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Antoine Carriere
Small world. Much to see. Much to learn.
Small world. Much to see. Much to learn.

Antoine's posts

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You've used machine learning to make a front-end to an expert system, but the expert system is still a pre-data, hand-crafted model. This does not scale - fundamentally, you can't create answers to all possible questions that any human might ever ask by hand, and we have no way to do it by machine. If we did, we would have general AI, pretty much by definition, and that's decades away
All of this takes me back to my opening point - that there are a set of reasons why people want voice to be the new thing. One more that I didn't mention is that, now that Mobile is no longer the hyper-growth sector, the tech industry is casting around looking for the Next Big Thing. I suspect that voice is certainly a big thing, but we'll have to wait a bit longer for the next platform shift.

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Proudly protesting the immigration executive orders from the Donald. #googlersunite

I am a Muslim and Iranian until further notice. Inch' Allah. Let's remember that Hitler came to power legally and democratically

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big day for Consumer Hardware at Google :)

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Well researched article on 1 of Amazon's store efforts. My summary:
Pop up stores are primarily designed to showcase and sell the company's hardware devices, particularly its Echo home speakers
typically 300- to 500-square-foot locations in the middle of shopping malls, carry an assortment of Amazon hardware — including the Kindle e-readers, Fire TV, and the Echo speakers — as well as accessories. But the broader goal is to drive more traffic to Amazon's online store, as these devices make it easier to purchase items there
As of August, Amazon had 16 pop-up stores in the US — nearly three times as many as the six it had at the end of last year, according to the source. That number is expected to exceed 30 this year and could go up to as many as 100 by next year, as new stores are popping up almost every week in shopping malls across the country
The pop-up stores come with hefty fixed costs, including leases in shopping malls and full-time employees to staff the storefronts. But they offer a new way for the company to boost its brand awareness and to drive sales, both at the stores and on its website. Given Amazon's obsession with data, the decision to expand the network of stores may indicate that the company has seen an uptick in online sales in the regions where it already has pop-up stores
The pop-ups also serve a strategic purpose by providing Amazon with its own physical sales channel — something that has become especially important after big-box retailers such as Target and Walmart stopped selling Amazon devices in 2012. (Target plans to bring Amazon products back this year.)
One interesting part about Amazon's pop-up stores is that they're run by the devices team, not the retail team that opened Amazon's bookstore last year. The initiative is led by Senior Vice President of Devices and Services Dave Limp, who oversees everything from the Kindle to the Echo.
Lowering the barriers to trial and letting people feel how things actually work is a great way to start

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The power of giving a pat on the back & learnings from building a team
I typically don't boast. This post will be an exception. I am not sure where to file it as it touches on several topics dear to my heart: Insights & Business Models, Human behavior, Visualization / story telling, Trust, Org design.

I received the following thank you note today:

Antoine deserved a looooong overdue peer bonus for all his great work getting the A-Team up and running. This is a peer bonus that is delayed by several years
A few things here:
1- Google, following good HR practices, runs a spot bonus program where anyone can send anyone a small one time bonus for going above and beyond. There are a few requirements (mostly to ensure fair use). Aim is to foster cooperation.
2- Much better late than never: you can't imagine the smile on my face when receiving this, + it is a great way to stay in touch (imagine the next time that person reaches out to me). Giving specific encouraging feedback is a great way to build and sustain trust and goodwill.

Antoine was a tremendous driving force in getting the A-Team up and running during it's initial years and in creating a successful and sustainable business model
3- At this end of the day, while success is primarily about hiring smart people and letting them run the show, it is equally important to make sure you have a business model that allows for a sustainable (read profit making) endeavour. Understanding and obeying the laws of physics for your business may sound easy, but it is not, and often requires a healthy mix of common sense + data analytics.

Thanks to him, we reached global alignment on the operating model and a number of core strategic and tactical differences in the local applications of the A-Team, globally
4- This speaks to importance of building and sharing a robust vision & values. This fosters collaboration much more than very detailed rules of engagement or processes. Ideally, you dont need any process, just people who do the right thing because they "know" their place. In practice, you need some process, but only add if you can't do without.
5- Let's not confuse alignment with uniformity. What matters is often to align on objectives and high level success metrics. Operating models, levers/tactics and even some performance indicators are best left to those closest to the action.

In addition, he was an incredible mentor and manager - one of my best during my almost x years at Google
6- People often expect their managers to go beyond merely leading, target setting, on the job training and performance assessment. They want mentoring and career coaching. It used to be purposefully outside of people management (who knows, you might coach them so well that they will leave you), but now the boundaries are blurred

Thanks again Antoine - you rock

This made my day, I hope you find this valuable. If you are interested in learning more about how to foster performance in the workplace, I recommend "Work rules" by +Lazslo Bock ( as well as Yves Morieux's "Six simple rules" (I wrote on them here: )

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Well said:
Apps have become nearly irrelevant on desktops because the web experience is close to perfect, while apps are vitally important on phones because the web experience is dismal
This is not because of processing power, but because of design decisions
I pulled my ancient 2007 MacBook Pro (Geekbench: 1200 / 2100) off the shelf[...], and overall web page loading times and perceived speed were still faster than my iPhone [6 Plus (Geekbench: 1618 / 2900)]. C'mon: this computer came out alongside the first-ever iPhone

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Cooperation - Why it matters and how to do it by mentor and org design superstar Yves Morieux
Watch (15 mins - if you can stand the French accent, it is fun and instructive). Then, read the below (summary of another video by the same speaker).

Problem: organizations don't know how to deal with an increasingly complex world
- The hard approach to deal with a complex world is to reflect the complexity in org structure. As a result, we create even more complexity
- The soft approach (making people like each other) doesn't work either. Because I like you and you like me, we don't make the tough trade-offs

Solution: Smart simplicity to foster cooperation
To deal with complexity, to enhance the nervous system, we have created what we call the smart simplicity approach based on simple rules
Understand what is really happening
Simple rule number one: Understand what others do. What is their real work? We need to go beyond the boxes, the job descriptions, beyond the surface of the container, to understand the real content
Remove layers
Second, you need to re-enforce integrators. Integrators are not middle offices, they are managers, existing managers that you reinforce so that they have power and interest to make others cooperate. How can you reinforce your managers as integrators? By removing layers. When there are too many layers people are too far from the action, therefore they need KPIs, metrics, they need poor proxies for reality. They don't understand reality and they add the complicatedness of metrics, KPIs. By removing rules -- the bigger we are, the more we need integrators, therefore the less rules we must have, to give discretionary power to managers. And we do the opposite -- the bigger we are, the more rules we create. And we end up with the Encyclopedia Britannica of rules
Give individuals more discretionary power
You need to increase the quantity of power so that you can empower everybody to use their judgment, their intelligence. You must give more cards to people so that they have the critical mass of cards to take the risk to cooperate, to move out of insulation. Otherwise, they will withdraw. They will disengage. These rules, they come from game theory and organizational sociology
Expose people to the consequences of their actions You can increase the shadow of the future. Create feedback loops that expose people to the consequences of their actions. This is what the automotive company did when they saw that Mr. Repairability had no impact. They said to the design engineers: Now, in three years, when the new car is launched on the market, you will move to the after sales network, and become in charge of the warranty budget, and if the warranty budget explodes, it will explode in your face. Much more powerful than 0.8 percent variable compensation
Remove buffers
You need also to increase reciprocity, by removing the buffers that make us self-sufficient. When you remove these buffers, you hold me by the nose, I hold you by the ear. We will cooperate. Remove the second TV. There are many second TVs at work that don't create value, they just provide dysfunctional self-sufficiency
Reward those who cooperate
You need to reward those who cooperate and blame those who don't cooperate. The CEO of The Lego Group, Jorgen Vig Knudstorp, has a great way to use it. He says, blame is not for failure, it is for failing to help or ask for help. It changes everything. Suddenly it becomes in my interest to be transparent on my real weaknesses, my real forecast, because I know I will not be blamed if I fail, but if I fail to help or ask for help

When you do this, it has a lot of implications on organizational design. You stop drawing boxes, dotted lines, full lines; you look at their interplay. It has a lot of implications on financial policies that we use. On human resource management practices. When you do that, you can manage complexity, the new complexity of business, without getting complicated. You create more value with lower cost. You simultaneously improve performance and satisfaction at work because you have removed the common root cause that hinders both. Complicatedness: This is your battle, business leaders. The real battle is not against competitors. This is rubbish, very abstract. When do we meet competitors to fight them? The real battle is against ourselves, against our bureaucracy, our complicatedness

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And the winner is... Chromecast Audio! (+ honorable mention for the Google Cast enabled LG Music Flow LAS751M)
Sonos has long been the king of the hill in Wi-Fi audio. [...] But Sonos wasn't our favorite product this year, at least in terms of bang for buck. No, that honor goes to the diminutive Chromecast Audio from Google

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The lack of latency and lag is really impressive for such a little device and makes playing games pretty damn seamless. It’s definitely giving the Apple TV a run for its money as far as functionality, available apps, and most importantly for the family, ease of setup
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