Several years ago as the VP of Advanced Projects (the company’s Skunk Works) I had the privilege to assemble and work with a very talented group of PhD level engineers in the then exploding field of ecommerce. My little team was commissioned to explore and discover new ways to monetize the online business of merchant ratings and price comparison shopping. Our success turned out to be wholly dependent on the discovery of new information functions and their implementation in the form of efficient algorithms. In the end the company and we all benefitted from this work. However, at the start there was considerable debate as to why we should devote such high-powered and expensive talent to developing things called algorithms.
Part of our explanation to non-technical management included a sign over the door to our section of offices (I made sure my guys did not work in cubicles) that announced ‘Algo Atelier’, and underneath it was posted a sheet of paper titled It’s ALL in the Algorithm which began-
“Civilization started when our ancestors put together enough algorithms to pass on to the next generation, formalizing what was learned and successfully practiced in the last. Such formalization of someone’s knowledge into a communicable algorithm allowed us to leap ahead of the glacial evolutionary learning processes that anchor the development of the lower species. And those of us who algorized better, leaped further and faster.”
To read the rest of this little missal, suitable for framing, you may download the entire page here Download Algo0712.pdf.