Principles for using math, code and data to seduce Mother Nature into revealing her secrets.

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Coding can get a little grey. Surround yourself with colour. Photo by Sam Bourke.

The terms commandments and self-taught are not to be taken lightly. One must be in charge of their own education and enlightenment. Ignore this and someone else will choose it for you.

1. Math, Code and Data are your holy trinity

Any effective machine learning pipeline leverages the crossover of mathematics, code and data. Each is only as effective as the other.

If your data is of poor quality, it does not matter how elegant your mathematics or efficient your code is.

If your data is of the highest quality but your mathematics is off, expect your results to disappoint, or worse, harm.

If your data and mathematics are world-class but your code is inefficient, you will fail to reap the benefits of scale. …

Notes, feelings and body measurements from my first five day fast

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Photo by Alla Hetman on Unsplash

Last year I did 4 days, this year it’s 5 days. Who knows, maybe in 25 years I’ll be going a month at a time (probably not).

Thinking about trying your own extended fast? Well, you’re about to dive into the article/diary/question and answer style documentation of my first 5 day fast.

I’ve started by answering some of the questions I would’ve liked to have known before starting a 5 day fast and then finished with a day by day journal entry and some extra resources you might want to check out to learn more.

Disclaimer: What you’re about to read is not medical advice, only anecdotal stories from my experience during my first five day fast, I am not a doctor. If you’re unsure about anything, seek professional medical advice.

Advice on writing words worth being paid for

iphone 12 pro promotion picture with “it’s time to get paid.” text
iphone 12 pro promotion picture with “it’s time to get paid.” text
The new iPhone 12 comes out this month. And people are going to line up to pay for it. Imagine if the same thing happened with your writing. Source: Apple iPhone 12 Pro homepage, edits by the author.

Ceramic shield glass, blazing fast, two cameras, three if you’re a Pro, look at those curves, oh baby… do I want one? Yes yes yes. Do I need one? No no no. But you know what? A crazy idea dug itself into my head this morning. I could write myself a new iPhone.


You know there are sites now which let you spill your ideas out for cash now right? I’m talking Medium, Substack, Ghost, Gumroad, hell, you could even make your own site and add a link to a Patreon page.

The point being: if you want to create something of value, which scales infinitely, you can. …

…to start, make, create, ask, think differently, lead, become, be.

person in crowd of faces with their hand up and an idea
person in crowd of faces with their hand up and an idea
You could wait to be picked. Or you could put your hand up.

It’s impossible to get stuck when you’re listening to yourself.

How many thoughts go through your head every day?

All of them are potential ideas. Most crap, some good, a handful great. You never know until you latch onto one and see where it goes. And anyone who claims they do is full of it.

I’ve noticed a trend, in others and myself and especially in the new creator: getting in your own way.

And the usual solution to this self-imposed roadblock is typically to seek approval of others before embarking on whatever journey it is you’re thinking of.

Some quotes of the fearful…

Luckmaxing. You were born to adapt. Earning your dopamine. The “It is done” mindset. And the power of the follow-up.

man writing on laptop with feet up on table sitting amongst trees
man writing on laptop with feet up on table sitting amongst trees
There aren’t many more activities that give me a better high than sitting and writing. Photo by Sam Bourke.

I remember being 14 and thinking 27 sounded old. Well, look what happens.

I’m convinced my years now feel like 6-month blocks. By this rate, when I’m 50 a year should feel like a season. Time flies when you’re having fun.

Anyway, I love birthdays. One of the main reasons being birthday’s in the Bourke house usually involve plenty of good food. Another reason being because growing up I always felt special that my birthday was the first day of Spring. Catch ya later Winter, bring on the singlet weather.

For the last couple of years, I usually use the backend of August to reflect on what I’ve learned in the past year. And after doing it for five years, I’m starting to notice a trend: how much I don’t know. …

Do you hunt to eat? You’re probably already ready. Avoiding human-marshmallowitis.

pathway leading to the top of a hill
pathway leading to the top of a hill
One of my favourite local hills. The cherry on top is it gets steeper towards the top. So when you think you’re almost there, it gets little harder.

This morning I did seven hill sprints, not five, not ten, seven.


Because I felt like that was enough.

80% on the first one and by the second one, you should be hitting full tilt and holding it there.

The beautiful thing about doing hill sprints?

Things should be plural because there’s more than one.

  • You get out in nature.
  • You challenge yourself.
  • You expand as much effort as you can in a short period of time (high bang for buck).
  • People walk past and say “wow, that looks hard.” …

Putting the engineer back in machine learning engineer

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Unmanaged cables, untrimmed neck hairs — classic “must be an engineer” give away. And yes that’s a Colab notebook with a picture of a steak in the middle of it on the screen (part of an upcoming project). Thank you Sam Bourke for the photo.

I’m underground, back where it all started. Sitting at the hidden cafe where I first met Mike. I’d been studying in my bedroom for the past 9-months and decided to step out of the cave. Half of me was concerned about having to pay $19 for breakfast (unless it’s Christmas, driving Uber on the weekends isn’t very lucrative), the other half about whether any of this study I’d been doing online meant anything.

In 2017, I left Apple, tried to build a web startup, failed, discovered machine learning, fell in love, signed up to a deep learning course with zero coding experience, emailed the support team asking what the refund policy was, didn’t get a refund, spent the next 3-months handing in the assignments four to six days late, somehow passed, decided to keep going and created my own AI Masters Degree. …

I trained my first model in 2017 on my friend's lounge room floor.

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2020 requirements for state of the art machine learning: mullet. That’s it. Photo by Sam Bourke.

The other day, the absolute and complete living legend, Head of Data Science and creator of incredible data science-related YouTube videos, Ken Jee reached out to me asking if I wanted to collaborate on a video (or two).

I said sure.

We decided question and answer, back and forth type videos would be best.

So he sent me a few questions he’d probably ask me and to prepare, I wrote out answers to each of them.

And now I’m copying them here.

How did you get interested in data science/machine learning, to begin with?

In 2017, my friends and I were building a web application (very primitive) to link together local gyms in our area. We had the problem of not being able to train with each other whenever we wanted. So we had the idea of making the Airbnb of fitness facilities, somewhere you could go and book time/space and workout with who you wanted. …

I’ve done some courses, what do I do now? Hint: touch the stove.

person reading a book whilst sitting in front of a computer screen
person reading a book whilst sitting in front of a computer screen
Reading books: an underrated skill. Thank you Sam Bourke for the photo.

Manuela emailed me the other day asking the question “How can a beginner data scientist like me gain experience?”.

Great question.

It followed with, “I did some courses and did some projects, but some interviewers said: ‘I liked your formation but you don’t have the minimum experience we want, come back later!’”.

I replied with some points I’m copying to this article.

Disclaimer: I’m not going for a job. So you might ask, “Well then, why I would I take advice from someone not going for a job?”.

And you’d be right in asking that.

Always be sceptical of advice from someone who hasn’t learned it through their own experience. My explanation is, no job I’ve found suits me, so I created my own (this could be an article on its own, in fact, my advice is: don’t get a job, start a business instead). …

And how you can too

developer sitting at a computer desk looking at a screen wearing blue hoodie
developer sitting at a computer desk looking at a screen wearing blue hoodie
All the telltale signs of an upskilling developer: unshaven beard, mullet in progress, cables everywhere, hoodie (must). Photo by Sam Bourke, thank you brother.

At the start of May, I decided to get TensorFlow Developer Certified. So I set myself up with a curriculum to sharpen my skills and took the certification exam a couple of days ago (June 3rd). Turns out, I passed.

Let me tell you how I did it and how you can too.

Hold on. What even is TensorFlow?

TensorFlow is an open-source numerical computing framework which allows you preprocess data, model data (find patterns in it, typically with deep learning) and deploy your solutions to the world.

It’s what Google uses to power all of its machine learning services. Chances are, the device you’re reading this on has run some kind of TensorFlow before. …


Daniel Bourke

I play at the crossroads of technology, health and art. Broadcasting from:

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