David Hershey | Tecton


Featured Tectonaut:

David Hershey

Our blog series, Featured Tectonauts, highlights the amazing characters we get to interact with daily here at Tecton. Want to join the team? Check out our open positions here.

What do you do at Tecton? What does your team do?

Hey everyone! I’m a solutions architect here at Tecton — my job is to help companies figure out exactly how Tecton can fit into their ML stack. Every day at work is filled with solving new problems in a brand new space. Almost nobody has figured out exactly what the correct ML infrastructure stack looks like, but I get to spend all day dreaming up solutions with incredibly smart people at dozens of companies that are trying to develop in a brand new field.

Another amazing part of the job is working with companies from every corner of the planet. I’ve worked closely with teams on 6 continents, across more than 20 countries. There aren’t many technical jobs that put you in a position to bridge cultures, and I love that part of my job.

What’s a fun fact about you?

When I was an undergrad I was very briefly a D-List campus celebrity because I wore a very ridiculous costume to a football game. It was really just a Halloween costume gone wrong, but for whatever reason people really loved that costume.

We lost that football game in a relatively embarrassing fashion, which I think made people love the tube even more as a sole source of joy on an otherwise sad Saturday.

What led you toward a startup?

I love having the opportunity to figure out how things work. At a big company sometimes you feel like you’re a cog in the machine, but at Tecton I’ve had to build and operate the machine at the same time and that is so much more rewarding. I’ve loved figuring out how to help people efficiently test out Tecton — I used to work at Ford where I evaluated a lot of software, and I loved it when vendors knew how to help me be effective, and now I get to try to be one of those vendors at Tecton!

What’s your favorite software package or tool that you’ve ever used?

I love PyTorch, I think it’s such an awesome ML framework. I started doing ML work right when Tensorflow was in beta and I thought that would be what I was stuck with for the rest of my life — I’m so glad PyTorch came along to save me. I think the average time it takes me to debug a model in PyTorch is like 10% as much as is it used to be.

What activity helps you relieve stress at work?

I work remotely, and whenever the stress piles up I jump onto the couch downstairs and my dog runs up and licks my face. Nothing like a puppy to relieve stress!

What’s the most influential book you’ve ever read?

Most influential ever is too hard but I do want to shout out The Three-Body Problem by Liu Cixin. It was super influential to me for a few reasons:

  1. It’s just incredibly written (obviously)
  2. Even though it’s science fiction I think it does an amazing job imagining what politics will look like in the future
  3. It made me realize just how little non-western literature I consume and how much I’m missing by not experiencing the literary traditions of other cultures. I can’t wait to resume some global travel after a long pandemic!

I highly recommend the series to anyone — I still think about those books all the time!

Where do you think heaven on Earth is and why?

I’m so in love with Yosemite National Park, that place is perfect. I’ve been there nearly a dozen times and yet the sheer scale of that park still gives me awe every time I’m driving in. And there is still so much more to explore!

I’ve done a bunch of backpacking trips there already and have at least 5-6 more I would still love to try. Seriously — if you’ve never been, you need to go.

Also, I got engaged to my wife in Yosemite which probably makes me a little biased!


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