School of Rock

Jack Black - what a performance! It’s one of the most fun movies I’ve ever watched. It’s hilarious. It’s inspirational. There’s a very important lesson to be learnt from it.

Jack Black is a failed rock-musician who fakes being a substitute teacher at a local school because he wanted to have enough money to pay his rent. He was looking to create his own band but no one took him seriously. Fortunately, the kids in hi class were very talented. He formed a rock-band with them.

What I loved the most about him was his indomitable spirit. He encouraged the kids to find their inner talent and channel it in a positive way. He was knowledgeable about one field - rock music. He knew something about everything in that field - rock history, guitars, drums, piano, chorus, etc.

The key message is to go all out in the field that you are passionate about. Do not worry about win or loss. You should just be happy to perform. The stage is open. How can I apply the lessons in my own life? What am I passionate about ? What can I do day in day out for every single day just because I love it?

I am an engineer. I find joy when I an exercise my mental capabilities to solve a problem. However, I have often found myself discouraged easily if I encounter a dead-end. I am always on a mission to build something short, simple yet useful. But while trying to be original, I take on too much stuff at once and then I give up. That’s why I should listen to Arnold Bennett. I should be content with little progress and small success in the beginning. It will provide momentum. Success begets success. So, what’s the equivalent of rock music for me ?

1990’s was the decade when the web became the hot new thing, leading to numerous dot-com startups. If you knew html, you could have a web startup. 2000’s was the decade when more and more people started using websites and smartphones became affordable. Google/Facebook/Twitter started gaining popularity. 2010’s was the decade when the Machine learning hype became real. Leading up to the year 2020, there has been tremendous breakthroughs in the field. Machine learning algorithms surpassed all previous benchmarks and gave us state of the art results in speech, vision, healthcare, recommendations, etc. The research in machine learning has taken the field forward in leaps and bounds. Almost every web/mobile app that you use is powered by some form of machine learning algorithms.

In a way Machine learning in 2020’s will be similar to what the web was in 2000-2010. There was a decade of build-up and innovations in the 1990’s that led to amazing applications in the next decades. Improvement in computation and machine learning algorithms in 2010-2019 will allow us to take our applications to the next level in the decades to come. We are at a pivotal point to take advantage of this.