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Elvis Saravia

Evolving the learning experience

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Recently, I find myself as busy as a bee – for lack of a better analogy. A bee worker, that is. Jokes aside, and fine lens on, lately I have been involved in too many projects and interpersonal / social media communities. So much that even my close friends and my colleagues have started to wonder if I possess some type of super-hero power. Well, let me assure you that I am no Iron Man and I am as human as any human can possibly be. On a serious note, there are a couple of people around that have made all of this possible for me and they should be referred to as the real super-heroes in this story. For clarification sake, I am not quitting these groups but have some ideas on how to improve my productivity without sacrificing much… and that is the beginning of my new challenge.

In addition to personally taking care of my newborn baby – avoiding nannies for the first year – these days I find myself hooked on social media. It just so happens to be that I find deep satisfaction in engaging with communities such as AI, Machine Learning, Blogging, Product, Developer, Startup and Designer groups and the list goes on and on. There is nothing wrong with this since I mostly use it as an efficient method for personal development, establishing contacts and joining communities. Albeit, I feel that social media consumes most of my spare time, which, when put in perspective I have little or none of.

Commencing today, I have made a bold decision to stay away from social media for at least two months, equivalent to 60 days. Besides being a strategic move, it’s also a challenge I have been wanting to partake as of the beginning of this year. 60 isn’t a magic number, but it means that I can only be reached via email or hangout for that period of time. I plan to stay away from Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, Google Plus, Twitter and a few other sites. Whoa! That’s a lot of social media for a first-time dad / PhD student or anyone for that matter. FYI, the closest to social media I will be using from this day forward – until I meet my quota – is perhaps GitHub and a few other research and communication tools (e.g. Slack).

By regaining some of the time I spend on social media – an average of 2 hours daily, I will be able to focus on improving my writing for better writing taste and research endeavors (a couple papers). In short, I have a strong ambition to become a better writer and pass this on to my son in a not so distant future. For this reason, I am also reading plenty of a variety of books to improve this widely acclaimed and demanded skill (writing) of the 21st century.

On that note, there are two things that are essential these days: writing and coding. I plan to exercise a combination of both to progress much faster in my PhD research and career aspirations. Mind you, my entrepreneurship dream in still intact. There is no dream too far to reach when the mind fuels its neurons to do so.

To take full advantage of my social-media retreat, I am also taking some specialization courses online that are mostly related to machine learning and artificial intelligence. I have completed a couple ML theory-based courses as of recent and I plan to keep improving my expertise by getting more hands-on experience. I am also participating in future data science competitions and have plans to give some talks in future conferences regarding many of my works. More of that in future posts.

As you can already foresee, there is a ton of exciting work up ahead and social media is always going to be there when I need it. But for now we part ways so that I may reduce the convoluted atmosphere of information that secretly steals chunks if not bulks of my already limited time. You can argue that it doesn’t have to be this way, but until you experience what it takes to be a first-time parent in a foreign country – I am not saying you have to go through this, a lot of things are difficult to comprehend and thus explain.

That’s it for now and like always feel free to hit me up and discuss anything related to Research and Technology in general.

On the Horizon: I almost forgot to mention that my 12 in 12 Bots Challenge is going phenomenal and I will slowly be uploading all related material in future posts. Keep an eye out for that. Spoiler alert: an AI bot is on its way. Since I cannot entirely get rid of the tweeting shenanigans, I will also open a new section on my personal blog called Bleets – a sort of blog of short tweet-like posts. Lastly, I will share some important research tips – like this one – in future blog posts as well. Essentially, there is a lot of cool stuff I have been wanting to share with you, ranging from coding tips to research tips (visualization, analysis, etc…). And now I have designated some time for that.