March 14, 2019

The Architecture of Two Sides

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Years ago, late in the evenings you would find me headlong into a design competition of interesting sorts, drafting with different pencil weights and building scaled models to represent a vision. I was in Architecture school in the 90’s, where a very small group of students were presented with design problems that afforded the chance to create something new, disruptive and ground-breaking. I’ll never forget my final project. It was a big one. The goal was to design a new environment for visiting tenured professors.

Architecture has always been about context, appropriate selection, vision, history, and ideation.  And then, ultimately about execution.  In this final challenge, laboring over the psychology and questions of “what would these professors want?”  Balanced with “what is appropriate?” were the primary focus.

Linear thinking is a fool’s errand.  And in cybersecurity and more broadly, risk prediction, it requires highly differentiated thinking, and the courage to disagree. There is no box.  So, as the model was stabilized, along with “drawings,” a calm settled in.  Five tenured professors would critique the work, with the student body watching.  But wait, let’s back up.

My belief was that if tenured professors are visiting, that is was most critical to provide them with something they had never experienced and would remember for a lifetime.  One that is predicated on continuous learning, curiosity, and innovation.  This required taking a journey through the wilderness, and in doing so, creating photography of naturally occurring structures and the biology of details within nature’s surroundings.  By studying the composition of trees, rock structures, water flowing in streams cutting against banks, it led to the development of those images in the lab, reflected onto a very special kind of hand-made paper.  So, in lieu of drawings, photographs became representations of the psychology and observations needed for the final design.

Our beautiful Alma Mater is notorious for having a squirrel problem.  And by using that natural resource as a mechanism, power could be generated.  So, while the squirrels would play and eat, the energy derived would be harnessed kinetically.  In 1994, the squirrels would illuminate small, simple geodesic domes with radial heated floors.  And then, came model building.  I’ve always had a love for organic architecture.  As Feynman has said “Nature will come out the way she is!”  And there is much to be learned from that statement.

The final product stack was comprised of black and white photographs, an abstractly painted board, and modular geodesic domes aside a mound that the squirrels would frolic in, generating the power needed for any modern amenities to be included.

A nervous pride of the work existed.  All while knowing, it was a risk.  A measured one at that.

The professors tore it to pieces.  From the use of materials, to the lack of drawings, to the varied and incongruent shades of blue.  It was quite frankly, a failure.  At least, in their eyes.

That experience led to here.  After pouring into The Fountainhead, with a realization that the world may not be ready now or ever to embrace change, a fast pivot to business, art, psychology and sociology took root.  Then, applying that mindset to the technology landscape happened.

Who knew the world as we know it now would embrace kinetic energy, IoT would illuminate the world, organic everything would take over, and little houses thriving in nature would be an entire societal movement?  Maybe some of us.

Architecture has two sides.  One side represents the ability to chart and stretch the parameters of risk.  And to embrace the calculation and prediction of it. The other side represents opportunity to solve problems in the future, from a napkin and often from thin air.  If you can see one, you can the other.

The parallel between architecture, and that of building artificial intelligence to infer both risk and opportunity are intimately stitched together.  Being able to anticipate cyber-attack likelihood, enables you to create cyber-instrumented deception.  Being able to infer healthcare risk, enables you to drive better patient outcomes.  Being able to predict market volatility, enables you to capitalize on market opportunity.  Being able to identify societal risk, enables you to create societal accord.  The inverse is true across the table for nearly every example one can think of.  MeasuredRisk is not solely a cybersecurity company.  We are not solely an artificial intelligence company.  Nor are we solely a data science company.  Yes, we endeavor to be the best at all three.  But what MeasuredRisk truly represents, is a small team of very dedicated leaders, innovators and disrupters that will unyieldingly create both the ability to identify risk, and just as equally, identify opportunity for the betterment of humanity.  Let’s always encourage society to never forget, technology is built by people, for people.  And if we all build it with a considerate purpose, we advance together.  Our company is foundationally principled on this singular ethos: “We rise by lifting others”.