AMA with Ines Montani, Co-founder and CEO at Explosion - November 30

Hi all!
Our next AMA was with a super-woman, CEO and Fellow of the Python Software Foundation :woman_juggling:

The guest

Our third AMA was with the amazing Ines Montani.
Ines is a software developer working on Artificial Intelligence and Natural Language Processing technologies, and the co-founder and CEO of Explosion.

She grew up on the internet and started coding and designing websites at 11. After completing her degree in Communication Science, Media Studies and Linguistics, she spent four years working in media and sales. She currently lives in Berlin and occasionally speak at conferences and make videos. In 2020, she became a Fellow of the Python Software Foundation.
Ines is a believer of doing things, programming until four in the morning in her pyjamas & making the best possible products .

On Nov 30 at 9am PT, Ines was joined by our amazing host Sanyam Bhutani for a live interview session where she talked of her journey and answered all your questions about software development, Python, startups and product building.

  • People posted their questions as replies to this thread – one could post anytime till the start of the AMA.
  • At 9am on Nov 30, Ines answered all questions in the Youtube Livestream.

Links to follow:

Let’s go!

What was the biggest lesson founding a company has taught you? Anything you’d do differently this time?

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Thank you for taking some time out to answer some of the community questions.

  1. How does one continuously improve their software engineering skills and rigour without explicit external motivation (such as current job/profession requirements) ?
  2. What was your python contribution journey ? Any tips for new contributors ?
  3. [Non-Technical] Can you talk a bit about your interest in “aesthetics”. Context: All of the docs that explosion puts out are a pleasure to look at (really appreciate the extra effort), I’d like to know the inspiration / motivation behind putting effort into docs rather than maybe just using the standard readthedocs sphinx template.

Hey, Ines thank you for your time. Here are a bunch of questions:

  • If you decide on a personal project how do you ensure that you consistently give some time to it every day?
  • How do you decide on the next line of product? Explosion went from Spacy to Prodigy and now Thinc, what’s the most important criteria for you to decide on a product?

Hello, thank you for being so passionate about everything you do, a couple of questions:

  • What personal sacrifices have you made throughout your career?
  • What’s a leadership lesson that you’ve learnt that’s unique to being a female leader?
  • How was working/adapting during COVID times?

Hi Ines. Thanks for taking out the time to answers questions from the community. I was wondering, how do you see NLP evolving as a field in the coming years? In other words, what are some of the big questions in NLP that you think are still unexplored and needs some attention from academia?


Hi Ines! Excited for your AMA! Thanks for taking time :slight_smile:

  1. What are 3 things that your companies/open-source work have accomplished that you are really proud of?
  2. You’ve started out coding at age 11, what was it like growing up learning to build things with technology and how did your interests evolved overtime and led you to where you are now?
  3. What is one not really well-known (or unexpected) hobby that you have (or just something that you like in general), and you would like to share?
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I recently saw that the Guardian shared that they use prodigy/spacy for finding quotes in their articles. Are there any particular examples of spacy/prodigy/thinc being used publicly that you’re proud of? And maybe are there any that you’re less proud of?

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What is favourite chai, Ines?

Slightly off from ML world but curious to know -

What’s secret behind her awesome slides? how she got so good at design?

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I’ve just started using spacy and I’m blown away with the quality of your work. I want to ask when you’ll release a course for v3

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How do they decide on API or design decisions of spaCy V3? Like config system is very thoughtful. Curious how their brainstorming session goes? Like how many times they sit and refine the process/design decisions over and over again.

Also, how does such brainstorming session happen given most of the team is remote.


hi, I am a user for prodigy,thank you guys…there are perefect tools !


Can you talk a bit more about the detail
of deep learning model in spaCy?

What about low resource language like Persian? How can we help you?

Which skill do you recommend for nlp engineers in level phd?

Can we do a internship in spaCy as phd researcher?

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Where can I find explanations for more advanced subjects like transformers in spacy?