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Author: Andrea Grassi

a growth formula for sharing

We’ve been fooled. The big growth of facebook, of instagram, the rise of famous influencers and big internet stars fooled us into thinking that yes, it could be easy even for me.

That when you say something, the world will listen, more than ever, more than before.

You can send an email and everyone will read it and act accordingly, you can share a link to your website or an article and it will boom, and we just need to ask each of our coworkers and they will share it too, and it’ll be popular, we will be popular.

I would like to think it’s this way. Even when today I received yet another email asking me to “share” something I didn’t know anything about, something I didn’t care and I didn’t have passion for.
To share a prewritten message, with no rules, to everyone.

But what sharing is, really?
My guess is that the internet faded the whole idea of sharing, now it’s a click of a button, but what do you share in real life?
Well, let’s say you have an hobby, do you always share it with everyone? Not always, and if you ask someone to share your hobby with other people do you expect them to do it?
Obviously not.
Sharing is intimate, the internet made it public, but it’s still intimate. A sharing works when there’s a definite message, a context, a passion, and a target audience ready to listen.
It’s not a click, it’s a whole world.

And what about attention? Do the things we share in real life create a deep sense of attention in our friends? Do everything we share have this result?
No, unless we’re really good at advertising them, and even so if we do it too frequently we might simply lose this edge.

Sharing, asking for attention, is a complex matter. It requires knowledge to trigger that interest, to move people to help you into spreading the word, sharing the message.
What are you sharing? Why are you passionate about it?

We can’t copy/paste it, if we do we lose our touch, our humanity and the message is just a big chain of useless repetitions.
What makes a great share different is context, humanity, targeting to the right people, is selecting a subset, making it special, so that the people that really care can listen to us.

There’s no way we can ignite growth by blind repetition, by asking people to share a link without a reason, without a deep passion or interest into the content. We must be involved, interested, passionate. We must add our touch and message and we must select the people we want to share i to. 

Because not all friends are the friends you’d share your passion with.

let’s ignore death

Many, many people in the world will advice you to think like this is the last day of your life. 

I agree that we should be more present, more aware of our life.
But what about fearing death?

The whole idea of living your last day, if that was really your last day, would be much more difficult. The message leaves aside one detail: To live that day fully, you have to be brave, to not fear death.

Which isn’t really the first thing you’ll do once you realize this is your last day.
Understanding such a complex matter is hard, and accepting it is even harder.

Monday a girl was at a party with some friends, she had some kind of handicap.
She left us today, but on monday she was happy, unaware of what life was planning for her.

She smiled, she laughed.
And that kind of unawareness is something we should consider too.
Yes, we should be present, but if we can be present and fear death, then we’ve done nothing.
Much better being unaware, and living that day with joyful happiness.

the world and the zone

Being a developer has a lot of benefits and a lot of drawbacks. The first drawback being the fact that we see the entire world as a problem with solutions to fix it. We are bugfinders in all of our lives, we tend to find bugs and fixes or workarounds.

Obviously this pisses some people off.

Another thing that many devs are familiar with is “The zone”.
The zone can be described of a time when your mind is fully absorbed by the task you’re doing, your focus is 100%-110%., you are in control of your mind and it’s fully devoted to that single task.

It’s like having superpowers in your day to day job.
I think we also “know” the zone mostly because developers are introverts, and so they tend to analyze themselves more than usual.

Many people in the world happen to be in the zone even if their job is not software related.
But what about the others? Do they know what it’s like, or did they live an entire life without being able to focus that much onto a task? 
Would they benefit from the zone, or not? I think it’s worth trying and teaching, although it’s not a “skill” that’s critical, although beneficial.

april may june 2018 monthly checkup

It’s been a hell of a ride till here, and I must admit one of the most terrible thing: Doing this (writing) as the last thing in my day has one tradeoff: if I’m in bad mood, I skip days.

I tend to slack more and more.

This months went up and down, maaany things are happening in life like buying a house, a car, whatever. It’s stressing and joyful, a hard blessing, you might say.

That said, here’s a recap of the things I liked the most

having more time won’t make a difference

Today a wonderful thing happened to me.
I did plan to work remotely mostly because early in the morning I needed to be visited by a doctor.
So I woke up, went to the doctor, got visited and got back home.

Since I had some spare time I bought couple of croissants for my wife and prepared her the breakfast.
We enjoyed a slow beautiful breakfast thanks to this extra time.
Then I realized I didn’t take my pc home to work remotely (my bad) and so I had to get back to the office and work from there.

Now, what’s the beauty here? I wondered: would have it been the same if I had the same time schedule? If I had that extra time each and every day, would I use it this way or would I simply sleep?

We’re busy, we like being busy, and we opt to choose all the actions to be busy again. We rarely opt to do the simple things, the one that don’t “accomplish” a task, a goal. The simple things like making a breakfast for your wife are things you won’t put into a list (and if you do, it’s creepy).

This is a reminder that our priorities might be a little bit wrong. We value too much our todo list and too less the beauty that we can create in life with the small, simple, useless, things.

we’re a mess

You might end up thinking that you are a mess, that there is no way to fix you.

You have too many problems, issues. You overreact, can’t manage anger, don’t earn enough money, have a terrible job, have health issue with teeth and knees and so on.

You might even make a list and the list would be so long to be intimidating.

As a whole, it’s a sum of problems so giant it can’t be solved.

But as single problems they can all be solved or at least improved.
You might focus on your knee, find out that you need some extra cushoning in the shoes, and start stretching more, and maybe in a few months you’ll be able to run. Maybe it’ll take a year, but would that matter?

After that, you could work on changing job, you start looking for a new one 

And while this happens the list shrink a little bit. You’re still a mess and the list is overwhelming, but in a few years maybe you’ll look at a different list.

You’ll still be a mess. But not that mess.

social interaction advertising

Are you part of the advertising or not?

In the past we often thought about this very topic: Are we the product?
The question was born on products like google, facebook, twitter, where by not paying a dime you were wondering: how do they make money?

The answer was (and still is) that they sold your information, your data (or part of it), so that people could make use of it to target advertising.

There’s more to it though.
Think about your social interactions. It’s not like a forum, on facebook your comments are visible and often fill up other people feeds.

So let’s say that a political candidate put a big image on his post, with a mistake.
Maybe it’s a candidate you hate, and a friend of yours is a fan and put a like to that photo.
You see that, and you see the mistake in the photo, it’s claiming to be in a city that it’s not the one pictured in the photo.

You think “he’s an idiot, and I want to prove to the world how stupid he is, maybe this way they’ll stop voting for him”.
And following this thought you comment that photo saying that the city is wrong.

Here’s the thing: They might have tricked you from the beginning. Not only you are the product in facebook, not only  they can sell your data to others, but now you interacted on purpose and activated a social interaction that will advertise a photo without them paying a dime.

The trickiest joke of all is the one where they trick you 2 times in a row, like this one.
Maybe this should teach us one thing that we should also learn IRL: Think twice before opening your mouth.

read the label

Lately I started reading labels to understand how a product (food or cosmetic) is made, what are its ingredients.

If you do, you’ll start to notice the difference between the claim and the reality.

For example there are foods “High in fiber” that contains around 3% in fiber, while other contains 20% (yeah, you read that well).

Or should we talk about cat food and analize claims like 70% meat and 30% vegs & fruits?
30% is fresh meat, while the remaining 40% is meat from unknown source and quality, The third ingredient are potatoes, around 18%. which is clearly a filler.

Not all claims are equal.

the mask

Yesterday I was at a concert of a famous “Cartoon songs” singer, it was full of people of all ages, many of them around my age.

One thing I instantly noted is how different men behave from women.
They only sung “male” songs, they jumped only on that and so on.

This might seem obvious but it’s not, because they would probably know couple of “girly songs” too.

There was a guy, though, in this crowd, that simply jumped and sung each and every song.
You might think he was a fanboy of some sort, but he was not. Quite a nice guy, well dressed.
By looking at him there was nothing unusual nor something that might’ve indicated his passion for such songs.
He was there with his beautiful girlfriend which was clearly there for love, not for interest in the songs.

He didn’t keep his mask on, instead he put it off and played like when he was a child.
A beautiful reminder to our daily lives.