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Month: April 2015

none of my business

You get this all the time:
At work someone writes you an email with a question that’s not your field of competence.

Well, you might know that Pete is the person who’s gonna help him, or you might know that’s better to ask John, but either way you decide to just say
“Sorry, I’m not the one doing this, send an email to the -insert generic email- group”.

That’s none of your business afterall, why would you even care?

Another example

This morning at the hotel a man had a credit card that wasn’t accepted, the man behind the desk was clearly annoyed, but the man was so sincere and honest it was difficult to misunderstand his intentions.

He was also from outside this country.

In the end the man behind the desk harshly replied to the customer and the customer went in search of an ATM.
Afterall it was not the employee’s business to help people have a working credit card, right?

But we have also been on the other side of the fence, didn’t we?
We were the ones with a broken card, or in search of the right person to write to, because, you know… we have work to be done like everyone else.

This kind of ping pong just renders all of this worst.
Everyone (myself first) should note this, and think about it next time a person comes asking for help.

It is our business to make this world better.
It is our business to help the other people.

We can ignore this, but you’ll know what price you have paid only few years from now.
The price is your character, the price is your surroundings, the price is the way people will think of you and will help you again when you need it, the price is the world you’ll left to your children.

In fact, the price is the world itself.

listening to the world

I was coming back to the hotel today from work.

The road to the hotel here in Milan is a long street with 2 lines of trees in the center and many high building on the sides.
I was walking and I started watching the surroundings.

I remember a girl using a small wood stick to make noise while the mother covers her eyes with fatigue.
I remember a well dressed man walking in front of me, a small woman closing the car with something undefinable in her hand.

Then while I entered the hotel the two mens were talking about working, one tired and the other energetic.

All of this, in a small walk.

How many times have we ignored the world surrounding us?
Any time we time travel with our mind into the past or the future we lose the present.
It’s a common thing many people know already, but how many times do we actually make it right?

Trying it even once might change your day.

the road to trying and building a product

To create a good product you need to try.

First, try the product.
There’s no way you can build a good product without trying it first.
Be the user, use it, solve it your own problems until you are fully satisfied with the solution.
Keep it real, be honest with yourself.

Secondly, try harder, fail without fear.
You must test, you must try, you must sell without malice.
Be the owner you want to meet when you enter the shop, smiley, lovely, open to questions and critiques.

Then you must learn how to scale.

the right words

There always comes a time when we need to choose words. To wisely line them up in a meaningful way, something worth the way.

It might be the wedding of a friend, a job request, or a love declaration, in all these cases some of the best words are often our struggle, the story to vulnerability.

Even if our words aren’t ok everything might go just fine because words are not the only valuable thing. There’s also the emotion, the honesty, both of them are evident when talking.

Incidentally the right words are the one you might not even pronounce.

every human deserve respect

Even if you are paying for a service the human you pay to deserves respect.

No matter how much you pay, he or she deserve to be threated like a human being.

Using money to pay for a service doesn’t hide all the human interactions and although it’s easy to run away from them that’s not the way it should be.

When we are on the other side and people don’t threat us with respect we feel abandoned, soulless, superfluous. Why would you want to give the same feeling to others?

The hard part about this is that it’s easy to do this with lovable people, not so easy with the stubborns , the arrogants or the egoistic.

But they deserve a chance too.

help others the way you’d like to be helped

Here in San Francisco people are great.

If they see you staring at a map for too long they will ask you if you need help with a big smile on their face.

If you’re a biker in the night that doesn’t have some reflectors they might just give you some of theirs.

If this happens to you and you’re like “wow! That’s nice” like I was, well… Maybe it’s time to raise your personal bar on the topic “helping others” because there’s something to learn here.

planning and doing

Many people plan, some people do.

It’s a big difference between the benevolent friend who will “surely call you next time” but won’t, and the one who does.

Doing requires will, focus and dedication, it requires putting yourself on the line, while planning only requires words.

Planning is required, but it’s not enough.

why fear allows only fear as “permitted” emotion

Few days ago I thought about love, yes, that love.

That kind of human behaviour that empowers people, that allow us to change ourself, to do something we would never thought possible.
Love as a way of be grateful, love as a way to dedicate your whole life to another person, love that’s deep and open.

The openness of love struck me.
I was talking with a friend and she was telling me that “some thing ought happen slowly, they should take their time”.
It was chit-chatting, I didn’t want to get into a deep discussion about feeling, so I just let it go.

When I came home I thought more about it, and what I realized is that she was probably scared.
It was just an impression but you know how it goes, right?

You love, then you get burned, then you think “I won’t love again”, then you love, then you get burn again, and so on.

We start building an armor to protect ourselves from being burned, and over time we start saying things like “too early for this”.

A relationship that’s too early for something might have 2 issue

  1. The relationship isn’t right
  2. You are scared

I don’t think there’s much more to this, either there’s not enough feeling, or your scared as hell.

Then, I realized one thing: Emotions, feelings, are not time independent.
Emotions exists right in the moment, they might grow but only when you nurture them.
If you don’t they disappear, if you do they might still change.

Every emotion that you feel for someone or something exists only in that instant.
It might be very different in the next minute.
They are not an object you can store and retrieve at will, they will perish or change, but never will stay absolutely the same forever.

This made me realize how foolish it is to ignore them, to hide them because they might be troublesome.
Yes, sometime feelings create troubles, but wouldn’t it be possible that that’s the outcome anyway?

Those emotions will eventually come out, so it might be better show them as early as possible, failing probably more, but without ever sacrificing that flame that’s burning inside us.

Every single emotion is just like a Sakura flower, it exist for a small time, and should be nurtured and loved as much as possible, because we don’t get a second chance to see it that way.

listen to the customers or don’t ask

A few days ago I went to a sushi restaurant in Arezzo, a good place named Sushi Bar (genius name, right?).

It’s a nice restaurant in the center of the city, owned by some Japanese or Chinese (sorry, can’t distinguish) girl with italian waitresses.
They usually serve good food and sushi, but last time the salmon was a bit too cold.
Way too cold for a sushi.

It was the only glitch, all of the other sea foods were perfect and the miso soup was delicious, but I couldn’t help thinking that it was a shame to have such cold food to eat.

When I was paying the owner kindly asked if everything was alright with the food.
In these cases I’m always battled between sharing and keeping my mouth shut, but since I cared about having a nice sushi restaurant in town I though I’m sure this will help them improve the service

So I kindly told her that everything was perfect, aside the salmon, which was too cold for my taste.
Her reply was something along these lines

“It might be because of the cold outside that you feel that this salmon is too cold”
It was colder than usual, but the way I always tasted sushi was never affected from this.

But what struck me was that I was the problem.
While that might be true I think any enterpreneur should be very interested in receiving user feedback, it’s gold.

In the end I felt a bit stupid, mostly because of her reply, but I kept thinking about it.
If you don’t care about what people share with you, than don’t ask.
If you are not in the condition to receive advice to improve the service, just avoid asking if everything was good, because if the user is always the trouble, sooner or later the user will leave.

 

the harsh truth about harsh truths

Lately Hacker News has added some rules to their guidelines regarding the “gratuitous negativity”.

We’ve all been there, a friend asks for our opinion on a subject of his/her interest, and we give the harsh truth.
Too harsh, probably.

  • The idea won’t work
  • It’s horrible
  • I can’t even watch it
  • Seriously?

etc… are just a tiny part of the expressions we could use to respond.
And the example I took are probably the easiest ones, not the harshest.

This leads me back to one of my favourite posts of Jason Fried, “give it five minutes“.
In the post Jason shares a bit of his personal life along one of the best observations I have ever come across

“Ideas are fragile”.

That’s true. What’s even more true is that we become fragile together with our idea because we feel such paternity with it that we can’t accept being a detached entity from the idea itself.

When our idea is attacked, so are we.

It’s really easy to attack an idea, to attack an opinion.
We love straw-men or the resulting sense of power when we destroy someone else’s opinion.

But we should care, we should care about other people’s ideas and thoughts as much as ours, because we have been there before.
We have been mocked before, we have suffered, so why don’t we start giving a chance to other people?

We might even conclude that we disagree on the subject, but disagreeing doesn’t need to be aggressive, you can disagree and live peacefully with the fact that the other person won’t be inline with your thoughts.

We all are different and as humans we deserve some better treatment.

A small closing story:

Today I took my brother to take breakfast, and there was a grey car outside our garage that wouldn’t allow me to take out my car.
At first I thought “damn, I hate when they just stay like that. Don’t they think about the people who live here?”

I moved into my garage without saying a word, hoping that the man in the car would just do something.
The car didn’t move.
I entered mine and while I turned it on I saw my brother signaling something to the man in a funny way.

Then I saw the grey car move out and leave space for me.
I took my car out, closed the garage, and when I was about to leave I noticed the other driver took down the glass.
I did the same.

When our cars crossed ways he smiled at me and waved his left hand.
While I repeated the same movements I thought
“I should have given him 5 minutes. What a nice man”.

This event taught me that many people are super-kind, just give them the chance to do so, put them into the right mood and situation and they’ll enlighten your day.