How did I get here?

An introductory chapter to a book on learning machine learning that I wrote.

How did I get here?

This is an introduction to a book on learning machine learning that I wrote. You can learn more about it here.

I wrote this book because on my long and winding deep learning journey I learned some things that I believe can be useful to others. Many of the insights that I share can accelerate your progress several-fold.

In 2012, I couldn’t program. I had a corporate job that provided a steady stream of income, but it was utterly boring. There had to be more to life than thinking of human beings as resources. I read somewhere about these things called MOOCs, and I decided to take a look.

By 2018, I had done enough deep learning to win a Kaggle competition, just a few months after a blog post I wrote while taking a course got published by KDnuggets.

In 2019, I received an invitation to visit my colleagues at Curai, a healthcare startup in San Francisco. Out of around 20 engineers, I was their only team member from overseas.

Flying to visit my colleagues in the US

As I write these words, I have the most amazing job I could imagine. I get to work on decoding non-human communication as part of the Earth Species Project with some of the most amazing, interesting people I have ever met.

The reason why I believe I have something worthwhile to share with you is not, however, related to the aforementioned achievements.

Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about learning and acting effectively. This change – and the ideas that led to it – are the essence of what I would like to tell you about.

At the beginning of my journey, I moved very slowly. I studied for months, only to discover that my deep learning abilities had not progressed much. I couldn’t chart a path that would take me from where I was to where I wanted to be. Then, on one of the many detours I took, I became a web developer because I had started to believe machine learning might be out of reach for me.

What allowed me to persevere was my belief in learning. Even if I wasn’t learning quickly, I was still learning, and that was something.

I started to reflect more and more on what worked for me and what didn’t. I also managed to keep an open mind, always ready to accept advice (though that might have been more out of desperation than anything else). Often, I would write my thoughts down and share them with others.

A tweet from a member of the community. Thank you, Kevin!

This process of introspection was key in motivating me to continue. Through it, I began to employ new ideas, and refine my approach.

I had to cover a lot of distance, as I don’t have a college degree. I only started to learn to code when my first daughter was about to be born. This gave me the focus I had lacked earlier, but it also placed some rather significant constraints on my time.

If my approach to learning hadn’t undergone such an immense change, I would not be writing these words to you today.

In this book, I share the life-changing ideas I picked up along the way. They will allow you to learn faster and to accomplish more in a shorter period of time. They can alter the trajectory of your life, just as they have mine.

Thank you for reading! To learn more about my book, please see here.