Getting the act together, personally.

I started working on SocialMedia Feed project from last August. And time after time I had found myself in a slump, looking for motivation, head rush to finish a task. Try to watch movie, find some song-of-day, something, anything, and before I realize, its the next day already. They say, “Show up, show up, show up, and after a while the muse shows up, too” and personally while trying it, self motivation drags, in really bad way.

Last week I was trying to put together a POC for a possible paid work. Task was to create a chat bot around different columns of Excel sheet for users to be able to chat to and get analytical results in conversational manner. So instead of a technical person running a query raised by sales team, user can directly chat with a bot and get answer to a question like "How many tasks finished successfully today", tasks could be something like email campaign or nightly aggregation of data or results from a long running algorithm. Airtifical Intelligence Markup Language - AIML and its concepts are fairly popular to put together such a chat bot. Many of popular platforms like pandora bots, api.ai, wit.ai help create such interface to "train" a bot. Like in case of the above message - How many tasks finished successfully today tasks, successful, today gives us the context on which column to run the query, what value to look for and duration over which we want to get the count.

I didn't have prior experience of using api.ai platform so I had planned to read up some docs and train the system to identify context, maybe a couple of them - ~2hrs of effort. I ended up starting to work on it only past 12 pm, browsing through random doc links, exploring sdk for examples, trying to find my way through setting up the pipeline. By evening 6, I had clocked around 3 hours and 30 minutes on this task, I got context in place, api.ai provided webhook to call third party API call so I used their github demo code and got result from the excel sheet which was shared, though very minimal work but still, I was able to sort out first level of unknowns.

It was frustrating, tiring, but I felt this pressure to finish it. Though the POC worked, I didn't get the work but what is really sad is the way I was able to stick to deadline when pressure of proving myself, convincing someone else was there. For SocialMedia Feed project, I have this task, on top of basic gensim topic words, implement algorithms from Termite and LDAvis paper to identify better topic representation and get this demo in place. I have reference code available(paper work is available on github), I know what I have to do, but still through last 3 days I haven't clocked single minute on this task. It will happen eventually, but I think idea is to get fired up personally, take on things, spend time on them and then mark them done, be professional, not just for others.

Shoutout to punchagan for his inputs on initial draft.