Yumio Saneyoshi is the Founder/CEO of Gorilla.ai - a company developing a small data recommendation engine. Small data is different from big data in that instead of requiring millions of rows of data to come up with recommendations, it takes data shortcuts to find recommendations with just a few examples.

Yumio is an ex-Googler, ex-Yahoo! and ex-PhD economist from Harvard. Proudest product accomplishments include creating Yahoo! Answers in 2005 and starting Plumtree Japan in 2001. You can see his LinkedIn Profile for details.

This blog was started to chronicle the struggles and travails of trying to start a company from scratch. It begins with me learning how to code - taking online classes and working on my own.

In some ways it is very inefficient for me to learn how to code, when there are millions of developers out there who could do it 100x faster than myself. The last decade of my career consisted of being a Product Manager (all the way up to SVP of Product at my last job), and while I feel I have a knack for being a good “product person”, I always felt envious of developers who were actually creating things from line of code.

As a result, I’ve finally decided to scratch that itch, to overcome my “developer envy” and actually try building things on my own with nothing but a text editor.

The first few weeks of this adventure has revealed how much easier “learning to code” is in 2016 versus 2003, when I first attempted to learn coding in Java. Back then I had to pay $745/semester for a class _in a classroom_ at the University of California extension school two times a week. There were no online classes, and no Stack Overflow.

Today, I was able to jump start learning Ruby on Rails by signing up for a free codeacademy course (which I later upgraded to Pro for $20/month with unlimited 1-1 chat support for any coding problems). Then I was able to create 3 websites for free - 1 hosted by Github, 1 hosted by Amazon Web Services (S3) and 1 hosted by Heroku.

I am able to add an internal search engine to my site for free (Elastic Search via Bonsai) and there are NLP (natural language processing) APIs and ML (machine learning) APIs, again all free.

So even though its time consuming and inefficient at first for me to learn to code myself, it seems the world really is opening up for self-styled coders like me, who don’t necessarily have to be the best coder, but proficient enough to put 2+2 together and come up with a business/service.

So here is my journey…