We sat down with Gary Brown from Intel to discuss how his career path has evolved, what made him get into AI, his biggest achievement so far, and more.
Q: What has your career path been like since you started?
A: I started out as a software engineer supporting a video microprocessor development team, creating a way to test the microprocessor design. That was at Panasonic in Japan, but I came back to California to get an advanced engineering degree, and realized I really wanted to explore digital signal processing for audio and video applications. So my career from that point forward was in applications engineering, a bridge between engineering innovation and customer implementation. I worked in digital audio coding for a number of years, and then gravitated to video and vision technology. All along I focused on how I can help customers succeed, and that mentality has helped move my career path into more meaningful roles.
Q: What made you get into AI, and specifically, your industry?
A: My career path steered me directly into the epicenter of AI in 2014. Early that year the Ireland-based startup company called Movidius hired me on as their head of Marketing, based out of our Silicon Valley office. That summer we launched a low-power computer vision chip with an integrated front-end image signal processor (ISP), so you could plug camera sensors directly into the chip and do the requisite image processing and intelligent vision processing on the same chip. During my tenure at Movidius, the rise of Convolutional Neural Networks (CNNs) to take over the computer vision algorithms was the reason we started creating a CNN library, and later when we launched the next-gen chip, it had an actual CNN accelerator engine we called the Neural Compute Engine. The chip suddenly became a new standard for low-power edge computing in IOT devices with cameras. And later, when Intel acquired Movidius, it became a part of a complete portfolio of chip platforms and software technologies capable of Deep Learning for vision applications. Over the years, it was specifically my efforts to understand the chip and software technologies under the hood and be able to communicate about them at conferences, and to the press and analysts, that led me toward AI as a better way to implement intelligent video and vision.
Q: What advice do you wish someone had told you when you were starting out?
A: When I got my first job out of college, I wish someone had advised me on all the career path possibilities in microprocessor technology. It’s something I had to learn by myself. Aside from all the engineering disciplines of hardware and software development and testing, I discovered the joys of helping people with Applications Engineering, and the interesting deep dives into applications with Systems Engineering. I learned about the business and market understanding required by Strategic Marketing and the knowledge and communications required by Product Marketing and the public communications aspects of Marketing Communications. Knowing all about these different areas throughout my career, I wonder whether I might have chosen a different path if someone had taught me at the start. I’m happy to have learned about all these things on my own, as the journey of discovery has been fun for sure.
Q: What’s your current role like? What excites you the most about it and what are the biggest challenges?
A: As a product marketing leader, I am always excited about the opportunities to make a complex technology more straightforward through all of the ways we communicate from presentations to video content, and impactful documentation and trainings. We get to be the evangelists who both understand and then communicate about the technology. Of course, as with any role, a key challenge is to manage the tradeoff between what can be done with infinite time and resources, and what needs to actually happen with limited resources on a deadline.
Q: What’s your biggest achievement so far?
A: Though I’ve received awards and patented inventions, I actually believe my biggest achievement so far is the culmination of my capabilities as a technologist, having to study and understand technology and then develop effective communication to help others understand. I feel most rewarded when I can make the sophisticated technology easily understood by an audience, whether a customer, a salesperson, or an ecosystem partner.
Want more from Gary Brown? Tune in to AI Bytes Podcast: Where AI Meets Business.