Sep 4 • 1HR 5M

The role of AI in product development | Ryan J. Salva (VP of Product at GitHub, Copilot)

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Lenny Rachitsky interviews world-class product leaders and growth experts to uncover concrete, actionable, and tactical advice to help you build, launch, and grow your own product.
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Ryan J. Salva is the VP of Product at GitHub, where he led the incubation and launch of Copilot. Copilot uses OpenAI’s ML engine to suggest code and entire functions in real time, right from your editor, and is changing the way we build software. Ryan is an experienced developer and product manager, with over a decade of experience working for Microsoft before moving to lead the GitHub product team. In today’s episode, he shares how Copilot got its start, how it moved from prototype to live product, and how he structures R&D teams within larger companies. He also discusses the ethical questions surrounding AI use and how to build a successful product team, and shares the inside story of the development of Copilot.

Listen now on Apple, Spotify, Google, and YouTube.

Find the full transcript here: https://www.lennyspodcast.com/the-role-of-ai-in-new-product-development-ryan-j-salva-vp-of-product-at-github-copilot/#transcript

Where to find Ryan J. Salva:

• Twitter: https://twitter.com/ryanjsalva

• LinkedIn : https://www.linkedin.com/in/ryanjsalva/

• Website: http://www.ryanjsalva.com/

Where to find Lenny:

• Newsletter: https://www.lennysnewsletter.com

• Twitter: https://twitter.com/lennysan

• LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lennyrachitsky/

Thank you to our wonderful sponsors for making this episode possible:

• Amplitude: https://amplitude.com/

• Athletic Greens: https://athleticgreens.com/lenny

• Modern Treasury: https://www.moderntreasury.com/

Referenced:

• GitHub Copilot: https://github.com/features/copilot

Make It So: Interaction Design Lessons from Science Fiction: https://www.amazon.com/Make-So-Interaction-Lessons-Science/dp/1933820985

Brief Interviews with Hideous Men: https://www.amazon.com/Brief-Interviews-Hideous-Foster-Wallace/dp/0316925195

The Memory Palace podcast: https://thememorypalace.us/

Arrival: https://www.hulu.com/movie/arrival-6ec67b11-b282-4383-85ac-38c4731b40e4

• Oege De Moor’s LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/oegedemoor/

In this episode, we cover:

(04:39) Ryan’s background and how he became involved in development

(10:46) What is GitHub Copilot?

(14:44) How GitHub Copilot can be utilized for education

(17:46) How GitHub incorporated AI models with computer languages

(27:24) Project horizons: delegating tasks based on confidence levels

(30:39) How to put together a development team for “moonshots”

(35:22) When and how to transition your R&D team smoothly

(38:28) Dealing with ethical issues surrounding AI

(44:40) The future of AI in development

(48:48) Challenges with scaling Copilot

(54:23) Allocating your energy as products scale

(58:17) Lightning round 

Production and marketing by https://penname.co/. For inquiries about sponsoring the podcast, email podcast@lennyrachitsky.com.