Awesome People - Ep 76

AI, ML, engineering, data, treats

Hi fellow founders and VC Friends!

Each week we deliver one awesome person to your inbox. These are the people you need to know—the marketers, sales gurus, engineers, ops wizzes— who give your startup superpowers 🚀. The best part is, everyone is hireable on a part-time basis.

Before we dive in, I want to give a special shout-out to Jeremy who’s been interning with me for a few months, helping with the newsletter, and absolutely crushing it. Thank you, thank you! And thanks to Shawn from Floodgate who helped me find Jeremy and Ivan (another amazing ex-Awesome People intern)!

Also, be sure to check out the easter egg at the bottom 👀


Please meet Tomasz, Your Senior AI and ML Engineer 👨‍💻

Tomasz is the Chief Data Science Officer at Tooploox, one of my favorite dev agencies. I worked with Tooploox at Rise. They were so good that they came with us in the One Medical acquisition. Tomasz built Tooploox’s team of 30+ AI engineers and has worked with world-class startups like Voyage (Series B, raised $50M+), Grove (acquired), and Light.co (Series D, raised $180M+). He’s also trusted by the infrastructure team at Google, and Stanford University’s faculty. One little-known fact about Tomasz: he started campervanning across Eastern Europe in March and has traveled over 6000 km ⛰️!

You can hire him as a senior part-time AI and machine learning engineer and team leader.

Want an intro to Tomasz? Lmk and I’ll connect you!


He was gracious enough to share some AI and ML pro-tips with us here 🙏

Prioritize rich datasets over big datasets

A client asked us to build a system to optimize materials usage in a rubber factory. The client had tons of data about the materials, processing units, and quality of the output. The solution seemed simple and I was excited.

Unfortunately, we discovered that their data did not correlate with the quality of the output. To build an optimal model, we had to design new experiments to collect more diversified and correlated data.

When companies consider integrating AI or ML, they often focus on the amount of data available. But huge datasets aren’t enough to build a successful model. You need rich datasets. You need data that correlates with your outcome KPIs.

Defend your algorithms with data

Many people assume that new ML algorithms make old algorithms obsolete. After all, new algorithms appear every hour! But remember, your competitive advantage in AI is often your data, not your algorithm.

For example, thousands of people use our service at Comixify (we turn videos into comics). Every user gives us a satisfaction score, i.e. ‘How happy are you with Comixify?’ We use the satisfaction and user behavior data to optimize the product. I’ve leveraged this formula at multiple startups. 

The only time I’ve felt secure about intellectual property was when I had a novel algorithm and a unique user dataset. In order to defend your tech, create a bulletproof dataset. Defensibility comes from data. 

Want to hire AI engineers? Understand what they want.

Machine learning is a fairly old computer science discipline. The concept has been around since the 1960s! Its recent comeback is mostly due to the evolution of neural network architecture.

Given the fast-moving nature of the discipline, ML engineers are usually accustomed to rapid changes and disruptions every few weeks (or even days!).

When hiring ML engineers, it can be hard to compete with tech giants that have attractive data, algorithms, and architecture in place. In order to stand out, promote your culture. Here are two cultural factors that most ML engineers look for in a new company:

  1. A rapidly-changing environment with a ton of moving parts and data

  2. An openness to explore curiosities and experiment

Ready to integrate AI/ML into your product? Reply to this email and I’ll connect you to Tomasz!


As always, let me know if you have any questions and if you want an intro to any of the folks in this email (including the PS section 🎉). 

Stay awesome,

Julia Lipton

Founder of Awesome People Ventures (join the syndicate here

If you liked this, ❤️ it below. If someone forwarded this to you, sign up here 💌


Awesome People continued 🚀

Most recent features

Richard - BD and pipeline expert. Richard has closed clients like Expedia, Square, WeWork, and Airbnb and has worked at the Rebel Fund. Most recently, he worked on building a GTM strategy for a fintech co. He's trusted by companies like Medallia (public co with 10+ acquisitions) and numerous YC companies like CrowdAI (Series A that’s raised $8M+).

Samay - Your secret storytelling weapon. This year, Samay launched ADMILK, a production company that created a kickass launch video for OnJuno (Sequoia-backed seed co). Samay and co are trusted by founders backed by Polychain Capital, Sequoia, and 500 Startups, by artists like JCole and Angelo Mota, and by film studios like Marvel and Disney.

Eryn - Rockstar EA and founder. Eryn has over 20 years of experience as an EA and founder and now runs an EA agency. She has worked with founders at companies backed by Techstars, Founder Collective, Kleiner Perkins, and more. Since their first 6 months in business, Eryn has grown the co 9x, expanded it to 7+ countries, and provided service in 4 languages on referrals alone.

Want intros to anyone here? Lmk and I’ll connect you!

Part-time opportunities 

Want to make some extra $$$ and work on interesting projects? The Awesome People job board is filled with awesome flexible advising and consulting roles. They’re perfect for fun-employed folks, self-employed folks, and moonlighters!

Awesome People deal drop 👀

Are you interested in the longevity anti-aging movement? Write angel checks ($1k+)? If so, I got something for you. Email me 😉

That’s all for now folks ❤️ 🚀 ❤️