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Codex Audentia

Codex: An ancient manuscript text in book form.
Audentia: Latin for “audacity”.

This is not a blog. This is my codex — a working notebook with all my notes and rambles in their full glory. It is raw, unpolished and unfiltered. I write these posts mostly for myself and don’t publicize them, so there’s no newsletter or RSS feed for these, sorry.

Rambles

Landing Page for Tech Fluency Training

In today's Ramble, I will write out my freerunning thoughts on what my new landing page for the technical fluency program should look like. I believe my target learners are busy executives like myself, so I won't have extremely long copy and fluffy marketing speak. I want to communicate the WHY behind the course, then the HOW, and then the WHAT is least important. I also have to limit the number of learners I can take per month to 5, so I need to make sure the process for getting into the training program is not open to all. My…
Aman Y. Agarwal
July 25, 2020
Rambles

“Minimum Successful Product”

This is a term I've just coined, for my personal projects. It's a good way to see if something is worth doing or not. An MSP is the minimum you need to accomplish, to get the project to a state where even if it plateaus and never grows beyond that, you're pretty happy about the result and are willing to leave it running forever. Link to LinkedIn post: https://www.linkedin.com/posts/mngrwl_minimum-successful-product-i-like-to-think-activity-6687924119507492864-DHHI Actually, copying the original post here in case LinkedIn shuts down 10 years later and nobody can find it anymore: MSP is the minimum I would have to build and accomplish,…
Aman Y. Agarwal
July 13, 2020
Rambles

Technical Fluency Course for Non-Engineers

This is a new project/business idea about teaching non-technical people about modern computing technologies in a rapid fashion without learning to code, to build systems thinking and technical fluency which is way more valuable than writing your first 5000 lines of code. Inspiration:Was talking to Taylor Kennon in the gym at 1040 about him getting ripped off by a developer, and offered to explain to him the overall tech ecosystem etc. Prepared a talk about it and gave it in the gym itself a few days later - my first talk was terrible because there wasn't enough time, but it…
Aman Y. Agarwal
July 12, 2020
Rambles

What does failure for DenseLayers look like?

Nobody wants to read my essays about papers on Medium.Nobody wants to discuss papers on DenseLayers.DenseLayers gets sued and forced to shut down or escape.Site is never able to scale, and becomes/remains a niche community or fancy blog.Site gets hacked.Becomes community of spammers, haters and bots. Questions Which ones are realistic? All of themWhat can be easily/mostly avoided? 3,5,6What is the Minimum Successful Product? A site that has a new cool paper from DRL every month or so, with my comments. Essentially a community that only includes myself.Am I okay with minimum success? Yes.
Aman Y. Agarwal
July 12, 2020
Rambles

Audiobook Tool Idea

So I had an idea about how a tool that would allow people to easily record voice versions of their Medium articles, and automatically did the noise removal and balancing etc for them using machine learning. I imagined that most people don't really want to spend all their time doing audio editing, which is why a lot of online articles don't have any audio versions on them. I also imagined that a lot of people would enjoy turning their blog posts into "podcast"-like episodes, but are deterred by all the technical mayhem involved. I feel like recording and hitting "publish"…
Aman Y. Agarwal
May 27, 2020
Miscellanous

May 2020 Codex

(Semi-random things I learn or think about in May 2020) May 22 Learning Chinese I've been on a 8-day unbroken streak of using Memrise to learn Traditional Chinese characters. I've discovered the Heisig Method and am using it, and I believe in it. After all it won't be a waste of time in any way! The plan:- Learn to recognize and recall 3000 traditional hanzi, learning 20 per day.- After reaching 1500, start reading and listening to Chinese texts in parallel using LingQ to acquire spoken vocabulary.- After learning Chinese, I'll learn Japanese again. It will be much easier. Learning…
Aman Y. Agarwal
May 3, 2020
Rambles

DenseLayers Pre-Launch Refresh

Using this post to think through all assumptions, strategy and technical decisions made so far about DenseLayers. Deploy date is tomorrow. Today is 01May2020, and DenseLayers is ready to release minus a few last-minute changes that I keep making. I am in a state where I keep adding one more feature to make it easy to maintain the website once it is out, so that I can focus exclusively on content creation and marketing for the next several weeks. It is classic scope creep. But in the midst of all the excitement, I need to recollect my thoughts and ideas…
Aman Y. Agarwal
May 2, 2020
Miscellanous

Listening to Alex Rodriguez

Alex Rodriguez spoke on Ed Mylett's podcast. Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q9kKEkA-zvE Takeaways: - Alex is all about process. He believes that if you do the little things and stack the little wins consistently (=work ethic), and see them as the big wins - over time they add up to great skill and achievements. The great achievements are not in your control - the little wins are. Don't think so big, think about the little steps. He says that he is most proud about the fact that in all his 25 years of playing professional baseball, he never once missed his pre-game preparation…
Aman Y. Agarwal
April 16, 2020
Miscellanous

Notes from Shake Shack Owner Danny Meyer

Notes from a Tony Robbins' podcast where he interviews Danny Meyers: https://www.tonyrobbins.com/podcasts/from-hot-dog-cart-to-hospitality-empire/ "Hospitality Quotient": as opposed to simply IQ or EQ1. Kindness and Optimism ('...skeptics and cynics don't usually care how other people feel')2. Intellectual Curiosity3. Work Ethic4. Empathy5. Self Awareness6. Integrity Danny says the above cannot be taught and trained, but can be detected through interviews. Interesting hiring practices at Southwest Airlines and Zappos. Danny says that when he gives a talk about company vision and values etc, usually there are a couple people who fall asleep etc. He makes sure that he adds at the end that "Hey,…
Aman Y. Agarwal
January 26, 2020
Rambles

Decision Process for Key Metrics for DenseLayers

  The first version of DenseLayers is very close to completion (it's past the deadline of Dec 31, which makes me disappointed but at the same time I'm glad I'm making a lot of progress and doing it right. Need to decide what kind of metrics I should be monitoring as the founder, during the crucial initial stage. Using this post to think out loud from first principles and put my ideas on paper, hoping it will help me make sense. What I want to accomplish I want to grow the website into a product that people enjoy using, and…
Aman Y. Agarwal
January 5, 2020
Miscellanous

Lessons from FBI’s top hostage negotiator

I'm a big fan of Masterclass.com, and would be a customer if I had the time commitment. Today I saw that Masterclass.com has a new course by Chris Voss on negotiation: I saw the trailer, and then I watched one sample lesson that talks about the concept of "Tactical Empathy". This only reinforced what I've known before (we call it Emotional Intelligence), but putting it into the perspective like Chris does really helped drill the concept into my head and made it a practically learnable skill. Then I went down the rabbit whole. I watched a TEDx talk by Chris.…
Aman Y. Agarwal
December 18, 2019
Rambles

Defining the MVP of DenseLayers

DenseLayers is a website where people can discuss research papers online, paragraph by paragraph. It is the project I am working on right now, and aim to launch the site by Dec 31. The story of how it came about etc is quite long, but essentially it started with me explaining the AlphaGo paper on Medium. I'll skip to a more pressing matter - what features should be in the first version of the website. As always, don't mind if this turns into a rambling post towards the end. *** As per my philosophy, my first version should have the…
Aman Y. Agarwal
December 11, 2019
Rambles

How do I describe my database schema?

This is a post in which I explore what would be the best way to explain my current database schema for DenseLayers (my current project) in a clear and concise manner - which I will do in another post. This means that this is a rambling post about how I should write that future post. Writing great documentation (whether for yourself or others) is a skill and it should be practiced thoughtfully. I want to compare different ways of organizing/structuring the ideas on paper so that they make the most sense. Update: I realize other readers may not know what…
Aman Y. Agarwal
December 2, 2019
Reflections

Let’s be terrible together.

If you've seen my front page, you know that I love writing, teaching and sharing ideas. This blog website shall be my codex; my personal manuscript, inspired by Leonardo da Vinci's Codex Atlanticus. The Atlanticus is a twelve-volume series of handwritten notebooks in which he documented his ideas and studies on a great variety of subjects, from botany to weaponry. These private scribbles give us a peek into the brain of a prolific man, and have allowed us to recognize his endeavours although half a millenium has passed since. Giant crossbow design by Da Vinci; and his self portrait I…
Aman Y. Agarwal
November 27, 2019
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