At Clarifai, our mission is to accelerate the progress of humanity through the continued advancement of AI. Doing this means creating a culture, both internally and externally, that prioritizes innovation. That's why we developed our Clarifai Captains program to open up Clarifai's technology to the developers who are going to spearhead the future of AI. The captain of our Clarifai Captains program is Skip Everling, Clarifai's Senior Developer Evangelist. Let's meet Skip and learn what's coming up for our Captains!
Can you tell us a bit about your history before Clarifai?
Sure! I grew up in Reno, NV and went to Carnegie Mellon University to study Information Systems and Psychology. After graduating I moved to the SF Bay Area to work at a few tech companies starting with Google. I also spent two years as a neurology researcher, using fMRI neuroimaging to study cognitive decline in Parkinson's disease. Just before joining Clarifai I was a Data Science Teaching Assistant at Metis, a data science & machine learning bootcamp. I love to learn and experience new things, I love to connect people, and I love to think deeply about the future. The intersection of humanity and AI is especially fascinating to me.
I’d love to learn more about your experience at Stanford. What did you come away with?
My experience as a research assistant in the neurology department at Stanford was my first experience in healthcare research and digital image processing. The primary technique that I used at the Poston Lab was fMRI, which generates images of blood flow as a correlate of neural activity in the brain. With fMRI generated brain images we can use machine learning to do things like analyze and detect brain features, classify brain regions, and make predictions using models trained on a huge academic dataset of brain images. The main takeaway is that computers can learn to read and label medical images extremely quickly and accurately, and this fact is going to mean vast improvements in healthcare screening for everyone.
What brought you to developer evangelism?
I’ve always had streaks of organic nerd-like evangelism, but I stumbled into it as a professional career during my time as a teaching assistant at Metis, when an independent recruiter suggested I was a good match. It’s a role that requires creativity, community-building, and an eagerness to communicate technical concepts. It’s been a lot of fun so far! I get the bonus of meeting a lot of wonderful human beings who happen to be awesomely capable developers.
Why is dev evangelism important?
Developer evangelism is about spreading the good word about a technology and supporting developers who want to try new ways of doing things. The best developers are all creative solution seekers at heart. In this case, the good word we are spreading is that artificial intelligence is changing our lives for the better, and it is not reserved for the government, the geniuses, or the elite: anyone can train their own visual AI models and use them to power their own infinitely unique real-world applications.
You’re spearheading the Clarifai Captains program. Can you tell me a bit more about that program? Why should developers want to join?
The Clarifai Captains Program is our community for Clarifai power-users, developers, and aspiring developer evangelists. We support each other to do cool things with Clarifai and spread the good word about all the amazing things you can do with AI. We’re focused on “the three C’s”: code, content, and community:
- Code means creating sample applications and helping others use Clarifai programmatically.
- Content means communicating with the dev community via things like blog posts, Twitch live-coding, youtube explainer videos, and so on.
- Community underlies everything we do. We strive to support not just Clarifai devs, but all people everywhere who may benefit from AI. By working together, we are able to achieve more than we could accomplish individually.
One of the unique perks of the Clarifai Captains program is that we are able to give early beta access to our latest models before we release them to the public.
Anything exciting coming up for the Captains?
Yes! We have another online virtual meetup coming up next week where Captains from all over the world get the chance to meet each other. Then on November 3rd & 4th, some of us will be on-site and online for the JAMstack Hackathon at Github HQ. You can participate online, and it’s totally free! Join us to build something with Clarifai for a chance at the top prize.
Editor's note: This blog post was updated on June 18th, 2019 to reflect recent changes.