Ignite Automotive 2015

On February 9th, a bunch of us got together with seven-hundred Slide01and fifty new friends at the Royal Oak Music Theatre to talk about careers in the Automotive economy.  The 3rd “Ignite Automotive” was a complete success with many amazing talks given.  If you have never been to an ‘ignite’ event, make sure you attend one in the future.  It’s about giving a five-minute talk – twenty slides – timed at fifteen seconds a slide.  Yes, timed.  It’s harrowing for the speaker, because if you miss a cue, or slow down, or have a brain-fart, you’re basically screwed.  My talk was “Chasing the Connected Vehicle” and I only had a couple brain farts.

There were many students in the audience and our goal was to inspire them to seek employment in the automotive industry.  Advances in technology and design has really opened up opportunities for young people to participate and lead the way in building the next-generation connected vehicle.  I focused on technology because there is a dramatic shortage of technology talent, and these young people have the aptitude, skills and attitude that we need to keep in Michigan.

Slide02I tried to focus on the fact that a lot of auto companies are chasing ‘connected vehicle’ products, but no one really understands what drivers really want because there are so many demographic differences between drivers and their connected vehicle needs.  Because of this, products have been rolled out unevenly and even dangerously. Slide15

This has caused delay in product rollout  while the technology continues to advance.

This gap needs to be filled by young people who have lived with connectivity for most of their lives, and better understand the needs for connected products in the future.  The job opportunities are enormous and these are great jobs!Slide18All in all, I got to talk to a lot of young people and thought leaders in the industry.  I kinda felt like a poseur because I’m not a ‘car guy’ and never will be.  However, the industry needs tech-folks as well as design-folks to help automotive engineers design the next generation of connected vehicle.

Cheers! Paul Cz


When in doubt, fight FUD with code!

No FUDSome close friends of mine have just lost their jobs, no fault of their own.  We’ve all known for quite some time that it was only a matter of time, but the event is still jarring when it happens.  When asked my advice, I always tell people to be as prepared as they can be.

Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt can cripple you, emotionally and professionally.  When confronted with FUD, I prefer to bring in my own version of FUD.  Focus, Urgency and Discipline can help you be prepared.

Prepared for what?  Prepared for anything.  Job loss, job opportunity, entrepreneurship, the unemployment line, the lost deal, the found deal.

How?  In the technology field, the best way to stay relevant is to keep educating yourself in the latest technologies.  The good news is that all this requires is your time.  Open source communities, online education, networking are all free and accessible these days.

Whenever I have uncertainty about what I’m doing, I resort to coding.  It can be coding for fun, it can be coding a new project, it can be coding for coding sakes.  No matter what area I focus, I find that coding is therapeutic, with the upside of learning something new.

einstein-code-e1311602390902These days I am exploring the wonderful new things announced at the re:Invent AWS conference.  I won’t get into the details but, needless to say, I am busily refactoring a project that I did during the summer.  In addition, I’m going to stand up that project in the IBM Cloud, Azure and Google Cloud.  That’s enough to keep me busy through the holidays.

So, read, blog, communicate, collaborate and, most importantly, code.  Even if the code never gets used, you’ll be better for the experience.


Ten Reasons why Programmers are NOT Rock-Stars

Rock StarI heard it AGAIN last week.  “Programmers are ROCK STARS!’

Ive been playing rock as a musician since I was fourteen and have been programming computers pretty much the same amount of time.  So, with about forty-mmmph years of experience, let me explain why programmers are NOT rock-stars:

  1. Programmer RockstarRock-Stars are rock-stars.  While computer-programming and music share common aptitude, being a rock-star is completely at odds with being a Programmer.   Rock-Stars are (supposed to be) rebellious, anti-social beings but if you act this way as a Programmer, you’re just being a jerk.
  2. Rock-Stars have Groupies.  In all my years as a Programmer I’ve never been approached by a groupie.  Not even close.
  3. Rock-Stars have fans.      Programmers have customers.  It may really just be a slight difference, but NEVER mistake your customer as a fan.
  4. FansRock-Stars have roadies.  I would love to have someone carry my laptop around for me, but it just isn’t going to happen.
  5. Rock-Stars wear funky clothers and jewelry.  Many Programmers try to do this but it really doesn’t work.
  6. RockRock-Stars have to show up at the gig.  Programmers can pretty much pick their work hours and environment.
  7. Rock-Stars die much younger than Programmers.  It’s a fact.
  8. Rock-Stars have to play the same music, over and over and over again.  Programmers have much more diversity in their setlist.
  9. Rock-Stars get encores.  Programmers get change-controls.
  10. Programmers ultimately, based on career longevity, make a LOT more money than rock-stars.

So there.