Neural Market Trends

Current Status: Up in Air

Back to Montreal

Q3 is over. It's been over for a day already but it seems like it was a week ago. This has been one of the busiest Q3's in my career as a Sales Engineer and I'm off to Montreal again. I'm visiting customers and turning some prospects into new customers. Q4 is going to be even crazier, but I enjoy this.

The Sales life is strange when you think about it. You can't make anyone buy anything they don't want or need. Remember that scene at the end Wolf on Wall Street? Where Jordan Belfort comes out after being in prison and tells the audience to "sell me this pen." He goes around to the audience and they're completely clueless.

If you watched the entire movie, you'll remember this scene.

Selling pens is about creating a need or a want. It doesn't matter if it's a commodity like a pen. Pens coming 100's of colors or brands and theirs nothing unique about them until you need one. Ever needed to fill out a custom's form at 30,000 feet minutes before you land? Ever been in New York City during a rain storm without an umbrella? You get the idea.

Open Source Selling

The same goes for selling software, especially open source. How can you make money if you give it away for free? After all the creators spend time maintaining and building it. What makes it so valuable? It's not the free part, it's the enabling the user to turbo charge their results.

It's quite simple but usually overlooked. You make the software bleeding edge innovation and give it away. Then you keep innovating, making it faster and better. You keep giving it away. If it's what people want, they'll take it. Use it. Comment on it. Then build infrastructure around it. Then you sell support. You support people putting your open source software in production. You show them how to save time, make money, or save money through efficiencies. You become an extension of their innovation arm and their strategic partner.

That's how you sell open source. That's how you sell something free.

Learn this lesson because software is eating the world.

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Datascience Link Roundup

A list of five data science related links that I found interesting:

  • Tensorflow 2 is officially out. It has tighter integration with Keras (see changelog here). I wonder if it will just eat Keras completely.
  • Interesting artcile on using "AI for portfolio management: from Markowitz to Reinforcement Learning." Some stuff that we've seen before but the part on Reinforcment Learning is interesting.
  • Startup Fiddler rasies $10 million. They're trying to develop 'an “explainable” engine that’s designed to analyze, validate, and manage AI solutions.' Aren't we all.
  • A few Python libraries that help with explainability. LIME is in there but the others I did not know about. Must investigate further...
  • Chinese PingAn Technology can predict flu outbreaks to a 90% accuracy. It's all about disease containment.

Updated! I added a bunch more links below because I thought it would be more useful!

  • Get a free ebook from H2O.ai on Machine Learning Interpretability (MLI) here. This link takes you to a Twitter post.
  • Oh my, this will NOT end well. Microsoft unleashes an AI bot to generate fake comments to news articles.
  • ScikitOptmize is a cool new library that let's you auto-optimize your hyperparameters.
  • Just like China, we're using AI to rank people. This is damn scary and I don't like it, even it does some good in some cases.
  • Facebook's Libra is in trouble as Mastercard and Visa rethink it. I say, Vive Le Bitcoin!

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September 2019 Thoughts

My posting activity has started to drop off again. This is partly due to a large workload and traveling schedule. I'm enjoying my work immensely but my blog is neglected as a result. A few weeks ago I even considered shutting this blog down because I feel like I'm like an "old man shouting at clouds."

I've come to realize that my skills are not in coding but in communication.

I know that many people find value in my old RapidMiner tutorials and videos but my heart isn't in making any new ones. My YouTube channel is also neglected partly because I work for H2O.ai now and because there's so much free content on Machine Learning and Data Science out there now. I think that's awesome.

There's never been a greater time to get into Data Science and Machine Learning than ever before. There are so many 'rock star' programmers, Kagglers, and technologists out there now. You can't NOT be amazed how fast the 'AI' space is changing, for better or for worse. I consider myself lucky to have joined near ground zero and love the fact that I'm a part of it now.

BUT.

I've come to realize that my skills are not in coding but in communication. Sure I code stuff, mostly to make my life easier and automating the boring stuff (great book BTW), but my expertise is best used elsewhere. Sometimes I don't even know what this means but I feel alive when I talk to prospects or customers and help them go from a 'zero level AI person' to applying 'AI' to their problems and help solve them. I seem to be good at connecting the dots, and using tactics and strategies to solve problems. I think that's the Engineer in me.

Someone scrawled on a wall "Be the Bodhisattva you seek."

I've also become more politically aware and active over the past few years. The reason? Trump. I won't devolve into a right vs left discussions here as I find them useless BUT I've always been an environmentalist. This current administration has attacked so many people and groups because of their color of skin, who they love or identify as, and religion. There are so many fights to fight and mine is the environment.

Our entire planet is under assault from climate change, habitat loss, extinction and pollution. All in name of money. Yet I've blogged about trading and investing. I've blogged about making money. Am I as complicit as credit card companies that approve gun transactions to a future school shooter?

While technically I'm not cutting down trees or killing baby seals, my recommendations, actions, and investments might support doing just that.

Am I part of the problem? Yes, I believe so.

Many years ago I took a course in world religions. I was most enamored with Buddhism, not in the classical sense but more of the Zen version. I learned about Bodhisattvas and how they chose to "out of compassion, forgo[sic] nirvana in order to save others." Granted, I'm an atheist but I found Bodhisattvas interesting. Then I read a piece of graffiti that made me question everything. Someone scrawled on a wall "Be the Bodhisattva you seek."

I can spend hours in flame wars with people on Facebook or Twitter about climate change and not change anyone's position. I've realized that relating and compassion is much more powerful that attacking someone's position.

I think I can help shape the dialogue in a healthy and sustainable way.

Everyone wants to drink clean water, breath fresh air, and eat healthy food. It doesn't matter what your political leanings are, I think this is a universal fact. However, if you tie this to work and jobs, then things get interesting. Let me give you an example:

"I don't care about some endangered animal, I have my family to feed"

"Climate change is fake news because China wants us to be less competitive and you'll lose jobs"

"The wind isn't blowing tonight, so you can't watch TV"

"There's so many job killing regulations"

Take your pick or make your own, there's hundreds of these divisive messages out there. Why? Because of money.

As a former Civil Engineer, I can design water and wastewater plants. I've designed groundwater recharge systems and wetlands. I fully understand how humans impact the land, sea, and air AND I think I can help stop this onslaught. Armed with Data Science and AI, I think I can make an impact. I think I can help shape the dialogue in a healthy and sustainable way.

What does this mean for the blog? I don't know yet but I want to become the Bodhisattva I'm seeking.

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30 Year Bond Yield Wants To Go Lower

Yes I posted this great chart about two weeks ago, but it's amazing what time can do for perspective. The yield is below 2% and wants to go lower. I suspect it will continue to go lower as the Trump Trade War rages on and his stupid policies start to manifest.

30 Year Bond Yield, 09/03/2019

Quite honestly, there needs to be a complete shakeup to our economy. We need to transition to green energies, zero waste, and fundamentally change the old Industrial Revolution ways of thinking and working to the new Technical Revolution ways.

Update 10/07/2019:

It appears that the 30 Year Bond Yield has rebounded back to the 50 DMA but it still wants to go down. This is NOT good in my humble opinion. With all the news about Trump's shady White House dealings, I suspect the yield will slip below 2% again.

30 Year Bond Yield, 10/07/2019

The Trump Trade War is slowly coming home to roost and while we have the lowest umeployment in 50 years, the manufacturing index is dropping like a rock. This is the last call for 'alcohol' at the party, the morning after hangover is going to be a doozy.

Buy Bitcoin is my answer.

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30 Year Bond Yield Below 2%!

I was driving to the Amtrak station yesterday morning and heard on Bloomberg Radio that the 30 Year Bond Yield fell below 2% for the first time.

FOR. THE. FIRST. TIME. EVER!

That's utterly nuts and if past history is an indicator, the bond market is flashing a wicked recession coming. Of course things right now are pretty good (except for some manufacturing weakness), but the bond indicator is usually a 12-18 month leading indicator, so we'll keep and eye on things.

30 Year Bond Yield, 08/16/2019

What gives me pause on whether this is a recession coming or just panic is the rate of change of the yield in the last few days/weeks have been. This is almost like a blow off move and might just be panic because of the stupid Trump Trade War with China. Who knows but I'm thinking it might be time to build up some reserves and pay off debt. Maybe this is why Ray Dalio went long gold? Me? I'm going long Bitcoin.

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