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Author: Andrea Grassi

a day in another office

I work for a company that has 4 offices in the same building. These offices are splitted among skills, not teams, so they are highly specialized.

I’m in the dev’s office, and although crowded, I like it. 

This week though I decided to work from the Project Managers office.
When someone heads over to you asking for help you often see that as a annoyance, because from your point of you they don’t understand the value of your time. Which is true, but at the same time they also have their problems.

By separating the offices we’re effectively splitting the company into small groups that cannot be bonded together.
So I wanted to work for a couple of days into a different office to feel what it’s like to be there, what’s their problems what are their issues. 

It helped, I got an insight on how they work and how they are trying their best to improve.
I might have took different paths, but aside from this they’re trying their best as everyone in the company is doing, which is of great help.

We tend to see the people we don’t know or of which we don’t have a background as enemies.
But once we’re in their shoes, we see we are on the same boat.

learning path

What’s your learning path?

We live in a constantly changing world, what are you going to do? How do you plan to adapt, to increase your skills?

Some jobs are naturally bounded to learning, some more than others, while some jobs are more prone to relaxing. You do what you do because the business pressure is high and you get paid anyway.

But what if you could transform that high pressure day-2-day life in a low pressure by learning some new things?
We get flooded by request, but it’s when we are flooded by requests and tasks that it’s time to sit back, relax, and understand what we can do to reduce the amount of work while improving the work we do.

no reviews left

We live in a world saturated with reviews, sometimes I feel like I can’t choose anything without a review.

Sure, they’re somewhat helpful if you remove the paid reviews, but yet, didn’t you tried something with no review?

I was thinking that I have a small passion for shaving “old style” and I somewhat introduced a dear friend of mine to this passion.
Between the two I’m always the one trying new things and sharing it with my friend. I’m fine with it, but the nice thing is that each time I make a leap, because I am not always sure about the reviews. Sometimes they’re there, sometimes they’re not.

But that feeling, that leap that you do when you try something totally new, it’s not ok to leave it as a thing of the past. Don’t wait for a review. Test your skills.

nasty bugs and the scientific method

Today I found and fixed a really nasty bug, one that was difficult to find.

Before me, 4 different people were contacted. These people were internal employee of the company  having the bug, while I was an outside consultant.

Now, if this seems like I’m bragging, fear not, I hate this. 
I hate this because I see how much a simple situation could have been already fixed in a matter of time.

Let’s rewind for a second.
4 different people, employees. No one  helped. All commented giving “generic” directions.
I was asked to help, I did it. They didn’t want me to get access to the source, to the machine having the problem, not without the paperwork.

Ok I say, give me the paperwork. They explain to me the process of obtaining the papers to sign, but they don’t give me that paper.

I find a way around it to test it so that I (a consultant) help them and in the end I get to find the bug, understand the reason why it happens, and fix it.

Nice little story, isn’t it. But the sad truth is that anyone could’ve found the line and the object that caused the bug, if only they spent time analyzing using some kind of basic scientific method + some exlusions to reduce the variables.

What they might have not been able to find is the reason, but the culprit? It was in plain sight. 

But no, an entire company, with 100 skilled people couldn’t do it.

I always felt like we, as humans, were meant to go against the system, to fight for all the situations where we were caged, abused, abandoned.
But it’s not the system fault. We are the fault.

We are afraid to make mistakes, to lose. We want to show off, to be in the rules.
We are the system.
And it’s not the system’s fault.

The difference between an aspirin and the help from a chiropractor

Your back hurts, you can’t move freely. Suddenly you watch tv and here it goes, the solution to everything. Take some aspirin and the pain is gone.

It’s true, but the pain will soon appear again, in the future.
Because you didn’t fix the problem, you fixed the symptom.

This way of thinking goes well beyond pains and aches. What if you apply it constantly in your work, in your life?

What if you could move your thinking from simptoms to systems, what would it change in terms of how much value you add to the world?

finding a cure

Lately I’m having tinnitus more often than not. Today seems like a normal, constant, sound of my life. What’s even more worrying is that I can’t fix it. 

A doctor goes through many phases to understand and cure a patient. First of all he guess, based on the information the patient gave him, and, if possible, the data he can check directly.

Then he checks upon his guesses. And there’s the magic.
It either goes well or not.

You always have to wait, test, retry if it fails.

don’t be scared of changing

The title is misleading, I’m not talking about self-help, but more of a business oriented application of the “Don’t be scared of changing” rule.

Right now with my company we’re finding some issues with our shipment partner. Not easy to integrate with, some orders are a mess, so all in all, there’s something missing.

At first I wanted to stay with them, to fix all the issues and so on, but then I remember about our labels.
Yes, the labels we stick onto the packaging. We first printed them in a local shop, great quality, high price.
It took them months to find an alternative, and we found it, better price and even better quality.

Sadly the quality declined after a couple of months, which led us to find another company.

It’s ok to change. Even though some relationships with the people you meet along the way might be worth keeping, it’s still ok to change. 
Because change allow you to move faster if you make the right decisions.

The key is always to change when you’re not happy with something and you can’t find a viable solution, that will always work out good.

high stress performer, low stress performer

One thing I’m quite sure of is that we’re not all created equals, we have different goals, and often our skills are defined by our talent, or what we decide to follow as our main passion.

Thus it’s normal to see that after a few decades in this world, the outcomes and the personalities of each person are quite different.

In my job it as a web developer I happen to see some ind of people. From the slow learner, to the fast learner, from the slow performing to the fast performing, from the lazy to the active, and from the empathic to the non-empatic.

These are simply labels, tags as you might call them, a mix of the can be easily found in each one of us.
I think that we tend too associate one tag to a win-all situation, while in fact what happens in real life is that some people might be great performers even if they’re slow. It’s all about the context and the setup.

One thing though, that I like to imagine like “one of the best assets” is the ability to understand pressure. Know when it’s fine, know what are the stakes and push it if needed.

It’s a borderline that cannot be easily defined, and the reason why is that we might include too much things into the important “do it now” tasks, rarely though they’re that much.

At the end of the day it’s all about using or wasting time.
The right priorities make the good player, not only the skills or label.

Given that, everyone can be a good performer.


You had an idea that seemed good, you followed your instincts and decided to build a product, make it out of nothing.

You refined that idea, till you put it on the market and one person doesn’t like it.

It might be the start of a more expanded opinion, or it might be a single opinion in the crowd, it’s hard to say.

So why even worry until you understand how real is that opinion?

where does stress comes from?

I have a friend that’s really stressed, overwhelmed.
Today I asked where does his stress comes from.

I would expect to be a boss that is too hard on him, or maybe too much work, but after some time listening to the possible answers I realized: Stress is part of our inner narrative.

Yes, there are times when this can be justified, but it always start with that.
A story in our head.