Nuances for Engineering Social Change

Nuances for Engineering Social Change

A marathon 1-hour keynote for the folks at NATEG Days 2019. Slides can be a bit sparse, so we've got a Midas parable, then a tie-in to Society 5.0 (one of the conference's themes), then a bunch of lessons I've learned to stay productive and keep learning.

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Mahmoud Hashemi

July 31, 2019
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Transcript

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    We Can’t Take Anymore The values of the last two

    centuries have stretched beyond their limits. 28
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    New Values ▪ Create Value ▪ Promote Diversity ▪ Distribute

    and Decentralize ▪ Build Resilience ▪ Establish Sustainability 56
  28. 58.

    Metrics, Old & New ▪ Old ◦ GDP ◦ Unemployment

    % ◦ Stock market price ▪ New ◦ Labor force participation ◦ Underemployment ◦ Affordability ◦ Wage growth ◦ Stress levels ◦ Life expectancy ◦ Personal, professional, environmental health 58
  29. 59.

    No Silver Bullet ▪ Long-term ◦ Find (or create) better

    institutions to serve ◦ Help change the metrics in the public sphere ◦ Hold industry accountable to its debt to society ▪ Short-term ◦ Take what creative work you can get ◦ Just start and work hard ◦ Build community ▪ Right now ◦ Learn to be the best you can be 59
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    +

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    Be the Best You Can Be Focus on: ▪ Solid

    fundamentals ▪ Growth and longevity ▪ Opportunities around you 66
  34. 67.

    Strong Fundamentals ▪ Don’t follow every fad ◦ That’s a

    good way to get burned out ▪ Look for tried-and-true technologies ◦ C ◦ SQL ◦ POSIX ◦ Python ▪ Still waters run deep ◦ Deep knowledge of mature technologies only grows more valuable. 67
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    “Most people overestimate what they can do in one year

    and underestimate what they can do in ten years.” - Billy G 68 Long-Term Growth
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    Watch for Opportunities ▪ Big and small ▪ PayPal ◦

    University talk ▪ Wikipedia ◦ Random hackathon ◦ Old friend of a college roommate ▪ Speaking ◦ Started a local meetup 69
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    The Creativity Gradient 70 How do you ensure you’re continuously

    creating? Consume Critique Curate (NB: look up Sisyphus) Create
  38. 71.

    Managing Yourself Ask: ▪ What are your strengths? ◦ StrengthsQuest,

    YouMap ▪ How do you learn? ◦ Reading, writing, talking ▪ What are your values? ◦ Who do you respect and why? Answer these for yourself, then your collaborators, then find where you belong. 71
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    I I Vs. Schoolwork 73 Work-Work ▪ No professors or

    TAs ▪ Managers != teachers ▪ No guarantee of possibility ▪ No taking the B+
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    74 “The first 90% of the project accounts for the

    first 90% of development time. The last 10% of the project accounts for the other 90% of development time.” — Tom Cargill, Bell Labs The Rule
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    I I Vs. Business 75 Technology ▪ Few technology businesses

    are driven by technology ▪ How many big names rely on pushing the state of the art? ▪ Instead, engineers are usually problem solvers ▪ Just part of the larger business context
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    I I Vs. Research 76 Development ▪ Unpredictable vs. Predictable

    ▪ Definitely Unmanageable vs. Probably Unmanageable ▪ Art vs. Craft
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    I I Vs. Systems 77 Applications ▪ Low-level vs. High-level

    ▪ Automation-facing vs. Human-facing ▪ Primitives vs. Products ▪ Technically rewarding vs. Materially rewarding ▪ Slower-moving vs. Faster-moving ▪ Consider also: enterprise vs consumer (B2B vs B2C)
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    I I Vs. Money & Power 78 RESPECT ▪ Money

    != Power ▪ Power != Respect ▪ Don’t forget your values
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    Engineering Social Change ▪ Know yourself (and your team) ◦

    What are your strengths? ◦ How do you learn? ◦ What are your values? ▪ Work on yourself (and your team) ◦ Fundamentals ◦ Long-term growth ◦ Watch for opportunities ◦ Climb that Creativity Gradient ▪ Find where you make the biggest impact ◦ Business ↔ Technology ◦ Research ↔ Development ◦ Systems ↔ Applications ◦ Enterprise ↔ Consumer 79