Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Ford 1936 versus Tesla 2013

An assembly line Ford Motors Co. in 1936


Now see below a Tesla Motors assembly factory in 2013

 If founder Elon Musk is right, Tesla Motors just might reinvent the American auto industry—with specialized robots building slick electric cars in a factory straight from the future. That's where the battery-powered Model S is born.
Videos supplied by Professor Steven Gillette, Mechatronics, Sierra College. Rocklin California

 Related Post: Tesla Motors. What I learned from Elon Musk

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Notes about user experience in HPC.

These are my slides for the High Performance Computing meetup kickoff meeting today in San Francisco.

The video with the actual 12 minutes presentation of the slides below is here

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Big Data - undressed and with no makeup

There is no such thing as Big Data. It is the same data we had before which grew much less than we think. The so-called Big Data is the only data we have. There is no such thing as Small Data.

All graphs below are  extracted from a 2013 report by Rexer Analytics

What we think is not what we get

Figure 1: Typical data sets structure is fairly constant over the years
But our perception (not reality) shows this data structure
Figure 2: Compare the imaginary 26% versus the real 8% in more than 100 million records 
I say: Wow!

Where the data comes from?

Figure 3: Sources of Large Datasets
Contrary to our beliefs, social media data, times series via sensors are not the bulk of data. Big Data is about crunching numbers to discover our habits as customers, maybe being supervised by institutions funded with public money, etc.

How Big Data "doctors" describes themselves

That is a good one. There are probably more titles, than substance. All job descriptions below involve practically the same occupational skills. These are marketing names, in essence.
Figure 4: How Scientists working in data call themselves
I love the "Predictive Modeler" title. Sounds like a knighthood.

How data analysis  people work?

They use mainly an open source statistical package called R and which has over two million users. Commercial packages are loosing steam. The new start up data companies will not tell you that, but their modelling is nothing but statistics. Which is great by the way. 

The R usage has exploded. Learn R and create ten startups, if you want.

Figure 5: R usage is exploding

Do they implement recommendations based on big data analysis?

Figure 6: Only 16% over all implement changes following Big Data analysis
Best way to have something applied in real life is to employ a consultant and then use corporate governance to implement it. 

To me, Figure 6 shows we have a long way to see real changes, based on analysis on data which is not as big as we think, it is still focused in customers and how to make money out of people, use R which in essence is the same Statistics since Gauss discovered it's bell.

What is new is the formidable power crunching of clouds and supercomputing. Just google BoscoR.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Madame Bovary and product creation. What I learned from Elon Musk part 2.

This a continuation of the previous blog  Tesla Motors. What I learned from Elon Musk

Why did I write about Tesla?

Because I asked myself why we can count on one hand  how many -  Elon-Musk-like aspiring entrepreneurs exists? 

One explanation  is that such revolutionary Product Creators, must held the title and the power of a CEO in order to deliver unbelievable products. They can not breathe the air of the corporate world to start with. 

If Elon Musk would have had got a Product Manager job at, say, General Motors, he would have had issues right at the interview stage. Human Resources asks questions like what previous experience he had. When they hear he founded and sold PayPal - a financial company - they would eliminate him  as a candidate right away. What that experience  has to do with cars, or even more, with batteries? Assume he passes this step, because a connection inside GM, he would have had to learn the way they make cars in GM  - policies, and all that. He would have had faced some huge opposition from the other Product Line Managers. His salary, no matter how large or small, will never be sufficient for someone like Elon, The hard liners managers of equal rank will protest anyway  Top management will never risk their jobs, because they will never gamble their fat paychecks. Their personal risk tolerance  in their jobs is nearly zero.

Steve Jobs, was fired from his own company, because he has no marketing, no management,  no design, and no business education.

I belong to a group of few people, I estimate thousands of them, who are or were product managers in traditional organizations, and who would like to emulate Steve Jobs and Elon Musk. We could not start yet new companies as CEOs,  a question of luck. We continue to try, although many of us will not ever be CEOs. Meanwhile  we live a life of compromises. Our economic system does not accomodate this type of daring, nuanced product management and they will not pay us to do this work, which is similar to a form of art.

We hope

 Feeling like Madame Bovary

Last century in France, they had no radio and TV and people read books in French - called a roman (a novel) - serialized in weekly parts. Emma Bovary is a heroine of such a book. She was a very sensitive woman who in 19th century, had only one option in life: getting married and stay that way
She wondered if there might not have been some way, through a different set of circumstances, of meeting another man; and she tried to imagine those events which had not happened, that different life, that husband whom she did not know.
They asked the author, Gustave Flaubert who was in real life Emma Bovary.  "Madame Bovary, c'est moi!" (I am Madame Bovary), replied Flaubert

I would say every aspiring product manager who wants to make a difference is a Madame Bovary,  locked in a stale "marriage" meaning a job that limits her.  Her managers who are job survivors, -  career guys.  We put up with these jobs because we must eat, while we imagine those events which had not happened, that different life, to liberate us what must do today.

The spiritual and the science

Some great thinkers, writers, philosophers, religious prophets pray, meditate, enclose themselves in the solitude of room to create a religious-like number of followers, who would buy and do whatever such a leader recommends. The dictionary say the spiritual is
of, relating to, or affecting the human spirit or soul as opposed to material or physical things.
Engineers, scientist, researchers believe in the power of objective experimentation. They write books, publish papers, patent inventions, build prototypes. The dictionary defines science as
the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behavior of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment.
Product Managers extraordinaire - the Elon Musks of this world - have a combination of both skills. They defy a definition and all we have today are definitions of jobs created by others who think in terms of Industrial revolution from one hundred years ago.

We  gain wisdom

The BoscoR Team

While I had a one year contract with Open Science I acted as a product manager for an open source project called Bosco. Usually in High Performance Computing, rarely, if ever a scientist asks who is going to use this. Many people  in our team were also working with the CMS group who searched for the Higgs particle. For those people , this was the only goal. This is leading edge

If a Steve Jobs would have had been around, he would have had discover some goldmine developments that could be used to make people happier and richer. For example, Steve took the mouse idea from Xerox Labs. Xerox scientists did not have an immediate application for it, Steve did

Bosco was an easy way to talk to a cluster or a supercomputer - well easy for scientists. But we had an idea. Why not create special versions for specific users, like the two million users of the Open Source R statistical language?  We called it BoscoR

This means 
By moving R processing to remote clusters, your R workflows can run hundreds or thousands of simultaneous calculations, all managed from your laptop.
and than we did something new:
Through interviews with R users, and their feedback after using BoscoR, we learned how R users work and designed BoscoR to fit their needs.  We incorporated their feedback to improve BoscoR by adding much needed features, such as remote package management. A key design goal was to have a flat learning curve in using BoscoR for any R user.
Sure we were not Elon-Musk level, but we did two extraordinary achievements.  First we opened the gates to hundreds of thousands of of simultaneous calculations from a mere laptop. All these big data companies  cropping like mushrooms after the rain -boasting to predict the future - are nothing but applications written with R, in the same way that GPS systems run with signals from US Government satellites for free. We did this without changing the normal behavior of the existing users.

Second, there was a mind shift in the younger and more dynamic HPC / HTC community of scientists and bright minds. We discovered the importance of the interviews (and its' limitations).
I had a role for this to happen sooner, rather than later.

One day we will be funded,

Steve Blank about National Science Foundation (NSF) entrepreneurial initiative.

The Lean Startup is not a religion, yet this initiative - although a very sound idea - failed to produce significant startups among scientists and academia.

As Steve recognized later, having a scientist acting as  entrepreneur to "go out of the door" (a mantra in the preaching for Lean Startup followers - is against the DNA of the researchers. It is outside their sets of values, too down-to-earth and some do not have the people skills to gets the essence from other people who will become users what they produce.

There is a need of a product creator, someone who speaks the language of the researchers, who understands exactly what they are going to achieve, and then spots the opportunities among the other scientists who will use the products and discover new markets. This is exactly what I did  at Computation Institute, University of Chicago, hoping to make this program a reality.

It is about NSF I-corps initiative, which is described in this blog under the "Scientists as entrepreneurs" subheading. I tried to involve BoscoR into this program.

I failed, but this is a temporary failure. We did not give up. This  video below is two years old. This was only the beginning, and we try to get funded somewhere -outside Academia - sooner than later.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Tesla Motors. What I learned from Elon Musk

In 1971, Mr. Tetsuro Mori, who was an engineer of Yaskawa Electric Corporation took  the word "Mechatronics" and registered it as Trademark by the company in Japan with the registration number of "46-32714". Later the word was adopted in the world.

I would not have known what mechatronics is, it it wasn't for my son who studies it in Sierra College, in Rocklin

The French, who are always noble and aloof in technology, defined mechatronics as
 “approach aiming at the synergistic integration of mechanics, electronics, control theory, and computer science within product design and manufacturing, in order to improve and/or optimize its functionality".
Fig. 1: How do a take this mechatrronics assembly  and transform it in one of the most coveted status symbols in the world today?
 An electric vehicle was viewed in its maximum sophistication as a golf cart
Figure 2: A Golf cart, rather ugly, who no one even considered to replace a Ferrari with it.
This is an electromechanical deign
It takes a genius, like Elon Musk to make a car with the following customer testimonial:
I sold my 430 Spyder in February because I wasn't driving it anymore. My Model S is more interesting to drive and it feels like the future. In the end I was only driving the 430 out of obligation so that it wouldn't just sit in my garage. When I did drive it I felt like I was driving an antique. I used to love the loud exhaust but now it makes me feel like that's old school and silent accelleration is the new cool. And this all comes from someone who has loved the Ferrari brand his entire life. I've been fortunate to own Ferrari's the last 10 years and I believed I would always have a Ferrari in my garage. I was pretty active with my Ferrari friends attending drives and events. But when I got my Tesla Model S all of that love for Ferrari began to fade. It took 6 months of S ownership to finally put the Ferrari up for sale.

The power of frustration makes geniuses exist

So here is the Tesla Model S:

Figure 3: This is mechatronics design + the genius of Elon Musk
The official title of Elon Musk is "CO-FOUNDER, CEO, AND PRODUCT ARCHITECT". Like Steve Jobs, innovative companies have the Top Product Manager, or Product Creator, as a founder. If they do not own their own companies, it is impossible to deliver what they deliver. Quoting from Musk,  he wanted to get into the electric car business since “no one else would.”
Tesla founder Elon Musk said that he got into the electric car business after it became clear that no one else was going to build an electric car. ..., Musk admitted that getting into the electric car business is probably “one of the stupidest things you could do,” or it might even be crazy.

“For many years, almost all people regarded it as either stupid or insane or both,” Musk said. “The reason for me to do it is not because I saw a huge market opportunity. It was clear that we were not going to see electric cars from major car manufacturers.”
Should any of Detroit, Korean or Japanese big names car manufacturers hire Elon Musk-like Product Creator, there would be frustration and failure to go ahead. Ironically though, the big car companies incited the desire to make Tesla Motors as way to prove electric vehicle s are viable and will be dominant one day

Someone asked on the web: "Can we compare Elon Musk to Steve Jobs?" Absolutely. Both worked to extract only "Wows" from future customers, - whether they asked them or not. The "luke-warm niceness"for them. represented a sign of defeat.

Anecdotically , Steve Jobs had a net worth of $6.7 billion at the time he passed away in 2011. Elon Musk has already a Net Worth of $12 billion I wish him to live up to 120 years old. (he is 43 today)

The Tesla S experience

I decided to visit in person a Tesla shop in Rocklin California and experience what it is like to drive a Tesla car, what one feels. There are no sales people. One deals with a Product Specialist. They do not sell. They answer questions,

In Rocklin I dealt with Kyle Zisk, a graduate from Rocklin Mechatronics at Sierra College, a few miles away. He says last year Tesla sold 22,000 cars worldwide in 2013. I calculate mentally:  at about $80 thousands or more each, that is $1,8 billion per year

By comparison, Ferrari sold in 2012 7,218 cars at around @ $200 thousand or more each. That is $1.4 billion per year

You can not buy a Tesla car from the lot. There are no Tesla available. All car must be ordered and personalized . Jessica Hazen, is an Ownership advisor. Her job is to make sure each customer is thrilled with car. I say 'thrilled" for customers leaving a  $100, 000 a pop on the table.

If you look at the engine compartment, the first thing you notice there is no engine in sight.

Figure 4 Where is the engine? There is no engine!
My daughter Michelle and my son David accompanied me to the dealership

Figure 5: You will not resist the temptation of a souvenir photo
The car can fit a rather corpulent guy like me, no problem. I am easily recognizable as I wear a Nepalese Cotton traditional  Boho Round cap. Together with my Red Nikes max air. But if I ever buy a car like that, I must loose some weight. I promise.

Figure 6: The author, trying to learn what can we do with
high performance computing, to make it as nice as a Tesla S.
The handles of car are flush. As soon as Kyle, the Product Specialist walks by, the car recognizes his key. The handles pop out. Once inside the car, this is what I see:

Figure 7: Just like a tablet, ergonomically designed for a car
To start the car, see the lever in between the steering wheel and the dashboard. There is no engine, as we saw in Figure 4, to start.  I move the lever up to Drive of R to drive backwards. I press the tip of the lever and I touch, like any normal car, the throttle pedal. The car moves in complete quietness. "Give is kick", said Kyle. Wow, the car shot like bullet with an amazing reassuring sensation of stability.

The steering was firm, and it it kept the car glued to I-80 West towards San Francisco. I took the exit back to Tesla's office and Kyle showed me the three settings for the steering. Comfort, Standard and Performance. The Comfort is like a Cadillac old style. One can steer with the small finger. The other two settings are Ferrari-like steering experiences.

See the size of the GPS screen One can really see the surroundings, not only the road ahead.

Figure 8: What one see instead of odometer
I can see how many miles I have left, the date, the time the temperature, the radio station. As is something programmable, sure I can see much more, like maybe my horoscope. Everything is intuitive,  natural, goes with my senses.

The business lease Tesla 80 S at $408 per month?

From AutoblogGreen we read:
The estimated effective cost of $408 a month sure sounds great but, just as with the first consumer lease plan for the Model S, there are a lot of caveats to be aware of. For one thing, the actual monthly payment is $1,012, well over twice the $408 number. Tesla estimates that you'll save $261 a month in gasoline costs and $343 a month in business tax benefits (with Tesla calculating a 40 percent effective tax rate and 70 percent business use). Those gas savings, "are calculated assuming $0.11 per kilowatt hour compared to paying $4.90 per gallon for premium gasoline with a fuel efficiency of 20 miles per gallon," so if your business already runs a fleet of Toyota Priuses, you can forget the $408 number. Oh, and the business lease program is currently only available in ten states - CA, CO, CT, FL, IL, MA, MD, NY, TX, and WA.
Ok, maybe is not $408, maybe is $508 per month. Compare with the special offer for a Mercedes Benz 2014 GL450 4MATIC® SUV at $729 /month for 36 months and $6,523 due at signing

The Revolution

What Elon Musk did with Tesla Motors exceeds all techniques and studies for creating habit in consumers (like Nir Eyal Hook model)  or changing people behavior  through product development (Fog Behavior Model). See here.

From the latest HBR, we read:
Despite the $11 billion spent on CRM software annually, many consumer companies don’t understand customer relationships at all. They aren’t aware of the variety of relationship types and don’t understand what kind their customers want.
... For example, some customers want to be best friends with a brand; others are looking for a passionate fling; still others find themselves as ex-friends and would welcome a closer bond.
 This is what Elon Musk does best. He does not want to ask customers whether they will move to Mars to live. (SpaceX). He is building a place , so anyone who desires, will go there

The take away

I had a recent conversation with some coders of high performance computers. They show each other how the code is made, raving among themselves and wondering why they don't have a single paying customer, not even other scientists.

I hope they read this blog. I know a few will say: yes, but we sell no cars. But the majority will open their eyes. Here is what is happening now,The video is here for convenience, originally published on October 23, 2013 on this blog.

Read Part 2:  Madame Bovary and product creation

Also see:      Ford 1036 versus Tesla 2013

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AI and ML for Conversational Economy