Developer Tea

Interview w/ Andrew Ofstad from Airtable (part 1)

Episode Summary

On this show, we often talk about breaking a problem down into smaller tasks, and in today's episode, we have the pleasure of speaking with Andrew Ofstad, who a co-founder of Airtable. Airtable is the future of data management, specifically spreadsheet data management, and in part one of a two-part episode, we discuss how Andrew got into it and where it's going. If you're listening to this episode be sure to tune in to part 2, coming out later this week.

Episode Notes

On this show, we often talk about breaking a problem down into smaller tasks, and in today's episode, we have the pleasure of speaking with Andrew Ofstad, who a co-founder of Airtable.

Airtable is the future of data management, specifically spreadsheet data management, and in part one of a two-part episode, we discuss how Andrew got into it and where it's going.

Today's episode is sponsored by Linode.

In 2018, Linode is joining forces with Developer Tea listeners by offering you $20 of credit - that's 4 months of FREE service on the 1GB tier - for free! Head over to and use the code DEVELOPERTEA2018 at checkout.

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Episode Transcription

On the show, we often talk about breaking problems down into the smallest subproblems, the smallest version of a problem, doing small things. This is a principle that we talk about on the show. And in today's episode, we have a guest that believes in doing just that. So much so that he built essentially an entire company off of that concept. In today's episode, we invite Andrew Ofstad onto the show. Andrew is the co-founder of AirTable. I believe AirTable is the future, or is going to at least define a big portion of the future for the management of data, and specifically the management of spreadsheet data. I'm really excited about this episode. Thank you so much for listening. If you haven't yet subscribed and you don't want to miss out on future episodes, including the second part of this interview, I encourage you to go and subscribe before you forget. Go ahead and open up whatever podcasting app you're using right now and subscribe so you don't miss out on future episodes. Thank you again for listening. Now let's get into the interview with Andrew Ofstad. Andrew, welcome to the show. Yeah, thank you so much for having me. I'm really excited to be on. All right, so I'm really excited that you're on as well, because I've found AirTable on my own volition, something like a year and a half ago. I don't remember exactly how long ago it was. It was very early in AirTable's history, and immediately you fell in love with the concept. And even more recently, which AirTable's not paying me to talk about this stuff, by the way, just let's be very clear there. But AirTable released this new set of features that allows people to use AirTable in much more composable ways and much more powerful ways. And I'm sure we're going to talk about some of that stuff down the road in the conversations and so if you're listening right now, make sure you stick around for some of that, because it really is an extremely powerful tool. But before we get there, I'd love for you, Andrew, to talk a little bit about your background where you came from. And what do you do at AirTable? Yeah, well, first of all, thank you so much for the plug. Really appreciate it. So yeah, I'm one of the co-founders of AirTable kind of focused on a lot of stuff, but mostly kind of the product side and I have a background in product management. So before AirTable, I studied electrical engineering and economics in school, sort of knowing that I actually even before that in high school, I was always really interested in software and particularly video game development. But I sort of had this conception that I wanted to figure out how things worked at a lower level in college, so the electrical engineering. But I had a couple of friends in college who were kind of like the tech nerds who we'd always talk about startups and ideas and that type of thing. And after college, we sort of stayed in touch. I left and basically went to work for a consulting firm in their sort of research department, kind of building enterprise products and demos mostly that we sort of pitched to Fortune 500 clients. You know, things like iPhone application, this was kind of back in 2008, 2009. So flash applications for like CRM and stuff like that. And after that, I kind of went to work for Google. They have a rotational kind of new grad product management program called the APM program that I was part of. They just kind of drop you into a product and just kind of give you some guidelines, but you're more or less just kind of like dropped in and you're told to, you know, like basically kind of manage the roadmap of this product and sort of be the PM, which is kind of like a lot of different things, but it's a very sort of fast paced learning environment. So I was on Android for a year in my first kind of project there working on kind of similar social media apps and some other pieces of Android. But then I moved on to Google Maps for a couple years where my role there was kind of basically taking Google Maps for the desktop, which had become very pretty complicated. Over the years, they'd sort of like added on a ton of features and a bunch of different data sources into maps. And the UI was getting super complex. So I was kind of part of this team though, is from scratch trying to take that UI and just drastically simplify it and kind of just into a few kind of core pieces of UI like a search box and kind of like these imagery tiles and that type of thing to really simplify the experience and yet kind of expose all the information and complexity that was there. So I really sort of enjoyed that role where you're taking something very complex like, you know, all the world geographic information and trying to present it in the way to the user that's kind of very powerful and yet really simple. So at the same time, I sort of like, you know, myself and my two co-founders, Howie and Emmett who, as I mentioned, we had to call it together, we had stayed in touch and how we had started this company, ETAX, which was kind of a CRM and your inbox product and you did why company for that. And he eventually sold that company to Salesforce and sort of while he was there, he kind of saw that, you know, a lot of like software out there, especially in the business world, is just kind of a database with some views on top and, you know, some kind of like simple logic. But for the most part, like everything that, you know, a lot of stuff that people kind of use to organize things in the working world and kind of add that layer of process and stuff and do a lot of stuff that software does is just kind of like a database. So we're both really interested in the space of kind of giving, just kind of making the process of kind of creating really useful software way easier for the end user and it seemed kind of crazy to us that you had to be a programmer and write code to kind of create and customize useful software. So in the database, kind of like the kind of obvious place to start and we sort of just set to work kind of trying to take this pretty complicated thing, which is a database, just simplify it such that anybody could come in and pick it up, given some, you know, basic familiarity with the spreadsheet and just kind of like take this complicated concept and just give it to non-veilers. So that was kind of the Genesis company and we just kind of started. And the other day, it's just kind of building prototypes, doing iterations, kind of talking to customers, showing them demos and getting feedback, incorporating that and just trying, really trying to simplify this, you know, the database as much as possible. This is such a loaded, man, so many pieces of advice that we can pull out of this experience that you've had. I think the first train I want to kind of follow here is the idea of complexity. You mentioned that a few times and I think it's really key to understand, first of all, you know, why our table exists in the first place. But secondly, to hopefully pull out, you know, moving forward into the future for developers who are creating UIs or even beyond UIs, it's not just limited to UI development. It can be in some strategic sense, taking complexity and turning it into a useful human usable thing, I'd love to know, you know, what do you think is the most useful concept that you have learned over the years, dealing with taking complexity and making it accessible, taking a complex idea and simplifying it to the point of accessibility without removing the flexibility or the power of that thing. Yeah, that's a really great question. I don't know if there's a simple answer. I would say that sort of a lot of it for me, and I think this is the case in a lot of situations, just sort of having a very deep understanding of all the problems that the customer is trying to solve and all the sort of feature area of a product and just kind of taking all those and thinking about, you know, basically sort of components or kind of modular pieces that you can sort of assemble, and each of those pieces has like a, you know, has to have a lot of express, you know, expressiveness. So sort of like going back to the Google maps example, you know, there's like a search box. So, you know, basically anything you want to to find, you can just type into that and basically you sort of, you know, take a lot of complexity that might otherwise exist in UI where you're sort of like turning on different visual layers and kind of toggling stuff and you can sort of put that into something like a search box where you just type a query and then there's like enough sort of, you know, work that goes into kind of surfacing the right content for that that basically really kind of makes this a simple yet super expressive and elegant interface. I would say like another sort of like the maybe an analog and AirTable is we have, you know, we have this product where we have, it's pretty simple at first glance where we have kind of a few main components you can sort of, or what we think of as kind of LEGO pieces, you can mix and match to kind of create a lot of kind of emergent complexity. So we have, you know, you basically go into AirTable and you initially kind of have like this spreadsheet view and you can add fields which are basically, you know, the equivalent of columns in the spreadsheet and those can be different types. So a field can be like a, you know, like a colored suck value where you can kind of choose from a different bunch of different options or it can be a sort of a link to a record in different table, a few different things and so you sort of understand this concept of having records in this table and fields that can sort of like hold different types of data and then we sort of have this concept of views and you can sort of take those same records and view them in different ways so you can view them on a calendar or sort of like a, you know, con bond board or as cards and then I think you alluded to this earlier but we have this new kind of product called blocks which are kind of like these modular apps you can sort of add on to your base. So, you know, there are only kind of three main high level components but each one of those has kind of like these modular things you can mix and match and they're very kind of expressive pieces of the UI that can kind of provide a lot of different kind of expressive freedom for the user so you can sort of combine all those Lego pieces, you know, and to kind of create a lot of emergency complexity and to solve very detailed problems but the kind of individual components themselves are pretty simple. So I don't know if that completely answered your question but I think like part of it is just like kind of going back to what I was saying earlier is instead of just kind of you know, listening to customers and responding to each individual piece of feedback like if somebody is like, oh, I wish, you know, an AirTable there is a way for me to add an attachment to record like we're not going to add a hard coded like, you know, attachment field to every single record like instead we're going to sort of think about how that fits into our broader framework and come up with a broader framework sort of a layer of abstraction that can not only allow you to sort of do that but add all sorts of other functionality to the product. So I think it's sort of like, you know, just kind of like collecting all the, a lot of feedback and then sort of breaking it up into the the higher level components and not only solve that specific problem but sort of solve a whole class of problems which, you know, it's sort of something you encounter in computer science a lot as well as I think in design. Yeah, that's, that is exactly the line of reasoning. It's almost counterintuitive. If you imagine, okay, how do I, how can I make a very flexible scaled system? As it turns out, you don't think at that level, you think at the very smallest level and then you think how those small things relate to each other. So like, I imagine, you know, building out like a grid, right, and you take all of your components and put them in the rows and the columns and then compare, you know, for, for component A and component B, how do they relate to each other or even for two components that are the same. How do those two, how can those two relate to each other? What can they do together? You know, what happens when one is inside of the other one or, you know, depending on how your components are composed, you know, let's, using the language of something like React, you know, if you're rendering a component inside of another component, for example. And again, we're using UI-driven concepts, but really these, this isn't just about UI, it's, you can think this way too, you know, taking a concept and saying, oh, okay, you know, first search bar, for example. Oh, I have a search result. Well, actually what you have is a list item, right? And so if you break it down to as primitive of a thing as you can and then see what the shape is of the common primitive things, that to me is what AirTable does so brilliantly in really what a good problem solver does as well is you start to recognize the shapes of your problems. You say, oh, you know, that to do app, oh, that's a model of view and a controller. I recognize that pattern before, right? I see things that I've done before in that. I can shape this stuff to fit this mold very similarly. Yeah, and it's like a lot of times that, you know, at first glance, they, you know, to sort of the, you know, the lay person, they seem like these, you know, these two components seem like very different things, but sort of once you sort of get down to it, you know, there's kind of a flexible underlying kind of component that sort of can, you know, meet either one of those requirements. So yeah, I think that was a perfect way to put it. Well, you just said about the sort of racked component analogy there. Yeah. So have you heard of No, I haven't. No. Okay. So they, uh, 30 days of innovative challenges, which sounds, uh, kind of, you know, high minding, but realistically, all that, all that they do is they send you 30 emails over the course of 30 days. And they ask you a provocative design oriented question. Oh, interesting. So for example, um, how might you combine toothpaste and coffee? And to me, this is exactly what a good problem solving, uh, kind of complexity discussion ends up being about is these edges, these weird scenarios where you have, you know, how does an image relate to an image? Oh, maybe that's a gallery, right? Like maybe, maybe we've suddenly created a, like you're saying, like a higher order component here, um, just because we explored how these two things relate to each other, rather than creating the things that we already know relate to each other, we're forcing ourselves to, you know, consider context and, uh, to change the context of, again, of a given concept. So now it's not, um, and add an attachment to every type, right? To every primitive type. Yeah. But instead, I'm going to make attachments a primitive on their own. Yeah. It's totally different concept. Yeah. For sure. That's interesting. I haven't heard of this toothpaste coffee thing, but, uh, I wonder if this, I wonder if this is like a long con for some company to like source, you know, brilliant. Yeah. And, uh, yeah. It very well could be. There are some, I think I believe there's like a, um, a forum where people can discuss their ideas and their solutions to the problems and that kind of thing. Um, in generally, the, it's completely bizarre things like come up with a new use for a paper clip or, you know, um, which at first sounds kind of, um, I don't know, patronize using, uh, to design industry. But when you actually do the exercise and also, by the way, you know, realize us free, other than you're exchanging your email, you start to think, wait a second, I haven't used this muscle of my brain in a while, right? Like, especially if you get into the habit of, uh, writing code and solving the same types of problems over and over, yeah. It's easy to forget that kind of reforming and, again, breaking things down, something that I'm really, uh, kind of pushing on the show is this idea of finding the kind of the fundamental attributes of a thing rather than, then just focusing on the title or the naming, kind of the encapsulation of the thing, break that away and see if you can look at the attributes of the thing because that's a little bit more enlightening as to how that thing may function in a system. Yeah. That's great point. Like, I like that, um, sort of, you know, well, like, how would you, what would you do with a paperclip type thing? Like, I don't know if that's a specific question, but just the thought of like, if you were a designer trying to make a better paperclip, um, like, it seems like a pretty boring problem rate, but put to your point, sort of like, what are the actual challenges people are trying to solve with a, you know, paperclip? And, and that's not just like, say that we're going to take this shape that everybody has in their head that they think is a paperclip and, uh, kind of, you know, add some colors to it or round out the corners. Like the, the better way to think about that problem is like, you know, people are trying to hold papers together. And, uh, maybe there's a better way to do that or maybe, uh, you know, instead of a paperclip, like we should figure out a better way to send documents and like, what is the root problem we're trying to solve? And then kind of from those, uh, kind of core, core pieces and, and those, uh, kind of first principle, uh, you know, yeah, kind of breaking it down to, to the, the, um, the underlying components and then kind of like reassembling it from the ground up is sort of like a, kind of, uh, type of first principle thinking that I think is incredibly valuable for any, you know, designer or anybody creating anything and, and it's, uh, probably good exercise to, um, kind of, you know, give yourself, uh, you just, uh, totally wild, uh, ways to kind of exercise that, that part of your brain. Yeah. And, well, and you can approach it from the other angle too. You know, this is a paperclip. We're going to hand you a paperclip, but actually, is it a paperclip or is it a piece of metal wire, right? Yeah. And so, so you can break down materials as well. And so you start seeing materials differently. Uh, and so once you can see problems and materials differently, then very often new things totally, like you're saying, the, the, uh, the emergent complexity or what, what was the phrase that you used? Uh, yeah, I think emergent complexity was it when it was kind of take, um, you know, a bunch of seemingly simple things and just, uh, there's the, uh, combinatorial explosion of, of different combinations, different ways to mix and match that, uh, kind of arises from a bunch of simple, uh, you know, slightly differentiated, uh, components. Yeah. The idea that, uh, that, you know, if you buy a box of crayons, nobody encoded in those crayons, what you were able to draw with them. And so, uh, you're really buying an endless number of possibilities, right? And so, uh, the same thing can be said for, uh, for that emergent concept of saying, hey, you know what, actually all of these labels that we've put on things, what if we took those labels off? Um, what if we didn't have that vocabulary? How would we look at things a little bit differently? Yeah, exactly. Yeah. Um, and sort of like that's, that's one philosophy we definitely have at AirTable is, whenever we're sort of, uh, you know, kind of looking at customer feedback, it's, uh, you know, you always kind of want to get to the root problem that they're encountering and then sort of, uh, work backwards from there. And I think, um, we, we try to like, you know, as much as possible and sort of just kind of aggregating a bunch of data points for, uh, kind of people saying we want this thing or that thing, we try to like understand the underlying story and the underlying issue and the underlying problem we're trying to solve and kind of work from there, uh, because a lot of times the solution that is suggested is, uh, quite a bit different than the way you could potentially, um, kind of solve their problem and maybe, uh, a way that solves a lot of other people's problems as well or it doesn't in a better way than they had it just initially. Today's episode is generously sponsored by a company that you hopefully have heard of if you've been listening to this show for very long at all, and that is Linode. Linode allows you to get a Linux distribution up and running in the cloud with just a few clicks. You pick the distribution, you pick the node location and you pick your resources and then it's basically off to the races and you can do anything with Linode that you can imagine doing with a Linux. So if you wanted to spin up your own microservices or let's say you wanted a private Git repository, this is actually a really popular use for Linode right now because of all of the news with GitHub, you can do that. You can do that kind of stuff with Linode and it starts at such a low barrier to entry, $5 a month. I can't imagine paying $5 a month for anything of value and Linode actually provides you a one gigabyte of RAM server in the cloud with an SSD storage backing that server. So I really encourage you to check it out. Go over to slash the Linode. Use the code Developer Tea2018 checkout and you're going to get $20 worth of credit. You can use that $20 on any of Linode's hourly plans and services. Go and check it out, slash Linode. Thank you again to Linode for sponsoring today's episode of Developer Tea. I think again, we have where you know this is a more American problem maybe than it is a universal problem. But increasingly so for all kind of people in this industry at least, the idea that problems are supposed to be solved quickly rather than solved thoughtfully can be really damaging in the long term. And so yeah, I mean, but at the same time, you don't want to strip away. And so it's really about finding where the most valuable effort is rather than where the most complex effort is necessarily. And sometimes those things can become a little bit muddy. But this is this conversation on complexity is exactly where I was hoping this discussion would go. But I do want to kind of pull back a little bit and ask you, you know, of all of these experiences that you've had, what really kind of as for you personally, what parts of this have you connected to at kind of a deeper level where you feel like, hey, you know what, I'm really actually serving a important purpose for these people who are using AirTable, for example. You know, what has, have there been any particular moment where you felt really strongly that you were exactly where you were kind of, quote, supposed to be in that moment? Yeah, absolutely. That's a great question. I think I've always found products that kind of take something that was previously really complicated and only accessible to kind of a small class of specialists and really kind of lowered the usability bar enough that it kind of opens up this whole new kind of class of creativity for kind of a whole new set of people. So I guess like one example of that is going back to my experience at Google. I was a product manager there and I think, you know, I had some background in design, but I didn't do a lot of it. And I think part of the reason was I always thought of designers as people who, you know, were spent all day in Photoshop, which is this very complicated piece of software and it's just pretty intimidating. And they're always kind of working on these beautiful pixel-perfect kind of photographic designs. And, you know, a few products came out when I was at Google like fireworks initially, but then a sketch, which was kind of a much better implementation of that where they sort of give you the kind of essential pieces you need to kind of creatively express software design in a very simple way that kind of lowered that bar for actually people to and people, especially in the software industry, to kind of create mocks and get their creative ideas out into the world. So I found that to be very powerful as a product manager where I sort of like started doing a lot of design work and kind of really kind of embraced that side of things as well as kind of like the slightly technical side and everything else that kind of goes with that role. But I thought it was just really awesome that somebody could go and design a piece software that basically helps to kind of democratize this previously sort of slightly arcane discipline and gives them this new form of creative expression and empowerment. So I think the same idea is definitely holds with AirTable and we have a lot of cases where, you know, like so people that get a ton of value out of the product are a lot of times in organizations and they really get at their job like they know, you know, maybe they're working in video production and they sort of know like how the best way that for their specific company and their specific team to actually run a production process. But, you know, previously they don't really have control over their software. So they could sort of buy something off the shelf where the kind of creator of that piece software, you know, some software engineer or team basically kind of creates this one size fits all piece software for their very specific use case. And a lot of times it doesn't actually fit what they want to do or what their team wants to do. Alternatively, they can use something like a spreadsheet which isn't really designed for kind of building these workflows and more kind of built for number crunching, you know, some sort of like project management tool where you sort of have to fit sort of the complex, you know, information that makes sense for your team into kind of like this, this kind of, you know, box where you have like a name and a task name and a due date like it doesn't always like make sense to kind of squeeze into there. So something like AirTable gives them the ability without kind of being a programmer to kind of build the perfect application that kind of fits their very specific process and workflow. And I think that's really empowering because a lot of times in organizations today, you know, sort of the way you can have an impact is to kind of improve a process around something and kind of make a team better. And a lot of ways like the process that kind of, you know, is the glue between a team is oftentimes software and sort of like giving people the tools to kind of actually customize that software and make it fit their team is I think incredibly empowering and sort of like I said before, it kind of lowers that usability bar for creating this really useful and empowering software to a whole new class of people outside of, you know, kind of the developer community. So, and we have examples of people, you know, like the major retailer, we have a customer who was a fabric sorcerer and there was they previously had this awful process where they'd be sending around Excel spreadsheets, you know, kind of listing all the vendors and different types of fabrics. And then they'd send it off to the design team and the design would be like, hey, I need a picture of this and they had like a whole separate folder of kind of swatch, you know, swatches for the fabrics the design team could use to kind of create the clothing for their next, you know, season catalog. And she ended up using AirTable to kind of replace that whole workflow and put it into one place and kind of fit that process exactly to how she imagined it without all as kind of friction and kind of these ad hoc tools. And I think, you know, because of that, she was actually promoted to kind of like lead up their innovation department. And I think, you know, there's, we have a lot of stories like that where people have these huge ambitions and, you know, have in their heads, they're the business people that know the perfect process. And AirTable gives them the ability to sort of like form that into software and that's incredibly empowering for them. Wow, that's really cool. I think a lot of people who have encountered a process gap and pretty much every developer has probably been there before. Yeah, but much beyond just developers, I mean, designers run into this. My wife is actually, she coaches teams. She's primarily kind of an agile mix of a couple of different titles. But ultimately, she kind of acts as like that, though the project management role, although she would, she would hate hearing those words come out of my mouth. But she, she has run into this kind of issue where, okay, this tool, I wish it had this particular field or this particular concept, and I can't quite like this, it's incomplete because of that. Yeah. And I think, I think what's so interesting about approaching designing tools for, you know, the cool thing about something like AirTable is that the tool is designed at an abstract layer. And so it's designed for designers, not for graphic designers per se, but it's designed for allowing, it is a design tool in and of itself because it allows people to take these concepts and strap them together in unique or interesting ways, useful ways. And I think, you know, that concept is important, not just for AirTable, but for other tools that are emerging. So I actually have this question. You mentioned that, that you're particularly interested in tools that democratize something that was otherwise kind of landlocked, that was held away from those people. What do you see as, you know, in the next three to five to ten years even, areas where that is still true, where that's kind of still locked away, and ways that we may be able to tackle that as developers, as designers, you know, what direction do you see that going, that particular concept? Yeah, that's a great question. I mean, I certainly think in sort of the, you know, we're sort of tackling this software creation to kind of, you know, organize teams and power, workflows, and I think, you know, as blocks, we can sort of like tie into other services, a lot more and kind of, you know, make AirTable kind of work in the, in the broader software community much better and, you know, kind of play, play with other services. So that's something we're definitely working on. And that's, that's kind of like going further out the software stack, right? So you sort of have like the data level and then you have like the view kind of level on top of that. And then like you sort of have like the, you know, logic, you know, triggers workflow type stuff, and that's kind of a big part of what we're doing with blocks. I would say there's still a ways to go with, you know, can we have, you know, kind of building actual, actual custom interfaces? So we have, you know, there's been a lot of progress in prototyping tools, you know, like, frame and I think, yeah, Figma's doing some great work and sort of, you know, at least the design tool world. But, and then you, you know, you have sort of just a bunch of other kind of prototyping tools where you can kind of keyframe together some different screens, but they don't really let you actually, you know, kind of create those interfaces and, and kind of build actually, you know, custom UIs and very highly specific, like customized designed UIs and actually like ship those. And I think that that will probably change in the future. Hopefully anyways, like I, it's something that we think about a lot as well. I guess other places, yeah, definitely think that, you know, maybe even sort of kind of game design that type of thing. Like I, I know it's, it's, you know, there's like unreal and a lot of people are sort of like getting more into 3D modeling and, and that's becoming a bigger part of the design community. But I can imagine, you know, sort of people kind of simplifying the creation of, of interactive environments, whether it's VR, it's kind of 3D, that type of thing and, and the ability to sort of like create games and sort of these immersive experiences. So I'd love to see some innovation there and I think that that could potentially be a spot for that. Yeah, it's, I've topped my head. Those are a couple things. I mean, even, even things like good writing, you know, basically, you know, if there's some way to, you know, for like, grammar, like, as an example, right? That's, it's, I, I use that service. It's really great for just kind of pointing out minor grammar errors and that type of thing. But you can imagine something where, you know, you have some sort of like intelligence sidekick that's helping you do better writing and, or maybe it's even like you can sort of write something and, and get suggestions from other people. I don't know. I'm just kind of, you know, brain-sterming right now. But there's just like a lot of, I feel like there's a lot of room for people to just kind of design better, better tools and better services to really help people do better creative work and become sort of, yeah, more proficient and make, make sort of like creative work that was previously difficult a lot easier. But yeah, beyond that, I guess I don't really have any other specific examples. Yeah, that's, that's excellent. I think that opens right into a great kind of open field I spoke with Kevin Kelly. If you're familiar with Kevin. Oh, yeah, Kevin is. Yeah. He's a blog. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. And so his one of Kevin's, and this is an episode of developer TGF. Anybody wants to go back and find it? I don't remember exactly what number, but one of Kevin's concepts, I guess his values or perspectives on the world is, first of all, that optimists are kind of going to rule the future, which is kind of empowering for people who are optimistic, I guess. But secondly, that AI specifically in the future will be a collaborative agent for people. And he uses AI as a noun. So let me be correct in quoting him on that. But AI's will be collaborating with people in the future. And so I think, you know, things like Grammarly are a perfect example of that. It's not necessarily what somebody would immediately call AI. But that concept is assistive intelligence, right, that we have tools that might help us make better decisions or might be by our side while we're performing these otherwise much more taxing tasks. So, you know, for example, I can imagine that a near-ish future will be something that helps you do predictive analytics, bring that to a little bit more of an accessible spot for people like me. And you know, that we don't have a deep experience with things like machine learning that I'm a pedestrian when it comes to talking about that stuff even. But that ultimately, you know, there will be ways to incorporate better intelligence that's driven off of that kind of thing and use it in much more individual ways. You know, we saw a lot of this happen with, you know, quantified self and all the things that kind of brought what was normally kind of sequestered into the lab, you know, starting even in the, you know, the 80s, I guess, or even before that with personal heart rate monitors. And then just accelerating into where we are today, where you can monitor almost anything in the comfort of your own home. And that's that kind of democratization, I think, is really, I think that's such a key. I love that you brought that up because I think that is still extremely open for innovation. There's, if you're listening to the show right now, and you're wondering, man, I'm a talented developer. I don't know where to put all my talent. I put it in that direction. I mean, probably do something good for the world if you did that. Yeah. Yeah. I like that a lot as well. And I think there's a lot of software designers out there that are basically trying to sort of, you know, basically just make, make everything sort of a push-button experience for the user where it's kind of like, yeah, you know, just basically, you know, it's a little bit condescending where it's like, you know, you human shouldn't be making the decision. Just like our algorithm world run and like, sort of like getting back to your analytics thing, basically tell you what to do in the situation, right? And it's, it's sort of like a lot of stuff is just kind of going, a lot of energy and software is kind of going towards kind of pulling humans out of the mix. And I think that what what really excites me are products where you're sort of like using all this, you know, all the software is kind of your partner in achieving creative results, which is really the kind of things that, you know, humans do best is the creative side of things. And the more products where we can kind of take, you know, machine learning and other kind of, you know, you know, AI stuff and basically use that and sort of like use that to kind of augment the things that humans are really good at. I think that's really promising and exciting and, you know, very empowering for users. So yeah, kind of going to your example, thinking about, you know, a lot of stuff that's going on with machine learning is it's like super arcane and complex and sort of an opaque thing for kind of building, building out, you know, models and like, you know, doing doing anything like ML related and it'd be awesome if there's some some tools that kind of gave you a better mental model for visualizing that stuff and tweaking those models and sort of understanding kind of how to, you know, train software to do useful things. And there's a ton of examples like that where I think you could sort of take somebody who specializes in something and that's this very arcane and kind of put it into a product where you're sort of like taking that very complex thing and which seems complex in the surface, but kind of creating a mental model for somebody that's way simpler and like, you know, it's a lot of visualization you can do a lot of like, you know, you tweak this value and you see some output of what happens. It's just sort of like a lot of ways to kind of break down these really complex things and and make it understandable to, to, you know, many more people who don't have to like really study it for a long time and then once they have the understanding they can sort of harness the power of that. Thank you again to Andrew for coming on today's show. 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