The smartest people in the world don’t work for you

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But now they can … Read On.
Kannan Ayyar

This quote made famous by Bill Joy in the late 90’s is as true as it ever was. By way of introduction, I have spent the last twenty plus years of my professional career building large mission critical software and building the multi-disciplinary teams needed to design, develop and deploy it. This includes many large successful projects and some unfortunately unsuccessful ones, all for Fortune 500 clients. When I heard Gigster’s founder Roger Dickey speak at an AI focused meetup in San Francisco earlier this year, I was intrigued by how the perfect storm of technologies are creating a breakthrough of advances in Software Design and Development. I had to get involved.

The promise of hiring experts to build software for your business has always been highly marketed. Now based on advances in Artificial Intelligence and machine learning along with curated networks of experts in design and engineering along with re-useable software components it has become more of a sure thing. In fact, we have a perfect storm. Let’s look at each of these factors.

Engineering as a Service

Creating a culture that is embraced by top developers is hard. They are eccentric and many times need a lot of special treatment. Gigster has created a network of certified high caliber software engineers. This is the first part of the puzzle. Expert networks are sprouting up everywhere and there is no better place for them than in software engineering. It is widely noted that the difference between an average developer and a great one (sometimes called 10x engineers because they can be an order of magnitude more productive than the average) is alarmingly big. Just like communities in open source the network is “self” certified with members policing the quality and skill of the other engineers.

Re-useable Components

Gigster has a a large (and growing) library of functionality that can be drawn upon to the build the next project. Building a marketplace ? The backbone technology to do that in a mobile world is already developed. Need a dashboard for analytics or a visualization interface ? The building blocks to do so have already been created. Our clients benefit with faster delivery and lower cost by using this treasure chest of reuseable and certified modules.

The missing ingredient to tie this together for the client are Product Managers. They coordinate the functionality, workflow, and schedules of delivery. This is the crucial part of getting complex software development projects right. Gigster has invested heavily in this area so we can provide the complete set of project tools, and a network of product managers.

AI and Automation Tools

Lastly we have built automation tools to manage these parts of the platform. We can become better at software development and the data can lead us there. By tracking all the events associated with a successful project including communications, commits, emails, chats we can programmatically tell in real time the digital footprint of a successful project versus one for a broken one. Analogously, we can rank and grade the best professionals for a given project and we can determine which modules can be re-used successfully. Specifically, we have built machine learning automation tools to :

find the best software engineers and specifically what they are good at

proactively discovering that a project is is at risk of going sideways

rank and suggest which modules for reuse

These tools help us give Fixed Price proposals which derisks Software Development for our clients. Our goal at Gigster is to create happy clients by delivering impactful cutting edge applications. We have executed on thousands of projects and the more projects we do, our automation tools get better and smarter.

There are many examples of how our clients are using our service. A common ask is to help them track and use the behaviorial data from their clients and to build machine learning into their apps to alter their business model. Another is to create a chatbot using the latest NLP technologies for customer support and customer acquisition. Its’ a brave new world in Software development and Gigster is leading the way. What can we “Gigster” for you ?

www.gigster.com
kannan@gigster.com

Leadership: Bochy’s Homerun; Johnson’s Strikeout

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I have lived in the bay area for the past 15+ years, and in San Francisco, we are going through a sports renaissance: the Giants have won two of the last three World Series, and the 49ers have made it deep into the playoffs two years running (I’m looking for a championship next year!). Both teams have something in common and it has led to something amazing. Bruce Bochy for the Giants and Jim Harbaugh for the 49ers are amazing leaders and brilliant strategists at their sports. Coupling strong leadership and a deep understanding of their sports and their athletes is a formidable combination. Continue reading “Leadership: Bochy’s Homerun; Johnson’s Strikeout”

India’s Election : I’ll take the self made man …

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I happen to be in India during an amazing time ! The largest democratic election on the planet (and in history) is going on. India has over 800 million people eligible to vote and the elections are happening over a 5 week time period. There are almost a million polling stations set up around the country ! May 16th will be the day the winner is announced. Continue reading “India’s Election : I’ll take the self made man …”

Free is too Expensive

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Working at the Internet Systems Consortium, I feel I have a somewhat privileged look into the open source business model, which I’d like to address. We face the unique challenge of developing and maintaining BIND, the most-installed nameserver software on the planet, which some estimates place on 80% of all DNS servers. We’re proud of our open source heritage–one that began with the first iteration Continue reading “Free is too Expensive”

China – Land of Contradictions

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I just returned from a very interesting week at ICANN’s conference in Beijing – I have been to Hong Kong many times, but this was my first visit to mainland China. I had no idea what to expect, but visions of communism and martial law kept dancing around in my head. Arriving in Beijing, however, I was amazed at how vibrant, bustling, and – dare I say it – capitalist the city was. Entrepreneurship and its associated vitality were everywhere.

ICANN had a VPN that circumvented China’s national firewall, allowing conference-goers unrestricted Internet access. At the hotel I saw some two to three hundred people wholly unrelated to ICANN, and realized word had gotten out: these people were taking advantage of ICANN’s network to escape the firewall! It seemed particularly apropos considering ICANN’s role as an organization seeking to promote access to an autonomous internet. Continue reading “China – Land of Contradictions”