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Monthly Archives: December 2014

The internet changed things. It changed how information is shared. We went from knowledge being parked away in books at the library, to information being available at your finger tips, on your phone, while you’re in the bathroom. People have more free access to information than ever before. And it’s use to ARPANET!

Is that good? For consumers, yes! For producers? Maybe not.

I wonder what computer jobs were like in the 80’s. When the know-how of how to create a database schema was parked away inside a lengthy tome that only the senior engineer could grok. Now, that information, the answer to that same question you’ve had and would have spent days searching for the answer to, is now available in an online catalog. Got a problem? Go to google, type in your query.

Google changed things. Google indexed the internet. Google is like the computer catalog in the library.. except Google is slowly becoming the front end to all human knowledge that anyone cared to enter into the internet.

So information is transferring.. from humans, to machines. stackoverflow.com represents a corpus of knowledge that far superceeds what a single programmer could ever learn in his lifetime. It is the accumulated knowledge of what many programmers have learned in their lifetimes. And it doesn’t forget. Except for mod-delete.

So people just drop all they know into the internet. They get a +1! Thanks! But not paid for their contributions, which could potentially reach 100’s of people, some of which are corporations, businesses, places that will make money on what you’ve given away for free.

Now who gets paid? Let’s see.

  • Google: Advertising
  • Sites that host content: whatever they manage to make on ads or the sale of other services
  • Actual Internet Contributers: 0

So, what’s the deal? Smart people are not that important if their knowledge, ability to learn, ability to retain knowledge is not important (since machines cover that..)

But what if smart people all of a sudden stopped existing? Say suddenly, all your savants just stopped being savants, and all you had were non-nerdy people. Then the machines would stop learning :). The indexes would have less to index. And maybe humanity wouldn’t progress as quickly.

Your Academic Career Is Just Masturbation

What is state of the art in industry? Take a look at that.

Now take a look at your MSc or PhD paper. Back to state of the art in industry. Back to your MSc or PhD paper. Your MSc is now irrelevant.

The fact of the matter is, most of the work done in Universities for MSc or PhD work isn’t very good. In fact, it’s below not very good. It’s downright abysmal.

Nobody needs you to write about the role of a specific gene, or yet another computer vision thesis. US government labs, and industry labs already have research superceeding what you spent the last 3 years working on by decades.

It’s only logical. Research builds on what came before it. The state of the art, in computer vision, for example, is top secret — if those algorithms were released, it would be a security hazard for the US. The US military doesn’t publish its cutting edge research for a reason! It took the US military decades of research to get its flight control software to where it is today. I don’t mean to discourage you, but the tendency for smart people is to let their brains get to their head. You have to realize what you’re up against when you try to prove you know something to the world: the world collectively knows a lot more than you do.

So chill out. Calm down. Check yo’ self. What you’re doing in academic work is not that important. Technologies come and go in industry like you wouldn’t believe. The bottom line is, if it doesn’t make money, nobody cares about it.

Your research is only a means to an end. The end is get the jobs you want. The means justifies your being able to get those jobs to everyone around you.

Say you’re inventing yet another programming language to make writing code “faster and more efficient”. That doesn’t matter if your faster and more efficient code doesn’t get sold or seen by anyone. Are you an avid participant in stackoverflow.com, with 100k reputation? Stop that. You are masturbating. And according to lore masturbating could give you hairy palms or even sudden death. Do you get happy when you see imaginary points rack up in social karma sites? Big mistake. You’re conditioned by the gamification of social websites into thinking that the “work” you’re doing by helping others is actually useful. It’s not. By spending time on programming forums not making money and “pursuing knowledge”, you’re effectively wasting your life.

So what do you need?

You need sales. You need customers. You need relationships.

Take a look at the Google Graveyard. Leave your flower. If you’re a code geek, the effect should be chilling. Don’t make me spell it out for you. The vast majority of coding projects die. The vast majority of startups die. The .COM bubble burst because there was no money coming out of these websites that looked promising but offered services for free.

Balance your life

If you are doing an academic degree and are still single, you’re in huge trouble. Because the social aspect of your life is yet undeveloped, and you think your research is so important. Go out and have a beer. Have 2 beers. Mix and mingle. Have sex. Have plenty of sex. Get a partner. Sex is very important because it will develop you socially.

The social aspect in a company isn’t just “50% of the work we do”. The social aspect is everything. If you’re not social, you won’t have a good career.