Building and Playing with Generative AI 🛠🤖
Plus, a call for your visions of the future.
Hello Community 👋 It’s been a chaotic and sad few weeks, and it feels weird to launch into an update without acknowledging the backdrop.
Lunar New Year is usually a time for me to celebrate my heritage with food and red envelopes, yet the mass shootings in Monterey Park and Half Moon Bay veiled my celebrations with sadness and worry for the Asian community.
I also still consider myself part of the Google community, and the large-scale layoffs affected many people I know. If you were impacted by the layoffs, please don’t hesitate to reach out if I can be helpful (for instance, I know a great employment lawyer).
Wishing you all strength and love. ❤️
Some say that distraction is the best medicine, so let me tell you about the positives of the last three weeks: I’ve started to build, play, and dream about the future, but first, here are some quick updates.
Feb 1 ‘23 Status Update
Success Metrics - N/A for now
Quick Updates and Lessons Learned
The last post went well - Many thanks to those who reached out after my last post. It seemed like being vulnerable and talking about values worked, so I’ll try to keep it up. 😀
I started working with a coach 🏋️♀️ - Through my network, I’ve met Liz Sproat. A Xoogler turned coach, she’s been helping me identify what things need to be true in my next role while also digging into things like the possible contradiction between my desire to be a leader and to be respected for deep expertise. We also walked through a personality test (I’m an INFJ-A) and hit an intriguing snag on my desire to be extraordinary. There are many ways to satisfy this (apparently personality-driven) desire, so what’s the best way to satisfy that in my next role?
Top-down and bottom-up on what’s next ⬇️⬆️ - I’ve decided that I want to approach my next steps through a combination of top-down and bottom-up exercises.
Per my last post, I want to top-down align my values… but also meet my values with a bottom-up approach of identifying the type of work I like to do. Ideally, I can live my values by doing work I enjoy doing. My favorite analogy here is, “Everyone wants to have written a book, but very few people enjoy writing a book.” I need to make sure my goals and my day-to-day work match.
I want to take a similar approach regarding what industry I choose to work in. From a top-down approach, I want to paint a picture of what the future will look like and identify opportunities for innovation. From a bottom-up approach, I am currently intrigued by crypto and generative AI. I’m hoping that if I marry these two approaches to the future, something interesting will happen.
I’ve made 3 sales in my Etsy Shop! 🛍️- Thanks to those who favorited my Etsy shop, and special thanks to those who became customers! I’ve really enjoyed making art for kiddos and exploring new corners of AI art.
Where I could use your help
Please send me your best resources if you have any pointers about the best / quickest way to learn to build a web app + backend service from scratch. 👩💻
If you have a strong vision of the future, please send me your thoughts! Or, if you have a great read, send it my way. 🔮
My interest in plotting my opinion for the future came from reading Sam Altman’s How to Be Successful blog post. I know there are a lot of mixed views of Sam, but I did find the read to be a good thought starter.
In the spirit of plotting the future, I found this podcast interview between Kara Swisher and Tony Faddell interesting. I found it interesting that he didn’t mention crypto mining for subsidizing clean energy investments, but it’s not a very soundbite-able opinion, and sadly suffers for it.
Lyn Alden’s Dec 2022 newsletter had some interesting reads on Bitcoin and global markets.
Pursuing the OpenAI Cookbook has been very fun.
Building and Playing with Generative AI 🛠🤖
As a parent of two young girls, I often think about play but rarely think about it for myself. But play for adults is essential too. And I’ve been indulging in it for the last couple of weeks.
Two weeks ago, a famous AI artist, Claire Silver, called for submissions for an art contest. Entering an art contest felt as good a reason as any to get my hands dirty and start building again. The contest prompt was “Rebuttal”: use AI to create an art piece that could be referenced in the debate around AI art. I decided I would try to use as much AI as possible to submit an art entry.
As you might know from my last post, I have been playing with Midjourney to produce AI art for a couple of months and even started my own Etsy shop. I played for a while using different prompts, but that wasn’t enough. I wanted the resulting art pieces to be more than just prompt creation. The resulting art piece is an NFT project called ICBINA (full artist’s statement)1, but I think there are a couple of important things to highlight from the journey:
It’s remarkably easy to fine-tune a GPT-3 model - I was conceptually intimidated, but with some encouragement from friends and my husband, I started to poke around. If you want to get started, all you need to do is follow these two tutorials (Quick Start and Fine tuning) and probably write a script to parse a .csv into JSON. I also got really good results with only 50 points of data.
I love to build - I got a white-hot productivity streak working on this project. I was curious, I learned, and I kept trying various angles. I loved brainstorming different approaches with my husband. Most other activities fell by the wayside, but I didn’t care because I was having fun. I remembered the high of writing code from my college days. I did a better job of regulating my emotions when I got stuck. I will keep leaning in while it’s still fun and find the limits of building my ideas.
The whole experience was empowering - Since 2006, when I declared Computer Science as my major in college, I’ve had imposter syndrome. At first, it was people questioning my gender + my major. At Google as a Product Manager, my technical skills were constantly questioned. I felt like I had to bite my tongue, as some of my coworkers would feel challenged by a woman with opinions about technical tradeoffs (and for those who are reading and were an ally, I thank you). Now, as I’m coding for the first time in probably a decade, I feel like I’m an even better coder than I was when I graduated college. I have the confidence that most bugs have been solved by someone else on the internet, and it’s okay to copy code. I’m putting my imposter syndrome to the side right now, knowing I can build something if I put my mind to it.
I feel fortunate to have the time and space to play and build. I’m not sure where it will take me, but if I can build my skills to bring my ideas into reality, I’ll experience more confidence and joy. I hope I’ll have some fun things to share in my next update. 🙂