February 8, 2016

On Here I Write

I think a thought, and type it out. I read it up, and backspace it down. I crumple the page, and trash it all. Site/server/blog, they are all zeroed out.

I fume and curse. I procrastinate with a stare and frown. I give up and back down. I abandon and move on. Convince myself it’s for the best and decide to never turn around.

But then I’m back. I disappoint the thought, but get something out. Not even 100 words. But all in all, better than none.

This blog is back :)

November 22, 2015

The Call from +58

A message on the #venezuela slack channel today started with:

The call I was always afraid of. This morning my mother was murdered.

The message is from a friend. A great person with a beautiful family. They live in the US. He’s a geek, a bit intense — and annoyingly smart.

Why would he be afraid of such a horrible call? Likely because all cold minded Venezuelans living abroad are. We all experience the same leap second of panic every time an incoming phone call from home appears in our smartphones.

Four months ago my next door neighbor received one. For him, it was his Dad.

This post has no real point or ending. Just the need to share the incredible sadness of having to once again utter: I’m so sorry for your loss — and seeing the words fall light years short of the comfort you wish to get across.

I feel useless not being able to help with his pain in this horrible time. But I’m also terrified of understanding how he feels.

October 22, 2015

Collaboration is process. Not a feature.

People editing a document in parallel is the gold standard demo of collaboration as a feature. It looks great, and even today is an amazing coding achievement. But it’s a Pepsi Challenge sip test.

Doing anything on a common canvas simultaneously is only viable on two ends of the groups spectrum: extremely experienced and in-sync teams, and kindergarteners finger-painting.

For the rest of us, any sort of collaboration requires a sequential approach. Even with a clear objective there’s friction on creation. The back and forward interaction that happens while collaborating polishes ideas in the best of teams — and compromises viewpoints in most of rest.

Real time collaboration is a buzzword, not a 80/20 use case. Digital collaboration works best when it focuses on universal availability. A link should be all that’s needed for sharing the canvas: in mobile, web, desktop, online, offline.

The next paradigm shift in collaboration will be about sharing what’s on our mind, and not on the screen. In the meantime, there’s still many complex problems that need to solved for making digital collaboration as easy as a whiteboard on a meeting room.

Productivity Essay
October 8, 2015

Quick Logging Input/Output Daily

Output / InputOutput / Input

Few days back Christian Oliver shared in our slack channel this photo with his new motto (translated):

The idea is to create, to add value. Actions affect reality more than knowledge.

While I don’t completly agree with the last part — a constant in our friendship — I really liked the simplification of the concept.

For the part few days I’ve been playing with it in my daily Day One journals. Recently I hit what feels to me as a stable nomenclature:


As you can probably guess, yesterday was not a productive day. Of course, without context this can be misleading: if I spent the whole afternoon finally reading about regex, I would argue the input was high, but it was valuable input. Sadly, this was not the case and by glancing at the journal entry you would be able to see it.

I think the main reason the little end of document tag is working for me — it makes me want to add context to the values, without having to make a sentence out of the it.

A productive day can have many shapes and forms, and I sometimes struggle to log this in a short manner — by simply skipping writing about it.

The Formula

In my mind both attributes are in a scale of 10, and a perfect day would be i10/o10. In reality input and output have an inverse relation — since both consume the same resource of time — and the challenge is to balance them while also pushing both up.

Whatever your mental model and nomenclature, I strongly recommend evaluating your consumption/production everyday. Before long you may start to notice some patterns, or even better: you will start to competing with yourself and work towards not breaking the productivity chain.

Thanks to Christian Oliver, Juan Andres Muñoz and @Mauricio for the help on the drafts of this post.

August 18, 2015

On music and playlists (Part 2)

A month ago I wrote a glowing review of Apple Music and its curation feature.

After this time I have come to terms with the fact that all the joy provided by the amazing music recommendations, is completely overshadowed by a very poorly executed app.

Even more so, I’m worried. What makes Apple Music great has little — actually nothing — to do with the app itself. Give me all of Apple’s curated playlists in Spotify, and I’ll switch back in a second. As it is, I’m struggling not to reopen my Spotify Premium account 1.

Unless Apple’s exclusive content is going to make Spotify library incomplete, then I’m sure it’s fairly easy to migrate this value.

Minimal touch targets, slow song start time and awful playlist management. These are the things making me struggle with the app.

And on the desktop? Well, I gave up on iTunes a week ago. Spotify’s ads are acceptable compared to the horrible chimera that Apple Music + iTunes is.

  1. Lords of Kobol, those ads are annoying.

Music Review