A Day in the Life: David Wagner

Originally published at: https://mycroft.ai/blog/a-day-in-the-life-david-wagner/

Continuing our “Day in the Life” team member interview series, we’re introducing our newest Mycroft developer, David Wagner.

David, where do you hail from?

Kansas City!

Give us a little background on you.

Before Mycroft I spent three years at another KC startup called EyeVerify (now ZOLOZ). It was there I got hooked on Python, machine learning, and the fast-paced startup world!

One of my favorite projects at ZOLOZ was writing identification servers using our biometric technology. I got to work with the research team as they developed new models and algorithms for the server to integrate and the engineering team as they developed the camera system that interacted with the server.

Another fun project last year was competing in the Human Protein Atlas Image Classification Competition on Kaggle. I learned a lot of skills in that project that I use every day at Mycroft. As a bonus, I was able to earn a top 15% placement overall. I’m keeping an eye out on this year’s competitions for my next side project!

What are your daily tasks?

For the first month being at Mycroft I have been splitting my time between Mycroft core and our machine learning projects. I’m hoping to write some code for the backend soon as well so I can be familiar with the entire Mycroft stack.

Walk us through a day in the life.

On the days I am able to get here early I usually do quite a bit of reading to start the day off. We have a number of models in production and more on the roadmap so there is a never-ending list of papers, articles, and books to keep up to date with the latest developments. If I get in later it is usually straight into our morning sync up where we tell the team what we accomplished the day before and what task we are committing to getting done that day. I try to get any team communication or smaller tasks done before lunch so I can have long, uninterrupted chunks of time in the afternoon to devote to the day’s difficult tasks.

What are your favorite things to do in a day?

Reading, coding, and joking 😄.

And what about your least favorite/most challenging?

Meetings, planning, and organizing.

You’re relatively new to the team, but not the Community. What got you excited about Mycroft when you first found out about it?

I have been interested in Natural Language Processing (NLP) for some time now and initially stumbled across Mycroft looking into KC companies doing interesting work in that space. When I found out that Mycroft was open source, used Python, and had privacy at the core of the business I knew I needed to keep an eye out for opportunities at the company.

How have your first few weeks been?

Really great. I have enjoyed getting to know everybody on the team and getting up and running on a number of interesting projects.

What excites you about the future of Mycroft?

One of the first words that my younger son learned to say was “Google” and my older son knows he can get useful information out of that small little hockey puck, like a couple weeks ago when he asked “Hey Google. What time is the weather?” He also knows what Dad does, Dad works on “Hey Mycroft.”

The scale and impact of AI assistants on the world is going to be massive. And I am happy to be working on the team that is bringing privacy, security, and openness into that space.

Give us a cliche fun fact about you?

My favorite dessert is Nanaimo bars. As far as I know you can only get them in Canada so go look ‘em up and get baking!

I also listen to a lot of instrumental prog rock and metal during the day because it has been proven (by me) to make you code faster.

Anything else you want to say?

Say Hi! I’m on Mattermost as @david-mycroft.

David is a great addition to the team, bringing lots of development experience. Give David a warm welcome if you haven’t met him yet in chat!