2 Matching Annotations
  1. Oct 2020
    1. Most people seem to follow one of two strategies - and these strategies come under the umbrella of tree-traversal algorithms in computer science.

      Deciding whether you want to go deep into one topic, or explore more topics, can be seen as a choice between two types of tree-traversal algorithms: depth-first and breadth-first.

      This also reminds me of the Explore-Exploit problem in machine learning, which I believe is related to the Multi-Armed Bandit Problem.

  2. May 2020
    1. WhyGeneral infrastructure simply takes time to build. You have to carefully design interfaces, write documentation and tests, and make sure that your systems will handle load. All of that is rival with experimentation, and not just because it takes time to build: it also makes the system much more rigid.Once you have lots of users with lots of use cases, it’s more difficult to change anything or to pursue radical experiments. You’ve got to make sure you don’t break things for people or else carefully communicate and manage change.Those same varied users simply consume a great deal of time day-to-day: a fault which occurs for 1% of people will present no real problem in a small prototype, but it’ll be high-priority when you have 100k users.Once this playbook becomes the primary goal, your incentives change: your goal will naturally become making the graphs go up, rather than answering fundamental questions about your system.

      The reason the conceptual architecture tends to freeze is because there is a tradeoff between a large user base and the ability to run radical experiments. If you've got a lot of users, there will always be a critical mass of complaints when the experiment blows up.

      Secondly, it takes a lot of time to scale up. This is time that you cannot spend experimenting.

      Andy here is basically advocating remaining in Explore mode a little bit longer than is usually recommended. Doing so will increase your chances of climbing the highest peak during the Exploit mode.