The second Rands in Repose benefit T-shirt is already available →

June 23, 2010 |

Besides it being an incredibly cool T-shirt for every nerd out there (and most normal people too), it supports a great cause: “100% of the proceedings from each shirt go to First Book, a nonprofit organization with the mission to give children from low-income families  the opportunity to read and to own their first new books”.

So what are you waiting for? Rejoyce in your own nerdery, and go buy one now.

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Quote of the Day →

June 19, 2010 |

A bore is a man who deprives you of solitude without providing you with company.

Gian Vincenzo Gravina (1664 - 1718)

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Counting from nine →

June 15, 2010 |

A very interesting blog, for those of you navigating rough waters.

Sometimes it helps to read about the experiences of others.

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"I'm not writing it down to remember it later, I'm writing it down to remember it now." →

June 15, 2010 |

So true.

Ladies and gentlemen, it’s my pleasure to introduce you to Field Notes, the journal that gives my Moleskine a heck of a run for its money. Thanks to @moleskinny for the heads up!

Field Notes by Álvaro Serrano, on Flickr

I’ve always been a fan of the notebook. Even in the digital era, some thoughts are just meant to be written down on paper.

On a related note, you may want to have a look at this:

Pen and Paper are Mightier than the Laptop


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Quote of the Day →

June 08, 2010 |

All that is gold does not glitter, Not all those who wander are lost; The old that is strong does not wither, Deep roots are not reached by the frost. From the ashes a fire shall be woken, A light from the shadows shall spring; Renewed shall be blade that was broken, The crownless again shall be king.

J.R.R. Tolkien (1892-1973), The Lord of the Rings (Reminded by Bjornino from Tennis Planet, thanks!)

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You have a mission

June 07, 2010

It struck me the other day, as I was calmly reading through John Gruber’s excellent blog, Daring Fireball. There was a link to Steve Jobs’ appearance last week at the “All Things D” conference, where the Apple CEO sat through a 100 minute long Q&A session with Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher.

The range of topics that were addressed was very wide and, surprisingly, Jobs was very straightforward in his answers. This is all the more surprising given Jobs secretive nature. As an example, I’ve decided to show you one of the clips that are available from the “All Things D” website:

In this video you can see how Steve answers clearly, without dodging the question or playing nice. This kind of behavior extended during the 100 minute session. This is not to say that he answered every question, obviously. The nature of his job demands some secrets to be kept, but all in all, it was a very satisfying experience to watch.

To me, it speaks volumes about the quality of Jobs as a leader. He personifies his company in a way that very few CEO’s are able to do. Jobs is self assured, calm and reasoned. He gets this attitude from the conviction that he is in this planet doing the one thing he does best. He KNOWS this is his mission. And Apple is his legacy.

Then the next day, Microsoft’s CEO Steve Ballmer stepped on stage. John Gruber linked to another very interesting article in Daring Fireball comparing both CEO’s, their demeanor, and the economic performances of their companies under their respective command. While the article’s bussiness reasoning and the tools used in the comparison could be debatable, the differences between both leaders can not. The contrast between them is as stark as it could possibly be.

Let me put it as clearly as I can: I don’t like Steve Ballmer. He strikes me as aggressive, arrogant and, above all, as someone that doesn’t give a damn about what he’s doing. It’s as though he somehow found himself in charge of the biggest software company in the planet and decided what the hell, let’s  see how this goes….

Leaders are not like that. As Napoleon once said: “Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake”. Well, Ballmer has made not one, but a few too many mistakes in his time as Microsoft’s CEO. His company failed to adapt to the Internet era, and now finds itself lagging behind as others innovate. If not for Windows and Office, Microsoft would be in serious trouble. Under Ballmer, they tried to compete in the music and phone markets, only to fail miserably. All this from the technology company with the biggest amount of resources at its disposal.

This is not to say they’re doing poorly, obviously. If you do the numbers, they’re still a huge company. But in the past they were driving the industry forward, and now they’re trying desperately to catch up with it. Ballmer has surely done many things right as CEO, but his achievements pale in comparison to those of his predecessor. This visionary literally laughed at Apple’s iPhone, the phone that changed the whole industry:

Then, he attempted to mock the iPad by sponsoring a conspicuously similar device from HP (just shy of a rip-off, actually), just weeks before HP canceled the project entirely:

The list goes on. In the same “All Things D” conference, he even dared to poke fun at the iPad again, a device that’s selling like hotcakes (2 million already sold, which represents a rate of 1 every 3 seconds since it launched). All this while Microsoft had nothing to show for itself. Windows based tablets are simply laughable compared to the iPad, Windows Mobile is lagging behind Android and iPhone OS, and in the music industry the Zune is… well, nevermind.

This man is hurting Microsoft even more than Apple is. When a company is run by a man without a mission, things invariably start to go south sooner rather than later. There’s a huge difference between going wherever life takes you without asking; and acting out of conviction, moved by sheer force of will.

The best part is, this applies for everyone, not just CEO’s. You have been given a set of skills that make you unique. You have decided to invest your precious time and effort to develop a series of talents that set you apart from the rest. What you should ask yourself is: “What do I do best?”. Maybe you care deeply about others and firmly believe that you can help them with your work. Maybe you have a unique insight into what makes people tick, and can get the best results out of a team. Or maybe you code like Neo because you can SEE the Matrix. I don’t know. This is a question that only you can answer. But once you know how you work, once you know what you’re supposed to do, the real fun begins.

Then the question becomes, “What is my mission?”

And the answer is the ride of a lifetime.

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March 20th: International Purging Day →

March 14, 2010 |

Yes, it’s exactly what you think. And it’s awesome.

Show the world you care about your own life and you value your time and attention. Save it for the people who really matter, and let go of the rest.

Just do it. You’ll feel so much better afterwards, trust me.



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On Evasion and Sanity

February 21, 2010

Hey there,

It’s funny how life always seems to have a few surprises in store for you. It reminds me of the song “Ironic”, by Alanis Morissette. I’ll come back to this in the future, I just wanted to get it out there.

Lately I’ve been getting the feeling that my work has kept me away from tending to the blog in the way it deserves. My apologies. It’s actually not just my blog that’s gotten out of control, but my personal life as well. You should know, however, that this irresponsible behavior won’t persist much longer. In about two weeks time, most of my commitments will either be met or forever gone, so I will find myself with some much-needed time on my hands to reflect, build on original ideas and exercise the creative muscles of my mind.

It’s always been like this. When I’m not building, I’m not happy. I can’t possibly be. Ideas start piling up in my head until I can’t take it any more, and I need to take a free day to do something about it. To be myself, period. Sometimes that involves staring at the ceiling for extended periods of time; others you will find me drawing with ten sheets of paper and seven different charcoal sticks scattered on the table; or frantically typing on my laptop, and if you talk to me, chances are I won’t hear a word you’re saying: I’m in, deep.

I think we all need these periods of readjustment. One can only function in society for so long, especially with all this global connectivity trend becoming more and more the norm. That reminds me, the post I’ve been working on lately is a formal attempt to capture my opinion on social networking. That is well underway, and it should be done soon, although I really can’t say when exactly. Just as a teaser, think about the perverse pleasure you get when the phone rings, and you just let it keep ringing. The second it’s over, you feel great. You have successfully evaded the pressure of the outside world, and are actively choosing to dedicate some time to yourself. That’s big. We don’t have nearly enough time for ourselves, and as a result we are all inevitably underdeveloped and scattered as human beings. How many times have you found yourself without a self-assured opinion about a certain topic, only because you never dedicated any time to consider the issue?

It’s simple, the people we find most attractive are those who show self-confidence and trust in their instincts on any given day. Think about the people you admire, your idols. It’s that determination and laser-like focus that sets them apart from the rest of us. That only comes from self-knowledge.

More on that soon.

Until then, be good to each other.



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The words you're not saying

February 04, 2010

Just a quick reminder: the words you’re not saying are eating you up.

Let them out. The world will understand.

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