This week we catch up with our newest full stack developer, Benji Kershenbaum. Benji’s background in AI and computer science led him to pursue a career in machine learning. He loves to code and is not afraid to experiment! Let’s learn more about Benji and what he loves about life at Aveni.
Hey Benji, welcome to Aveni! How’s it going and what have you been up to since you joined?
Hello! I’m doing great. Since joining I’ve learnt so much about the startup world, and how to develop products that help real people.
Before we get started, tell us a little bit about your background and why you joined Aveni?
I’ve always enjoyed working with technology, building my own software as a kid, and eventually going to the University of Edinburgh to get my Masters in Computer Science and AI, with a focus on Automatic Speech Recognition. I was really excited to join Aveni after University because of my desire to work for a startup, especially one that focuses on NLP.
What are you currently working on and what do you enjoy most about your role?
Currently I’m working on improving the Learning and Development on the Aveni platform. This involves developing a place for team leaders to understand how to help their team perform the best they can.
Tell us about a time when you were challenged on a project and how you overcame it?
At university (home of most challenges of my life), I had a project to simulate a robotic arm, specifically how to move it from one location in 3D space to another. As with most university coursework, I underestimated the amount of work and found myself a day before submission with nothing more than a “hello world” script. That night I found another student in the same situation as me, and sat down to figure out how to complete this project. The first couple of hours were spent on understanding WHY we are even doing this course, and what it is we enjoy about it. Once we rediscovered our love for problem solving and robotics, the actual solution came easily. The key, I now understand, to completing a challenging project is passion.
What skills do you think are important when working in your field?
I believe that understanding your users is paramount in a growing startup. It’s too often for developers to solve a problem which doesn’t exist. That is, a developer may tackle a problem by applying a solution which is not useful for the user. In a startup, customer satisfaction and retention is one of the most important factors. For this reason understanding the user, and solving their problem, from their perspective, is very important.
What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
I love music, especially jazz, and spend a lot of time listening to, and playing music. Piano is my instrument of choice, inspired by musicians like Bill Evans, Thelonious Monk, Duke Ellington, Fats Waller (this list goes on and on…), but I always try to experience different styles of music, including Blues, Rock, Funk, Hip-Hop and more.
What are you most looking forward to in your next 6 months at Aveni?
I’m really excited to see the team grow and the new features we are always talking about coming to fruition!
To learn more about what we’ve been working out, check out our Aveni Detect