Who are the people reflected in the water? When I took this picture I was thinking about that, what if things where just reversed, the train going in the opposite direction, the majority of people left-handed, keys closing clockwise. I was in the opposite side of the river that goes with the railroad, in Ichigaya station (市ヶ谷駅). Continue reading
I’m not so old, but I’m old enough to remember a time when cheap stuff worked and expensive stuff had more features. During these years things changed a lot. Now we have cheap stuff that lasts for very few times and sometimes it’s already broken when you buy it. Then you have expensive stuff that doesn’t really add any new or special feature, it just doesn’t break after being used. Then we have the pro super expensive stuff that has the same quality of the expensive stuff from old days and some fancy new features that almost nobody uses, but people want to have them just in case.
How many people in this world achieved amazing results within the first 3 decades of their lives? Alexander the Great by the age of thirty, had created one of the largest empires of the ancient world. Jesus Christ died around 30. Albert Einstein conceived in his mind his most important theories, before 30. Nikola Tesla also achieved his most important inventions during 3 decades, and many others. 30 years is a life, an entire life. No more than 200 years ago, life expectancy was around 40. That means one life! Nowadays life expectancy in the industrialized world is 2 or 3 times that, which means, at least two lives in one!
Culture and society understands life as a progressive path with goals down the road to achieve. Birth, Education, Job, Family, Old Age and Death. All this on a “life spam”, but it doesn’t specify time. So what about if we extend our lives up to 120 years? That means that we again start to work before 25, and keep working until we retire, let’s say 90… Does it make any sense? So, let’s face it. We humans can achieve whatever we want, in the first 30 years of our live. We can change the world in just 3 decades!
So, I propose to change our vision to a new way to understand life and goals. I’m 36 at the moment I’m writing this. If I assume my symbolic death when I was 30, it means that now I’m 6 years old. But I don’t need to go to elementary school and I don’t have to deal with all the obstacles of my lack of experience as a 6 year old child. I want to imagine, that I woke up and now I’m 6 years old but I have all the knowledge that I’ve accumulated in my first 30 years of life.
I already spent one life, whatever I did it’s done, I can’t change it. But, I can learn from that life experience for my new life that’s started 6 years ago and I just didn’t know. So instead of start thinking in terms of “I’m too old now”, “I lost the train and the opportunity to do this or that…”, “I can’t start a new career now”… I will think in terms of “I’m 6 years old and I know a lot!!, I still have one more life left in this video game”.
So that’s it, I’m still in the middle of the road of my life, that means I have just made the 50% of it. We can start over again, planning again, studying again, doing again whatever we want and work for this second chance we have.
If you are in your 30s think about this: you just started your clock again and you maybe didn’t realize about it. If you are in your 40s, you are just about 10 years old! You still have a life ahead so don’t loose the illusion. If you are far away from that, remember that at 60, you will die again, and a third chance is given to you, so don’t waste it, because that’s the last one, at least based on our current medical advances :)
This is my exercise for this 2012. Realize that I died at 30, I’m 6 years old, and my life started again. Let’s take a break, and rethink about everything. I have the opportunity to make it again, better and more interesting than before. Go ahead and do the same. Think about what you have done until now and if you are not satisfied with it, now it’s the moment to start anew!
I used to do this kind of life for some time, not only in Java, almost for everything. Now my cubicle is my home. Anyway really funny video:
After I read the news about Steve Jobs stepping back as Apple’s CEO, I was going back in time, digging in my memories and experiences, since the first day I started working in an IT company. I came up with a really simple conclusion that needs some explanation. It’s so simple that just saying it, has no effect. But it’s really powerful.
I have a long experience working with workaholics and micromanagers. I’m wrong if I put these two profiles together. A micromanager can be a workaholic but not all workaholics are micromanagers. In fact many of them are not managers at all.
I know how these profiles behave, how they think. I know how to predict many of their actions, in fact they are very predictable. I know how bad they can be for a company, how much they can damage a working environment. Sometimes they can also be useful, but it’s much better if they never have total power and are managed by somebody else that knows exactly what kind of people they’re dealing with. They are not bad or good people, in fact their behavior roots are very complex.
After reading many articles about Steve Jobs, his personality, about glimpses of his life and stories from people that know him; there was something that wasn’t clear to me. He is usually described as a workaholic and a micromanager. Many people now is saying that this, hypothetical “qualities”, are good for a CEO and maybe many people will try to get inspired by those descriptions. Well, I don’t know him, but thinking about what he did and what Apple was doing under his control, makes me think completely different.
I read a story (worth reading) today in Google+, from Vic Gundotra that inspired me to write this post. He talks about Steve Jobs calling him by phone, on a Sunday morning, talking about the yellow gradient of the second O in the Google icon on the iPhone. How do you interpret that? Obviously that Steve is a workaholic and a micromanager. But wait a minute. I’m pretty sure he was right about the yellow gradient of that icon. Nobody else would have changed it, or even care about it. So, who had to do it then? Someone that really cares about doing things well: Steve Jobs.
So let’s think about this from a different approach. Think about all the things you think are really well done, from a refrigerator, a car, a phone, whatever, and put them in one set. Then do the opposite, you will find that it’s much easier to find things that have been just done but not well done. You can have a Windows PC and it can help you to perform common operations on a computer, but if you compare it with a Mac, you will notice the difference. Operations are the same, the purpose is the same but almost every corner in the the Apple machine is well designed or at least, they really tried to do it well, and that’s important.
So, do you think that Steve Jobs behavior can just be classified as a workaholic and a micromanager? If you ever worked with that kind of people, do you think that they can achieve, what Steve did? To be disruptive in technology you need to be able to see the big picture, to make an abstraction of the tiny world that surrounds everyone of us and think differently. Somebody that gets trapped in a compulsive behavior denotes his/her incapacity to perform such abstraction from their environment. So, do you still think that the key is being, apparently, a workaholic and a micromanager? I don’t think so. There is much more behind that. If we look at the root problem, it’s easy to realize that sooner or later somebody has to do things well to achieve success. What if somebody else noticed that the yellow gradient was wrong and was willing to change it? Do you think that Steve would have been there, spending his time taking care even of that tiny detail if everybody took care of details willing to get things well done? I don’t know, maybe, but probably not.
I remember a painful time with a micromanager I worked with years ago. I like to take care about details and get things well done without having a bad impact on production. I didn’t even know that I wanted to do things well, it was just the way I felt comfortable. He was the opposite, he micromanaged me in every possible way, telling me even how to code stuff that he had no idea about. He forced me to take wrong paths because usually a micromanager is a paranoid that thinks that only him is the right guy to do the job. At the end, his interventions were useless and made me waste a lot of time that I could spend improving my work. Later he realized I was right. We still had time to fix it but, as the project worked, his mentality followed with the “who cares, as far as it works!!” mentality.
This mentality is the root of every thing that gets done, but that never will get well done!
This is the big difference. You can improve that icon, setting the right yellow to the second O. It’s not a waste of time. Tiny details make a big difference when they merge in the final product.
If you lead, if you are responsible for a project and you care to get things well done, if you care about details, about the big picture and realize that it’s made by all those tiny insignificant parts, if you just care! If you love to see the job done perfectly and beautifully, but you are alone… what will you become if nobody else cares and think that you are just an obsessive person? You become like Steve Jobs, and, in that case, you have to carry all the weight and do it by yourself.
To conclude: it’s hard for me to believe that he is a real, by nature micromanager. Maybe he is a workaholic and a forced micromanager. Just taking a look to Apple products and how they are always ahead of time from everybody else, gives a clue of what is the behavioral pattern that he wanted to be embedded in the company.
This is the inspiration I want to take from all this. I will always try to keep “getting things well done”. I didn’t really realize about this subtle-different-simple concept before, until now. I loved to see things getting closer to perfection and never reaching it, but I didn’t realize that the main stream just don’t care as far as they are not the consumers.
I’ll keep this in mind for all my applications. Even if it’s a free app, even if it’s just a prototype, even if the app produces no profit at all, adding a little constant effort and just having the will to take care of the whole thing, keeping in mind that a perfect whole is made by it’s tiny perfect parts, is the most important quality to get things well done.
Based on the “Corriere della Sera” (one of the most important newspapers in Italy) and Yahoo news, for a mysterious reason not yet understood, all digital clocks in Catania (The second most important city in Sicily) are running 20 minutes faster. Also some cities nearby Catania seems to be affected in the same way. There are many theories at the moment, but none are able to give an explanation yet. Some people say it’s the Etna (the largest volcano in Italy) recent activity might have produced some sort of radiation. Others claim it’s due to the construction of a Submarine communications cable that is generating huge magnetic waves around the city… Maybe soon some people will talk about UFO’s and any other sort of ideas…
The fact, anyway, is that time is running faster in Sicily, maybe it could be the name for a movie :)
If you want to see an example of what is NOT a democratic country, of what is NOT a Government that thinks about their own people and that ONLY cares about the interest of corrupt politicians, here you have the ballot that, we Italians, have to vote to make the important decision if we want to have Nuclear Power Plants in a seismic country that have almost no infrastructures to deal with catastrophes.
Look at the picture. The text in the middle tells you basically that if you DON’T want Nuclear Plants in Italy you have to vote “YES”. That text is a mumbo jumbo of legal crap that even a lawyer will have a headache to understand. They think this is democracy without common sense. Do they think I have to understand all this crap? Do I have the time and skills to go all through this and understand if I have to vote YES or NO?
Look at the picture and take your own conclusions. (Click to see in full size)
This is a translation of just a small part of that mumbo jumbo.
“Do you want to derogate the Executive Order of June 25th 2008, number 112, modified from the law number 133 of August 6 2088, the resulting text having successive effects of modification and integration, named “Urgent dispositions for the economic development, the simplification, competition, stabilization of the public finances and the equalization of taxes”, only limited to the following parts: article 7, point 1, letter d: “d) the establishment of centrals of nuclear energy into the national territory”; as well as the law number 99 of July 23 2009, of the resultant text as an effect of modifications and successive integrations, named “Dispositions about the energy”, limited only to the following parts: article 25, comma 1, limited to the words: “of the localization into the national territory…”
More info here, in Italian: http://www.fermiamoilnucleare.it
Last weekend I was in a Starbucks of Akihabara relaxing with a coffee while doing some coding.
In that moment I saw a guy taking three of the seats in the same table I was. Ok he is taking the seats while his friends are taking something to drink and eat. After 10 minutes, then 20, then 30 minutes those “friends” never came. In fact the guy took the seats, didn’t buy any drink and he was just using the space for free.
Well I don’t know your name man, and I can understand that a student needs a quiet place to study. Students usually don’t have money to pay the quite expensive coffee at Starbucks… But one thing is that you want to use the seat without buying anything, I’m fine, really I don’t care about that. It’s not my business, it’s not my money and Starbucks is not going to disappear if you take one seat for free.
But another thing is to take 3 seats! Other people also need a place to stay, people that already payed their drink and are looking for a place to seat. They are people like you, more polite of course, but anyway they are people with the same needs. Why do you need to take 3 seats for nothing? Just to create your little pathetic table empire around you?
These kind of acts make me sick, They just show human avarice to try to take more and more even beyond their real needs. And doing so, abusing the space and other people for their own needs. In this little example is reflected what we can see in a bigger scenario, where avarice leads to wars and misery for others.
If you didn’t have the money to pay a coffee and you still wanted to use the space, okay, do it! But don’t abuse others and deprive their right to use the space as well. Having a bad economical situation doesn’t give you the right to abuse those that have nothing to do with your live. I had hard times in the past when I couldn’t even imagine to buy a coffee in a coffee shop, but it didn’t makes me hate the world and everybody else.
By the way this guy had an iPhone 4, a Lacoste jersey and a Burberry scarf, I think he was able to pay a simple coffee…
Today I had I blackout operation in my office. It’s something implemented by Japanese law to test buildings infrastructure in case of a cut in the main power.
When the electricity went down, I could realize the huge difference between “ordinary” silence and some “real” silence. Well, I shouldn’t call it real silence, maybe it’s better to say a better silence. Years ago people didn’t have any computers on their desks, so I tried to imagine how it would be to work without any fan or any electrical vibrations that come from, not only my own desktop, but from many machines surrounding me. It was a beautiful instant of mental peace that I didn’t experimented in a long time.
Stop the fans! I cannot see any real technological progress when the living conditions get degraded instead of improved. From a productivity point of view, and a business point of view, the operations done nowadays are many orders of magnitude above if compared to those of just 30 years ago, but what about the quality of the working environment?
I don’t want to sound against technological advance, but my understanding is that technology should be something that would make our lives easier, better and safer. Let’s compare the the light of a oil lamp, so relaxing, so eyes-friendly and the fluorescent tubes (neon tubes) in almost every office. Let’s compare the silence of a library with some people chatting and the constant non-stop noise of a fan and air conditioning. I don’t see a real effort to improve this, people just get used to these noises and we all think it’s normal until we finally have the opportunity to find few moments of no-machines around.
A real advance is that of having an artificial light, much better and healthy than a natural one. A real advance is that of having machines with no mechanical and movable parts, like fans, hard-drives and so forth. Also interferences can be noticed. Everybody can feel the vibrations of a CRT monitor or a power supply, and we are getting used to that noise.
The day we will be surrounded by technology and at the same time feel in the same way as we were in a calm wood, that will be a mark to say “this is a real improvement”.