December 7, 2022
During a panel discussion at AI Summit New York, AI experts from Meta, YouTube and Coinbase imparted knowledge on ways to build and bridge teams that are a combination of technically and non-technically minded.
Vik Scoggins, ML product management lead at crypto company Coinbase, said there are “unicorns” – staff members who could perform every task, but to build a team of such individuals is “not practical.”
“You have to acknowledge the strengths and weaknesses that people have … these skill sets that people have can be relevant in different ways,” he said.
Scoggins was one of several panelists that referred to communication and collaboration as key drivers of bridging teams effectively.
“Collaboration is like one of the key values actually that I had for my team, along with adaptability and curiosity,” said Carly Burton, director of product management, and design research at Meta.
“I feel like if you don't have those traits, it's hard for teams to look at problems and flip them around.”
Tobe Okeke, product growth science and analytics lead, global YouTube premium at YouTube, said from her previous experiences, communication proved a major stumbling block.
She said that often engineering teams don't know how to translate specifications into a business layout and that business stakeholders don’t know how to translate their views into a technical standpoint.
“We're not saying the designers need to understand how to write code, but it's more understanding the basics will always help get them forward in terms of understanding what the end product will look like,” Obeke said.
Burton, along with other panelists called for a need to be empathetic to drive collaboration – especially when building new teams.
“You have to humble yourself… when you look at your candidates, their product thinking or linear regression skills,” she said. “It's more about characteristics beyond your craft, and that's how you can build super teams that run fast and that are collaborative versus competitive.”
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