I like to think that I understand myself very well. But there are bits of me that even I don’t get. Over the past three weeks, the online advertising world had been rocked by massive incidences of fraud and malware. As part of my day job I have traced the sources of malware and fraud and we have ceased working with those companies behind them. At the same time I was also involved in a … let’s just call it consulting capacity to another potential fraud case (not within online advertising). I got into a frenzy working on both projects at the same time. Usually I would be happy that I’m highly productive, but this time round I felt rather miserable. Continue reading
A very simple way of looking at the world is to consider a binary option. One can put out statements like “there are only two kinds of people in the world…” and make a gross oversimplification of the nuances that is life. With that preface, I’m going to state that there are two kinds of people in the world: hackers and engineers. Continue reading
As part of the rethink of Pressyo, we’ve decided to adopt the agile methodology of running a business. I have my doubts about it (applying agile to running a business), but I was convinced by my cofounders that I actually went to read more about it. One of the people I’ve been following is Daniel B Markham. I’ve followed him since he was a prolific commenter on HN and does write interesting blog posts. But I’ve always glazed over his blog posts on agile. But since my cofounder has convinced me, I basically went out and read everything about agile methodologies that I could get my hands on.
So far I think I have been able to grasp the fundamentals. I’m still not too interested in the details, simply because there are so many variations, and not one variation actually fits our workflow in my opinion. I’m still struggling very hard to see how to apply certain agile-related activity to running a business . But as a fun challenge I thought it would be fun to apply agile on all aspects of my life.
Last night, while lazing in bed, I suggested to my partner we reboot our relationship. Now, there is nothing inherently wrong with our relationship. We are moving apartments, and thought it’d be cool to start a whole new set of routines in the new place. And since routines affect the relationship, rebooting it would be good. We’d get to know one another all over again.
We spent the night discussing. One of the things we talked about was scrum. We decided that for kicks, we’d have a weekly scrum-like discussion about where our relationship was going and our goals for the week. No discussions on velocity though. This should be interesting.
-  To which my cofounder credits it as being ‘baggage’ from the past ↩
Last week, in the Pressyo chatroom, we were discussing the idea of resonance. Resonance happens when a driving force is applied to a system with a frequency that is the same and in phase with the system’s natural frequency. The result is that the system oscillates at a much higher amplitude than normal. A typical example used in high school physics classes is that of a swing.
Imagine a child on a swing and is being pushed by her parent. If the parent pushes the swing at random, the swing would not go very high. However, if the parent were being an irresponsible one and pushes the swing following the rhythm of the swing, the swing would go very high (and in one case I witnessed, went 360 degrees around the top bar, leaving a child that was scared shitless)
Running a startup is like trying to force a system to go into resonance. You first have to find the frequencies that click together. It’s an often repeated saying that people who think alike are people who are of the same wavelength.
That’s usually the easy part, even though much fuss had been made out of it. The difficult part is getting everyone in phase.
Having people being on the same frequency as you is one thing. Having everyone push in the same direction in the same time is another. Resonance is hard.
I count myself very lucky to have found cofounders who are of the same wavelength and are pretty much in every way much more capable than I am. We share the same or similar goals, but the one thing that we haven’t really gotten together is getting in phase with one another.
While we think very much alike, there are many times I feel that some of us are ahead and some of us are behind. Of course, what makes things worse is the positions are not always the same. Sometimes I would be ahead in terms of considering some things, and some times I would be behind.
This leads to high amounts of inefficiencies, especially with communications. An idea has to be communicated multiple times over multiple spans to cater for the different phases of thought processes. This is the main thing that is tiring me right now. I should probably get some mentoring. Then again, I’m so shit with communication I might have burned all my bridges.
We are indeed working hard to find a way to be more in phase with one another. Anyone have any suggestions?
A few years ago, I attended an out-of-state wedding. I stayed with the bride-to-be and the groom-to-be. Not knowing the groom, I engaged in what I thought was an exploratory discussion into the groom-to-be’s life. I asked questions and let him talk about himself. Standard stuff you find in books on how to make friends.
I too have a problem. In real life (as well as online I suppose) I’ve built a reputation of being a stickler for accurate details — often to the point of pedantry I am told — there were quite a few things that he had mentioned that wasn’t quite right (as a lot of the things discussed had already been updated in the latest journals). A personality flaw of mine no doubt, was to point out that there was already updated knowledge about it.
I was later informed that the couple hadn’t been very happy with my visit. I was also told by my fiancee that I would constantly use the phrase “you mean you didn’t know?”. This phrase had become so ingrained to my speech that I hadn’t realized I had said it many times.
The problem with “you mean you didn’t know?” is that it sounds really condescending, even though I was genuinely surprised that someone didn’t know. Of course it could be meant to say that the other party is ill-informed, but it often was an expression of surprise, not one of condescension. Or so I thought anyway. Continue reading
I have a confession to make. It had been slightly more than a month since I last committed any code to Fork the Cookbook. In fact, the whole team hadn’t contributed to Fork the Cookbook in about a month. Only the scant updates here and there. If you were to have a peek into what we were doing, you would think it was abandonware.
Only that it wasn’t. For two weeks now, I have been actively writing code for Fork the Cookbook again. Today I wrote the third shippable feature since a month ago. And yet you will not see those features publicly yet. I have it committed on the dev branches, but they’re not in the master branch yet. In short, they’re not shipped.
I have developed an aversion to shipping code. Not due to laziness or ineffectiveness. It’s something else. I feel like there is some sort of psychological factor that prevents me from typing
git merge dev-x. Not quite sure what it is. I’ll need to meditate on it tonight.
Or maybe I am making excuses for myself. Or if I listen to my bitchy critics, I’m just writing a “flawed system”. Who knows, eh?
This morning this video caught my attention:
It is a heart wrenching tale of a man so passionate about his ideas and gave up so much. Yet despite all his convictions and effort, he pretty much failed.
I posted this video not to point and laugh at Marc, nor do I intend to elicit pity for him. Rather, I’m sharing this video because it serves as a cautionary tale for the intrepid entrepreneur. Continue reading
There are many changes afoot Pressyo, my startup. This afternoon we were discussing business models, in particular, a deep discussion of the ad-supported business model. It is by coincidence that I work in online advertising as well, so here I will share some insights to the ad-supported business models. I will discuss other business models in future posts
Say you want to start a startup. Your investor asks you: what’s your business model? And you answer: oh it’s simple – advertising. You see your investor’s face go from to . You wonder what’s up. Continue reading
-  If you’re a long time reader of this blog (one of the two who are not my parents), you may note a change in writing styles. I am writing this on my own free will. I swear Larry Page is not standing behind me with a gun pointed at my head. ↩
I had an interesting discussion with a bunch of people earlier today. Don’t really remember their names now. But we had an interesting discussion over beer any how. We started talking about the typical dalliances of running a startup, but as any hacker will tell you, such discussion inevitably end up being a wankfest over what languages are the best .
-  It’s clearly Haskell /sarcasm ↩