don’t give things more airtime than they deserve

the next tip about success i want to write about is mind-blowingly simple. anyone can do it. and if i could summarise it in one sentence it would be this.

conserve your energy. spend energy in proportion to how a thing affects you. if it’s outside of your control, if it doesn’t affect you then give it a pass. concern yourself with things you actually have control over.

people spend a lot of time thinking, conversing and sweating over the price of toothpaste, and a lot less about which school to go to, who to marry and how to use a financial windfall.

#002

the first step to success

the first step to success is to find a full-length mirror.

stand in front of it, strike a nice pose. one you want people to remember you for. smile if you want, don’t smile if you don’t want to but try and look like you look at your most average – while striking a pose that is.

now ask yourself.

does the person staring back at you look like someone the crackhead on the corners will fuck with?

there you go.

#001

this has been an awesome year

 

First off I’m switching jobs in the new year. Contrary to the practise of my culture switching jobs now and again is actually a healthy and refreshing thing to do. It has many benefits, the least of which are the new skills I pick up and that little struggle in the beginning which distracts me from the illusion that in a few years from now I will still be remembered.

But here I am.

Writing.

Again.

It’s been a busy year. Let me try and summarise what it’s been like.

  • I grew older and hopefully wiser.
  • My family grew older and wiser. Some members departed.
  • I wrote a rules engine.
  • I lost a shit load of money because I couldn’t dump failing stocks. This was because I work(ed) at a place that didn’t allow for it.
  • I made a shitload of money on alt-coins.
  • I think I became a better man, at least I think I understand women a bit better than I did at the beginning of the year.
  • I must watched like hundreds of youtube videos and discovered so many new things.

I guess in short I’ve had an amazing year. I look forward to the next.

Free ssl certificate

Traffic between you and this blog is now protected by ssl certificate, courtesy of https://www.sslforfree.com/. It was super easy to install (webfaction is my hosting provider).

In some places it’s called a hustle

I don’t play much physical sports, actually I don’t. But like all men I must satisfy a desire to beat other men in some measures of strength, agility or intelligence. I play Go. My latest game appears at the end of this post. It seems as if I was mismatched here, I am definitely not a 25 kyu, the final score does seem to indicate I am around 10 kyu or even better.

I actually felt bad for the guy because I see this sort of thing a lot in real life. The Japanese have a concept aptly named Shuhari which has found currency in Agile Software Development lingo. The avid reader will notice the same concept from a Martin Fowler article where he articulates it as follows:

Shu: In this beginning stage the student follows the teachings of one master precisely. He concentrates on how to do the task, without worrying too much about the underlying theory. If there are multiple variations on how to do the task, he concentrates on just the one way his master teaches him.
Ha: At this point the student begins to branch out. With the basic practices working he now starts to learn the underlying principles and theory behind the technique. He also starts learning from other masters and integrates that learning into his practice.
Ri: Now the student isn’t learning from other people, but from his own practice. He creates his own approaches and adapts what he’s learned to his own particular circumstances.

Playing this 25kyu reminded me of the context I learned about the Shuhari concept myself. I too was a beginner. And as a beginner one is often preoccupied with not breaking the rules of the game. You try and make really really sure you don’t lose any stones and your focus is on capturing the stones of your opponent.

As you become more comfortable with the game you might even learn about Joseki which is basically a pattern of play in response to a common situation — which I suppose is a fair progression given that you’re probably trying to draw on the experiences of what the expert before you has, on average, gone through. At this stage you’re probably still having occasional headaches while playing because you’re really concentrating very very hard.

In the final stage, as Fowler says, the student is no longer learning from other people but from what he himself has observed in the field and he adopts his approach based on his own particular set of circumstances. In fact a famous Go Proverb intimates that you should no longer be relying on Joseki. Also, you realise that Go is more about encircling unoccupied board area than capturing stones. Capturing stones does actually count for a lot, but it’s considered vulgar to actually capture the group (you waste a move) and as an expert you’re supposed to be able read a few moves ahead that a group is in fact dead.

Of course this is all very similar to the Dreyfus Model of Skill Acquisition which Fowler also makes mention of.

Some food for thought perhaps?

Anyway what I wanted to say in today’s post is that at one point my skill level was ranked at 6 kyu in competitive play, but after some years of absence I can barely win against a 16 kyu. But in trying to remind myself of the first principles I clung to as an acolyte Go player it’s all coming back to me albeit slower than I want to as I kick some beginner ass.

It’s often said that to be sharp you have to do some teaching. By being in the company of those trying to learn you get an appreciation (some would say a reminder) of your own level of awareness.

I very much predict that in my next game I shall be able to beat at least a 15 kyu.

Enough talking, here’s the game. As you can see I totally crushed this guy.

After a long time I play Go again, and promptly resign

I used to be an avid Go/Weichi/Baduk player, reaching 6 kyu on kgs. But then life started in earnest. My daughter was born and I started mucking about with other things. Anyway wow, it was damn hard to get the Java applet running, and littlegolem games take too long. So I found this cool site which has uses HTML 5 to draw the goban and offers a lot of other nifty features.

I’m playing white. Things started going wrong for me around move 70.

 

Best introduction to Lean Manufacturing I’ve seen in a while

Ok, in case you haven’t noticed I just learned how to post youtube videos to my blog 🙂

In this video they approach a very simple problem of packing a number of items into a bag. They’re using a timer and at the start of the video the full operation takes about 3 minutes and we see how with incremental common sense changes they bring this down to something like 15 seconds.

It’s fascinating to watch how they innovate and do simple stuff like move things around and change the sequence of operations to cut down on the time taken to finish a job.