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Kulesh Shanmugasundaram

"Machine Domains and Human Values"

Topics: Computer Science, EdTech, Failure, Founding, Learning, Managing Engineers, Mentoring, Recruiting, Security, Software Engineering, Startups, Teaching, Team Leadership, Teamwork, Trust

Companies: Handy, Amplify, Wireless Generation

Introduction

In this episode we are joined by Kulesh Shanmugasundaram,VP of Engineering at Handy and Adjunct Professor of Computer Science at the NYU Tandon School of Engineering. Kulesh describes an arc from award-winning Ph.D. security research to founding a company based on that research, and on to technical and then senior engineering leadership positions at Amplify Education and Handy. It has been a journey from computer science, a study of the domain of the machine, to software engineering, a “team sport” and social activity of engineers working to understand and then solve human problems. Kulesh observed this split from the start of his graduate research on the famed ILOVEYOU email worm, an attack that was equal parts technical and social. And he has gained wisdom about the social aspects of computing in each step of his career, learning to keep workplace teams aligned and close to stakeholders, and observing what causes teams of talented students to turn on each other. Kulesh also offers insights on the three types of software problems, how he uses his "bad memory" to good advantage, and the differences between teaching and mentoring.

Guest Bio

Kulesh Shanmugasundaram is VP of Engineering at Handy, a marketplace for hiring home services professionals. He is also an Adjunct Professor of Computer Science at the NYU Tandon School of Engineering. He received his Ph.D. in Computer Science from Tandon in 2006, winning the Pearl Brownstein Doctoral Research Award for best Ph.D. thesis and earning second place in the International ACM Graduate Student Research contest. Prior to working at Handy, he served as Senior Architect and then Director of Engineering at Amplify Education, an educational software company. Prior to that he co-founded two companies, network security vendor Vivic Networks and software library vendor Digital Assembly.

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Credits

  • Host: Mark S. Weiss
  • Intro and Outro Music: "Florida Song" Copyright 2016 by Photographs (Mark S. Weiss). All rights reserved.
  • Ad Intro Music: "Woozy" Copyright 2015 by Photographs (Mark S. Weiss). All rights reserved.
  • All Interview content Copyright 2018 by Using Reflection and Mark S. Weiss. All rights reserved.