It’s not you, it’s me – time for a break JavaScript

zen

Starting with June 2014, when I decided I want to create websites and apps, HTML and CSS have been part of my daily life.
The same, more or less, with JavaScript (expect 3 months when I played a little with Ruby).

I don’t consider myself a JavaScript programmer. I know a bunch of things and I created some really fun stuff with it, but this is all.

The whole JavaScript environment: libraries, frameworks, people around, etc., is full of crap. And for someone learning (or trying to learn) is overwhelming and maybe even a little depressing.
It feels really good to step aside from this.

Leaving aside JavaScript, I really like the design part, especially UX. And I hope that someday I will have the opportunity to explore it a little more. I will stop using Free Code Camp and also I will stop working on the Android course.
For now I think I will focus for a while on data analytics.

I started playing with Python, doing the tutorials from Codecademy (I’m at 80%) and next up is Learn Python the Hard Way.
Hopefully I will also move from web design to data analytics and this will allow me to concentrate on one thing. I don’t know where this will go and what will follow, we will see.

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Are You a Fox or a Hedgehog?

I have an ever growing list of books I want to read. One of them is The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver.

People seem to like human and animal comparison. I’m not a huge fan of them, but Nate Silver as a really interesting one in his book.

How Foxes Think How Hedgehogs Think
Multidisciplinary: Incorporate ideas from different disciplines regardless of their origin on the political spectrum Specialized: Often have spent the bulk of their careers on one or two great problems. May view the opinions of “outsiders” skeptically.
Adaptable: Find a new approach – or pursue multiple approaches at the same time – if they aren’t sure the original one is working. Stalwart: Stick to the same “all-in” approach – new data is used to refine the original model.
Self-critical: Sometimes willing (if rarely happy) to acknowledge mistakes in their predictions and accept the blame for them. Stubborn: Mistakes are blamed on bad luck or on idiosyncratic circumstances – a good model had a bad day.
Tolerant of complexity: See the universe as complicated, perhaps to the point of many fundamental problems being insolvable or inherently unpredictable. Order-seeking: Expect that the world will be found to abide by relatively simple governing relationships once the signal is identified through the noise.
Cautious: Express their predictions in probabilistic terms and qualify their opinions. Confident: Rarely hedge their predictions and are reluctant to change them.
Empirical: Rely more on observation than theory. Ideological: Expect that solutions to many day-to-day problems are manifestations of some grander theory or struggle.

So what am I, a fox or hedgehog ?

  • Multidisciplinary vs Specialized: Easy one, Multidisciplinary. I studied marketing, started working in sales, then did some marketing, project management, product management, product design, web design and development, social media, community management, event organizing. Now I’m thinking about switching to data analytics.
  • Adaptable vs Stalwart: I would dare to say Adaptable. I get bored by doing the same thing and it is even more boring doing the same thing in the same way. There are always new and sometimes better ways to do things, so you could at least try some of them from time to time.
  • Self-critical vs Stubborn: Well .. a little bit of both. I always acknowledge my mistakes and I never mind taking the blame, but I do tend to be stubborn and sometimes I do not see things as they truly are.
  • Tolerant of complexity vs Order-seeking: I think Tolerant of complexity. I do like order, but I think that things are most of the time complex and I do enjoy trying to solve them or looking for solutions.
  • Cautious vs Confident: Probably too Cautious for my taste and I little more confidence wouldn’t hurt.
  • Empirical vs Ideological: I think Empirical, but I’m not totally sure of this one.

It seems I am a fox, although I do have some spines.
Is this a good or a bad thing? I don’t really know.
Should you prefer a company full of foxes or full of hedgehogs? I don’t know, you could pick either one.

But looking at the agile approach companies seem to take in the last years I think a fox would be a better fit.

It is better to move in smaller steps and you want to observe, measure and adjust along the way.
You need to be aware that customers don’t always fit a typical already known belief. So you need to prepare for more than one outcome.

And speaking about more than one outcome, it is probably a good idea to also have in mind more than one approach. This is why I am a big fan of multidisciplinary teams. You always get great results when you mix ideas from different disciplines.

I also want to add that if something worked yesterday it won’t necessarily also work tomorrow. And if something didn’t worked yesterday, it will probably not work tomorrow.
Don’t get stuck in the past.

So are you a fox or a hedgehog?

fox

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“Screw It, Let’s Do It”

I started reading “Screw It, Let’s Do It” by Richard Branson. I was a little circumspect when I got the book, didn’t know if I will enjoy it. But man .. this is such a great and fun book to read. It just gives you a nice boost of energy and it awakens in you a desire to do stuff.

While I was reading the book it got me thinking about myself, how I am living and what I do with my life, job, if I’m really enjoying myself. And in a way I can say that yes, I really am.
Is there room for improvement? Yes ! A hell of lot of it.
But I’m doing my best.

I think that the thing that always gets me going is that I get bored really fast and I always feel the need to be challenged, to learn things and do stuff.

My first job was in a bookstore. Selling books and other stuff. It was a really fun place and I had great colleagues. But I was paid close to nothing, little less than 200 euro per month. So the small salary and the routine made me quit in about 6 months.

Second job. I got a sales job in a small IT company. First thing I did there? Putting invoices in envelopes and sending them to customers. Pay was a little better (not much more) and I knew I will be learning a lot of things. And I really did.

When I left, after almost 3 years, I was working as a Project Manager, running projects worth millions of euro, implementing ERP (enterprise resource planning) systems that were used by hundreds of thousands of people.
After 3 years there, doing all the things I did, I can say that if I will ever be in position to run a company, I’ve got the knowledge to do it.

While I was working there I got bored again so I thought I want to learn how to build websites. I had some knowledge from school, but didn’t knew that much. So I started learning HTML, CSS, some JavaScript and a lot of things about building things on the web.
In short time I was already having some small gigs and making some extra money.

I was having fun creating websites, so I thought that maybe I can get a job. So I quit my job prepared to look for something else and with enough money for about 3 months.
It took me less than a week to get an offer and I said yes. It was from my current work place where I work as a Web Designer.

Fast forward to January 2017 (almost 2 years later). What I do right now beside my daily job?

  • have some fun on freeCodeCamp, learning things about web development
  • enroled in a nanodegree program from Udacity, learning Android development (got a scholarship, and I’m really grateful for it)
  • learning to play a xylophone and it is a lot of fun
  • learning German
  • part of a team at work and we are building an AR prototype
  • learning more about design (and will maybe move to a UX design position)
  • a lot more stuff

And all of this just because I get bored easily.

Is it hard? Yes.
Is it fun? Yes.
Do I got the right skills for all this things? Unfortunately, no ..
Will I succeed in doing all of them? I don’t know and I don’t care that much. I want to do them and I do them.

My point. Read “Screw It, Let’s Do It” by Richard Branson. Start doing anything you want to do. It is worth it, you will find your place in this world and things will get better and better.

grass growing

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Can someone read 50 books in a year ?

Short answer is yes.
Long answer .. you can read even more.

When I wrote My wishes for 2017 someone people asked if that is really double, if I can read one book each week (the year has 52 weeks).

The math is pretty simple:

  • an adult reads about 250 words per minute
  • typical non-fiction books have ~50,000 words

50 books * 50,000 words / book = 2.5 million words
2.5 million words / 250 wpm = 10,000 minutes
10,000 minutes / 60 = ~167 hours

So if you read for 30 minutes each day you will read more than 50 books in a year.
Now think how much time you spent in front of the TV each day or how much time you spend on facebook or playing games on your smartphone.
And it is really easy to read these days. You can read paper books, you can read on your phone, you can read on your kindle, you can listen to audiobooks.

I suggest reading this article wrote by Charles Chu, you can find a lot more info there.

books

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New Home

We try to discuss about our future as often as possible. And I think this is important for all couples.
My favorite discussions with Iarina are related with what we want, what we wish, what we should do.

We both want to have our own home and we discuss a lot about this.

First question is if we are going to stay in Romania, or if we want to move in another country for a few years. Sure this isn’t entirely just our decision. It also depends on what opportunities we encounter, if we get any job offers, etc. There is no point in moving in another country if we are going to live worse that we do right now in Romania.
So if we are going to move to another country we will definitely continue to rent a place. There is no point in buying a home in another country.

If we continue to stay in Romania (right now the most probable outcome) it is possible that we will move to another city.
Bucharest is pretty nice, especially if you are visiting or staying here on short term. But on long term I can’t say I like it that much. It is crowded, it is polluted and it is getting worse.

We are thinking about Sibiu and Brasov. We like both of them and they offer plenty of job opportunities. Sibiu has a big plus because it is closer to Targu Jiu.

And if we stay in Romania we will probably buy an apartment or a house. The other option would be to build a house.
All 3 options have their weak and strong points and we still haven’t decided what to do.
In a few months we have our wedding and we will talk more after it. We will probably take a decision by the end of the year. But a lot of things can happen until then.

small house

Speaking about building a house.
We are thinking about a wood house and I’ve been starting to make some research on this. And I stumbled on this (really great info, but it is in Romanian).

Day 145 – A thought a day challenge

Balance

A thought a day – 1 year challenge, 145 days later

I’ve always liked writing and I’ve been thinking about creating a blog for some years.
The first challenge was that I didn’t know if I will have enough things to write about. Another problem was that I’m lazy and I get bored really fast.

So I thought I should start easy and that’s why I challenged myself to write something each day. This is how A thought a day – 1 year challenge came to life.
And 4 months later I created this blog.
I haven’t decided what kind of blog would this be and what I will be writing about. But I will see how it evolves. The important thing is to keep writing, I hope I will add at least 2-3 posts each week.

Now let’s get back to the challenge.

Day 145 – January 14, 2017

Level 28 today.
I don’t feel that old, not at all.
We had some cake in the morning and Iarina made pizza, I read, played a little on my xylophone and played some SWTOR. We finished Supernatural season 11. We will probably watch season 12 after all episodes are online.
The xylophone is really fun and I’m sure I will learn some songs by the end of the year.
Before going to bed we watched The Notebook.

We have a lot of plans for 2017 and a lot of things will happen this year. Somedays I feel a little overwhelmed.

My wishes for 2017

I think it is a good idea to write your wishes and at the end of the year reflect on what happen, how everything influenced you and how you evolved as a person.

So here is my list for 2017:

  • get married – not necessarily a wish, but an important step for both me and Iarina;
  • visit a new country;
  • move to another country – already working on this; I hope we will achieve this in 2017, if not maybe in 2018;
  • get to read at least 50 books;
  • raise our savings to 20% from our income;
  • learn to play an instrument;
  • work on this blog and write weekly on it.

Most of these depend only on me and are achievable. Will check in 12 months how it went.New year

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Next 6 months plan

I had a few blog posts on the old website and I decided to move them here as they were. Originally written on May 11, 2016.

A lot of things had happened since my last blog entry, I’ve been really busy with work/learning/and some other stuff. I saw 2 new countries, finished a web development bootcamp, played with some new things and a few great things in my personal life.

Currently I fell a little burned out. Tomorrow I will soon celebrate 1 year in Allianz so I spent the last days thinking about what happened in the last year and what I want to do in the months that will follow.

Pretty soon I will launch 2 projects. I worked a few months on them and I will enjoy seeing them online. After this I will take a break from my front end freelance “career”. Right now I don’t know how long this would take by I feel I need it.

Now, what I wish for the next 6 months. I want to write more and hope to publish around 1-2 articles each month here. I have a long list of books I want to read. They are over 60 and I don’t think I will finish all of them this year. Another thing I want to do is improve my design skills, theoretical and practical. In my free time, programming will be on the second place for now, at least for a while.

More details will follow in my next blog posts.

 

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“Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish” – 3 months later

I had a few blog posts on the old website and I decided to move them here as they were. Originally written on August 16, 2015.

There have been 3 months from when I wrote the first part to this (“Stay Hungry, StayFoolish”) and I didn’t even knew there will be more than one part.
A lot had happened since then and I hope a lot more will from now one, maybe I will even write a third part to this.

When I quitted my job I didn’t really had a plan, just needed a break. But still I though it would be a good idea to start applying to jobs, since I would have needed a job eventually. But it went better than expected and I was pretty astonished to get so many calls, and more than a few from some big companies. Initially I was thinking I should have a little vacation, for at least a few weeks, maybe a month.
But it only lasted a week.

I got the opportunity to meet a lot of great people from a lot of big companies and it was a nice experience, even though I really don’t like interviewing.
In the end I decided to accept the offer from Allianz, they offered me a position as a web designer. It came as a surprise since I started learning HTML and CSS just a year before getting the job. But they decided I was the right man and I said yes.
Even the recruitment process was really fast. On Monday I had the first interview and two tests (coding and design), got also the second interview at Allianz in the same day. On Tuesday I had the third interview, on Friday I was already signing the papers.

It was great until now, but of course I always want more. So I started a few days ago to learn JavaScript. I knew some, worked with it (especially jQuery), but I decided I should know more.
So in the next period, JavaScript and Angular.
Maybe in a few month I will get pretty decent.

As a last few words .. it works. Risk, put yourself out there and you’ll get what you want sooner or later.

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“Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish”

I had a few blog posts on the old website and I decided to move them here as they were. Originally written on May 3, 2015.

A few weeks ago I decided it was the time for me to leave the company I worked for in the last 3 years. Had a lot of reasons to do so and I really think it is the right decision.

Now I’m taking a break for a few days/weeks. Checking new opportunities, going to some interviews but I’m not really in a hurry to find a new job.

I want to concentrate more on web development, got some projects I want to launch pretty soon. Some books I want to finish. Maybe I will even start drawing again. I should also repair the bathroom door. In 2 weeks I’m running in OMV Petrom Bucharest Halfmarathon 2015 (the popular race, but still, I need some practice).

So, a lot of things to do and I’m sure good times are coming.

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