BrachEichler LLC Blog Feed Sep 2018firmwise Silicon Valley Is Looking Hard At Chicago For Expansion 24 Aug 2018BlogI was reading a fascinating story in the Wall Street Journal focusing on a very large software-specific private equity firm that has a unique strategy &ndash; when they buy a company that happens to be based in a high cost area, they subsequently try to diversify the geographic location of their talent. <br /> <br /> For example, the private equity firm was buying one company on the east coast as well as another company in the same field in St. Louis. They then encouraged the merged company to expand in St. Louis rather than in the more expensive area.<br /> <br /> We&rsquo;re starting to see a very similar trend here in Chicago, where our firm has been approached by a number of companies looking to build greater capabilities in Chicago. The key drivers seem to be that it's so difficult to get essential talent in the San Francisco bay area and Silicon Valley, not to mention how expensive those people are to hire. <br /> <br /> The bottom line is this: I have not seen San Francisco-based companies come into Chicago and talk about building development centers &ndash; until this year. Now, I've seen a number of them.<br /> <br /> I will not be surprised to see this trend accelerate to the degree that a number of Silicon Valley-based companies are going to have a lot of employees here. <br /> <br /> Why does that matter? For one, having many employees located in Silicon Valley can be a very expensive proposition for both the companies and the people who are devoting a significant percentage of their compensation to their landlords (many of them can't afford to even think about buying houses). <br /> <br /> We&rsquo;ll be watching closely to see if these companies indeed find that there is a sufficient supply of tech people in markets in the Midwest and whether it will create a new wave of technological-driven resurgence. <br /> <br /> We&rsquo;ve actually seen this happen before in Chicago. Think back to the year 2000, when there were quite a few companies building software in Chicago. Many of these companies would ultimately shut down, merge and move out of town to the west coast. We haven&rsquo;t seen the same scale of growth of software businesses since (which is not to say that there aren&rsquo;t solid software companies in town, Groupon being one such example). <br /> <br /> <strong>Higher Cost-Efficiency, Lower Cost Of Living Proving Attractive<br /> </strong> <br /> However, the times may be changing. With many west coast companies running out of people who can afford to live there, those companies are taking a hard look at expanding to the Midwest. <br /> <br /> It would seem a Midwest expansion plays well to the vast resources Chicago has in areas such as financial technology, which we recently focused on in a previous Tidbit. <br /> <br /> While there was a time when much of the software development done by many west coast companies was migrated off shore, it appears Silicon Valley-based companies are coming to the Midwest not only because it's relatively less expensive for them compared to going off shore but that it also might be more effective for their overall business goals.<br /> <strong><br /> Facebook Is Coming &ndash; And The Impact Could Be Huge</strong>.<br /> <br /> If you want to see evidence that the Silicon Valley expansion may reach a dramatically higher level, look no further than the recent news that Facebook has signed a lease for 263,000 square feet of office space downtown on top of hiring at least 65 recruiters in the last year. With that kind of space, it&rsquo;s no stretch of the imagination to suggest that Facebook could be targeting 2000 people (or more) to hire, many of whom represent the top technical talent in the Midwest. This should at least cause some nervousness among Chicago-based employers who either have or may compete for that talent, from CME to Grubhub and more.<br /> <br /> They&rsquo;re not the only ones. <br /> <br /> Based on Amazon currently evaluating locations for a second headquarters and Google growing a substantial office environment outside of Silicon Valley, certain companies are getting the message that the idea of growing a business in one location might not be an optimal strategy.<br /> <br /> For all of the talk about Chicago&rsquo;s harsh winters, there&rsquo;s little question that Chicago offers an attractive cost of living and quality of life by comparison to living in cramped conditions or commuting 90 minutes one way to work.<br /> <strong><br /> &ldquo;The Lottery Effect&rdquo;</strong><br /> <br /> I&rsquo;ve come to believe that the lure of Silicon Valley for many is due to what I call &ldquo;the lottery effect&rdquo;: It attracts people who are in a position to gamble. Essentially, you&rsquo;re going to a place where the type of work you do today can hopefully make you a fortune ten years down the road. It sounds reasonable enough, considering the number of people making a fortune in Silicon Valley is higher than, say, Moline, Illinois. <br /> <br /> However, if you&rsquo;re 32 years old and have three small children, perhaps San Francisco is not the right place to get a software position that&rsquo;s slightly higher than entry level. You&rsquo;ll probably have to live in very cramped conditions, which is something your spouse and children might not appreciate. Therefore, if we continue to see companies expanding beyond their base toward the east, it&rsquo;s entirely possible we may see a migration of talent in this direction as well. <br /> <br /> <em>If yours is a company interested in expansion to Chicago and wanting to identify the very best technical talent, why not talk to the tech recruiter that has been well established in this market for over 30 years? Roy Talman &amp; Associates has earned its reputation as recruiting the &ldquo;best of the best&rdquo; for companies in expansion mode that have so much riding on a substantial set of successful hires. Bring us into a hiring strategy conversation now to ensure the next chapter of your company&rsquo;s growth is its most exciting one yet.<br /> <br /> </em> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> Job Tenures Are Shrinking But There's A Hiring Strategy For That. 09 Aug 2018Blog<p><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: Verdana;">If there&rsquo;s one observation that can be made in regard to the average employee&rsquo;s longevity at a company, it&rsquo;s that these days, people generally don&rsquo;t stay in one place for very long. By now, the assumption is made by many hiring managers at tech companies that <i>within two or three years, </i>the person they hire today will leave. </span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: Verdana;"> </span></span></p> <span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: Verdana;"> <p>This begs the question: <b><i>How does a hiring manager today recruit rising talent knowing that talent very well could have an eye on somewhere else before long?</i></b></p> </span></span> <p><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: Verdana;">The prospect of hiring someone today who may only last a few years may sound discouraging, but there are actually a number of useful approaches to consider so that you can best utilize your newest hire. </span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: Verdana;"><b>1. </b><b>Think Short-Term At First &ndash; It&rsquo;s Not A Bad Thing.</b></span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: Verdana;">Reid Hoffman, co-founder of LinkedIn, has said that companies shouldn&rsquo;t expect a long-term commitment from someone on Day One anyway, no matter who it is. Instead, Hoffman advocates for figuring out what kind of role it is that you're trying to hire for and what the realistic expectations are for the duration of the role. <i>Only</i> <i>after a period of time</i> that there is really a common interest should you explore a long-term commitment on both sides.<br /> </span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: Verdana;">If you&rsquo;re hiring a candidate who only has two years or less per job, you may say, <i>&ldquo;OK, based on their track record, we can be fairly certain that this person's only going to be here for two years. So let&rsquo;s figure out how to utilize them. Perhaps we don&rsquo;t need to invest six months in training them to do something if we have a feeling they're going to be here for two years or less. Let&rsquo;s ask them to do something they can accomplish on Day One. Maybe we won&rsquo;t invest in training them to do more advanced or newer things until they pass a certain &lsquo;checkpoint&rsquo; with us and we see there&rsquo;s a commitment to stay beyond two years.&quot;</i><b><br /> </b></span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: Verdana;"><b>2.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </b><b>Examine The Individual&rsquo;s Drive To Learn New Skills.</b></span></span><br /> <span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: Verdana;"><br /> When the economy gets livelier, particularly in the high-tech fields that we&rsquo;re constantly observing and dealing with, there will be more incentives to &ldquo;look around&rdquo; and more enticement to move to the next job. This goes hand-in-hand with more pressure to learn new things. Not every candidate possesses the drive to elevate their skill set. They can research things to learn and even want to obtain the knowledge of those skills, such as a new programming language, but it&rsquo;s one thing to want and another to actually do. Those who take action and &ldquo;do&rdquo; evolve their skills will have greater leverage. It&rsquo;s harder to find fault with someone changing jobs every few years when, at the same time, they&rsquo;re growing to stay ahead of the curve and keeping up with cutting edge technologies.<br /> </span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: Verdana;">However, if someone changes jobs every two years without advancing their skill set today compared to where they were before, it's more likely that their personality is driving that behavior and it&rsquo;s unlikely to change. </span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: Verdana;"><b>3.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </b><b>See If They Have A Desire To Fully Understand Your Company. </b></span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: Verdana;">Very few people are able to get really ahead within a company before they can figure out how the company actually works and who's who in the company. Obviously that takes time, so take notice of how much this individual wants to learn about your processes, your people, your newest projects and more. That demonstrates a desire to get deeply integrated into the fabric of your company as quickly as possible. </span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: Verdana;">Of course, even if they do that, it&rsquo;s not to say that they&rsquo;ll necessarily stay for the next 20 years. Some believe that, even though the company is good, if they truly want to get ahead, they need to leave and come back in order to get a bigger raise, bigger title, etc. This is more likely to happen if the person gains new knowledge and skills. </span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: Verdana;">We know that companies like Apple and others don't have a problem bringing people back who have worked there, left and came back &ndash; presumably because those individuals have gained new skills, new knowledge and new experience.</span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: Verdana;">In this respect, a hiring manager like yourself shouldn&rsquo;t begin with the assumption that &ldquo;<i>Anybody I hire today owes me loyalty for many years.&rdquo;</i> For that matter, the employee you may hire should not assume, <i>&ldquo;Somehow, this company's going to take care of me and as far as my career path goes, we'll figure it all out. I'll be happy-go-lucky and won&rsquo;t worry about things.&rdquo;</i></span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: Verdana;"><b>4.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </b><b>Use The Google Template For A Culture Of Learning</b></span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: Verdana;">Where possible, companies may want to take a page from the likes of Google and create the kind of culture where people can step up and learn. At Google, the person could be spending some time learning new things rather than doing a specific project &ndash; because if the only thing an employee is doing is working on a project that is in front of them, the idea that somehow they will learn by osmosis and that everything new will &ldquo;come to them&rdquo; is just not realistic. </span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: Verdana;">Don&rsquo;t fall into the trap of saying, <i>&ldquo;Well, that&rsquo;s Google and they have massive resources. Plus, people won&rsquo;t leave there after a couple years.&rdquo;</i> First, it&rsquo;s not about the size of the company but the approach of how to develop its people. Secondly, people do leave Google too, believe it or not. </span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: Verdana;">It says a lot about a company&rsquo;s culture to potential candidates and to the marketplace in general that yours is the type of business that is very big into pushing its people forward and encouraging them to spend time learning new technologies. Yes, gauge how long you believe that a person will potentially stay in your environment and have open discussions with them about their goals. But when you build a culture of education, you are taking charge of the culture you want to be in a proactive way and hiring people accordingly who fit well into that culture &ndash; rather than operating in a reactive way where you&rsquo;re always scrambling to find the replacement of a person who leaves. You may not know when an employee will leave, but you can and should definitely prepare.</span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: Verdana;"><b><i>There&rsquo;s no doubt that we&rsquo;re living in an evolving world where the average tenure at each job is shrinking but you can still build a hiring and retention strategy to ensure your company is moving forward with a high level of talent. Roy Talman &amp; Associates can be a vital partner in that strategy, so talk to us today about how to ensure your pipeline remains consistently strong.&nbsp;</i></b></span></span></p> Winners In Tech's Next Stage And Building A Career Around One 13 Jul 2018Blog<p><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: Verdana;">There&rsquo;s a school of thought among some in the technological space that as advanced as we humans have become at coding, code generated by machines is getting better all the time. Still, the future lies with <i>people who can leverage the code that machines are generating for us. </i>We still have such a fundamental role to play in the relationship with machines, as in what we can actually train machines to learn and do for our benefit. Machine learning will continue to be deployed in a wider range of applications yet the underlining algorithms will only be as good as the data and the way it&rsquo;s structured. When we seize the potential of training machine learning systems, it can open up new doorways to career opportunities on several fronts &ndash; from working in new technologies to joining evolving companies to stepping into newly developed markets we hadn&rsquo;t considered before.</span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: Verdana;">Let&rsquo;s examine how one type of machine learning technology can expand into so much more and the career possibilities that can result.</span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: Verdana;">Not long ago, </span></span><a href=";an=75133&amp;anc=657&amp;format=xml&amp;p=8044"><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: Verdana;">we wrote</span></span></a><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: Verdana;"> about how Andrew Ng, adjunct professor at Stanford, led a group of students to take pictures of heads of lettuce &ndash; some ripe, some not ripe &ndash; with the purpose of training a machine learning system to recognize the difference between the two. What were they really trying to prove? If a system could be sufficiently trained to identify the quality of produce at a highly efficient rate, its benefit would rapidly move from the classroom to the agricultural space, where all kinds of farmers could use the system for free.</span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: Verdana;">This may explain why last year, John Deere paid $305 million to acquire a company that manufactures robots to distinguish between crops and weeds. As a result, farming can be done more intelligently by targeting weeds and plants too small to grow with chemicals rather than spraying an entire field with pesticides.</span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: Verdana;">Let&rsquo;s think about what Deere really purchased here. It&rsquo;s not just about owning a better algorithm or having more data to analyze, is it? No. It&rsquo;s about <b>owning a system that continues to create profound value that we humans can leverage to our advantage. </b>The potential of the technology is vast, as it can be applied to a variety of crops during a harvest, using dramatically less herbicide in the process.</span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: Verdana;">When a company founded on hand tools like John Deere makes a significant investment in robots to aid in farming, you can be sure of where they see the future of the industry heading. As you&rsquo;re evaluating your career path and a possible move to a new environment down the road, think of companies such as this. Do they have an appreciation for the advanced technology coming down the pipe for their people to leverage and therefore making a focused effort to adapt their business accordingly with intelligent investments? Or do they appear to be focused on merely trying to keep decades-old mainframe systems alive?</span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: Verdana;">If a company insists on using a system 25 years old and only modifying that system over and over again, is that going to be the best way to advance your career? That may be fine enough for a developer who is nearing retirement and isn&rsquo;t that interested in diving into new horizons at this stage of their career. However, assuming you have many years left in your career, it&rsquo;s essential that you pay close attention to the direction of machine learning technologies. It may not be easy to predict, but one key indicator may be how many different areas the technology can expand to.</span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: Verdana;">For example, let&rsquo;s take the technology of the self-driving vehicle. Do we have roadways populated with all kinds of self-driving cars right now? No, we certainly haven&rsquo;t reached mass consumption yet. However, we can comfortably predict based on advancements and investments companies have made (i.e. Google, Tesla) that it&rsquo;s only a matter of time before the self-driving car becomes a more widely adopted reality. As it does, <b>think about all the sub-markets that will be impacted by this technology</b>: Taxis. Food delivery services. Large trucks transporting material across the country. And more.</span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: Verdana;">Besides new markets or expanding markets, does it appear that certain machine learning technologies could result in <b>new applications</b> such as a new programming language or a new direction in cloud computing?</span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: Verdana;">Finally, what <b>companies</b> are out there clearly getting behind these emerging technologies, markets and applications &ndash; and investing in building up their <u>talent base</u> as a result of that commitment?</span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: Verdana;">So, if you&rsquo;re challenged to identify the best turn to make on your career path, don&rsquo;t just focus on how machine learning is generating better code. Consider the bigger picture of where this type of technology may create a variety of market expansion opportunities the more it is deployed and the type of companies that appear to see long-term value in that technology&rsquo;s growth. 10 years from now, thanks to the vision they have today, those companies may see themselves in a dramatically different place. Will you be able to say the same about your career?</span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: Verdana;"><b><i>Staying on top of an ever-changing technological landscape isn&rsquo;t easy. Fortunately, when you talk to Roy Talman &amp; Associates first, you have a partner in your career development who understands where the biggest innovations are taking place and which of those transformations mesh ideally with your skill set and goals. Your career path is too important to approach with guesswork. Let&rsquo;s make a solid plan together that reflects the kind of role and environment where you aspire to make an impact for years to </i></b></span></span><b><i>come.&nbsp;</i></b></p> Signs Point To Chicago Sitting Atop Crypto Space 02 Jul 2018Blog<div ltr=""> <p paraid="573002187" paraeid="{3e3b430e-7951-4934-a55d-b24637682d96}{185}"><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: Verdana;"><span xml:lang="EN-US">The cryptocurrency</span><span xml:lang="EN-US"> business</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">&nbsp;continues to&nbsp;</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">grow</span>&nbsp;<span xml:lang="EN-US">and it might actually&nbsp;</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">be reaching&nbsp;</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">its</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">&nbsp;highest level&nbsp;</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">here in Chicago</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">.&nbsp;</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">We're seeing a number of companies growing or moving to Chicago in that space.</span>&nbsp;</span></span></p> </div> <div ltr=""> <p paraid="1432508381" paraeid="{3e3b430e-7951-4934-a55d-b24637682d96}{217}"><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: Verdana;"><span xml:lang="EN-US">T</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">he reason</span>&nbsp;<span xml:lang="EN-US">for Chicago&rsquo;s rapid ascension might</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">&nbsp;be rooted in</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">&nbsp;the first generation of c</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">rypto exchanges built by crypto enthusiasts. The primary objective for them was to build something accessible on the web that could not be hacked.&nbsp;</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">Now, th</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">e next generati</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">on&nbsp;</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">of exchanges&nbsp;</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">is starting to compete in a</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">&nbsp;world&nbsp;</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">of institutional customers who value automation, high speed and high volume. What location features the largest exchange (CME), another very large exchange (CBOE) and just as importantly,&nbsp;</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">quite a few trading comp</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">anies that power these exchanges? That&rsquo;s right &ndash; Chicago.&nbsp;</span>&nbsp;</span></span></p> </div> <div ltr=""> <p paraid="671723403" paraeid="{ae8286a6-6724-411f-ab07-e38121c6e912}{2}"><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: Verdana;"><span xml:lang="EN-US">So c</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">rypto exchanges are coming to Chicago</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">&nbsp;partly because that's where</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">&nbsp;cust</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">omers in the high frequency space are who can help them. It&rsquo;s also where the&nbsp;</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">expertise is in ter</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">ms of building ultra-</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">fast trading systems and interact</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">ing&nbsp;</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">with those exchanges in a very robust way.&nbsp;</span>&nbsp;&nbsp;</span></span></p> </div> <div ltr=""> <p paraid="179637137" paraeid="{ae8286a6-6724-411f-ab07-e38121c6e912}{31}"><strong><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: Verdana;"><span xml:lang="EN-US">Why Isn&rsquo;t New York&nbsp;</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">#1 For Crypto</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">&nbsp;trading</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">?</span>&nbsp;</span></span></strong></p> </div> <div ltr=""> <p paraid="203500136" paraeid="{ae8286a6-6724-411f-ab07-e38121c6e912}{47}"><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: Verdana;"><span xml:lang="EN-US">New York has a few high f</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">requency trading shops</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">,</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">&nbsp;but by comparison&nbsp;</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">to Chicago</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">, the field is&nbsp;</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">actually&nbsp;</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">not</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">&nbsp;that large. One&nbsp;</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">could argue that the most visible company in high frequency trading is Virtu</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">&nbsp;Financial, which is a public company</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">. Last year, Virtu acquired a trading rival called KCG Holdings, Inc. for $1.4 billion. Even so, f</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">or the volume of the business that they do, they're</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">&nbsp;a</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">&nbsp;very small company in terms of number of people.&nbsp;</span>&nbsp;</span></span></p> </div> <div ltr=""> <p paraid="897648633" paraeid="{ae8286a6-6724-411f-ab07-e38121c6e912}{85}"><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: Verdana;"><span xml:lang="EN-US">In contrast, the&nbsp;</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">high frequency trading</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">&nbsp;business</span>&nbsp;<span xml:lang="EN-US">&ldquo;</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">grew up</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">&rdquo; so to speak</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">&nbsp;in Chicago</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">.&nbsp;</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">So</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">&nbsp;while&nbsp;</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">some companies&nbsp;</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">excel in High Frequency Trading&nbsp;</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">in New York</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">, it's not as</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">&nbsp;prevalent. The east coast is much more focused on</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">&nbsp;hedge funds.</span>&nbsp;</span></span></p> </div> <div ltr=""> <p paraid="1219479565" paraeid="{ae8286a6-6724-411f-ab07-e38121c6e912}{197}"><strong><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: Verdana;"><span xml:lang="EN-US">What Skills Are People In Crypto Looking For?</span></span></span></strong><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: Verdana;">&nbsp;</span></span></p> </div> <div ltr=""> <p paraid="869240121" paraeid="{ae8286a6-6724-411f-ab07-e38121c6e912}{207}"><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: Verdana;"><span xml:lang="EN-US">People involved in crypto are looking for at least a basic understanding of high frequency trading &ndash; the kind of expertise that is hard to come by outside of Chicago. T</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">here is also a need among companies for some&nbsp;</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">expertise in machine learning</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">. This expertise is often very specialized because most&nbsp;</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">traditional machine learning tools don</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">'t seem to work well in finance.&nbsp;</span>&nbsp;</span></span></p> </div> <div ltr=""> <p paraid="637082568" paraeid="{ae8286a6-6724-411f-ab07-e38121c6e912}{227}"><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: Verdana;"><span xml:lang="EN-US">What we&rsquo;re&nbsp;</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">finding is</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">&nbsp;that&nbsp;</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">the real key&nbsp;</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">to a candidate&rsquo;s success&nbsp;</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">may be</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">&nbsp;to come from one of the</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">&nbsp;big machine learning shops and, while there,&nbsp;</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">be</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">come</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">&nbsp;familiar with the latest and greatest in technological environments&nbsp;</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">versus</span>&nbsp;<span xml:lang="EN-US">coming&nbsp;</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">from another trading shop&nbsp;</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">where people have been more or less self-educated about machine learning.&nbsp;</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">Therefore, it would appear</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">&nbsp;that&nbsp;</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">the expertise that one gains working on such advanced problems comes working at one of the &ldquo;B</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">ig</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">&nbsp;F</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">our,</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">&rdquo; which these days is&nbsp;</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and Amazon.</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">&nbsp;Because expertise on this level doesn&rsquo;t come from reading books and blogs about the subject alone.</span>&nbsp;</span></span></p> </div> <div ltr=""> <p paraid="1325360680" paraeid="{3feaa6c5-4e11-4f58-beba-9d54feb659cc}{30}"><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: Verdana;"><em><span xml:lang="EN-US">At Roy Talman &amp; Associates, we&rsquo;ve not only been recruiting for the very best companies for over 30 years &ndash; we&rsquo;ve&nbsp;</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">become</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">&nbsp;a trusted resource for financial trad</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">ing firms. So as companies continue to establish or grow their presence in Chicago, they know they can turn to us as the one recruitment firm that delivers &ldquo;best of the best&rdquo;&nbsp;</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">technical&nbsp;</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">talent that can keep pace with areas that are taking off &ndash; including cryptocurrency.&nbsp;</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">To arm your culture with the right talent at the right time, talk to our team at Roy Talman &amp; Associates today.</span>&nbsp;</em></span></span></p> </div> Loving That Programming Language? When To Move On And Find A New One. 09 May 2018Blog<p><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: Verdana;">An annual survey was just done by a developer-focused website that offered up a variety of insights to me, but one in particular caught my eye and showed there may be a distinctive gap at times between what programmers <i>like to learn</i> and use what they should <i>want to use.</i> </span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: Verdana;">For example, of the most widely used languages in the programmer community, you see the usual suspects: JavaScript, HTML, SQL, Java, Python, C#, PHP and C++. However, these are not necessarily the languages that developers <i>want </i>to use. Survey the most loved languages based on this survey and you see a very different set of names at or near the top such as Rust, Kotlin, TypeScript, Go and Swift. In fact, of the top 10 listed, only three languages from the most <u>used</u> were the most <u>loved</u>: Python, JavaScript and C#. </span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: Verdana;">One of the reasons languages like C# and Java have been so successful is because they feed off each other as the learning curve from one to another is relatively short. Similarly, migrating to Python or figuring out how to use Python for somebody who has been a C++ or a Java developer is a relatively easy task.</span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: Verdana;">So why would a widely used language <u>not</u> be one of the more well-liked? Take C++, for example. While C++ is one of the most <i>versatile</i> languages, it's also one of the <i>hardest </i>languages to master.The learning curve with C++ is probably one of the longest. </span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: Verdana;">If you find yourself experiencing this type of disconnect between what you&rsquo;re using and what you love, what&rsquo;s the best direction from here? </span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: Verdana;">First, in many cases, we have to <b>start with the environment you&rsquo;re working in</b>: If you&rsquo;re working in eCommerce, that might be one universe. If you&rsquo;re working in the medical field, that might be a different universe entirely. If you&rsquo;re writing code for applications to run on phones, it might be a different one as well. So, different environments could certainly bring new opportunities to work within the language you desire to work with most.</span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: Verdana;">However, we must offer this caveat: There is always a danger of falling in love with a language that never takes off, particularly a new one. Therefore, the best way to approach this dilemma might be to look at the projects you have in front of you. </span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: Verdana;">Ask yourself two things: </span></span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: Verdana;"><b>1) </b><b>Can I sell the organization on using a new language? </b></span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: Verdana;">The challenge with using a more uncommon language is that if you're the only one who knows that language and writes the code for it but then you ultimately leave, what happens?</span></span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: Verdana;"><b>2)&nbsp;&nbsp; </b><b>What&rsquo;s the learning curve on the new language? </b></span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: Verdana;">Let&rsquo;s say you have a project takes off and you can't do all of the work on your own, so you need to add people. That sounds great until you suddenly realize how few people in the company have experience in the uncommon language you&rsquo;ve been using.<br /> </span></span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: Verdana;"><b>Finding The Fit: The Best Language For Your Next Project<br /> <br /> </b>When you have a better sense of a language&rsquo;s learning curve and the type of project that it&rsquo;s best for, it may prevent a great deal of the frustration that developers experience. A language might have a relatively short learning curve but what if it can&rsquo;t do the job and runs into scalability limitations. You may find a language such as Ruby is good for small to medium sized projects and the expertise required to build something in Ruby is fairly light. But what happens if you try to build something very large? In order to get very large projects to live in Ruby, you may run into all kinds of problems and require another expert to make sure that the technology is robust and stable.</span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: Verdana;">Contrast this with another language that might have a longer learning curve &ndash; yes, there&rsquo;s possibly more of an education required, but it may also scale better for the size and scope of the project.</span></span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: Verdana;"> <p><b><i>If you find yourself in conflict between the language you&rsquo;re frequently working with and one you&rsquo;d much rather work with, talk to Talman first. Roy Talman &amp; Associates can help clarify the best industries that are right for the type of language you&rsquo;re most passionate about. </i></b></p> </span></span> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: Verdana;"><b><i>Considering diving into a new language? Talman can tell you if a new language is likely to take off or not before you invest a great deal of time learning it &ndash; not to mention we&rsquo;ll talk with you about the big picture of where you want to be in your ca</i></b></span></span><b><i>reer too.</i></b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Tech Skills Have A 3-Year Half-Life: Where Do You Go From Here? 03 May 2018Blog<p><span style="font-family: Verdana;">In many cases, the vast majority of our clients considering a software developer for hire these days may ask that developer to do a project as a test. During one of those situations recently, a client remarked about a solution that our candidate came up with involving some very modern code. </span><span style="font-family: Verdana;"><br /> </span></p> <p><span style="font-family: Verdana;">Frankly, that&rsquo;s not something you hear every day. </span><span style="font-family: Verdana;"><br /> </span></p> <p><span style="font-family: Verdana;">Why? On the technology side, the vast majority of developers are still writing code with good old Java, C++ and C# - which is fine until you learn that a large percentage of their time is spent on maintaining and fixing existing systems. </span><span style="font-family: Verdana;"><br /> </span></p> <p><span style="font-family: Verdana;">Meanwhile, many of these languages and their uses are regularly changing over time in which new constructs and capabilities are being developed. Let&rsquo;s use C++, for example. When we describe C++, we&rsquo;re not describing one type of code, even though it may seem that way on the surface of things. In reality, there are a variety of differences between C++, C++11, C++14 and the upcoming C++17. As a result, a person could be working in C++ for years but if they&rsquo;ve continued to use it in the same, standard fashion, they haven&rsquo;t been keeping themselves up-to-date on the latest thinking pertaining to C++. </span><span style="font-family: Verdana;"><br /> </span></p> <p><span style="font-family: Verdana;">In his book, &ldquo;<i>How to Create a Mind</i>,&rdquo; Ray Kurzweil speaks to the fact that there has been more progress in software over the last 20 years than in hardware during the same period of time. Yet, a large number of software developers are not fully aware to what degree things are evolving toward the cutting edge. All you need to see for evidence of this is to look at an article in today's technical media and compare it to what was written 10 years ago. If it&rsquo;s a highly technical piece, you'll realize just how many new things are being discussed. </span><span style="font-family: Verdana;"><br /> </span></p> <p><span style="font-family: Verdana;">Now, if you were a physician, would you be content to never learn of any new developments in your field such as drug advancements or new operating techniques? Of course not. You&rsquo;d want to learn of those and implement them as soon as possible for the benefit of your patients, not to mention your own career in health. The same holds true for software developers &ndash; as infrastructure and the world changes at a rapid pace, it&rsquo;s time to ask yourself: <i>&ldquo;What percentage of my work week should I spend on learning something new?&rdquo;</i></span><span style="font-family: Verdana;"><br /> </span></p> <p><span style="font-family: Verdana;">Just like you can&rsquo;t go to college for four years and expect to live off of that knowledge for the remainder of your career, you cannot learn something today and expect to basically be able to use the same know-how for the next 15-20 years.</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: Verdana;"><b>The Shocking Half-Life Of Technical Knowledge Is&hellip;</b></span><span style="font-family: Verdana;"><br /> </span></p> <p><span style="font-family: Verdana;">Three to four years, in our estimation. That&rsquo;s right. Within three to four years, there&rsquo;s a legitimate risk that <i>half </i>of what you know from a technical perspective could become yesterday's news. </span><span style="font-family: Verdana;"><br /> </span></p> <p><span style="font-family: Verdana;">Consequently, it&rsquo;s critical to learn as much as you can every three to four years of a skill that you know is still useful to organizations. </span><span style="font-family: Verdana;"><br /> </span></p> <p><span style="font-family: Verdana;">What does that mean for the percentage of your work week as far as the time breakdown between what should be devoted to learning something new compared to the technology you&rsquo;re maintaining?</span><span style="font-family: Verdana;"><br /> </span></p> <p><span style="font-family: Verdana;">If you can spend at least <b>10% or more of your time on learning something new</b>, you&rsquo;re starting out on the right path. Yes, as with most jobs, there is a very substantial workload that &quot;needs to be done.&quot; Still, you need to be aware of your progress and track it to ensure you&rsquo;re not slipping backwards. For example, how long ago did you take any online classes about the latest techniques in machine learning, cloud computing, infrastructure, etc.? </span><span style="font-family: Verdana;"><br /> </span></p> <p><span style="font-family: Verdana;">If that&rsquo;s a hard question for you to immediately answer, it&rsquo;s time to dive into these new technological areas and gauge your comfort level in working with them. Otherwise, if you get too comfortable working on obsolete technology, once that technology gets eliminated (and someday, it will), you could find yourself with a skill set that&rsquo;s obsolete. </span><span style="font-family: Verdana;"><br /> </span></p> <p><span style="font-family: Verdana;"><b>A Simple Change In Mindset </b></span></p> <p><span style="font-family: Verdana;"><b>Could Do Amazing Things For Your Career</b></span><span style="font-family: Verdana;"><br /> </span></p> <p><span style="font-family: Verdana;">In the minds of many developers, reading something new or taking an online class represents &quot;their time&quot; and therefore, it's a luxury to learn new things while they&rsquo;re already working in a job they&rsquo;re getting paid for. Don&rsquo;t fall into this trap. Your mindset should be more along the lines of, <i>&ldquo;If I'm not learning constantly, my productivity degrades.&rdquo;</i> </span><span style="font-family: Verdana;"><br /> </span></p> <p><span style="font-family: Verdana;">If we use the measurement of a half-life of technological knowledge of three to four years maximum, we can say that as soon as three years into the future, you may be only half as good as you should be. If, for example, you find that your compensation is not improving, it may be time to ask yourself if you are truly far more valuable today using current technology than you were four years ago. </span></p> <p><span style="font-family: Verdana;"><b><i>So often, a transition into new technological know-how can bring about the need to explore new environments that cater better to that knowledge too. That&rsquo;s why it&rsquo;s so important to talk to Talman first. Roy Talman &amp; Associates can help guide you toward a culture that aligns with the next evolution of your career &ndash; not just an alignment with a job description. Let our team show you the real differen</i></b></span><b><i>ce of our experience today.&nbsp;</i></b></p> To Gauge Your Quality Of Life In The Next Job 04 Apr 2018Blog<p>&nbsp;</p> <p>One of our recruiters was recently talking to a candidate who used to live in Chicago and now lives in San Francisco working for one of the top five eCommerce Internet companies in the country.</p> <p>During their conversation, a question came up for the candidate:<br /> <i>&ldquo;I&rsquo;m curious &ndash; if you don&rsquo;t mind me asking, what are the living conditions there in San Francisco for your wife and two kids compared to where you used to be?&quot;</i></p> <p>His answer: <i>&quot;We live in one bedroom &ndash; and we're paying $3,000 a month in rent.&quot;</i></p> <p>It brings up one of the biggest philosophical questions that many candidates toy with when anticipating a job change that may ultimately take them to a very different location and environment: <b>Is My Quality Of Life Really Better Or Worse Since I Took This New Job?</b></p> <p>Is quality of life about the <b>money</b> and if so, to what degree does money influence that?</p> <p>Some perceive their quality of life in their salaried dollars and cents per year so they lock in on that figure &ndash; to the point of where some see $200,000 as $200,000, regardless of whether it&rsquo;s New York, Chicago, San Francisco or elsewhere. Obviously, we know that all dollars are not created equal in these locations, even when comparing cities. If we look at it that way, you&rsquo;re talking about the kind of comparison that&rsquo;s very detrimental to high cost of living areas on the coasts, such as San Francisco and New York.</p> <p>So why do some people choose to see dollars as being the same anywhere? For one, those who live in the highest cost of living areas may rationalize to themselves that they're rich because they make a certain amount of dollars per year <i>(&ldquo;$200,000 is a lot of money and most people in the country don&rsquo;t make that, so I must be doing awfully well</i>.<i>&rdquo;</i>). There may also be a vibrant culture that surrounds them, so, in their mind, the culture in a place like Toledo, Ohio could not be vibrant as a major metropolitan city like Chicago.</p> <p>Focusing purely on a dollar amount as a metric of quality of life is actually not the same as saying, <i>&quot;I want to have my yard and my five bedrooms. That's my quality of life. And I want to have that on an acre of land in a three-year-old house with all the amenities. That's how I define my living conditions.&quot;</i></p> <p>Yes, you may need a certain amount of money to obtain that standard of living, but let&rsquo;s take a closer look at that: The same people who say, <i>&quot;I could never consider living anywhere but here&rdquo; </i>are the same people who say, <i>&quot;When I retire, I want to live in the wine country.&quot;</i></p> <p>Here&rsquo;s the challenge: If you truly want to do that and living in the wine country at retirement is the measure of quality of life, couldn&rsquo;t you live in the wine country outside of Winston Salem, North Carolina for far less than you would in the Bay Area?</p> <p>As recruiters at Roy Talman &amp; Associates, we have these conversations frequently with candidates who have such confidence in what they think they want in their next destination both for their career and their lifestyle. However, when we challenge them to explore all the possibilities on both fronts, they often discover new, exciting options beyond the assumptions they came in the door with.</p> <p>Another factor that comes up all the time in the quality of life discussion is the <b>weather</b>. Some people may place a premium on living in the right weather environment, seeing it of paramount importance. Interestingly, everything positive about the area gets multiplied by a factor of ten because the sun is shining. Yet, the weather as a factor in accepting a job in a certain climate may not be all it&rsquo;s cracked up to be. At first, yes, living in a snow-free climate may seem wonderfully appealing, but there is some evidence that the fascination eventually wears off and sooner than people may expect.</p> <p>Case in point: In a recent study among college students in the Midwest, these students were asked, <i>&ldquo;How important do you think the weather would be for you if you were to move to California? And <u>how long</u> do you think it would matter to you?&quot; </i>The students felt the weather would be of the utmost importance and assumed it was going to matter to them forever.</p> <p>Yet, in a follow up study of those graduates from the Midwest who indeed did move to move to California, a unique finding emerged: Those people started to ignore the weather completely &ndash; <i>after just two years.</i></p> <p>Think about that. Two years and the honeymoon was over! That fantasy they&rsquo;d had about living in better weather didn&rsquo;t matter nearly as much.</p> <p>In the meantime, consider the fact that several of these new transplants may have accepted a job resulting in them living in a small house where hardly every bedroom is big enough to have a bed. In such places, it&rsquo;s not unusual to see a professional making $350,000 living with his family in a two-bedroom apartment. Why just two bedrooms on that salary? That&rsquo;s easy. He also lives in an area that is highly expensive. In many other locations, he might have a 4,000 square foot house on a couple acres of land.</p> <p>What about <b>commuting time</b>? Certain areas may have gorgeous weather, but what if it&rsquo;s in a place where the job requires you to leave your house every day before 6am or leave work after 6pm because the traffic in that area is just that unbearable both ways? Candidates don&rsquo;t always factor in this trade-off, which could find them spending as much as a full week in additional commuting time per year &ndash; two weeks in a vehicle annually &ndash; compared to the average person&rsquo;s annual commute total of one week.</p> <p>Mind you, we&rsquo;re not trying to sound anti-San Francisco or anti-New York. The point is that <b>when considering a job change, people need to better appreciate the various trade-offs that they may be forced to make and need to be at peace with &ndash; especially since those trade-offs change all the time.</b> Some of these people say money doesn't mean anything and that they favor an area where all the activity is. Consequently, many of them live with downsizing in favor of culture, weather or other factors.</p> <p><b>You Can Call Your Own Shots &ndash; Up To A Point</b></p> <p>Each person aims to negotiate their best terms in the next job. Still, when you look at certain geographic areas, you will get results that are typical for that geographic area. For example, in San Francisco, no matter how talented you are, unless you're in the very top small percentage of the population, you will either be living in a much smaller space or you will be commuting to the city from much further out.</p> <p>Therefore, you can call your own shots <i>up to a point</i>. At that point, you look around and see you are in a location that basically dictates how you're going to live within that environment. It's a trade-off and for a lot of people, that trade-off has emotional components attached to certain factors. Even though some factors will change in importance &ndash; such as the weather &ndash; the emotional component quite often doesn't change.</p> <p>Take the case of people who have worked for Fortune 500 companies making hundreds of thousands of dollars. You&rsquo;d think they&rsquo;re living &ldquo;the good life,&rdquo; right? In some respects, they most definitely are.</p> <p>However, before long, some of them express a big problem due to one of those emotional components we&rsquo;re referring to: Even with a large salary, they can&rsquo;t afford a home that accommodates their family in an area where the school systems are preferable. As a result, it&rsquo;s not surprising when these folks move back to their former location to get more for the money.</p> <p>That brings us to another element in the quality of life discussion that comes up constantly: <b>Family.</b> Early on in your career when you might be single or even a newly married couple, it can make sense to occasionally take risks and reach for the stars. However, a funny thing happens when we fast forward a few years where you and your new spouse want to have a family. Suddenly, working 95 hours a week might not be something that meshes with your future plans. Your priorities on quality of life naturally start changing.</p> <p><b>Playing &ldquo;The Lottery&rdquo;</b></p> <p>As long as places like San Francisco and New York are generating as much wealth as they have over the last several decades, they will continually create a stream of people who want to play &ldquo;the lottery.&rdquo; What&rsquo;s the lottery, you ask? For many, it entails moving to a desirable location and having it all &ndash; a big house in a great neighborhood with all the great cultural advantages that come with. Some of those who venture to these locations will indeed win &ldquo;the lottery.&rdquo;</p> <p>Just like the lottery itself, the winners comprise an extremely small group of people. You can tell who the winners are by their visibility. They&rsquo;re defining what winning truly means for them.</p> <p>Make no mistake, however. In order to win the lottery, it takes a deep commitment to do whatever it takes to succeed and it&rsquo;s not getting any easier. In many sectors, such as finance or technology, quality of life is not a subject that&rsquo;s frequently brought up at all. No wonder we hear of stories of people on their email at 2am on Saturday because, well, that&rsquo;s what it takes. Or living in a trailer while working at Google or Microsoft because that&rsquo;s what it takes. Do we see that changing anytime soon? Frankly, no.</p> <p>What we do see are areas rising where there is an interesting combination of quality of life, weather, cost of living, culture and a vibrant economy. For quite some time, Seattle held the crown as that &ldquo;best of all worlds&rdquo; type of city but as Seattle is getting to be very expensive, we see the title shifting to a contender like Austin. We suspect that when cities want to imitate the success of another metropolitan area, they&rsquo;ll look to Austin versus San Francisco.</p> <p><b>Where Does That Leave You? </b></p> <p><b>How Does Quality Of Life Have Meaning In Your World?</b></p> <p>There are a variety of factors that can play a part in determining how you view quality of life, which can in turn play a role in whether or not you accept a job in a new area: Money. Weather. Schools. Commuting time. Cost of living. Proximity to the gym, the theater, restaurants, the lake/ocean, etc. Religious community. And more.</p> <p>These factors and others like them can influence your happiness but some of them can also change and shift over time. That&rsquo;s why it&rsquo;s vital to have a deep conversation with a recruiter about what you value not only in the next phase of your career but what you value for the quality of your life. Don&rsquo;t just fall in love with what the job presents to you today. Consider the long-term view of what it gives you as well &ndash; and long-term could mean just a year or two from now.</p> <p><b><i>Before you talk to anyone else, make a point to connect with our team at Roy Talman &amp; Associates. With our extensive knowledge of many financial and technology firms from Chicago to New York, we can give you some excellent insight on company cultures, management styles and just how far (or not) a particular salary can take you. That way, you can plan with the entire picture of your work and life in mind. After all, it&rsquo;s not just the job that&rsquo;s going to change. It&rsquo;s everything around you that will likely look different too. Let&rsquo;s talk more about it well in advance so your next big career move is one that hopefully excites you for many years to come. </i></b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Like da Vinci: How To Approach Problems As A Genius Would 22 Mar 2018Blog<p>One of the more fascinating books I&rsquo;ve been reading is Walter Isaacson&rsquo;s latest about Leonardo da Vinci.</p> <p>Most of us know Leonardo as a painter and sculptor. However, beyond that, Leonardo's notebooks show us that he also had an incredible level of curiosity and an exceptional ability to represent visually what his eyes would perceive. He was able to discover things on his own that scientists wouldn't discover <i>for hundreds of years.</i> Perhaps the most extreme example of this was when he figured out how the valve of the human heart closes, because a vortex is created when the blood rushes past it.</p> <p>Only recently, in 2014, doctors and scientists believed that there were different mechanisms by which the human heart was operating. And only recently, using the most sophisticated imaging technology, were they able to demonstrate that, indeed, when the blood goes past the valve, it creates a vacuum right behind the valve, which causes it to flip and close perfectly.</p> <p>Modern medical science arrived at a conclusion that Leonardo was writing about 500 years ago!</p> <p><b>Is it possible for any of us to approach our challenges by thinking like such a genius as da Vinci?</b> Based on Isaacson&rsquo;s book, here are some of the elements that I believe are mandatory, at least as a foundation.</p> <p><b>Step Out Of Your World </b><br /> <b>And Be Curious About Everything </b></p> <p>Some people can be intensely curious about things within their own industry but we&rsquo;re talking about a much broader perspective than that.</p> <p><b><br /> </b>Leonardo didn&rsquo;t gravitate to studying the circulatory system in a human being, for example, without being infinitely curious of all kinds of things.</p> <p>In a previous blog post, I spoke about Hollywood producer Brian Grazer&rsquo;s book, &ldquo;<i>A Curious Mind: The Secret to a Bigger Life</i>&rdquo; and the power of stepping out of your silo. Grazer, for all his success in the movie business, constantly sought out conversations with people who may or may not have been in his field but were deeply interesting for him to listen to and learn from.</p> <p>When you are <b>curious about different types of industries and technologies &ndash; some of which may not seem like they'd be related to you at first </b>&ndash; you might be surprised at how having that sort of curiosity can be extraordinarily beneficial to your career. It may even open your mind to options you might have never considered.</p> <p><b>Challenge The Status Quo And Find A Better Way</b></p> <p>In Leonardo&rsquo;s time, a great number of artists would paint on wet plaster and, due to the nature of that surface, would paint everything they needed to paint <i>within that day. </i></p> <p>Well, Leonardo knew that he couldn&rsquo;t paint anything close to a masterpiece in one day &ndash; the process was much too fast for him. So he arrived at a solution for how to create paints that would stick to dry plaster. The result? One of his most famous works that we know as &ldquo;<i>The Last Supper</i>.&rdquo;</p> <p>Many of us have encountered work environments in which we hear, <i>&ldquo;Well, that&rsquo;s the way we&rsquo;ve always done it.&rdquo;</i> Deep down, the people who say such things know that the status quo might not be the best way yet they can&rsquo;t break out of traditional thinking long enough to come at the problem in a different way. Some will complain about the state of things, but that typically only gets them so far.</p> <p>Real disruption and change comes from looking at the challenge and saying, <i>&ldquo;Is this really the only way I can solve this? What have I not thought of? Who else in the company can I enlist to help me solve it? And when we do arrive at a better way, what key influencers do we need to connect with to ensure we move forward with our proposed solution?&rdquo;</i></p> <p><b>Keep Returning And Adding To Your Masterpiece </b></p> <p>As incredibly intelligent as he was, Leonardo was not a perfect person. He would start many things but finish very few, partly because he couldn't figure out how to finish things to his satisfaction. This may explain why he was painting Mona Lisa for as many years as he did &ndash; he kept coming back to it and adding more.</p> <p>Some might consider this &ldquo;starting but never finishing&rdquo; pattern of Leonardo&rsquo;s to be a flaw. He would constantly design marvelous things but they would rarely be completed. He would plan to sculpt a tremendous horse for a patron in Milan, for example, but just as he was about to do so, the materials he needed to use had to be used for an impending war instead. So the sculpture never happened.</p> <p>Yet, in the case of one of the most famous paintings in history &ndash; Mona Lisa - we can say that <b>there are times when the relentless drive to achieve something better, even when it doesn&rsquo;t all happen in one or two sittings, is well worth the effort. </b></p> <p>Case in point: Your career is a constant work in progress &ndash; an evolution of skills that is continually being added to a collection of experiences. Keep finding ways to add to the masterpiece that is your life&rsquo;s work. One title, one stop on the career path and even one outstanding achievement doesn&rsquo;t likely provide the complete picture of all that you are. What does the comprehensive collection up to this point communicate to potential employers and is it telling the story as accurately as you&rsquo;d like? If not, what modifications might need to be made from here so that it aligns with your purpose and passion?</p> <p><b>Create Your Own Labels &ndash; Don&rsquo;t Let Others Create Them For You</b></p> <p>Leonardo was very much set against being described as a painter. Instead, he perceived himself as an <b>engineer, military advisor and scientist.</b></p> <p>You could also call him an amazing anatomist, because he had a passion for dissecting (in fact, he would dissect over 30 cadavers on the path to making discoveries that were far ahead of their time). Leonardo&rsquo;s attitude was that in order to create the proper picture or the proper statue, you need to understand <i>all</i> the things that are underneath the skin &ndash; in order to learn just that, he dissected a variety of people. This intensive learning would ultimately influence another area of his work, his unbelievably beautiful atlases of the human body.</p> <p>A military advisor? Leonardo da Vinci? In a way, absolutely. Despite the fact that some of da Vinci&rsquo;s self-descriptions &ndash; like being a military advisor &ndash; were accompanied with a bit of bluster, we can say that he did invent one tool that we often take for granted: <b>A map that represented a city from above. </b>This could certainly be viewed as a military document, which may explain his self-perception as a military strategist. Until da Vinci, there were no maps quite like that. He had the eye and hand of a genius artist to realize what a given city looked like with all of its fortifications, buildings and so on &ndash; from above and accurately.</p> <p>A scientist? Most definitely. From a scientific standpoint, da Vinci discovered a variety of laws that we would eventually know by name, such as the laws of friction &ndash; about 200 years before Sir Isaac Newton defined force. At one point, he created a list of 87 different measurement relationships of a human face, such as how far the chin goes to the nose. He was also the first person to discover that the human tooth has three roots.</p> <p>In the modern day, it is far too easy to classify someone else based on initial observations of certain parts of their work or even a resume. In some cases, that might be perfectly fine. But be careful. You don&rsquo;t want others, including those in a position to hire, to make assumptions about you that may only tell part of the story when it comes to your career achievements, skill set and goals from here.</p> <p><b><i>That&rsquo;s where connecting with a highly experienced recruiter such as Roy Talman &amp; Associates can be very helpful to communicating the complete picture of where you&rsquo;ve been in your career, what you&rsquo;ve accomplished thus far and the ideal culture you&rsquo;d like to join for maximum impact. Positioning you correctly and preparing you for the moment when you&rsquo;re in front of these hiring authorities is key, so let&rsquo;s make a point to connect to see that you tell your own story in the most favorable light and define your own path forward in the best way possible. </i></b></p> <p><b><i>Will that approach make you feel as much of a genius as da Vinci? Let&rsquo;s just say in our 30 years of experience at Roy Talman, we believe it&rsquo;s a far more intelligent path that just works better.</i></b></p> <span style="font-size: medium;"> </span> Bitcoin Pave A New Career Path For You? 13 Mar 2018Blog<p><span style="font-family: Verdana;"><span style="font-size: medium;">Being as close to the financial trading sector as we are at Roy Talman &amp; Associates, we can see that a number of financial trading companies are jumping on the bandwagon of trading cryptocurrencies. The core of expertise of trading companies is, of course, trading. For these companies, it's often much more profitable to trade something with high volatility than little volatility. Despite the fact that there are lots of stories about how 2017 was one of the least volatile market years on record, that simply doesn't apply to cryptocurrencies. </span></span></p> <p><span style="font-family: Verdana;"><span style="font-size: medium;">Therefore, to the degree that cryptocurrencies will be used and traded by these trading firms, it represents an extremely appealing product to trade. Many trading companies in Chicago are already trading cryptocurrencies or gearing up very quickly to trade them. To fully achieve that, you need a whole infrastructure with real exchanges. Thus far, in my observation, we are still very early on in that lifecycle. The futures exchanges, CME and CBOE have not really gained much value in this area. </span></span></p> <p><span style="font-family: Verdana;"><span style="font-size: medium;">Nonetheless, in the future, we should see a point where, to some degree, various public or private cryptocurrencies will become ever more useful. That could have very positive career implications for people with a strong understanding of that technology.</span></span></p> <p><span style="font-family: Verdana;"><span style="font-size: medium;">The progression I&rsquo;m speaking of reminds me a bit of how the Internet first burst upon the scene in the mid-'90's. At that time, very few people knew how to write code for this wonderful new thing called the Internet. As such, there were also few applications that were truly useful. Still, as time went on, we reached a point to where we are today &ndash; we see tens of millions, perhaps even <i>hundreds of millions</i> of people know how to write code continually. The code is much easier to write and from that development, there are tremendous libraries of information being created that others can, in turn, use and learn from.</span></span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="font-family: Verdana;"><span style="font-size: medium;"><b>So Is Bitcoin And Blockchain Here To Stay?</b></span></span></p> <p><span style="font-family: Verdana;"><span style="font-size: medium;">As new forms of funding have emerged worldwide, what we&rsquo;re seeing are a very large number of ICOs (initial coin offerings). For the time being, you may have some spectacular successes &ndash; such as Ripple, a company that people can use to send money using blockchain &ndash; as well as a fair number of failures. It should be very interesting to see a variety of applications for these ICOs and the blockchains that underline them. It appears at this point that the cryptocurrencies that will garner the largest use will not only survive but also prosper.</span></span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="font-family: Verdana;"><span style="font-size: medium;">Ripple's CEO is fond of pointing out that his transactions can be processed in three seconds and due to that, he's getting a lot of use out of his system whereas bitcoin transactions currently can take hours. And as far as transaction fees, it&rsquo;s easy to see where that&rsquo;s going to become a big issue for bitcoin &ndash; people are paying an average near $30 in order to make bitcoin transactions. Considering that the original premise was that bitcoin transactions were going to be a fraction of a penny, it seems we've migrated the wrong way &ndash; but the demand certainly appears to be there.</span></span></p> <p><span style="font-family: Verdana;"><span style="font-size: medium;">Still, there are so few people with an understanding of what these tools are and what they can do from a technological standpoint that it may very well open the door to new, exciting potential opportunities for candidates.</span></span></p> <p><span style="font-family: Verdana;"><span style="font-size: medium;">Case in point: A recent graduate with six months of experience writing code for GitHub in between classes is a highly desirable expert on a global basis. It is not a stretch to say that such a candidate, in Dublin, could attract a company in Montreal to want to hire him to work for a manager in Chicago.</span></span></p> <p><span style="font-family: Verdana;"><span style="font-size: medium;">We can foresee the same development likely happening over and over again. As with so many relatively new areas of technology, there can be a great deal of ups and downs. There will be high profile success stories and yes, some headlines about this or that promising company that ultimately went nowhere. So if you move your career toward a company related to cryptocurrency, be prepared to stomach what could be a high level of volatility. Some candidates thrive upon riding this kind of roller coaster. Others run from it as fast as they can.</span></span></p> <p><span style="font-family: Verdana;"><span style="font-size: medium;"><b>We&rsquo;ve Been Here Before. </b></span></span></p> <p><span style="font-family: Verdana;"><span style="font-size: medium;"><b>And Ready For What Comes Next.</b></span></span></p> <p><span style="font-family: Verdana;"><span style="font-size: medium;">If you&rsquo;re expecting the media to tell a consistent &ldquo;straight story&rdquo; on the future of cryptocurrency, good luck with that. We&rsquo;ve seen wide-ranging predictions that run the gamut from a &ldquo;bitcoin bubble&rdquo; about to burst to how bitcoin is going replace all forms of money as we know it. </span></span></p> <p><span style="font-family: Verdana;"><span style="font-size: medium;">For our part, we see a future somewhere in the middle: Cryptocurrency will have its winners, its losers and doesn&rsquo;t seem to be on the verge of suddenly disappearing. </span></span></p> <p><span style="font-family: Verdana;"><span style="font-size: medium;"><b><i>It&rsquo;s actually a cycle that we&rsquo;ve seen several times over the last 30 years at Roy Talman &amp; Associates. An emerging technology arrives, disrupting industries and bringing new questions with it. When those questions influence what your next career move could be, a degree of clarity is much needed. That&rsquo;s where Roy Talman&rsquo;s deep knowledge of where technology is headed next and what firms value most can be highly beneficial, providing you with keen insight on the opportunities that best align with your skills and goals.&nbsp;</i></b></span></span></p> Next Phase Of AI: Beyond The “Hype” 08 Mar 2018Blog<p><span style="font-size: medium;"><b>The Next Phase Of AI: Beyond The &ldquo;Hype&rdquo;</b></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: medium;">I was recently watching two luminaries in the area of artificial intelligence talk about where AI is at this point. It wasn&rsquo;t really presented from the point of view that &ldquo;<i>one algorithm is better than another algorithm</i>,&quot; but rather more in terms of how someone in business can make sense out of this new machine age we&rsquo;re entering.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: medium;">One of the more surprising points came from a speaker named Andrew Ng, a former chief scientist at Baidu who ran the company&rsquo;s Artificial Intelligence Group and is now an adjunct professor at Stanford and a chairman of Coursera. Ng stated that 99% of the commercial uses of machine learning today come from what we call <b>supervised learning</b>.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: medium;">Supervised learning represents one of three types of machine learning systems today. It&rsquo;s when you have an event or object and a machine is not only told what that event or object is but then <i>also learns to recognize it.</i> You might say that autonomous driving or medical image recognition is a good example of supervised learning. Ng himself and a group of his students at Stanford built a system to recognize whether a head of lettuce was ripe or not &ndash; a project that all started with his students walking around with their cellphones, taking pictures of heads of lettuce and labeling them accordingly for the benefit of a machine&rsquo;s understanding.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: medium;">Next, we have <b>reinforced learning</b>, a type of machine learning that became most famous when systems were built that could learn, by themselves, how to play games - from Space Invaders to the game Go to Chess. In fact, the only thing these systems ever really need are the rules of the game. Once a system has such a foundation of rules, it can essentially take it from there.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: medium;">Finally, there is what&rsquo;s referred to as <b>unsupervised learning</b>. An example of this type of machine learning might be Google &ldquo;learning&rdquo; to work through millions of photos on its own in order to recognize and identify a particular image such as a cat.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: medium;">The positive sentiment about supervised learning and its phenomenal progress over the last 5-7 years was echoed in this same presentation by Yann LeCun, a computer scientist who is the head AI scientist in Facebook&rsquo;s research division. LeCun claims that the progress supervised learning has achieved, in substantial degree, comes from essentially two components: One is the <b>ever-faster GPUs in auto specialized chips</b> that are good at running neural nets and the billions upon billions of computations it takes to train those networks. The other is an <b>ever-increasing availability of data to train these systems on</b>.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: medium;"><b>The Promise Of Things To Come</b></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: medium;">Ng and LeCun may see that supervised learning is where a vast majority of commercial applications are today. Beyond today, however, there are many exciting evolutions of machine learning for tomorrow &ndash; these are not &ldquo;experiments&rdquo; (as some admittedly can be), but rather practical applications that can shake up a variety of industries.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: medium;">Let&rsquo;s take medical imaging recognition, for example. The current technological state of affairs is such that a system essentially has to be taught, &ldquo;<i>This image depicts cancer</i>&rdquo; and &ldquo;<i>This is not cancer</i>.&rdquo; Over time, the system is able to identify from a given photo whether a lesion is cancerous or not.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: medium;">Yet, the real promise from here is that a person with a reasonably priced smartphone will be able to take a picture, upload it to the cloud, get it analyzed and receive the results of that analysis for a nominal cost.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: medium;">As this technology progresses and becomes more widely distributed, the next true stage of machine learning could go a long way toward improving healthcare for more people in the world.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: medium;">Are we there yet? No. It can take significant time for one system to analyze a variety of narrow problems to understand or rules to follow before it can solve a problem, play a game or perform analysis. My personal suspicion is that it might take billions of <i>those</i> systems, in turn, to build a system that we consistently recognize for its usefulness through the world.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: medium;">Optimistically speaking, we will probably get to that point&hellip;even if we&rsquo;re not quite there yet.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: medium;">What you could say we are experiencing in machine learning is a new phase. We have been through the &ldquo;hype&rdquo; phase. We have also seen a system&rsquo;s ability to learn and demonstrate broadly applicable tasks. From here, we will likely be <b>entering a phase in which we have more sensors on a widespread basis</b> &ndash; and in turn, as we are able to collect a large amount of data on a cost-effective basis, we should see exponential growth in a variety of useful systems. In addition, as a result of that exponential growth in computational capacity, we should also see systems built with the next layer of capabilities.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: medium;"><b>What Tech Skills Today Are Needed For Tomorrow&rsquo;s Systems?</b></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: medium;">In practical terms, it may surprise you to learn that my expectation is that the technology skills that should be called upon to &ldquo;help&rdquo; these types of systems will actually be good old-fashioned <b>software development skills in areas such as Java, Python and C++. </b>I foresee a variety of candidates needing a solid familiarity with how to manage a large amount of data, including how to identify specific data in relation to a specific subject.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: medium;">Now, some may believe that learning certain company systems will take an enormous effort. There will be substantial effort required, to be sure. However, for all their complexities, an understanding of the developmental core algorithms behind these systems may be less of a challenge than you realize.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: medium;">Why? A variety of companies appear to be so intent on accelerating the learning curve for their systems that they are willing to give away all kinds of tools in order to induce people to learn their platform. Consequently, an individual who has just learned their system will essentially get &ldquo;locked&rdquo; into using the platform for the foreseeable future. We&rsquo;re talking about companies like Amazon, Google, IBM and Microsoft.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: medium;">As we pass from one phase of AI to the next, the idea that machines are &ldquo;coming to take our jobs&rdquo; is becoming ever more remote. If anything, machines will transform a number of roles and create new opportunities for those who are ready and eager to evolve with the times.</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="font-size: medium;"><b><i>Of course, recognizing such new opportunities isn&rsquo;t always obvious. That&rsquo;s why it makes sense to partner with a technical recruiter that has over 30 years of experience like Roy Talman &amp; Associates. Talking to us today about planning the next direction of your career path, especially as we&rsquo;re on the cusp of seeing a big leap in the development of systems, may make for the best kind of timing.</i></b></span></p>