Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Retirement is a dangerous virus

People think that retirement is a right and gift from society to reward hard work during all these years.

This is not. This is a tool manipulating people into thinking it is right to give your time for someone else for fifty years before doing what matter in their life.

Waiting for retirement as a goal for your life is a disease. A cultural virus, a weapon of mass alienation  of obedient workers, the modern concept of slavery.

Retirement makes people too lazy and too fearful to make decision for their own life...
The decision of aligning his goals with his time.

When you are working for what matter in your life, the whole concept of retirement disappears.
If the disease comes back, it is time to change your schedule to suit priorities.

Friday, March 22, 2013

The decision maker, the coward, and the caveman

There is four types of people on the internet : The guy for, the guy against, the guy that does not know, and the guy that does not care.

Culture says that : The guy against is Nazi, the guy for is naive or fanboy, the guy that does not know is balanced, and the guy that does not care lives in a cave.
So sure, everybody wants to be balanced.

But here is the truth, being balanced means two things :
  • Either your knowledge is so great that you can't make an informed decision, based on the input you got from the problem.
  • Or you want to calm down the war, feel cool, and tell your word to the world without being fanboy, Nazi or caveman, or you just fear decisions, in other word a coward.
Both, the guy for and the guy against are very interesting people. They can tell you exactly why they feel what they feel without any fear of political sanction.
Most of the time, these guys know a lot about their respective field, and defends what is feeding their wallet, brain and stomach. You can get a lot from them.
They are both decision makers.

The guy that says it depends... not every times. Is he able to ask you about what information does he needs to make a decision ? If not, it is just a coward, and you can get nothing from him.

Thus now, in my scale, it exists three types of people on the internet :  The decision maker, the coward, and caveman.

PS: despite I call him caveman, there is nothing wrong with him ! :)

Monday, March 18, 2013


In a Ted Talk, Gever Tulley, used a very interesting terms when teaching to children : "Knowledgeability".

The definition of this term is simple : Knowing that we can know.

That correspond exactly to how I define a teacher in the knowledge diagram.

The teacher makes someone knowing that he does not know, and the trainer makes someone knowing what he knows he does not know. We can't forget the teacher said, because it is rooted in our subconscious, but we can forget what the trainer said if we don't practice enough.

Knowledgeability is a really good terms, I don't think the speaker said it on purpose though.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Be the master of commitments and paperwork

I used to be scared about paperwork...
With good reason ! More paperwork means more commitment to take track of... and my brain, my friend will tell you, is a plain black hole.

When I started my first company, paperwork flooded me, and I tried to delegate that to my associates.
I was fleeing responsabilities.

Then, one day, in an airport in Tokyo, waiting for my plane, I read Getting things done by David Allen.
I'll be clear : this is not the best book I enjoyed in my life, but that's certainly the one that made the most impact.

Getting things done is not about technology, it is about organization.

It made me see something : Great achievers, don't have more space in their brain, they just have a better system to keep up with commitments.

Then I started organizing my desktop... and one day I searched about how to become entirely "paper less".
What I am going to show you are the 4 things that changed my life forever.
And I'm not talking about the professional side, these things make my mind restfull as much as meditation, these tools are parts of my whole life.
I would feel like if someone cut a part of my body if one of these services goes down.
Now whatever document you ask me, I can get it in less than 5 min, with my phone or computer.

With Scansnap, I just have one button to push to scan a document and send it to Evernote.
This is the only scanner that has such integration with Evernote.

Scansnap scans my documents, recognizes characters, transforms into PDF, send to evernote.
Then evernote index it... And sometimes, I give one or two tags depending on the document. (invoice, order, bank stuff, training stuff)

Now when I'm going into my bank for opening a new account, and they ask me a paper I don't have on me because they want to earn some time, I just ask :
  • What is your email ?
Use evernote on my phone, get the document, and send by mail... without going back to home.
  • Ok now you have it.
My life is paperless,and all my commitments are kept up as long as I noted it in remember the milk.
I have total peace of mind, and feel like I can handle 10 times more commitments I currently have.

This system is as important as parts of my body, I would feel handicaped without it, it is a part of my life, an extension of me.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Fear of loss at your advantage

Like me, you don't like losing money... but you don't mind if you miss earning it.

Losing money make your mind believe that you missed a cultural responsability which is to keep your own money safe.
On the other hand, not earning money is something out of or control. (or more exactly it is what our mind believe)

That's why you are pissed by a pickpocket who steals 20 euros from your pocket, but don't really mind this highly hidden tax you don't really understand decided by your government.
You think you are not responsible of the money you have not earned.

You can leverage this brain's bug at your advantage.

Example :

I know that if I learn about some web design, I'll make money because my sales skills will improve.
However, I'm not motivated to do it... because I just miss earning money, I'm not loosing anything.

Solution :

I pay to pass a certification in Web development (HTML5/CSS and javascript) in 2 weeks for 200$. Now the odd is different : If I don't learn about this new skill... I loose my own money !
Guess what ? Deadline + Responsability = Action.

Fear of loss is a powerful motivator. Just make sure all variables depend on you.

Controlling your mind is hard, setting up the environment to force it to go where you want to go is easier.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Google Reader killed... are you kidding ?

Google and Microsoft want to be like Apple and Facebook : Don't please someone, please everyone !

They are all in a phase of integration, instead of diversification in the name of simplicity.
But over generalization is as bad as over specialization.

In other word, the only guy that these companies wants to pleased is called everyone.
And now they are just telling to the guy called someone to do like everyone does and just shut up.

They started by making sharing feeds on google reader harder by integrating G+ on google reader. (so much harder than I just stopped sharing)
And now they are calling blogs dead... just follow google+.
So now, I'm just not using their product anymore. (Thanks FeedDemon)

Both companies are killing their best product just because everyone is not using it...
For Microsoft it was Silverlight, windows desktop and XNA for HTML5. All great products.
Are they all getting mad ?
Who is pulling the strings ?
Who is brain washing these leaders into followers ?

If everyone is not calling them leaders, does not means that someone did not think it.
Now both everyone and someone are convinced that they are like a captain of a ship without sail bragging orders during the storm... Just powerless.

They now look like our politicians making fun of the competition, while doing exactly the same things as them. Different terms, same idea, same strategy.

It reminds me when IBM made Apple believe than closing their systems was better, then switching their strategy once they believed it. Who will be the first to diversify again ?

The diversification and generalization cycle is common to the life of all organism, company, market, or people are alike. These companies are now in the middle of the integration phase, and that's not a good time for geeks like me !

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Knowledge acquisition is the new golden stream

A job is not important anymore.
Nor Knowledge is.
Knowledge acquisition is the new golden stream.

Someone can fire you from a job.
But nobody can take your knowledge... or can it ?
The product of time and innovation kills knowledge.
Time is constant but innovation constantly growing.

Thus, if time and innovation kill your knowledge, what is left for you ?

Knowledge acquisition, or the speed at which you can keep up absorbing the right knowledge for the right use is now the new ultimate weapon.

It takes both curiosity and goal, self learning is not anymore optional. The knowledge of what an abstraction is, is essential.

The realization of this fact has the following consequences :
Keep learning, and so one has the power to take your freedom, unless you permit it.
Keep learning, and embrace and accept changes as an inevitable consequence of innovation.

Innovation and time can kill big fishes, and it is killing the ignorant.
Nobody can do the push up for them, and nobody can do them for you.
Never so much power have been in our own hands.

Non-Self contained abstraction

My previous post talked about self contained abstraction.

But a second kind of abstraction exists : Non-Self contained abstractions.
We also call it extensions.

The utilisation of extensions need that you understand the layer below, an extension is not a self contained abstraction.

If I take the car tuning. Tuning are just extensions to the car, but to make tuning possible, you also have to understand the car internals abstraction and it defines the internals of what is a suspension, an engine, tire and sway bars.
Tuning is itself an abstraction it define strut bars, spoiler, and body kit, for example. But you can't use anything of this abstraction if you don't know the car abstraction first.

For developers, extensions are what controls suite in WPF are to WPF. You need to understand both, the abstraction of the controls suite and the abstraction of WPF to make use of the controls in the suite.

PS: I know nothing about car tuning, a quick search on wikipedia gave me the vocabulary of these abstractions.

Self contained abstraction

Nobody talks about it, but something very important happen when learning to code.
We learn the power of abstraction.

Abstractions is something that hide the details of something else to make things simpler.
An everyday exemple is your car.
The whole driver seat is an abstraction layer.
The steering wheel, break, accelerator, dashboard are simplified vision of the internal mechanics of the car that talk about piston, wheel, motor, hoses.

These same internals are also abstraction over their internal components. (I don't know their name of these internals)

We talk about self contained abstraction when one can use an abstraction to reach a goal without having to go into the internals.

For some goals, for example car tuning, the driver seat abstraction is not enough, and one has to get the internals of this abstraction.

Another term to represent a self contained abstraction in software design is called a layer.
A layer is nothing but a self contained abstraction.

The more layer you understand, the more you can track down problems, and the more creative power you have. You break the limitation of having one layer of thought, and can search for a solution on multiple angles.
Common goals have common abstractions. (Driving in the city only needs the driver seat abstraction)
Uncommon goals have to work with multiple layer of abstraction.

A great developer transforms an uncommon goal to a common goal, and so the developper create its own self contained abstractions. It is also what we call the business domain.
We often call such programmer an architect, or just developer opposed to what we call programmer described below.

The goal of average developer is to just reuse self contained abstractions made by someone else. We call them code monkeys, or just programmer opposed to developers.

Both share the same activities, that is, coding. But they have not the same level of thinking to solve a problem. An architect make average programmers possible to work.

Finding architect is not scalable for a company. That is why having an architect is so valuable. It permits an enterprise to recruit more developers to get things done.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Language, Creativity, and Community

Any idea, complex or not, can be made simple by choosing the right language to describe it.
The idea does not become simpler for everyone. Just for people that know this language.

A language shared by the same group of people create a community and experts are the one in the group that know how to speak it unconsciously.

Being an expert is good for a living, but only creative one will draw fortune like a magnet through the law of attraction.

Creativity is only about combining ideas to create a new one.
You can't build a house without bricks, so you can't be creative without external ideas.
But you can't use external ideas without knowing the language to express them simply.

A lack a creativity is the result of a person speaking the same language day after day, by extent it is a sign of a person staying too much within the same community.