by Coactive AI
on Sep 23, 2022

We’re bringing UI props to MLOps: Coactive’s mission to make machine learning user-friendly

Ever wished machine learning platforms were easier to use? So did we. To leverage ML in business, your data team needs intuitive analytic software. In this blog, founding engineer Stephanie Ahart explains how Coactive is democratizing access to machine learning, and what it’s like to be part of a diverse, inclusive, and ambitious team.

Smart businesses are failing to use AI on unstructured images. They’re hiring expert data scientists, then asking them to deliver speedy breakthroughs using rusty, unsuitable tools. That’s like asking Da Vinci to paint the Mona Lisa with crayons. It’s painful for everyone. We caught up with founding engineer Stephanie Ahart to find out how Coactive is bringing sweet relief to data analysts everywhere.

Hey, Stephanie! Aside from espresso, what gets you out of bed in the morning?

I have a genuine interest in UI (user interface) and a real eye for design. To be applying my skills to a world-leading machine learning solution is super exciting. I get to jump in and make ML and AI accessible and straightforward for people who have no specialist training. 

Has AI not been accessible to people in the past?

It’s really interesting to me that, in previous machine learning tools on the market, UI has seemed like an afterthought. I appreciate that those legacy platforms were the front-runners of ML and that the whole field was in its early stages. But the way those platforms were designed meant they could only be used by a small pool of highly qualified people. We’re developing tools that will enable businesses of all sizes and resources to succeed.

It’s a great design opportunity, because we’re evolving alongside the industries we support. We’re giving our clients unprecedented opportunities through our ML platform, and as they discover what’s possible for their unique business, we grow with them. Providing businesses with responsive designs that empower their teams is what we’re about.

What role does open communication play in the Coactive design process?

When I joined, I was eager to see what open communication meant in action at Coactive. I've worked in some organizations where feedback was emphasized, but in practice, difficult conversations were generally avoided, even when they were necessary. This sometimes led to real issues being swept under the rug, and it made certain leadership decisions feel opaque.

Frank discussions are something Coactive definitely encourages, but in a supportive way. With open communication, trust is really important. There’s really high trust among the team right now, so it works. We have micro-feedback discussions constantly, so we’re always iterating and staying aligned with each other.

In fact, a second UI focused full-stack developer, Jacob,  just joined us and he was immediately constructively critical of the UI, which was amazing! Externally, we had only really received light, positive feedback from customers, so to get honest, valuable criticism from a colleague so quickly was fantastic.

What’s the broader working culture like at Coactive?

There’s a huge focus on people. A lot of companies say there’s a focus on diversity and people, but Coactive really lives that and meets the expectations it sets. From what I’ve seen over the past five months, I’m seeing all the signs that we truly walk the walk.

Learning is also really emphasized here. Going into a startup, you’re expected to learn a lot, but this is really next level. There’s a great focus on learning and development within the engineering team. It’s even more so than I expected when I joined. I thought I would be really siloed in my space for at least two years, but there’s clearly an expectation for me as a team member to contribute to all our decisions.

Final question, Stephanie… What’s your superpower?

I have a general positivity and lack of internal competitiveness. Some people can get very competitive with their co-workers, but I’m happy to give props to my colleagues and build them up. That said, I think my best quality is probably my calmness. I’m also really in favor of efficient conversations and efficient meetings, so promoting efficiency internally. 

Yikes, hint taken.

I didn’t mean it like that! 

We know - we’re only kidding. Thanks for sharing your great insights, Steph, keep crushing the design side for us!

My pleasure!

Coactive AI is an industry-leading machine learning platform that enables businesses of all sizes to analyze their unstructured image data in minutes. Our interface is clean, intuitive, and user-friendly, and our platform is blisteringly fast. Engineers, if you want to help us build the future, check out our job openings. Businesses, if you want to harness the power of machine learning like never before, request a product demo today.

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