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thoughts and notes

Facebook cares deeply about your private data

In the odd case in which you never heard about Zuck’s conversation about how much he cares about the people using Facebook, read it below.

If you did heard about it, and you’re still using Facebook, read it again.

ZUCK: yea so if you ever need info about anyone at harvard
ZUCK: just ask
ZUCK: i have over 4000 emails, pictures, addresses, sns
FRIEND: what!? how’d you manage that one?
ZUCK: people just submitted it
ZUCK: i don’t know why
ZUCK: they “trust me”
ZUCK: dumb fucks.

IMs between Zuck and a friend, 2006

These are not messages invented by some random, attention seeker journalist. “Dumb fucks”. These are words confirmed by Mark Zuckerberg himself. Read them again.

Back in the news

After the Cambridge Analytica scandal, where the investigation revealed that 50 million people were robbed of their private information and used to build a software to influence the US elections, Facebook is back in the news.

It took them 3.5 weeks to disclose a bug that exposed millions of users’ private data to app developers. 

It then took us some time to build a meaningful way to notify people, and get translations done.

Compared to any Facebook engineer, I’m probably mediocre at best, but even I could’ve put a page together explaining what happened in less time.

You could argue that translating the page into multiple languages is the reason why it took them so long. It’s not. Facebook automatically translates your timeline into 50 different languages. You really think is that hard to translate “We’re really sorry we fucked up. The situation is under control. We found and fixed whatever was wrong.”?

There is still life after Facebook.

Gift ideas #1

We have a very unique tradition here at Falcon. Every year on December 1st we write our names on a piece of paper and put them in a jar. A draw takes place and each of us extracts a person to whom we must purchase a gift.

It’s called Secret Santa, and it’s not all that unique.

Picking the perfect gift while staying under the budget can be quite difficult. But don’t worry, you found the right blog post. Throw away the ordinary mug and let’s pick something good this year:

  • cd/cassette/vinyl with his or her favorite band/artist. Make sure they have a way of playing it.
  • book – only if the gift receiver expressed desire in reading it.
  • mini light bulb – you can put it on your nightstand, runs on batteries and lights the room more than you’d think. It also makes a superb clicking sound.
  • puzzle – easy or medium level. A 3D puzzle is even better
  • alarm clock – we all secretly want one, but don’t find the courage to buy it
  • team shirt – shirt with his or her favorite team/player
  • custom printed t-shirt –  I’ll never say no to a Zlatan or Jose shirt with whatever quote has on it

Switch places

Whenever something goes wrong, our first instinct is to find fault. To find who or what caused the situation we’re in.

We’re so quick to criticize, we don’t stop and think for a second. Rarely, if ever, we put ourselves into other people’s shoes. And when we do, it’s way too late to take back whatever harsh words we said.

Expecting too much of others, thinking their normal is our normal, is what fuels this. We expect people to know what we know, feel what we feel, and do what we do when given similar circumstances.

But that’s rarely the case. Everyone’s problems, experiences, and values are different. Their motivations and reactions are different.

Next time when you’re about to bite one’s head off, give yourself a few moments to think it through. Switch places. Try to understand where they are coming from. Why they do what they do. Maybe there’s a good reason.

I’m not calling back

2018 was a great year for businesses in Romania.

Last week my car rotors ran out. The brake pads were to be replaced as well. And since I needed an appointment, I might as well do a full inspection.

I went online, searched for nearby auto services, read all the reviews, decided the winner. Called it and asked for a quote.

“We’ll call you later”, they said.

I had a dentist appointment. Something intervened and I had to cancel. I called a few hours before to reschedule. “We’re not at the office at the moment and we don’t have access to our scheduling software. We’ll call you back as soon as possible”.

4 days have past and none of them did.

I was in shopping mode. All they had to do is to call back, do a good job, and they would’ve had me for years. It’s not like anyone changes their dentist every week – unless they do a terrible job.

There are dozens of people just starting out, with no clients, hoping to be given the chance to do their best work. I’m not calling back.

Changing themes again and again

Even though I love writing, I suck at it. Big time. I find it incredibly difficult to write about stuff, and when some tiny idea pops in my mind, I fail to express it. I’m like a 2-year-old struggling to speak.

But as with everything else, with practice, writing can get better – it can be learned. At least I hope so.

Since writing is too difficult for me, I spend my time changing and re-changing my WordPress theme. Yes, that’s just procrastinating. Running away from the keyboard. But I’m also right.

I’ve spent countless hours looking for something to suit my style. And even if I don’t have a style yet, one thing I’m sure is I won’t be writing 1000-word posts. I like short reads. I don’t want to spend more than 5 minutes reading something.

All the themes I could find, including, and especially the premium ones, follow the same style. The full-screen slider on the homepage, the half-screen banners on single pages, and paragraphs stretching on way more space than they need to.

I’d love a theme that breaks the pattern. A theme that looks and feels like a notebook, like a diary. Something personal, where I can write short, personal, silly thoughts on.

Doing what others are doing

The second our eyes open for the first time, we start watching and analyzing the people around us. We start doing what they are doing. We’re smiling, laughing, and eventually walking.

We learn everything from them.

But somehow later in life, I don’t know the exact moment, following others, doing what they are doing, asking for advice, becomes something we are ashamed of. Maybe it’s because we should know better by now. Or because people might think we’re stupid. Or that we don’t have our own opinions.

That’s stupid. We can’t be good at everything. Not before doing what other people did and certainly not before listening to their findings. And no. Sharing the very same opinions with tens of other people is not “copying” or being unopinionated.

Like it or not, we’re pretty much like an open-source project. Everyone you follow, listen, or read, contributes to your development as a professional and as a human being.

Get better at admitting that. Get better at following people.
They don’t know it all, but they might know more, or better than you.

Face-to-face interactions drop 70% in open workspaces

There’s this idea of collaborative intelligence saying that working closely and putting our minds together makes it easier to achieve goals and objectives. So it’s something we want more of.

You’d think removing the walls and reducing the physical distance between people would raise their level of interaction, leading to an increase in collaborative intelligence and productivity.

Well…nope. Actually, the opposite happens. According to a recent study. the volume of face-to-face interactions drops with about 70% and most of our interactions shift to email and IM.

Removing physical barriers between two, three, or four people works. But it doesn’t scale. It doesn’t work when ten, fifteen, or more people are involved.

Looking at my day-to-day office interactions, most of them are about asking or giving help. Asking for help makes us feel vulnerable. It’s hard enough to do it in front of one person – let alone with fifteen other people, watching and hearing every stupid thing you say.

The study can be found here.

Hello world!

I read, watch and listen every day.
I have trouble remembering things – it’s time to write stuff down.