Sunday, November 29, 2015

Monitor Sizes And Ratios

Computer folks spend LOTS of time on monitors, so getting the right ones matters.  Monitor dimensions are incredibly important, so here's the dimension table for the high resolution monitors

Diagonal Ratio Size
27" (2560x1440) 1.77 (13.2, 23.4)
30" (2560x1600) 1.6 (15.8, 23.7)
34" (3440x1440) 2.3 (13.5, 31.1)

In case I need to do this again, here's the computation in R

Sunday, November 08, 2015

Soft Skills:Principles vs Values

TL;DR: Principles are unchangeable objective truths, values are your subjective prioritization.  The better you can align your values and actions with principles, the easier your life will be. 

Differentiating principles and values sounds pedantic, but it's important to differentiate the concepts. You choose your values, but your values have no impact on principles. Conversely, principles, can have a huge impact on your ability to live life according to your values.   When your values and principles are out of alignment, you're bound for some suffering.

Stephen Covey differentiating principles and values:

Principles apply at all time in all places. They surface in the form of values, ideas, norms, and teachings that uplift, ennoble, fulfill, empower, and inspire people. The lesson of history is that to the degree people and civilizations have operated in harmony with correct principles, they have prospered. Correct principles are like compasses: they are always pointing the way. And if we know how to read them, we won’t get lost, confused, or fooled by conflicting voices and values

Principles, unlike values, are objective and external. They operate in obedience to natural laws, regardless of conditions. Values are subjective and internal. Values are like maps. Maps are not the territories; they are only subjective attempts to describe or represent the territory. The more closely our values or maps are aligned with correct principles—with the realities of the territory, with things as they really are—the more accurate and useful they will be.

Monday, November 02, 2015

Soft Skills: Igor's personal mission infographic

It's important to uncover "how you want to live your life", and to review it frequently.  Much of how I want to live my life is based on the 7 habits of highly effective people, and I've created a handy infographic to help inspire, remind, and encourage me.

ps. If you're curious how often I review this infographic, I'll tell you a story. Turns out I drew this infographic in December 2013 while on vacation, and promptly forgot about it.  A few days ago, I was rummaging through an old sketch book, found the infographic and decided it was perfect.  To avoid forgetting it again, I'm adding it to my blog, and  am setting a weekly reminder to review it :)

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Startupville: Start with a skate board.

Imagine a Fortune 500 company trying to build a car.  

Because the company has lots of resources, they likely have a customer research team dedicated to understanding what the customer wants. They have lots of engineering experts each of which is able to produce products of technical complexity. Finally, and probably most importantly they have a culture which rewards accomplishing big things, often before they hit the market. As a consequence, at a large company a car would probably be developed one functional component at at time.  However, the risk here is that the customer never wanted a car, and you build the wrong thing.

By contrast a startup has almost no resources, and is usually evaluated by customer growth rate.  This has the virtuous side effect that product is constantly being guided by customer need. In Startupville it's essential you are always building something the user wants to achieve their goals, in the car analogy, you'd progress by building a skateboard, then a scooter, etc.

Building skateboards is a no brainier at a startup, but may also be the optimum solution for your project at a fortune 500 company.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Startupville: Staying motivated as a solopreneur

TLDR:  When you're disheartened, do something that you can control and succeed at. Succeeding recharges your motivation and lets you take another run at your most important problems.

Staying motivated is easy when you're having wins, or executing again a plan you believe will succeed.   Unfortunately, there will be long stretches where you won't have wins, and the longer it has been since a win, the farther you will be from believing your plan will succeed.

When it's been too long since I've had a win, my motivation will tank, and I'll find you stop doing much of anything.

For me to get back on track, I need to start working on things I can control and succeed at.   Often that means working on things that are less important then the things that have me disheartened. Except that's a fallacy.  See, the thing that's most important when I'm disheartened is finding my mojo.

So, when you're disheartened, do something that you can control and succeed at. Succeeding recharges your motivation and lets you take another run at your most important problems.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Time.Ltd:Mortality Software

*This post is a work in progress, in the madman/architect phase, if you'd like to help flesh it out, I'd love the help.  please add comments or ping me.*

Why mortality software?

To be satisfied we need to live in accordance with the person we want to be.

Unless we know who we want to be, and act deliberately to achieve it, our satisfaction will be infrequent, and often accidental.

Mortality software helps you understand who you want to be, and supports you in being that person. In a nutshell, making your satisfied.

The first step for mortality software is helping you figure out the person you want to be and your values.

Who do you want to be? What are your values?

To figure out who you want to be, write your eulogy.  To make it easier, figure out the roles in your life. Imagine the person who would speak to each role of your life during your funeral.  What would you want each person to say?   That eulogy is the person you want to be.

Now imagine how you'd want people to remember the way you acted, especially during ambiguity, challenges and crisis.   Those behaviors are your values.

Your roles, how you balance your between them,  and your values are the person you want to be, your north star.

Most people who have gone through the eulogy process have found it incredibly difficult. Morality software will make the eulogy process easier.

Many people find this hard to imagine, so here's as a simple example. The eulogy module can start by presenting you different people and their values. Based on how much those people and values resonate with you, mortality software can suggest values that might appeal to you.

What else should mortality software do?

Becoming the person you want to be starts, by figuring out who that person is. Next it decomposes becoming that person into at different levels of abstraction and time scales.  Here's an example:

Time Horizon
Eulogy and Roles
Two year
Supporting  Projects/Accomplishments
Supporting Behaviors/Habits
Quarter -> Month
Decompose above into reasonable chunk
How to allocate time between roles
Decompose above into reasonable chunks
How to allocate time between habits/behaviors
Month -> Week
Week -> Day
Skill/Habit Practice Schedule

Mortality software will be both forward and backwards facing. By this I mean it will help you plan what you need to do to achieve your eulogy, and also help evaluate how effectively you are achieving your goals.   It will help you reflect, often helping you realize your initial eulogy requires change, or your behaviors require change.

Why call it Time.Ltd?

I conceived of mortality software when I realized my life is finite, and thus limited. I initially named my future mortality software package, but that did not feel actionable.  Instead of thinking our life is limited, we  should think our time is limited, and thus we should make sure we are using it
well.  Thus, I renamed my future mortality software Time.Ltd.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

A richer model of happiness - Pleasure/Flow/Satisfaction

Happiness is a coarse term, and often leads to cumbersome discussion and confusion. Martin Seligman provides a more granular model of happiness: pleasure, flow and satisfaction.   This model will be useful as we discuss positive computing. 

Pleasure is the happiness of doing what feels good in the moment.  It's the happiness of consumption.  Eating, drinking, buying something.  Pleasure is easy to achieve, but the happiness is lost within minutes. 

Flow is the happiness of being engrossed in a a challenging, enjoyable task.   It's the happiness of production. Making art,  baking cookies, working on a project.  Flow takes effort to get started, but the happiness last the length of the task, often lasting hours.

Satisfaction is the happiness of  being the person you want to be.  It's the happiness of identity.  This happiness is deeply personal, for me it's being a deliberate person who can put a smile on a strangers face.  Satisfaction takes significant effort, but the happiness can be unshakable and permeate your being. 

Positive computing will need to address each of these aspects of happiness to best serve our users.