and weight) that come with scaling up a venture. This book is written so everyone — from frontline employees to senior executives — can get aligned in contributing to the growth of a firm.

The Art of Deception: Controlling the Human Element of Security
by Kevin Mitnick

Focusing on the human factors involved with information security, Mitnick explains why all the firewalls and encryption protocols in the world will never be enough to stop a savvy grifter intent on rifling a corporate database or an irate employee determined to crash a system. With the help of many fascinating true stories of successful attacks on business and government, he illustrates just how susceptible even the most locked-down information systems are to a slick con artist impersonating an IRS agent. Narrating from the points of view of both the attacker and the victims, he explains why each attack was so successful and how it could have been prevented in an engaging and highly readable style reminiscent of a true-crime novel. And, perhaps most importantly, Mitnick offers advice for preventing these types of social engineering hacks through security protocols, training programs, and manuals that address the human element of security.

The Spider Network: The Wild Story of a Maths Genius and One of the Greatest Scams in Financial History
by David Enrich

The Spider Network is the almost-unbelievable and darkly entertaining inside account of the Libor scandal – one of the biggest, farthest-reaching financial scams since the global financial crisis – written by the only journalist with access to Tom Hayes before he was sentenced to fourteen years in prison.

Insanely Simple: The Obsession That Drives Apple’s Success
by Ken Segall

To Steve Jobs, Simplicity wasn’t just a design principle. It was a religion and a weapon. The obsession with Simplicity is what separates Apple from other technology companies. It’s what helped Apple recover from near death in 1997 to become the most valuable company on Earth in 2011, and guides the way Apple is organized, how it designs products, and how it connects with customers. It’s by crushing the forces of Complexity that the company remains on its stellar trajectory.

The Art of Worldly Wisdom
by Balthasar Gracian

It might seem strange that after Spanish-born Baltasar Gracián’s collection of sayings were written in the 17th century they would find themselves on a modern-day nonfiction bestsellers list, but there is a bounty of timeless truth contained within The Art of Worldly Wisdom. That, along with the appealing Baroque style of Conceptismo – characterized by both an economy of, and a great deal of witty play with words – in which the book is written, produces an appealing and accessible guide to living and being a better version of yourself, and accounts for the renewed interest dating from the late 20th century.

Principles: Life and Work
by Ray Dalio

Ray Dalio, one of the world’s most successful investors and entrepreneurs, shares the unconventional principles that he’s developed, refined, and used over the past forty years to create unique results in both life and business—and which any person or organization can adopt to help achieve their goals. In 1975, Ray Dalio founded an investment firm, Bridgewater Associates, out of his two-bedroom apartment in New York City. Forty years later, Bridgewater has made more money for its clients than any other hedge fund in history and grown into the fifth most important private company in the United States, according to Fortune magazine. Dalio himself has been named to Time magazine’s list of the 100 most influential people in the world. Along the way, Dalio discovered a set of unique principles that have led to Bridgewater’s exceptionally effective culture, which he describes as “an idea meritocracy that strives to achieve meaningful work and meaningful relationships through radical transparency.” It is these principles, and not anything special about Dalio—who grew up an ordinary kid in a middle-class Long Island neighborhood—that he believes are the reason behind his success. In Principles, Dalio shares what he’s learned over the course of his remarkable career. He argues that life, management, economics, and investing can all be systemized into rules and understood like machines. The book’s hundreds of practical lessons, which are built around his cornerstones of “radical truth” and “radical transparency,” include Dalio laying out the most effective ways for individuals and organizations to make decisions, approach challenges, and build strong teams. He also describes the innovative tools the firm uses to bring an idea meritocracy to life, such as creating “baseball cards” for all employees that distill their strengths and weaknesses, and employing computerized decision-making systems to make believability-weighted decisions. While the book brims with novel ideas for organizations and institutions, Principles also offers a clear, straightforward approach to decision-making that Dalio believes anyone can apply, no matter what they’re seeking to achieve.

What We Cannot Know: Explorations at the Edge of Knowledge
by Marcus De Sautoy

What We Cannot Know: Explorations at the Edge of Knowledge Britain’s most famous mathematician takes us to the edge of knowledge to show us what we cannot know. Is the universe infinite? Do we know what happened before the Big Bang? Where is human consciousness located in the brain? And are there more undiscovered particles out there, beyond the Higgs boson? In the modern world, science is king: weekly headlines proclaim the latest scientific breakthroughs and numerous mathematical problems, once indecipherable, have now been solved. But are there limits to what we can discover about our physical universe? In What We Cannot Know, Marcus du Sautoy leads us on a thought-provoking expedition to the furthest reaches of modern science. Prepare to be taken to the edge of knowledge to find out if there’s anything we truly cannot know.

Idea Man: A Memoir by the Co-founder of Microsoft
by Paul Allan

By his early thirties, Paul Allen was a world-famous billionaire-and that was just the beginning. In 2007 and 2008, Time named Paul Allen, the cofounder of Microsoft, one of the hundred most influential people in the world. Since he made his fortune, his impact has been felt in science, technology, business, medicine, sports, music, and philanthropy. His passion, curiosity, and intellectual rigor-combined with the resources to launch and support new initiatives-have literally changed the world. In 2009 Allen discovered that he had lymphoma, lending urgency to his desire to share his story for the first time. In this long-awaited memoir, Allen explains how he has solved problems, what he’s learned from his many endeavors-both the triumphs and the failures-and his compelling vision for the future. He reflects candidly on an extraordinary life. The book also features previously untold stories about everything from the true origins of Microsoft to Allen’s role in the dawn of private space travel (with SpaceShipOne) and in discoveries at the frontiers of brain science. With honesty, humor, and insight, Allen tells the story of a life of ideas made real.

Flash Boys
by Michael Lewis

In Flash Boys, Michael Lewis tells the explosive story of how one group of ingenious oddballs and misfits set out to expose what was going on. It’s the story of what it’s like to declare war on some of the richest and most powerful people in the world. It’s about taking on an entire system. And it’s about the madness that has taken hold of the financial markets today. You won’t believe it until you’ve read it.

Bruce Lee: The Art of Expressing the Human Body
by Bruce Lee and John Little

The Art of Expressing the Human Body, a title coined by Bruce Lee himself to describe his approach to martial arts, documents the techniques he used so effectively to perfect his body for superior health and muscularity. Beyond his martial arts and acting abilities, Lee’s physical appearance and strength were truly astounding. He achieved this through an intensive and ever-evolving conditioning regime that is being revealed for the first time in this book. Drawing on Lee’s own notes, letters, diaries and training logs, Bruce Lee historian John Little presents the full extent of Lee’s unique training methods including nutrition, aerobics, isometrics, stretching and weight training. In addition to serving as a record of Bruce Lee’s own training, The Art of Expressing the Human Body, with its easy-to-understand and simple-to-follow training routines, is a valuable source book for those who seek dramatic improvement in their health, conditioning, physical fitness, and appearance.

The Quants: How a New Breed of Math Whizzes Conquered Wall Street and Nearly Destroyed It
by Scott Patterson

With the immediacy of today’s NASDAQ close and the timeless power of a Greek tragedy, The Quants is at once a masterpiece of explanatory journalism, a gripping tale of ambition and hubris, and an ominous warning about Wall Street’s future. Can drag on in parts, but well worth the read.

Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game
by Michael Lewis

Moneyball is a quest for the secret of success in baseball. Following the low-budget Oakland Athletics, their larger-than-life general manger, Billy Beane, and the strange brotherhood of amateur baseball enthusiasts, Michael Lewis has written not only “the single most influential baseball book ever” (Rob Neyer, Slate) but also what “may be the best book ever written on business” (Weekly Standard). “I wrote this book because I fell in love with a story. The story concerned a small group of undervalued professional baseball players and executives, many of whom had been rejected as unfit for the big leagues, who had turned themselves into one of the most successful franchises in Major League Baseball. But the idea for the book came well before I had good reason to write it—before I had a story to fall in love with. It began, really, with an innocent question: how did one of the poorest teams in baseball, the Oakland Athletics, win so many games?”

A Lodging of Wayfaring Men
by Paul Rosenberg

Instantly named Freedom Book of The Month and a major influence in the Cyber-underground, A Lodging of Wayfaring Men is the story of freedom-seekers who create an alternative society on the Internet – a virtual society, with no possibility of oversight or control. It grows so fast that governments and “leaders” are terrified, and fight to co-opt this cyber-society before it undermines the power of the governing elite.

The Art Of Thinking In Systems
By Steven Schuster

The Art Of Thinking In Systems: Improve Your Logic, Think More Critically, And Use Proven Systems To Solve Your Problems – Strategic Planning For Everyday Life

Tao Te Ching
by Lao Tzu

The Tao Te Ching is a fundamental text for both philosophical and religious Taoism. It also strongly influenced other schools of Chinese philosophy and religion, including Legalism, Confucianism, and Buddhism, which was largely interpreted through the use of Taoist words and concepts when it was originally introduced to China. Many Chinese artists, including poets, painters, calligraphers, and gardeners, have used the Tao Te Ching as a source of inspiration. Its influence has spread widely outside East Asia and it is among the most translated works in world literature.

The Third Industrial Revolution: How Lateral Power Is Transforming Energy, the Economy, and the World
by Jeremy Rifkin

The Industrial Revolution, powered by oil and other fossil fuels, is spiraling into a dangerous endgame. The price of gas and food are climbing, unemployment remains high, the housing market has tanked, consumer and government debt is soaring, and the recovery is slowing. Facing the prospect of a second collapse of the global economy, humanity is desperate for a sustainable economic game plan to take us into the future. Here, Jeremy Rifkin explores how Internet technology and renewable energy are merging to create a powerful “Third Industrial Revolution.” He asks us to imagine hundreds of millions of people producing their own green energy in their homes, offices, and factories, and sharing it with each other in an “energy internet,” just like we now create and share information online. Rifkin describes how the five-pillars of the Third Industrial Revolution will create thousands of businesses, millions of jobs, and usher in a fundamental reordering of human relationships, from hierarchical to lateral power, that will impact the way we conduct commerce, govern society, educate our children, and engage in civic life. Rifkin’s vision is already gaining traction in the international community. The European Union Parliament has issued a formal declaration calling for its implementation, and other nations in Asia, Africa, and the Americas, are quickly preparing their own initiatives for transitioning into the new economic paradigm. The Third Industrial Revolution is an insider’s account of the next great economic era, including a look into the personalities and players — heads of state, global CEOs, social entrepreneurs, and NGOs — who are pioneering its implementation around the world.

The New New Thing: A Silicon Valley Story
By Michael Lewis

In the last years of the millennium, Michael Lewis, bestselling author of The Big Short and The Undoing Project, sets out to find the world’s most important technology entrepreneur, the man who embodies the spirit of the coming age. He finds him in Jim Clark, the billionaire who founded Netscape and Silicon Graphics and who now aims to turn the healthcare industry on its head with his new billion-dollar project. Lewis accompanies Clark on the maiden voyage of his vast yacht and, on the sometimes hazardous journey, takes the reader on the ride of a lifetime through a landscape of geeks and billionaires. Through every brilliant anecdote and funny character sketch, Michael Lewis allows us an inside look at the world of the super-rich, whilst drawing a map of free enterprise in the twenty-first century.

The Phoenix Project: A Novel about IT, DevOps, and Helping Your Business Win
by Gene Kim

Five years after this sleeper hit took on the world of IT and flipped it on its head, the 5th Anniversary Edition of The Phoenix Project continues to guide IT in the DevOps revolution. In this newly updated and expanded edition of the bestselling The Phoenix Project, co-author Gene Kim includes a new afterword and a deeper delve into the Three Ways as described in The DevOps Handbook. Bill, an IT manager at Parts Unlimited, has been tasked with taking on a project critical to the future of the business, code named Phoenix Project. But the project is massively over budget and behind schedule. The CEO demands Bill must fix the mess in ninety days or else Bill’s entire department will be outsourced. With the help of a prospective board member and his mysterious philosophy of The Three Ways, Bill starts to see that IT work has more in common with a manufacturing plant work than he ever imagined. With the clock ticking, Bill must organize work flow streamline interdepartmental communications, and effectively serve the other business functions at Parts Unlimited. In a fast-paced and entertaining style, three luminaries of the DevOps movement deliver a story that anyone who works in IT will recognize. Readers will not only learn how to improve their own IT organizations, they’ll never view IT the same way again.

Game Engine Black Book: Wolfenstein 3D
by Fabien Sanglard

How was Wolfenstein 3D made and what were the secrets of its speed? How did id Software manage to turn a machine designed to display static images for word processing and spreadsheet applications into the best gaming platform in the world, capable of running games at seventy frames per seconds?

Learning Computer Architecture with Raspberry Pi
by Eben Upton, Jeffrey Duntemann, Ralph Roberts, Tim Mamtora and Ben Everard

In the 1980s, the tech revolution was kickstarted by a flood of relatively inexpensive, highly programmable computers like the Commodore. Now, a second revolution in computing is beginning with the Raspberry Pi. Learning Computer Architecture with the Raspberry Pi is the premier guide to understanding the components of the most exciting tech product available. Thanks to this book, every Raspberry Pi owner can understand how the computer works and how to access all of its hardware and software capabilities. Now, students, hackers, and casual users alike can discover how computers work with Learning Computer Architecture with the Raspberry Pi. This book explains what each and every hardware component does, how they relate to one another, and how they correspond to the components of other computing systems. You’ll also learn how programming works and how the operating system relates to the Raspberry Pi’s physical components. Don’t be fooled that Raspberry Pi is a toy – this book walks you from the absolute basics of how computers work (all the stuff I thought I knew) through to the most recent architectural advancements in plain English – took my understanding of modern computer architecture up several notches!

12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos
By Jordan B Peterson

Acclaimed psychologist Jordan Peterson has become one of the most influential public thinkers to emerge on the world stage for many years, with his lectures on topics from the Bible to romantic relationships to mythology drawing an unprecedented following of tens of millions of viewers. In an era of unprecedented change and polarizing politics, his frank and refreshing message about the value of individual responsibility has resonated powerfully around the world. In this #1 international bestseller, he provides twelve profound and practical principles for how to live a meaningful life, from setting your house in order before criticising others to comparing yourself to who you were yesterday, not someone else today. Drawing on vivid examples from Peterson’s clinical practice and personal life, cutting edge psychology and philosophy, and lessons from humanity’s oldest myths and stories, 12 Rules for Life offers a deeply rewarding antidote to the chaos in our lives: eternal truths applied to our modern problems.

Critical Chain: A Business Novel Kindle Edition
by Eliyahu M. Goldratt

Powerful yet simple techniques to solve project management’s toughest problems. This book teaches companies to drastically cut project development times resulting in early completion within budget and without compromising quality or specifications.

Relentless: From Good to Great to Unstoppable
By Tim S. Grover

For more than two decades, legendary trainer Tim Grover has taken the greats—Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade, and hundreds of relentless competitors in sports, business, and every walk of life—and made them greater. Now, for the first time ever, he reveals what it takes to achieve total mental and physical dominance, showing you how to be relentless and achieve whatever you desire.

Direct, blunt, and brutally honest, Grover breaks down what it takes to be unstoppable: you keep going when everyone else is giving up, you thrive under pressure, you never let your emotions make you weak. In “The Relentless 13,” he details the essential traits shared by the most intense competitors and achievers in sports, business, and all walks of life. Relentless shows you how to trust your instincts and get in the Zone; how to control and adapt to any situation; how to find your opponent’s weakness and attack. Grover gives you the same advice he gives his world-class clients—“don’t think”—and shows you that anything is possible. Packed with previously untold stories and unparalleled insight into the psyches of the most successful and accomplished athletes of our time, Relentless shows you how even the best get better . . . and how you can too.

Discipline Equals Freedom: Field Manual
by Jocko Willink


Jocko Willink’s methods for success were born in the SEAL Teams, where he spent most of his adult life, enlisting after high school and rising through the ranks to become the commander of the most highly decorated special operations unit of the war in Iraq. In Discipline Equals Freedom, the #1 New York Times bestselling coauthor of Extreme Ownership describes how he lives that mantra: the mental and physical disciplines he imposes on himself in order to achieve freedom in all aspects of life. Many books offer advice on how to overcome obstacles and reach your goals—but that advice often misses the most critical ingredient: discipline. Without discipline, there will be no real progress. Discipline Equals Freedom covers it all, including strategies and tactics for conquering weakness, procrastination, and fear, and specific physical training presented in workouts for beginner, intermediate, and advanced athletes, and even the best sleep habits and food intake recommended to optimize performance.

Within these pages discover the keys to becoming stronger, smarter, faster, and healthier. There is only one way to achieve true freedom: The Way of Discipline. Read this book and find The Way.

Weekly Journal: Week 10, 2019

Last week felt like I got nothing done, however in retrospect, a lot got done.

I have been bringing on a new business development team, and working through the process of training has forced me to focus on and refine a lot of the positioning I have worked on for Thinking.Studio up to this point. Taking the time to reflect and sharpen brand messaging is obvious, but oft-overlooked. In this business, I have always struggled with our multidisciplinary nature and how to communicate that distinct advantage to someone in the elevator.

Tuesday I was in Melbourne for the day – it was excellent to meet up with some great people and get inspired. It was a very long day, that turned even longer when a passenger decided to leave the plane after it had been completely boarded. The poor flight attendants were panicking trying to make sure the passenger that ran off had not left a little ‘gift’ behind – which of course was done while trying to remain as calm as possible to ensure all the passengers didn’t freak out. Eventually, they had to get everyone off – sweep the plane and then get everyone back on. Thankfully we didn’t need to stay the night… by the time I got home, let’s say I was ready for bed.

Most of the week ended up being me catching up with people and getting inspired – which is why I love doing what I do.

I have had fondness for the University of Wollongong my whole life as I basically grew up there – my Father started teaching there back in 1976, my Mother did her PhD there, I roamed the campus for many a school-vacation, and when it was my time, I did both of my degrees there too – so now I am really pleased to continue to participate in the life of UOW as part of the Advisory Committee for the Faculty of Engineering and Information Sciences, and also for the School of Computer Science and Information Technology. Now that school is back, I am planning to do some guest lectures based on some of the material I had developed for Thinking.School – so I should be down there next week doing something a little different! Really looking forward to giving this lecture – will share notes.

Data Science project had progressed somewhat slowly last week – I just felt something of a fog on my ability to really make progress. This happens sometimes when I am really focused on other things like I was this week… However it came good on Saturday and Sunday when I was able to crack a big chunk of issues that were annoying me and make some real progress. I also was scoping out some new ideas with a client last week that will be a lot of fun to implement on the new platform, adding training set creation and forward and back propagation for training neural networks into the pipeline Green put together will be super-cool.

My Karate training suffered a little last week – I was so exhausted after Tuesday, it took me a day of no training and then, between kids activities, I had to improvise and squeeze in training wherever I could for the rest of the week. Thankfully, I did get out for a lovely surf on Sunday with Iwan. Nothing like discussing hacking while surfing…

Finally, here are a couple of security videos that I really liked from last week:

This is one of the best security videos I have seen lately.

Weekly Journal: Week 9, 2019

Last week was reasonably intense. I started it by reading “The Critical Chain” by Eliyahu Goldratt – which was a fantastic read – over the weekend. Monday, I started investigating how we might implement this in our project management tools and processes to see if it has an impact. Given the pressure the project team have on them right now with a product launch imminent (today) I didn’t push this very hard – but I will come back to it this week.


Configured Intercom for a client and integrated it in with a software platform we have been working on for them. I started seeing the potential of building support workflows and routing. It’s a polished product – you can tell they spent a heck of a lot of time working on the user experience.


I was hit with inspiration multiple times over the course of last week with writing ideas. I’m not quite sure which ones should happen first, but the basic overviews are:

  1. Expanding on the original Old – New whitepaper with a trilogy: one distilled and refined to focus on mapping legacy technology to UX, one on finding, mapping and managing legacy data and the final one on strategies for bridging the code and security models. The original Old vs New whitepaper was trying to achieve too much in a single narrative – you can see why.
  2. User Experience archaeology. Looking at old software on old computers to understand where user experience concepts come from and where they might be going. I find it interesting that through technology we have developed universal languages of design that transcends spoken or written languages yet they are able to convey complex ideas effectively. It seems the codified rules for user interface design are intrinsic in the language of design itself – and as technology and human behaviours adapt – so does the language.
  3. The final one is more of a personal piece which may not ever make it – but I have been considering this for a long long time – and reading Maps of Meaning around the same time as reading What We Cannot Know helped to clarify my thinking about the relationship of God, spirituality, culture and social structures. I have committed to working through reading the Summa Theologica over the next month or so – which will probably adjust my thinking even more.


Continued working on the Python modular data science platform. Finally released the data to client from the V1 branch, so migration to the V2 code branch is happening in earnest. The only really interesting changes last week were getting a little more fancy with the code – (but I’m still elbow deep in debugging right now, so not too exciting.) and moving off WSL.

I have loved my time using the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) as I much feel more at home using BASH than DOS – and Java and Python are really at home on a BSD or Linux based machine. The fundamental problem though is that I am constantly trying to straddle two operating systems – in every way – I need two installations of Anaconda, two copies of every library – so I can debug in my IDE and run from the command line. It just defeated the convenience – so I finally bit the bullet and purchased VMWare Player. It’s better (in my opinion) than VirtualBox, but still – it is nowhere near as convenient as WSL.

Oh, and this was a fun video…

This video took me back! I remember using one of these Quantel babies after-hours when I did work-experience in my last year of high school. It was an amazing bit of kit even in 1992!


Recruiting Great IT, Design & Software Engineering Talent

Over the past 15 years, Thinking.Studio has been extremely fortunate to have some exceptional talent. So in writing this post, I thought it would make sense to share what I believe are some key contributing factors to recruiting excellent experienced IT, design, and software engineering talent.

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