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A Chat With Our Software Director

A Chat With Our Software Director

The software you’re using to read this right now was developed by someone who knows code. Same for the AI craze that’s sweeping the world. And therein lies the challenge of being a software developer: it means solving problems that have never been solved before.

Adam Miclot takes this in stride. As ChoiceLocal’s Software Director for almost three years, he loves creating tools to make work more efficient.

Describe your duties as Software Director.

My job is to design and implement software solutions based on ever-changing sets of inputs and outputs. A lot of my job involves automation and Data ETL (Extract, Transform, Land).  These functions align with my goal which is deploying technology to improve people’s work experience. I look for repetitive tasks and write code to automate them. It’s no secret, that people like doing creative and fulfilling work. One way to accomplish that is removing the less creative, banal type tasks. “You can’t use up creativity. The more you use the more you have.” – Maya Angelou

digital marketing agency for franchises

How has your role changed from when you first arrived at CL?

When I first joined my singular focus was creating an attribution system for one of our partners. I no longer have a singular focus, and typically my attention is split across a couple of different initiatives. I really enjoy having a variety of different types of work to do daily.

With software development, do you feel pressure to constantly innovate, introduce new ideas, or do things that have never been done before?

No, because I am riding a wave. As they say, “If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” The best part about software development is the open sharing of ideas and work. When I have a task I have never done before, the only pressure I feel is finding the right documentation to show me that other people have already been here, and usually they have already come up with a better solution than I would have thought up on my own.

What are the tools or programs you use every day?

I write Python every day. I love its ease of use and readability and its large community that supports extensive libraries. My current focus is on Google Cloud and becoming more efficient in launching new ideas using the tools available like Cloud Functions, AppSheet, BigQuery, etc. I have been working with Bigquery specifically since 2019, just expanding into more of what Google has to offer in their workspace/cloud.

What’s your favorite success story or innovation you’ve introduced at CL?

My favorite success story is one that happened about 6 months into working at Choicelocal there was an opportunity to rethink how we scale content. My previous position gave me exposure to generative AI, but at the time the Large Language Models were not as powerful as they are now. I developed a system of word-spinning and generative responses from GPT-2 to automate portions of content creation. That initial idea was tested in 2020-21 and was found to be more efficient and more effective for our partners. That process has evolved as the underlying technology has evolved, and we have moved our process to more end users which is leading to lots of new ideas, all of which are being driven by the people using the product. This is one of the things I’m looking forward to in 2024, incorporating some of these user experience ideas into the program.

How has the advancement of AI affected how you operate?

Tremendously! I work with LLMs every day. As I mentioned, I am riding a wave. This means I’m reading what other people are writing about these technologies, and I’m trying to align myself with where the technologies will land themselves in the modern workplace. Right now, it seems the line between human work and machine work is being blurred, and opportunities could come to organizations that embrace a “cyborg” type of work style. Humans are being pushed to reach new heights due to the “superpowers” that can be gained by using LLMs.

What’s it like working in franchise marketing vs. other industries?

From my perspective, it isn’t much different. Just like my other jobs, there are a variety of different problems that present themselves, and it is up to the team to come up with a solution. I think the relationships between all the stakeholders involved in franchise marketing are the part that is more nuanced than my previous jobs.

What is the future of work?

One of the people I follow closely is Ethan Mollick. He is a professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. I’d like to use a quote from one of his blogs in March of 2023. I think it perfectly captures what workers should be considering across any industry: “Every worker should be spending time figuring out how to use these general-purpose tools to their advantage. They should be thinking about how to automate their job to remove the tedious and uncreative parts, and getting a sense of the disruption to come before the organizations they work for realize the full implications of AI. They may also want to consider what to do with the extra time they may be creating as a result of their experiments. We are in the early days of AI, but disruption is already happening. There’s no instruction manual. No one has answers yet. The key is to learn fast.”

The only way to learn fast is through experience, so the more experience people have using LLMs the more often epiphanies will happen around the work that each individual is closest to.

Tell us something about you that people would be surprised to know.

I have cauliflower ear in both ears and have been training Brazilian Jui Jitsu for over ten years.

Adam Miclot has a diverse professional background, having worked in various roles and industries. He has experience in data mining/analysis, software engineering, and data ETL. His career includes positions such as Mobile Application Developer and Software Director/Engineer IV. Adam has a proactive approach to staying updated with the latest developments in his field. Before joining Choicelocal Adam was involved in two Cleveland software startup companies, focusing on mobile app development and using artificial intelligence and data mining to support market/brand research. Additionally, Adam was a buyer for small and corporate retail stores before transitioning to a developer, demonstrating brain elasticity.

About ChoiceLocal
ChoiceLocal is a franchise marketing agency dedicated to leading a purpose-driven business as the first and only franchise marketing agency with a money-back guarantee. This has led to successful partnerships with over 50 franchise brands and a spot on the Inc. 5000 fastest-growing companies. Our core values are driven not only by the digital marketing work that is done but reflected by each person who becomes a teammate; we volunteer in our local communities every quarter and make a difference to those around us. Named a top workplace for four years straight, ChoiceLocal is dedicated to making the lives of everyone we are involved with better.

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