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Author: Andrea Grassi

boring work

What is the purpose of work? Is it to improve lifes, to make a change? To pay the bills?
I’d say the last, although when work can be more it’s absolutely beneficial.

It doesn’t have to be that way though. It’s ok if work is boring as long as it pays the bills.
We often forget it, because now we feel entitled to do extremely good work, but all the world is sustained upon boring work. In fact, it’s thanks to the boring works that some fields of expertise can experiment and be creative. Without the boring part, it wouldn’t be possible.

It’s a chain, and not always we’re lucky enough to be in the part of the chain that’s interesting. More often than not we end up doing boring, repeating, work. But without us the entire chain would make no sense.

I once felt entitled to do only interesting work, and felt like a slave when I was doing boring work.
I realized (maybe a little bit too late), that it was selfish, and I embraced the fact that, although I have powers and control over what work I do, doing boring work is still a great thing to do, because fixing bugs will still be a key role in each project.

I never regret this change, because now I have more chances than ever to not do boring work, and when I do (and I do it often) the boring part, it’s always a pleasure and a joy to do it, because I realize that I can enjoy the creative work thanks to that. 

let me invest in you

I’m an avid reader of hacker news, a place where developer and techies come together to discuss, confront, and show off, about tech topics of the most various genre. 

It’s a great community, aside from the fact that many of the projects backed by ycombinator are, obviously, startups.

I’m not a big fan of startups, I very much prefer the boostrapped businesses, because of their sustainability.

Yet lately some people came to me to ask if they could invest into my company.
It’s temptin, you know? Getting “free” money to do whatever you want.

But what does it really means? It’s not going to be free, you’ll be working for someone, you’ll be negotiating terms wiith other people, which might or might not be a good thing.
But most of all, your goal won’t be to please your customers, but to please your investor.

Yes, I know, I’m exaggerating, and I’m sure that it’s not black or white, yet I don’t feel I could be suited for this. In the exact moment someone puts the money in the system ; I “owe” him/her something, and I cannot hide this thought. 

It’s like when you get a free product, it’s hard to leave a negative review.
That is the hidden price you pay.

asking a favor on the internet

Asking a favor is such a simple thing. In real life you would head to the person and ask it, if it’s a small favor.

If it’s a critical favor, one you depend on, you usually need to add a lot more context, to explain why is this important and how it’ll change your life.

Without it is like asking to have sex with a girl you’ve never saw. Chances are it’ll end up with a no.
But if you do add context, the result might change.

Askina favor on the internet isn’t much more different, the main difference is that the medium is faster. You can ask it anytime, anywhere, instantly.
It’s slippery, because we ask critical favor like simple ones, forgetting about the context.

And chances are, you’ll end up getting a no.

stepping back

A dear friend of mine decided to work less, as I did many years ago. Not because of status, but for his own sake.

Working less means making space, defining priorities in life, stepping back from what’s not important.

It requires courage, because staying in the game is much more comfortable than stepping back, because if you stay in the game you can continue the way you did. Stepping back instead requires you to shift the mentality, to change the way you work.

Stepping back isn’t about working less nor it’s about caring less. In fact, it’s about caring more without becoming a slave in the system.

In these times everything demands our attention, our time. Stepping back means deciding that we are the one that put a price tag on our time, not the other way round.
At first it’s hard, but slowly it might show you a different take on this world. 

There is a limit to what we can do, to the quality we can achieve. Passed that limit, we’re useless, but we aren’t able to notice. 
If you’re entrepreneur it happens all the day. You receive an email from a customer at 8pm. What are you gonna do? Reply?
Even reading it is a decision that’ll impact your life.

But how important is that email? Chances are it’s not critical. So why even bother replying so fast?
Stepping back means not even taking this chance, because your life is much more important than this.

snowy winter night

Feb 28, tomorrow seems like italy will be invaded by snow. I was going to work this morning and the temperature at my departure was -7°C, low, cold, freezing cold.

While driving to work the temperature changed a lot, going up to -4 and down to -6, stabilizing at around -5 when I got there.

Nothing magical here, and as you might now: It doesn’t snow at this temperature because it’s too cold. To snow you need to be around 0°C. That’s the line dividing cold and snow.

Went back to work and coming to my hometown afterdinner. The temperature outside was a stable 0.5°C.

No oscillations whatsoever.

This is what mesmerize me of nature, its perfection. It’s obvious when you see the results, but yet I am always amazed by how perfect nature is. We’re going to get snow, and we’re going to get it with a stable round zero temperature.

Love, nature.

don’t look at the results

A coworker today shared a great article he wrote.

A long article, I’d say.
My first reaction was: How the hell did he find the time to write this long piece?

I was speechless, I thought he’d surely sacrifice his time with his family to do this.

Coming back home I gave it some more thought and one thing popped into my mind: I was looking at the result of his work. He might’ve written it in few months, few weeks, few days. I didn’t have any clue about it because the resulting article couldn’t obviously state this information

When looking at the outcome, it’s easy to jump to the conclusions. To think that it was impossible for us to do, that we should admire anyone who did that.
While it’s true that we should admire them (if they did great work), we should not forget that the outcome doesn’t show the struggle, the failures, nor the time that took to reach that point.

what you forget in a communication

Today I wrote a marketing email for my deodorant company. It was an email targeted at our resellers and as usual I wrote it in my normal tone of voice.

It took me an entire hour to craft the email, put all the details about two new products, when they will launch, what will it be the price.

But nonetheless I forgot something, and that was: The weight of the product! How much product is in each package?

Totally forgot about it. To me the most important thing was describing the products, but (guess what), to sell it and understand if it’s a fair price, you need to know the quantity.

A nice reminder that our point of view shouldn’t be set in stone.

don’t tell anyone

One of the best way to achieve a goal is to hide it from the world.

There are many reasons behind this idea, the most obvious is the fact that people might lower your enthusiasm, expectations or whatever, lowering, de facto, your possibilities of success.

But also they might do other things, like adding complexity.
For example you might have a great idea, which will be great.
Many great ideas will start with project that are terrible, if you listen to one of the first 99% invisible podcast you’ll realize how bad it was, compared to the quality it has now.
It has become so populare in spite of it becase the underlying idea was good.
If they tried adding more quality and complexity to begin with maybe they wouldn’t have been able to keep up with the rythmn and they would have stopped gaining track.

Or what if a friend add some pressure because they have such high expectations for your project?
A project should be like a plant. It should grow at its own rate, taking what’s needed, without trying to be more.

each wrong step counts

A life without errors would be awesome. I would sure sign for it. You would even lose the need to meditate, since there will be no errors and troubles whatsoever.

Yet, we can’t have it all and eventually we’ll take a wrong turn, put our foot in the wrong position, make the wrong choice.

It’s not something we can foresee. It’s part of doing things.
We’ll get stressed, but it’s not sure that each and every wrong step will turn into a failure.

Sometimes the bad results will give you a different angle on a situaton, allowing you to have more, with less.
It happened to me with my wedding, when we had to change the place where we eat, and moved onto a big villa, and it might have happened today.

Until you get the results it’s hard to imagine if this problem will become something beautiful, but there’s no solution other than wait and discover it.

The hard part is to stay still and not let the mind wander, because as usual the situations we see in our heads are fare more catastrophic than the one we live in our lives.

it’s all in the experience

Lately I am thinking about moving onto bluetooth for music listening and call answer, but I am always blocked on what to do or choose.

I love products made by apple, but I didn’t consider the airpods to be an option. Too high priced, not necessarely so good, bla bla bla.

I started looking at bluetooth earphones, then moved onto more pricey ones, like the plantronics backbeat.

Today I decided to take a look at the airpods, and the first thing I noticed, that I never really discovered before, is that they automatically switch based on what you’re doing.
Like: you’re listening to the mac? They play the mac music. You receive a call? You hear the call, and so on.

All the pieces of the puzzle went back together in place.
Lately apple decided to not entirely disable the bluetooth/wifi. Now the reason is even more clearer. It’s partly because of this too. It’s the seamless experience they’re after. Something that cannot be found in any other product. 

Such seamless context switch is something only apple products actually produce, and while at first sight the airpods might seem like a simple bluetooth earphone, they’re much more than that, but it’s not that visible.
And here lies the apple’s magic.