Subhashita 1 – Who Is A Friend?

“Dadati pratigrnhati guhyam akhyati prcchati /
Bhunkte bhojayate caiva shdvdham mitralakshanam //”

English translation of the above Sanskrit Subhashita by Prof. S.B. Raghunathacharya, former Vice-Chancellor R.S. Vidyapeet, Tirupati is as follows –

He is a real friend who gives to others first and then takes anything from others, first reveals personal secrets to others and then enquires about their personal things and lastly accepts food from others and happily offers it to others as well. This is the definition of a real friend.

Lessons From People No Smarter Than You

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“Don’t take ‘no’ when your gut tells you ‘yes'”

James Patterson

“Whatever drives us, we all derive happiness from finding purpose. We find joy in thinking, doing and discovering – in improving people’s lives and catalyzing positive change in the world.”

Robert Smith

“I should have done this a long time ago”

Lou Gerstner

“Truly great artists, they always get better”

Jeff Koons

“I read. I listen. I try to surround myself with smart people of all ages and backgrounds. Wednesday nights me and my wife host college students for dinner to share their world-views and work, they inspire me with their potential and passion to change the world.”

John Doerr

“Be a voice that is respected and abreast of developments”

Ratan Tata

“By the end of the day, I’ve learned something that shows how dumb I was yesterday”

Bernard Marcus

“I believe in telling like it is and not worrying about it”

Vinod Khosla

“I believe in work and being connected to the world we live in”

Miuccia Prada

The Art of Breaking Things Down To Bite-Sized Chunks

“Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler”

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Let’s say you want to be a Designer, if you are just starting out on that path, that goal is very daunting, it seems out of reach, how can we make it tangible, bite-sized and easily chewable?

It is a regular experience, we have a big pizza in front of us, we want to eat it but we don’t take the whole pizza and shove it into the mouth. We cut it down into 6 or 8 slices, not only it becomes easier to hold and bite into a slice but also lets others take a slice of their own. Furthermore, we don’t try and shove the entire slice of pizza into our mouth, we take smaller bites and enjoy it. Similarly, we can and should break down a hard problem into smaller slices and further into bite-sized chunks to understand and solve better and have fun doing it.

source: https://www.loveandlemons.com/vegan-pizza/

Second part of the quote above “but not simpler” is important. One can go down the path of chunking problems into smaller pieces but after a certain point there are diminishing returns. We should know when to stop, just as we adjust how much of a slice of pizza we need to bite off so that it can fit in the mouth and it’s easy to chew. We could slice the pizza into 100 slices instead of 6 or 8, is that necessary? In most cases, not only it’s unnecessary, it’s counterproductive.

In my experience, breaking down the hard problem into 6 chunks or 6 questions and repeating that to 4 – 6 levels deep is usually enough to get to that bite-sized chunks that can be tackled easily. Not only small problems are easier to solve, they also give us ammo, motivation from completing a task is the best motivation there is. That power propels us to finish even more smaller problems and before we know it, we have eaten the whole pizza and now it’s time to burn those calories, put on your shoes, let’s go for a 6 mile run!

I understand the pizza analogy only goes so far, I already know to eat a pizza, all pizza slices are more or less the same. What if I don’t know what to eat? What if I don’t know that I need to eat? What if I chose the second slice and not the fifth slice, things could be completely different in a real life situation!

Lessons From My Life’s Darkest Teacher

“Be grateful and happy that beautiful people chose to be in your life. Be happy that it happened, not sad that it’s over.”

I was listening to Cheryl Strayed podcast (author of Wild) on The Tim Ferris Show and at the end she challenged all listeners to write down who their darkest teacher was, life events, people whoever it might be. Here is my attempt.

Was my darkest teacher my Mom’s death? My Dad’s death? My lost teenage years? My failed ventures? they were all significant and some of them life altering but which ones taught me the most about how to live a good life?

I don’t know if it was the darkest teacher but losing my Mom and then my Dad has definitely set me on a different path than I’d have taken otherwise. I am very certain about that, I was a different person before losing them. I became reticent, much less interested in external achievements and rewards, others opinion of me didn’t matter, diminished faith in the external world and I struggle with these everyday.

Why did mom suffer physical pain for 4 years? Why did she die so young? What happened to all the goodness she brought to people around her? What would it be like if she is still around now? What would she say to her grandchildren? Why did dad have to die so young? What more could he have accomplished if he was still around? What happened to all the good things he brought into this world? Many questions and no clear answers, I don’t know if I will ever find them but the inquiry and struggle continues. Even if I find answers to some of these questions, are they worth anything now? Can they remove the pain, the darkness and the feeling of sadness I have experienced in the past and continue to experience to this day? Can the answers bring back what was once lost?

Am I supposed to simply wail in this abyss of darkness, is there a point in trying to look for light? Is this darkness what I am meant to experience? Is this all a random probability? or is there a rhyme and reason to all of this?

Through all this I learned a few things

Be kind and loving to everyone you come in touch with, no matter the situation, who it is, what it is, where it is, be kind and loving in your thought, word and action.

Be steadfast in your faith even if the outcomes are not as you expected and keep doing the work, keep living the life according to your conscience, not according to what the world expects, not what your friends or relatives expect but what you expect of yourself.

Listen to others going through the troubles, don’t advise, just listen and offer a shoulder if they want to lean on.

Be grateful and happy that beautiful people chose to be in your life. Be happy that it happened, not sad that it’s over.

Last but not the least, live up to their values, remember them in your daily life and cherish those wonderful memories.

With Love, A.I: Can A.I Replace Radiologists?

Well the short answer is “Yes”, longer answer is “not right now but in a few years”. I know that is very provocative and most people would disagree, especially radiologists. Stanford researchers have been able to create machine learning models and algorithms that can detect brain aneurysms much more effectively than a radiologist.

What is a brain aneurysm?

Brain aneurysm is a bulge in the blood vessels that could potentially leak or burst causing brain hemorrhage, damage or even death.

So the question is, if AI can do a better job of identifying aneurysms, can it be used in place of radiologists doing a similar function? If it can, then we will not be limited by number of radiologists there are but by number of servers we can add. Moore’s law applies to machines and not to humans so over time it’d become cheaper to deploy AI Radiologists than human radiologists.

This new AI tool is apparently built on an algorithm called HeadXNet. Researchers note however that the results are dependent on “scanner hardware and imaging protocols” which are not standardized, providers (hospital or lab) might have different hardware and use different imaging techniques that will influence how the AI tool detects or misses accurate diagnosis.

In this brain scan, the location of an aneurysm is indicated by HeadXNet using a transparent red highlight. (Image credit: Allison Park)

“A lot of patients are not getting treatment fast enough.”

Eric Schmidt

Augmented reading on the topic from wired.com

The Algorithm Will See You Now

Most Important Thing Is To Be Customer Obsessed

“Don’t satisfy the customer, delight the customer” __Jeff Bezos

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Samantha at https://ttsreader.com
Heather at https://www.naturalreaders.com/online/
Zoe at nuance.com

What does it mean to be customer obsessed?

Give customers what they love and strive to delight them at every touchpoint. It’s that simple, harder in practice. For example, Amazon knew that customers love free delivery, no one likes to pay for shipping. Amazon came up with the idea of Prime to address that customer want, to make shipping free. Apparently, Prime customers spend $1300+ per year, nearly twice the amount spent by non-prime members.

“The missionary is building the product and building the service because they love the customer, because they love the product, because they love the service, the mercenary is building the product or service so that they can flip the company and make money. Paradoxically, it’s usually the missionaries who make the most money.”

Jeff Bezos

Strategies and tools to be customer obsessed?

How can one delight their customers, by giving them what they love. How can we give them what they love? Understand what they love. How to understand what someone loves, get closer to them, go through a day in the life of your customer, shadow them, really, genuinely try to be useful to them. Create routines, rituals that will assist you to be in constant touch with the customer, not automatic emails or text messages that spam them but personalized messages, meet-ups, calls.

What about the money?

Amazon’s prime service drew ire for being “too good to be true” and helped underline the idea that Amazon is too inexpensive to be profitable. Jeff Bezos’s mantra was to delight the customers and not bumping short-term gains on the bottomline. As Bezos puts it, “paradoxically, it’s usually the missionaries who make the most money.” when you work to delight the customer, in the long run, money comes naturally. The lesson is to delight the customer and money will take care of itself.

WTF is PMF?

MAKE SOMETHING PEOPLE WANT

Jessica Livingston

“Identifying a compelling value hypothesis is what I call finding product/market fit. A value hypothesis identifies the features you need to build, the audience that’s likely to care, and the business model required to entice a customer to buy your product.” __Andy Rachleff

“When a great team meets a lousy market, market wins. When a lousy team meets a great market, market wins. When a great team meets a great market, something special happens. If you address a market that really wants your product — if the dogs are eating the dog food — then you can screw up almost everything in the company and you will succeed”

Andy Rachleff

“The term product/market fit describes ‘the moment when a startup finally finds a widespread set of customers that resonate with its product’.”

Eric Ries

“You can always feel when product/market fit isn’t happening. The customers aren’t quite getting value out of the product, word of mouth isn’t spreading, usage isn’t growing that fast, press reviews are kind of ‘blah’, the sales cycle takes too long, and lots of deals never close. And you can always feel product/market fit when it’s happening. The customers are buying the product just as fast as you can make it — or usage is growing just as fast as you can add more servers. Money from customers is piling up in your company checking account. You’re hiring sales and customer support staff as fast as you can. Reporters are calling because they’ve heard about your hot new thing and they want to talk to you about it. You start getting entrepreneur of the year awards from Harvard Business School. Investment bankers are staking out your house. You could eat free for a year at Buck’s.”

Marc Andreessen

“Product/market fit means being in a good market with a product that can satisfy that market.” 

Marc Andreessen

“You know you have fit if your product grows exponentially with no marketing. That is only possible if you have huge word of mouth. Word of mouth is only possible if you have delighted your customer.”

Andy Rachleff

3 Key Metrics for PMF

1. Returning usage – how many users return to use the product/service

2. Net Promote Score (NPS) – would you recommend this to others

3. Paying customer renewal rates

David Rusenko (Weebly)

Product Market Fit is like a Tango dance between product and market.

Mike Maples Jr.

‘WTF’ level features

“It also involves taking the most powerful and compelling aspects of the product and delivering them in the form of ‘WTF’ level features that are not merely compelling – they rise to the level of changing people’s points of view about what’s even possible and create intense delight in customers.”

a16z.com

“Getting product right means finding product/market fit. It does not mean launching the product. It means getting to the point where the market accepts your product and wants more of it.”

Fred Wilson

build-measure-learn iteration

Finding PMF is simple but not easy, build something, test it out in the real world, gather data and feedback and iterate on the product. If it’s that simple why do so many companies build products that no one wants? The process is simple but it takes speed, flexibility and a discipline of relying on data and not on opinions. I know this very well because I was a product owner of a few such products that were built in vacuum or built on very long cycles (iteration cycle was weeks or months and not fast enough).

Lessons From People No Smarter Than You

“With my dress, I was selling confidence and with its success, I was getting confident. Confidence in what you do is crucial”

Diane von Furstenberg

“Time to kick people and by “kick” I mean challenge, is when they’re on the way up, to remind them that when you’re growing, make sure your head is not growing too!”

Jack Welch

“My biggest mistake was thinking I shouldn’t show my mistakes – I learned I should.”

Jack Dorsey

“Your goal should never be starting a company. Focus on the change you want to make, find people who share your same purpose and eventually you may have an opportunity to build something that helps create purpose for others and has a positive impact on the world.”

Mark Zuckerberg

“There is a myth that being successful demands giving up commonsense values; integrity, generosity, courage, empathy etc. I respect ambition but not ruthless ambition.”

Meg Whitman

“For the economic, social and political benefit of all, the Web must be recognized as a public good”

Time Berners-Lee

“If you are not undermanned, you are overstaffed, and you will never see your heroes”

Jerry Jones

“All I had to do was wash dishes and I could earn $1.20 an hour. That was more than 99% of the people make back home in Pakistan.”

Shahid Khan

“It’s important to have good people around you.

Paul McCartney

“The clean energy economy can happen in the next 10 years. So when I think out 100 years, we’re going to be in a world of extreme abundance and peace and prosperity where people live these glorious lives or we’re going to be toast. It’s one or the other.”

Jeff Skoll

With Love, A.I: Medical Image Versioning To Manage Disease Progression

“A.I. could play a big role in supporting prevention, diagnosis, treatment plans, medication management, precision medicine and drug creation” __Bruce Liang, Chief Information Officer of Singapore’s Ministry of Health

In software development, versioning is one of the key tenets of good programming. One can go back in history using a version control system such as git, svn, cvs etc to troubleshoot bugs, reverse deployment. Wouldn’t it be cool if a similar system existed in medical imaging which can assist radiologists to quickly “see” if a treatment is positively or negatively affecting the patient? Computer vision can process images and highlight differences between two or more images in real-time. That means, a radiologist need not spend hours retrieving, interpreting images of a patient and identifying the differences, with a click of a button on their phone they can see highlights of what has changed between images.

If there was a hypothetical medical imaging versioning system, how would such a system work, how would it be implemented and deployed in hospital systems, who would primarily use it, how would it enhance treatment effectiveness?

“Medical imaging guides the course of much of patient care and is an essential element of biomedical research. From x-rays and ultrasound to computerized tomography (CT), functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), and positron emission tomography (PET), medical imaging helps clinicians diagnose, treat, and understand a range of diseases and conditions, including cancer, cardiovascular disease, and neurodegenerative disorders.”

Roadmap for Medical Imaging Whitehouse.gov

Internet Working Group for Medical Imaging (IWDMI) defined the above as the four key pieces for better healthcare through effective medical imaging. I’m particularly interested in “Advanced Computation & Machine Learning” aspect of the roadmap.

Here is a set of breast cancer images for a patient taken at regular intervals. I’m not going to pretend to know what’s going on in the following image but anyone with half a brain can guess that it shows images of different stages of breast cancer and it’s trying to help the physician understand treatment’s effectiveness over time (week 1 through week 20).

For a radiologist to pull such a report, my sense is, it’s not straightforward. Retrieving images from disparate systems, putting them next to each other for quick and easy comparison and looking at the treatments (dosage etc) alongside the images and viewing that over time to get a sense of disease progression probably takes hours if not days.

This can be streamlined and automated using better image storage, retrieval and computer vision. If we can reduce the amount of time to generate this report from days/hours to minutes/seconds, it would save precious time for physicians and might be a life saver for the patient.

In this series, next we will see where the current art is on this issue and subsequently look at the possibilities of using latest Computer Vision (CV) techniques to save time for Radiologists and Pathologists.