APRIL 26, 2023

Alex O'Connor — Transformers, Generative AI, and the Deep Learning Revolution

Hi Friends—

Alex O'Connor is a researcher and machine learning manager.

I had the chance to pick his brain on the latest trends of generative AI — transformers, language and image models, fine-tuning, prompt engineering, tokenization, the latent space, adversarial attacks, and more.

Thanks to everyone who chatted with us during the YouTube premiere.

★ I'm excited to celebrate Live 100 with Special Guests tomorrow, April 27, at 1:30 PM ET with a conversation on creative machine intelligence with Adam Menges, Joel Simon, José Luis García del Castillo, and Kyle Steinfeld.

I'd love for you to join us live at


Alex O'Connor and Nono Martínez Alonso at Vegas.

Recorded at The Palazzo, Las Vegas on December 2022.


00:00 · Introduction
00:40 · Machine learning
02:36 · Spam and scams
15:57 · Adversarial attacks
20:50 · Deep learning revolution
23:06 · Transformers
31:23 · Language models
37:09 · Zero-shot learning
42:16 · Prompt engineering
43:45 · Training costs and hardware
47:56 · Open contributions
51:26 · BERT and Stable Diffusion
54:42 · Tokenization
59:36 · Latent space
01:05:33 · Ethics
01:10:39 · Fine-tuning and pretrained models
01:18:43 · Textual inversion
01:22:46 · Dimensionality reduction
01:25:21 · Mission
01:27:34 · Advice for beginners
01:30:15 · Books and papers
01:34:17 · The lab notebook
01:44:57 · Thanks

DECEMBER 7, 2022

Zach Kron — Art, Creativity, and Personal Evolution

Hi Friends—

Zach Kron was the second guest of the podcast back in December 2017. Since then, I've enjoyed many conversations with him that would have been a great fit for the show.

I recently visited Zach's studio in Sommerville, Massachusetts, where we talked about making (and selling) pen plotter art, evolving with your projects, creativity, capturing ideas, and remote work.

I loved recording this conversation in person and on camera.

Let me know what you liked on the YouTube video comments, and remember, you can submit your questions about this or any previous episodes at

I hope you enjoy it!


Zach Kron and Nono Martínez Alonso at Zach's studio in Sommerville, MA.


00:00 · Intro
01:00 · Evolution of this podcast
09:46 · Freediving
12:16 · Capturing ideas
13:25 · People are different in person
15:54 · Evolving with your projects
20:10 · Connecting with your audience
21:20 · Live vs. offline
26:19 · The creative medium
30:00 · Selling art
38:46 · Pen plotter art
46:34 · Making art with Dynamo
50:31 · Art
01:02:53 · Funktionlust
01:05:09 · Remote work
01:11:54 · Outro

OCTOBER 26, 2022

Q&A with Nono — How to Start a Podcast

Hi Friends—

I recently had a conversation with Steve — who wants to build a YouTube channel about the joy of making and listening to music, emphasizing health and well-being — where I shared tips on producing a podcast, building an audience, booking guests, content formats, motivation, goals, and other insights from five years of podcasting.

This episode may be helpful if you're thinking of starting a podcast or YouTube channel or if you want to learn about my podcasting workflow.

Steve’s questions (below) acted as a guide for our conversation.

  • How do you stay motivated to regularly produce your podcast?
  • What do you feel is the best way to approach people you would like to interview or connect with?
  • What methods have worked for you to attract, build, and sustain an audience?
  • Do you know anyone who might be willing to talk with me and guide me further on producing a successful YouTube channel or podcast, especially regarding the arts?
  • Are there any books, articles, or other materials that might help me on my journey? This one didn’t make it into the episode. But I recommended Atomic Habits by James Clear to establish a content creation and publication cadence.
  • Do you have any other advice that would be helpful to someone like me?

Remember that you can submit your questions at


Steve and Nono Martínez Alonso.


00:00 · Introduction
00:58 · Start
01:55 · Steve's idea
03:45 · Passion for music
04:37 · Podcasting
05:20 · Motivation
08:04 · Recording and editing
09:07 · Guests
11:40 · Building an audience
14:01 · Long-form conversations
15:34 · Process
17:33 · Goals
21:51 · Evergreen content
24:14 · Monetization
25:38 · Start lean
29:30 · Outline
31:59 · First episodes
33:17 · Outro

OCTOBER 12, 2022

Leire Asensio Villoria and David Mah — Systems Upgrade

Hi Friends—

Today I bring you a new conversation with Leire Asensio Villoria and David Mah on decoding and upgrading design systems, reverse engineering the creative process, knowledge dissemination, the long tail of niches, Erwin Hauer and associative models, book writing and publishing, and much more.

Leire and David collaborate as asensio_mah, an international design practice with projects in Europe and Australia, including Casa Q, a new-build residential commission in Spain that integrates digital fabrication techniques with traditional construction practices as well as landscape engineering and design.

Listen to "Leire Asensio Villoria and David Mah — Systems Upgrade"

Leire Asensio Villoria, Nono Martínez Alonso, and David Mah.


00:00 · Introduction
00:36 · Erwin Hauer
02:22 · Associative models
04:18 · Erwin Hauer's model making
07:03 · Limitations of digital tools
09:39 · Systems Upgrade book
11:10 · Reverse engineering
26:09 · Decoding Erwin Hauer
30:21 · Authorship and knowledge dissemination
36:48 · Visual programming
41:39 · Selling less of more
46:54 · Individualizing everything
49:23 · Context
53:18 · Book writing and publishing
01:02:49 · Creative process
01:11:13 · AI content generation
01:17:42 · Thanks
01:18:43 · Outro

JULY 29, 2022

Frank Harmon — Writing, Drawing, and Sense of Place

Hi Friends—

Today I bring you a new conversation with Frank Harmon, an old friend who taught me architectural design at North Carolina State University, Raleigh, back in 2012, and inspired me to look at the world differently.

Frank is a renowned award-winning architect, professor, writer, and an avid sketcher who always has a sketchbook with him.

He writes to find out what he’s thinking and draws to understand what he’s looking at to ensure he doesn’t forget it.

In this episode, we talk about writing, drawing, design, life, and how digital technologies make the world completely placeless. "It’s too late to stop [the internet], but what we can do as architects and artists and writers is give people a sense of place where they are."

Frank believes we can make places that have something physical and concrete grounding us in an otherwise unlimited digital world.

Listen to "Frank Harmon — Writing, Drawing, and Sense of Place"


00:00 · Introduction
01:14 · Writing
05:00 · Becoming an architect
06:21 · Frank's book
07:19 · Living in London
09:03 · Studying abroad in the US
13:37 · Childhood place
20:38 · Born with screens
23:39 · Design
27:42 · Place
33:41 · Good architecture
37:10 · Bad architecture
38:48 · Frank Gehry's middle finger
39:31 · Native Places: Drawing as a Way to See
43:47 · The best way to write
44:23 · The purpose of sketching
45:45 · Thanks
46:09 · Outro

JULY 13, 2022

I've added a new section to Getting Simple's website header titled Ask a Question through which you can send video or audio questions for me to answer on the podcast.1

Voice notes are submitted via SpeakPipe and can be recorded with most modern browsers.

Videos are uploaded via Dropbox File Requests and can be recorded with a smartphone or any camera as long as you can upload the video file to Dropbox using the web form.

I invite you to ask a question about any of the topics we discuss in the podcast and the live stream.

  1. The page at has been there for a while. What's new is the header menu item linking to it and the option to upload video files via Dropbox File Requests. 

JUNE 29, 2022

DALL-E 2, The Creative Process, and Blogging Tools

Hi Friends—

Today I bring you an episode on my first impressions and experiments with OpenAI’s text-to-image generation AI system DALL-E 2, three mini-essays on the creative process and being done, and blogging tools you can use to publish online.

Listen to "DALL-E 2, The Creative Process, and Blogging Tools"

A collage of images generated by Nono with OpenAI's DALL-E 2.


00:00 · Introduction
00:39 · An incoming conversation with Frank Harmon
01:34 · Episode contents
01:55 · DALL-E 2 and AI systems
06:45 · What can DALL-E do?
09:54 · GPT-3: Language models
12:05 · Mini-Essays on the creative process
12:15 · Mini-Essay: The meaning of done
13:38 · Mini-Essay: If it's no fun, you shouldn't do it
15:33 · Mini-Essay: Another one of those
16:51 · Writing series
17:51 · What does Nono use for blogging?
22:45 · Outro

MAY 31, 2022

Sketches — It's Nice to See You, In Person

Hi Friends—

Today I bring you a short episode from the sketches series in which I share my experience traveling to the US and meeting people in person for the first time after the COVID-19 pandemic.

Listen to "Sketches — It's Nice to See You, In Person"


00:00 · Start
00:10 · It's Nice to See You, In Person
06:05 · Back from Atlanta
07:34 · Podcast updates

APRIL 20, 2022

Habits & Passion Projects

Hi Friends—

Today I bring you a solo episode in which I revisit my current habits and passion projects. I share my thoughts on the podcast, the blog and sketches, the YouTube channel and the live stream, my new recording studio, monetization, crypto, and the importance of learning and play.

Looking forward to hearing what you think!

Listen to "Habits & Passion Projects"


00:00 · Introduction
01:34 · Daily habits
05:08 · Active projects
07:27 · Blog
09:11 · Sketches & stories
15:06 · Studio
17:06 · Podcast
21:36 · YouTube channel
23:24 · Knowledge anxiety
24:43 · Anything, not everything
25:45 · Monetization
28:41 · Learning and play
32:22 · Crypto and digital art
36:21 · I need your help
39:50 · Outro

MARCH 24, 2022

Andrew Witt — Formulations, Mathematical Design, and Writing

Hi Friends—

Today I bring you a new conversation with Andrew Witt, who teaches at Harvard University and recently published Formulations, a book that explores how computational tools that encapsulate mathematical methods are short-circuiting the path to expertise, blurring the distinction between dabbler and virtuoso, and democratizing access to the systems and aesthetics of mathematical design.

Please enjoy Andrew’s second podcast appearance in which we discuss how mathematical design transforms how we think, design, and make art, how Andrew managed to get such a big project together, and his take on writing, creativity, work, life, machine intelligence, and digital art.

Listen to "Andrew Witt — Formulations, Mathematical Design, and Writing"

MARCH 4, 2022

Adam Menges — Visual Programming, Social Fintech, Bitcoin and NFTs & Lessons Learned Building Software Products

Hi Friends—

Today I bring you a new conversation with Adam Menges, a former Apple employee and founder at Lobe, a company acquired by Microsoft that aims to make deep learning accessible.

Please enjoy Adam’s second podcast appearance in which we discuss the role of visual programming languages, social fintech, thoughts on Bitcoin and digital art tokens, and lessons learned building successful software products during and after pandemic times.

Listen to "Adam Menges — Visual Programming, Social Fintech, Bitcoin and NFTs & Lessons Learned Building Software Products"

FEBRUARY 23, 2022

Nate Peters — NFTs, Generative Art, Making Your Own Tools & Online Attention

Hi Friends—

In this episode, Nate Peters and I discuss the latest developments of digital art and generative NFTs, the importance of being intentional, the advantage of established creators, and the fast pace of artificial intelligence and crypto.

We’re no experts, so please don’t take our words as financial advice. We just hope our conversation sheds some light in your own path to learning more about the world of digital currencies, machine learning, and technology.

Take a look at this episode's topics in the notes and chapters below.


Listen to "Nate Peters — NFTs, Generative Art, Making Your Own Tools & Online Attention"

FEBRUARY 7, 2022

The Short-Sightedness of Web3 and Blockchain, Anonymity & Original Ideas of Where We Could Go

Hi Friends—

Today, I bring you a conversation with an anonymous guest on blockchain and cryptocurrencies, smart contracts, the security of digital wallets, the convenience of centralization, promoting positive moral behavior, impostor syndrome, being a constant newbie, and lots more.

Listen to "The Short-Sightedness of Web3 and Blockchain, Anonymity & Original Ideas of Where We Could Go"

JANUARY 21, 2022

Jordan Gray — Creative Friction, Storytelling in Design, Passion Projects & the Beginner Feeling

Hi Friends—

I first met Jordan in North Carolina back when I was an exchange student on my fourth year of architecture school. We soon realized we shared many creative interests and curiosities.

Ten years later, we bring you a long-form conversation on creative friction, the fine line between passion projects and work, storytelling in design, overcoming the beginner feeling, and lots more. (Take a look at this episode’s chapters to get a better picture of the topics we covered.)

Listen to "Jordan Gray — Creative Friction, Storytelling in Design, Passion Projects & the Beginner Feeling"

JANUARY 2, 2022

Podcast: Goodbye, 2021

Hi Friends—

Happy new year! 🥂

The following is an episode celebrating 2021 and my achievements in podcasting, live streaming, sketching, and writing over the past year. I also added a note on why I think you should start writing, in public.

Listen to "Goodbye, 2021"

DECEMBER 13, 2021

Bytes — The Black Box

Hi Friends—

As we embrace new technologies, we delegate more and more tasks and decisions to the machine. In turn, algorithms permeate our daily lives—say, influencing what we listen to, watch, read, or who we interact with—yet few of us know how they use our information and make decisions for us.

In this episode, I talk to Aziz about how complex machines work, technological polarization, and the growing need to make algorithms understandable.

Listen to "Bytes — The Black Box"

NOVEMBER 29, 2021

One Year of Live Streams — Teaching & Coding

Hi Friends—

We hosted two live events on YouTube to record a two-part podcast celebrating one year of live streams. The second part, out now, features a conversation with Jose Luis García del Castillo on teaching and coding live.

We talk about friction and automation, community, practice, content creation, and how the podcast and the live streams have evolved.

Special thanks to the community and to everyone who joined us live. ❤️

Listen to "One Year of Live Streams — Teaching & Coding"

OCTOBER 26, 2021

One Year of Live Streams — Live Q&A

Hi Friends—

We hosted two live events on YouTube to record a two-part podcast celebrating one year of live streams. The first part, out today, features audience questions on the challenges and evolution of the channel after a year of streaming (almost) weekly.

I mentioned way too many things in this episode, so I tried my best at linking to most terms and technologies in the notes below.

Listen to "One Year of Live Streams — Live Q&A"

OCTOBER 16, 2021

Bytes — NFTs and Digital Art

Hi Friends—

It's hard to keep up with the fast-moving world of digital currencies and the new age of digital art.

In this new episode of Bytes, Aziz and I talk about non-fungible tokens (NFTs), blockchain, cryptocurrencies, and digital art.

Listen to "Bytes — NFTs and Digital Art"

OCTOBER 12, 2021

Machine Learning-Based Audio Editing, React, UI Libraries, NFTs, and COVID

Hi Friends—

Today, I bring you an informal chat with Nate Peters, a friend and former guest of the show—a conversation on the machine learning-based audio-editing solution this podcast is being produced with, web components, React and UI libraries, the effects of COVID-19 in our work lives, NFTs and cryptocurrencies, and the new informal catch-up conversation podcast format we're testing out.

We were screen-sharing during part of this conversation and no recording is available. But we've compiled a detailed list of episode notes, and the YouTube video includes a full transcript as closed captions.

Listen to "Machine Learning-Based Audio Editing, React, UI Libraries, NFTs, and COVID"

SEPTEMBER 22, 2021

Work or Walk podcast

Hi Friends—

Today, I bring you a two-minute episode on reclaiming our time with the help of automation. It's an audio version of a short essay I published on July 21, 2020.

Listen to "Sketches — Work or Walk"

FEBRUARY 1, 2021

Mike Gabour — Falling in Love With the Ocean, Dark Showers, Attention, The Sensorium, and The Contents of his Backpack

Hi Friends!

Today, I bring you an insightful conversation with Mike Gabour, a good friend of mine whom I admire and have been meaning to get into the show for a while. I love the attention he puts into everything he does and his peaceful and quieting worldview. Listening to him talk is soothing.

I hope you enjoy learning how Mike fell in love with the Ocean, his take on mindfulness, meditation, attention, and love, his experiments with dark showers, the Sensorium, a detailed commentary on the contents of his backpack (of which we'll share a video in the coming weeks), and much, much more.

Without further ado, let's dive into Mike's mind.

Listen to "Mike Gabour — Falling in Love With the Ocean, Dark Showers, Attention, The Sensorium, and The Contents of his Backpack"

DECEMBER 24, 2020

ALGO — Teaching, Live Streaming, Publishing Fear, Delegating, and Lessons Learned from 3 Years of Podcasting

Hi Friends!

Right before the turn of the year, I bring you a brand new episode that opens up the ALGO series—conversations between Jose Luis Garcia del Castillo y López and myself on topics such as teaching, coding, machine learning, and creativity.

It's been three years since I last interviewed Jose Luis, and I enjoyed learning how his life changed when he became a Doctor of Design, began teaching at Harvard, and started live-streaming his lectures online.

We also discuss the guilt of postponing things, the difficulties of delegating tasks and micro-management, the fear of shipping creative work, and lessons learned after forty podcast episodes.

Please enjoy.

Listen to "ALGO — Teaching, Live Streaming, Publishing Fear, Delegating, and Lessons Learned from 3 Years of Podcasting"

DECEMBER 10, 2020

Music or Podcasts? Commuting, Meditative Walks, and Solitude

Hi, Friends!

For the last episode of Getting Simple, I answered a question submitted by a listener: During your commute, do you listen to music or podcasts?

I'd love to hear from you. Ask a question.

Listen to: "Music or Podcasts? Commuting, Meditative Walks, and Solitude"

DECEMBER 2, 2020

Why Spotify kept removing my show

I fixed a bug that sporadically made Spotify remove my show, the Getting Simple podcast, from its platform without any logical explanation and, more worrisome, without warnings or notifications.

Some time ago, I noticed the podcast's RSS feed displayed episode release dates localized in Chinese and other languages. Something that, to my eyes, seemed random. Yesterday, I finally identified the issue.

The XML feed is cached for thirty minutes at a time — a duration I set to avoid overloading the server by re-generating the feed on every request.

But this feed re-generation used the requesting party's "locale." This code corresponds to the language and region configured in the system that performs a web request. For instance, the en-US locale represents a visitor or bot configured to use the English language and the United States region. A localized site — that can adjust its content to different locales — would display a date as Wed, 02 Dec 2020 for en-US visitors and as Mié., 02 Dic. 2020 for es-ES visitors.

date('D, d M Y H:i:s O');
// returns "Wed, 02 Dec 2020 05:19:14 -0500"

This date('D, d M Y H:i:s O') PHP method uses the operating system's language and region to determine what to display, but a localized website can adjust to the visitor's locale or even comply with explicit requirements.

App::setLocale('en-US'); // force locale to en-US

Item::formatDate(Date::now(), 'D, d M Y H:i:s O')
// returns "Wed, 02 Dec 2020 05:22:55 -0500"

App::setLocale('es-ES'); // force locate to es-ES

Item::formatDate(Date::now(), 'D, d M Y H:i:s O')
// returns "Mié., 02 Dic. 2020 05:22:55 -0500"

The issue was that the re-generation of the podcast feed was dependent on the requesting agent's locale when the cache expired, which could be any user or bot. Spotify was pinging the podcast and could load a feed generated by an agent that used a locale other than English in the past thirty minutes.

// Generate episode timestamps here

When Spotify found dates were not in English, it removed the show altogether—something that Apple Podcasts and other networks didn't do—and then added the podcast back hours later, when episode dates were in English again.

Spotify player showing a Getting Simple episode.

Spotify took its time to reload all existing episodes after forcing the localization of episode timestamps to use the en-US locale and re-generating the feed. Now all episodes and their stats are back. Hopefully, the show won't disappear again, and users won't hit this ugly, erroring embedded player.

NOVEMBER 18, 2020

Roberto Molinos — Plan for Failure: The Peace of Mind of Being Patient and Antifragile

Hi, Friends!

For the last episode of Getting Simple, Roberto Molinos highlights the benefits of being patient and embracing uncertainty and shares a series of techniques, theories, and books that can help you rethink your company, market your products, and have a 4-day workweek.

Listen to: "Roberto Molinos — Plan for Failure: The Peace of Mind of Being Patient and Antifragile"

NOVEMBER 6, 2020

Newsletterversary podcast

Hi Friends!

Today, I bring you an episode that celebrates a year and a half of weekly sketches and stories. At the time I published this essay on my blog, I was at fifty-three publications. But as I write these lines, I'm at seventy-one posts. Happy Newsletter-versary!

Listen to: "Sketches — Newsletterversary"

OCTOBER 26, 2020

Adam Menges — Lobe: Machine Learning Made Simple

Hi Friends!

For the last episode of Getting Simple, I had the chance to talk to Microsoft's Adam Menges, former employee at Apple and founder at, a company that helps people build intelligence into their apps by making it simple and understandable.

Tune in to discover Adam's unconventional education and career, why he strives to have death present in his day-to-day, and his life hacks and daily routines, including custom-made clothing, note-taking and file-management workflows, meditation, and much more.

Listen to: "Adam Menges — Lobe: Machine Learning Made Simple" ↗︎

SEPTEMBER 16, 2020

Daniel Natoli — The Making of Sisyphus

For the latest episode of Getting Simple, I had a great conversation with director Daniel Natoli on his experience making Sisyphus, Getting Simple's first short film, which we are releasing online today.

It's easy to fall into the trap of mindlessly repeating the same routine over and over again. Every once in a while, we need to be reminded to stop and reflect; To meditate on whether what you’re doing makes sense; To find out how to get out of the loop and do what gives you joy. There’s no need to measure how productive each of your actions is—some of it should just be play.

That's exactly what, as I understand, happens in the Greek myth of Sisyphus, in which a man is condemned to repeat a useless task day after day.

Watch Sisyphus

Listen to: "Daniel Natoli — The Making of Sisyphus"


Quantity or Quality Podcast

Hi Friends,

Here's a new episode on how generating lots of ideas might help you achieve originality from the Sketches series, a combination of two of my previous sketches post turned into audio.

"Many people fail to achieve originality because they generate a few ideas and then obsess about refining them to perfection." —Adam Grant, Originals

Listen to "Sketches — Quantity or Quality"

Want to see older publications? Visit the archive.

Listen to Getting Simple .