Just do it!

Written on 17 January 2017, 10:19pm

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I’m not a big fan of inspirational quotes, but I recently found myself resonating with a few pragmatic perspectives.
The first one comes from Jerry Seinfeld. In a recent interview he says that simply asking yourself ‘what am I really sick off?’ is key to innovation:

It’s very important to know what you don’t like. A big part of innovation is saying, “You know what I’m really sick of?” For me, that was talk shows where music plays, somebody walks out to a desk, shakes hands with the host, and sits down. “How are you?” “You look great.” I’m also sick of people who are really there to sell their show or product.
“What am I really sick of?” is where innovation begins.
— Jerry Seinfeld, An interview by Daniel McGinn

The second perspective comes from Jeff Bezos, the guy who revolutionized the way we shop online. He warns about the inevitable criticism associated with any pragmatic approach:

If you never want to be criticized, for goodness’ sake don’t do anything new.
— Jeff Bezos

Too bad this quote was also used by Trump in a tweet…

The third perspective was triggered by the previous two: I remembered a principle from the book ‘Soft Skills‘, written by John Sonmez. This principle was ‘Any action is better than no action’, and when I looked back in the book, I found this quote:

Any action is often better than no action, especially if you have been stuck in an unhappy situation for a long time. If it is a mistake, at least you learn something, in which case it’s no longer a mistake. If you remain stuck, you learn nothing.
—Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now

Update: While proof reading this post I remembered about another perspective, about forcing yourself to do things imperfectly. It comes from Sara Mauskopf, the founder of Winnie, who gives a very concrete example:

I have given myself an hour to write this post before I’m on childcare duty. I can publish the post after that hour or I can spend more time later polishing it and making it perfect. I’m forcing myself to publish the piece before the hour is up even though it probably has some typos and maybe could be written more concisely. The extra couple hours I could spend polishing it won’t make a massive difference in the number of people who read and benefit from this post.
Perfectionism is a tough habit to break so you have to set time limits and force yourself to just put things out there even if they aren’t 100% perfect.
— Sara Mauskopf, How to start a company with no free time

Finally, there is no better way to motivate yourself into doing something than saying ‘Challenge accepted‘. It works for me 🙂

Unexpected ways the technology gets intrusive

Written on 10 January 2017, 09:27pm

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Just a quick, did-you-know type of post written because the technology below is way to cool not to share 🙂

1. Did you know that the wi-fi routers can be used to identify faces, recognize keys that you type or read lips?

Researchers from the Northwestern Polytechnical University in China used WiFi signals to identify people. This identification was made based on the shape of people that was read as radio waves bounced back and forth, as well as by the specific way in which people moved. The success ratio was 88.9% to 94.5% in a domestic environment. One potential application is that of having a super custom-made smart home which adjusts lighting, temperature and even music based on the person(s) gait walking through the room. Or you can just use it to spy.
A system developed at the University of Berkeley uses distortions and reflections in Wi-Fi signals made by moving mouths to essentially lip-read. This setup was used to tell which words a single person was speaking with 91 percent accuracy. The accuracy was 74 percent when three people were speaking at the same time.


The open spaces kill creativity

Written on 3 January 2017, 11:16am

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Two Medium posts sharing the view about the workplace productivity: the open spaces are only good for paying less rent.
They both refer mainly to IT jobs.

Most startups nowadays are obsessed with the open office environment, and it’s nearly impossible to find companies that do not implement this type of layout. They’ll claim it’s because they want an “open and transparent culture”, but if you know anything about the subject, you’ll know this is the worst possible setup for actual work, and doesn’t improve communication or culture.
Why I only work remotely

Did you know the average developer only get two hours of uninterrupted work done a day? They spend the other 6 hours in varying states of distraction.
But here’s what happens during the two hours they have to themselves. They warm up. They check logs, issues, and wrap their heads around what needs to be done.
They dive into the code. Their pupils dilate. They enter what psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi calls a “flow state.”
If you’ve ever been “in the groove” or “in the zone,” that’s what this is. A happy state of energized focus. Flow.

But employers, for the most part, don’t listen.
They continue to cram their teams together into noisy open plan offices.
They continue to pepper their teams’ days with meetings.
They expect their teams to be responsive to emails or Slack, further dashing hopes of ever reaching a flow state and getting some real work done.
Do you think Tolstoy could have written War and Peace in an open plan office?

Live asynchronously