Weekly RoundUp Series December 2020

Dinakaran Sankaranarayanan


Weekly RoundUp Series December 2020

Curation of all interesting content that I came across in the internet till 31st December,2020

1. Tracking India’s school toppers

“They are India’s national school board toppers over 20 years. So it’s no surprise that one’s a cancer physician in New York; another is a PhD fellow at MIT; one is a Harvard professor; one a hedge fund manager in Singapore — and as many as 11 are working for Google. More than half the toppers live overseas today, the US being the destination of choice. Most are in science and technology with IITs their most favoured undergraduate pit-stop; more than half of them grew up outside metros, in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities, and only one is a minority — there’s not one Dalit or tribal. And if you are a girl topper, you are much less likely to move overseas than if you were a boy.

These are among the key findings of the four-month investigation by The Indian Express that tracked down 86 men and women who stood first in India, between 1996 and 2015, in their Class 10 and 12 exams conducted by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) and the Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations.”


2. Follow your passion is the worst advice given to youngsters

Prof. Scott Galloway on the advice of Follow your passion calling it as BS and frequently uttered by the rich

3.Mission Coimbatore: Two SaaS founders want “Kovai” to be the next SaaS hub

“What’s the first thought that gets triggered when you hear a mention of Coimbatore? For me, it’s always been the city’s entrepreneurial spirit. Much before startups became a cool word to go around, Coimbatore’s entrepreneurs have been busy creating enterprises, failing, learning, and growing. It’s called “the Manchester of South India” for a solid reason. So it was a delight to record this conversation with Ganesh Shankar, CEO of RFPIO, and Saravana Kumar, co-founder of Kovai.co–the two entrepreneurs who hail from Coimbatore, and who are now working relentlessly to make the city a next-generation SaaS hub. What’s even more heartening is to learn how India SaaS pioneer Zoho and poster child Freshworks are inspiring this new wave”


4. Jiddu Krishnamurti on pursuing fame.

“Pursuing fame should come secondary to the work, as Jiddu Krishnamurti explains so beautifully in the paragraph below”

5.Web Architecture 101

“The basic architecture concepts I wish I knew when I was getting started as a web developer”


6.MrBeast has cracked the YouTube code. Here’s the inside story of his viral videos

“Donaldson announced a new venture called “Beast Burger.” He is partnering with more than 300 restaurants n kitchens across the country that will make burgers based on his instructions — a model known as ghost kitchens Over the weekend, MrBeast Burger app soared in popularity”


7. Tech does not always give the earlier mover advantage. Ask GCP.

A good thread on how GCP missed the Cloud journey inspite of having a head start with the tech.

8.Google map’s moat is evaporating

“If Google doesn’t start taking the Google Maps Platform seriously, they’ll slowly but surely find themselves alone on an island of inferior, less frequently updated, and expensive-to-maintain proprietary data.

A new generation of innovative apps built on top of OSM will feast like piranhas on a cow treading water”


That’s all for this week and year. Happy New Year, 2021


Curation of all interesting content that I came across in the internet for the week ending 27th December,2020

1. KFC’s new gaming console that can keep chicken warm

“In the history of gaming, there has never been a cutting-edge console that can also keep your fried chicken crispy and warm. Until now.”


2. How Amazon Wins: By Steamrolling Rivals and Partners

More and more evidence of abusive behaviour of the monopoly bully

“No competitor is too small to draw Amazon’s sights. It cloned a line of camera tripods that a small outside company sold on Amazon’s site, hurting the vendor’s sales so badly it is now a fraction of its original size, the little firm’s owner said. Amazon said it didn’t violate the company’s intellectual-property rights. When Amazon decided to compete with furniture retailer Wayfair Inc., Mr. Bezos’s deputies created what they called the Wayfair Parity Team, which studied how Wayfair procured, sold and delivered bulky furniture, eventually replicating a majority of its offerings, said people who worked on the team”


3. Platforms, bundling and kill zones

“What does it mean when Google, Microsoft or Apple turn your whole company into a feature? When do we let a tech giant build and when do we call the anti-trust lawyers? And what does that mean for Spotify, Yelp or printing in landscape?”


4. Benefits of Laziness

“Progress isn’t made by early risers. It’s made by lazy men trying to find easier ways to do something.” — Robert A. Heinlein, aeronautical engineer, Naval officer, and science-fiction author.


5.How to Become Architect from Developer in 2021

“Should you become an architect from developer? What are the steps of becoming an architect from programmer or developer background.”

6. Gold isn’t rare. So why is it valuable?

Gold is arguably the most precious metal in the world, but how rare is it really? We went on our own gold panning expedition to find out.

7. “Be a Platform”, podcast with Shopify Founder Tobi

Tobi Lütke knows the secret to massive scale. It’s to be a platform. Build a virtuous cycle where everyone wins, and you’ll emerge the biggest winner of all. This is what Lütke did when he built Shopify – and then opened it up to the world.


That’s all for the week.


Curation of all interesting content that I came across in the internet for the week ending 20th December,2020

1. What Happens When the 1% Go Remote

“As more Americans, especially the 1%, have flexibility about where they work, city and state governments will need to develop new revenue models that account for the locations of both the people and their businesses. When an advantaged class can live thousands of miles away from where they work and own assets, it deprives cities of a vital source of revenue. When it comes to choosing where we live, it is often said we vote with our feet. What some members of the 1% are doing to cities is more like a kick in the teeth.”


2. Facebook Criticising Apple’s iOS 14 Privacy Changes is a Hypocrisy

“This means advertisement agencies can no longer track users across apps and websites without their consent. At the moment, over 100K apps on the App Store use the Facebook SDK to track user activity, run campaigns, record ad clicks, usage time, and subsequently serve personalized advertisements. Understandably Facebook pays them a huge share. But with iOS 14 advertisement agencies are about to stare at diminished returns since they would no longer be able to track a single user as effectively.This led to an outcry by Facebook a few months back. They called it a foul play”


And a full-page advt from Facebook. Ha ha ha.


3. Google’s AMP is thrash, everyone’s jumping ship

“The stated goal of the AMP AC is to “make AMP a great web citizen.” I am concerned that – despite the hard work of the AC – Google has limited interest in that goal. When I joined, I wondered whether I could make a difference. I hope that I have been a critical friend. The AC has encouraged AMP to think more about user needs – rather than Google’s needs. And changes to the search carousel were also a concern of the committee which have been partly addressed.

Google’s thesis is that the mobile-web is dying and people prefer to use apps – therefore making the web faster and more app-like will retain users. Google don’t publish data about this, so I can’t directly criticise their motives. But I do not think AMP, in its current implementation, helps make the web better. I remain convinced that AMP is poorly implemented, hostile to the interests of both users and publishers, and a proprietary & unnecessary incursion into the open web”


4. Microsoft Designing Its Own Chips for Servers, Surface PCs

Following Apple, Microsoft also attempting at its own chips for servers running the cloud and surface devices. Intel is going to have a really hard time.


5. Gitflow vs Trunk Based Development - what is your preference?

“Each Version Control System methodology has it’s own pros and cons, we need suitable methodology based on project requirement (project type, team experience, iteration type, product scale).”


6. AWS Lambda is winning, but first it had to die

“Major feature changes have successfully pushed Lambda workloads into the mainstream, even if FaaS purists feel betrayed”


7. Life of a Netflix Partner Engineer — The case of the extra 40 ms

“The Netflix application runs on hundreds of smart TVs, streaming sticks and pay TV set top boxes. The role of a Partner Engineer at Netflix is to help device manufacturers launch the Netflix application on their devices. In this article we talk about one particularly difficult issue that blocked the launch of a device in Europe.

This wasn’t the last bug we fixed on this platform, but it was the hardest to track down. It was outside of the Netflix application, in a part of the system that was outside of the playback pipeline, and all of the initial data pointed to a bug in the Netflix application itself.”


8. Fear of Better Options (FOBO) is The Reason You Can’t Make a Tough Decision

“fear of better options, a phenomenon also called “maximization” is the relentless pursuit of all possible options for fear that you’ll miss out on the “best” one, leading to indecision, frustration, stress, regret, and unhappiness”


That’s all for this week.


Curation of all interesting content that I came across in the internet for the week ending 13th December,2020

1. There are too many MBA’s in America

“I think that there might be too many MBAs running companies,” Musk said Tuesday at the WSJ CEO Summit. This “MBA-ization of America,” isn’t great, Musk said, especially when it comes to product innovation. Big corporate CEOs often get caught up in the numbers and lose sight of their mission, which is to create “awesome” products or services, according to Musk. “There should be more focus on the product or service itself, less time on board meetings, less time on financials.”


2. The Google Disease Afflicting AWS

“Can you really tell me the differences between SAM, SAR, CodeStar, Proton, Service Catalog, and the Service Catalog AppRegistry? Because without getting deep into minutiae, I can’t. How is someone supposed to figure out which of these remarkably similar half-dozen services supports their use case?

It really feels to me that the product strategy at AWS has grown increasingly top-heavy, with contradictory and confusing service collisions in an overly crowded console, which represents a clear misalignment between their product strategy and leadership principles. I like and enjoy using AWS services. But I’m facing increasing doubt that I’m “using the right one” as I go about building things, and I’m sure I’m not the only one.”


Here are the top 8 trends shaping digital transformation in 2021.


4. Jeff Bezo’s letters

“I read the book Invent and Wander last week, which is essentially a collection of Jeff Bezos’s letters to shareholders and interviews. While I had read some of his letters prior and many of them often make the rounds on social media, it was nice to read them all in order and almost be able to piece together the progression of Amazon over the past ~25 years.”


5. Big Data will be dead in 5 years

“Big data is a great marketing term but in reality, that’s all that it is. It’s a term used to excite business executives to make them feel like Google or Amazon. The reality is that big data doesn’t mean anything and its meaning is only going to reduce.

As companies become more familiar with data processing and service providers abstract away more complexity, big data will just become data. Big data engineers will just become data engineers and any data engineer worth their salt will be handling what we now call “big data processing”. Fear not though, this doesn’t mean your big data knowledge is obsolete, just that its name might not mean as much as it once did.”


6. AI for Chat Support, What’s Possible and What’s Working

AI for Chat Support, What’s Possible and What’s Working - Podcast with Abinash Tripathy of Helpshift. This episode’s topics include: chatbot capabilities, best/worst AI deployment approaches, lessons learned, and which problems are solvable with AI



Curation of all interesting content that I came across in the internet for the week ending 6th December,2020

1. Google fired an AI ethics researcher, but what was the researcher’s paper all about?

Reading through the article , one interesting observation is the consequences of running Machine Learning Models at unprecedented levels and the environmental impact as a result of this. It should be interesting to see more people digging into this aspect in the days to come.

” Timnit Gebru, the co-lead of Google’s ethical AI team, announced via Twitter that the company had forced her out. Gebru, a widely respected leader in AI ethics research, is known for coauthoring a groundbreaking paper that showed facial recognition to be less accurate at identifying women and people of color, which means its use can end up discriminating against them. She also cofounded the Black in AI affinity group, and champions diversity in the tech industry. The team she helped build at Google is one of the most diverse in AI, and includes many leading experts in their own right. Peers in the field envied it for producing critical work that often challenged mainstream AI practices.”


2. How Microsoft crushed Slack and the obvious reason why Slack sold itself to SalesForce

“Slack’s life as an underdog darling of Silicon Valley ended on November 2, 2016. That’s when the upstart communication startup published an open letter to Microsoft in the New York Times, offering the tech giant an insincere “welcome” to the world of workplace chat software. The occasion was Microsoft’s launch of Teams, a Slack clone that would come bundled with the company’s popular Office 365 suite of products. In its letter, Slack warned Microsoft that “Slack is here to stay,” adding: “we’re just getting started.” But the 4 million users it had at the time would increase to just 12 million four years later, while Microsoft — which added Teams to its 365 bundle without increasing the price — took Teams from zero to 115 million users. That disparity helps to explain why Slack sold itself this week to Salesforce. The deal, which values Slack at $27.7 billion on revenues of $833 million over the past year, has largely been greeted with cheers. (Ben Thompson offers a typically excellent rundown of the opportunity here for both Salesforce and Slack.)”


3. Why Enterprises are moving from TensorFlow to PyTorch for building Machine Learning Models?

TensorFlow, which emerged out of Google in 2015, has been the most popular open source deep learning framework for both research and business. But PyTorch, which emerged out of Facebook in 2016, has quickly caught up, thanks to community-driven improvements in ease of use and deployment for a widening range of use cases.

PyTorch is seeing particularly strong adoption in the automotive industry—where it can be applied to pilot autonomous driving systems from the likes of Tesla and Lyft Level 5. The framework also is being used for content classification and recommendation in media companies and to help support robots in industrial applications.


4. State of the Octoverse Report 2020

The State of the Octoverse explores a year of change with new deep dives into developer productivity, security, and how we build communities on GitHub.

“This year, the pandemic forced many of us to work remotely and more of our focus was shifted to childcare, schooling, personal health, and how to try to balance it all. But as the global workplace shifted into its new reality, we also saw an increase in developer connection and camaraderie through open source. With this in mind, an important question to ask is how we make all that work sustainable. Thanks to automation and collaboration, developers have been able to communicate more effectively and increase efficiency, carving out more time to do the work that matters most.”


5. How Tech Teams should be run more like sports teams?

“Maybe we should consider our tech teams as needing off-season, and pre-season just like a sports team. Maybe managers need to look out for individuals in case they have the equivalent of an “in-season injury”. And yes, this is more about a mental health issue rather than about breaking legs or pulling muscles (although, bad backs people and desks people!).

Tech is often a high-stress world, and the delivery of technology projects is often at the sharp end of a business. It is often seen as the critical piece of the puzzle, and the stress levels of tech people are so often very high, and it’s why I see so much burnout. Maybe, just maybe, there’s a better way to think about it.”


6. Walt Disney on how to truly love what you do

“Due to individual circumstances, not everyone can aspire to the kind of work that brings out the artisan in them, but anyone can at least try to adjust their mindset with what they have. Walt Disney is one of the enduring cultural icons of the past few generations, and much of both his success and his level of fulfillment can be traced back to his craftsmanship at work. Most of us have careers that last between 30 to 50 years. That’s a significant part of life, and the only way to ensure they mean something is to treat what you do with the right intention. There’s an artisan in all of us. Whether or not it shows through depends on our daily choices.”


7. How Jeff Bezos makes decisions

“There are two types of decisions. There are decisions that are irreversible and highly consequential; we call them one-way doors, or Type 2 decisions. They need to be made slowly and carefully. I often find myself at Amazon acting as the chief slowdown officer: “Whoa, I want to see that decision analyzed seventeen more ways because it’s highly consequential and irreversible.” The problem is that most decisions aren’t like that. Most decisions are two-way doors.”