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Simon Egersand

Simon Egersand

1 year ago

Working from home for more than two years has taught me a lot.

Since the pandemic, I've worked from home. It’s been +2 years (wow, time flies!) now, and during this time I’ve learned a lot. My 4 remote work lessons.

I work in a remote distributed team. This team setting shaped my experience and teachings.

Isolation ("I miss my coworkers")

The most obvious point. I miss going out with my coworkers for coffee, weekend chats, or just company while I work. I miss being able to go to someone's desk and ask for help. On a remote world, I must organize a meeting, share my screen, and avoid talking over each other in Zoom - sigh!

Social interaction is more vital for my health than I believed.

Online socializing stinks

My company used to come together every Friday to play Exploding Kittens, have food and beer, and bond over non-work things.

Different today. Every Friday afternoon is for fun, but it's not the same. People with screen weariness miss meetings, which makes sense. Sometimes you're too busy on Slack to enjoy yourself.

We laugh in meetings, but it's not the same as face-to-face.

Digital social activities can't replace real-world ones

Improved Work-Life Balance, if You Let It

At the outset of the pandemic, I recognized I needed to take better care of myself to survive. After not leaving my apartment for a few days and feeling miserable, I decided to walk before work every day. This turned into a passion for exercise, and today I run or go to the gym before work. I use my commute time for healthful activities.

Working from home makes it easier to keep working after hours. I sometimes forget the time and find myself writing coding at dinnertime. I said, "One more test." This is a disadvantage, therefore I keep my office schedule.

Spend your commute time properly and keep to your office schedule.

Remote Pair Programming Is Hard

As a software developer, I regularly write code. My team sometimes uses pair programming to write code collaboratively. One person writes code while another watches, comments, and asks questions. I won't list them all here.

Internet pairing is difficult. My team struggles with this. Even with Tuple, it's challenging. I lose attention when I get a notification or check my computer.

I miss a pen and paper to rapidly sketch down my thoughts for a colleague or a whiteboard for spirited talks with others. Best answers are found through experience.

Real-life pair programming beats the best remote pair programming tools.

Lessons Learned

Here are 4 lessons I've learned working remotely for 2 years.

  • Socializing is more vital to my health than I anticipated.

  • Digital social activities can't replace in-person ones.

  • Spend your commute time properly and keep your office schedule.

  • Real-life pair programming beats the best remote tools.

Conclusion

Our era is fascinating. Remote labor has existed for years, but software companies have just recently had to adapt. Companies who don't offer remote work will lose talent, in my opinion.

We're still figuring out the finest software development approaches, programming language features, and communication methods since the 1960s. I can't wait to see what advancements assist us go into remote work.

I'll certainly work remotely in the next years, so I'm interested to see what I've learnt from this post then.


This post is a summary of this one.

More on Productivity

Aldric Chen

Aldric Chen

1 year ago

Jack Dorsey's Meeting Best Practice was something I tried. It Performs Exceptionally Well in Consulting Engagements.

Photo by Cherrydeck on Unsplash

Yes, client meetings are difficult. Especially when I'm alone.

Clients must tell us their problems so we can help.

In-meeting challenges contribute nothing to our work. Consider this:

  • Clients are unprepared.

  • Clients are distracted.

  • Clients are confused.

Introducing Jack Dorsey's Google Doc approach

I endorse his approach to meetings.

Not Google Doc-related. Jack uses it for meetings.

This is what his meetings look like.

  • Prior to the meeting, the Chair creates the agenda, structure, and information using Google Doc.

  • Participants in the meeting would have 5-10 minutes to read the Google Doc.

  • They have 5-10 minutes to type their comments on the document.

  • In-depth discussion begins

There is elegance in simplicity. Here's how Jack's approach is fantastic.

Unprepared clients are given time to read.

During the meeting, they think and work on it.

They can see real-time remarks from others.

Discussion ensues.

Three months ago, I fell for this strategy. After trying it with a client, I got good results.

I conducted social control experiments in a few client workshops.

Context matters.

I am sure Jack Dorsey’s method works well in meetings. What about client workshops?

So, I tested Enterprise of the Future with a consulting client.

I sent multiple emails to client stakeholders describing the new approach.

No PowerPoints that day. I spent the night setting up the Google Doc with conversation topics, critical thinking questions, and a Before and After section.

The client was shocked. First, a Google Doc was projected. Second surprise was a verbal feedback.

“No pre-meeting materials?”

“Don’t worry. I know you are not reading it before our meeting, anyway.”

We laughed. The experiment started.

Observations throughout a 90-minute engagement workshop from beginning to end

For 10 minutes, the workshop was silent.

People read the Google Doc. For some, the silence was unnerving.

“Are you not going to present anything to us?”

I said everything's in Google Doc. I asked them to read, remark, and add relevant paragraphs.

As they unlocked their laptops, they were annoyed.

Ten client stakeholders are typing on the Google Doc. My laptop displays comment bubbles, red lines, new paragraphs, and strikethroughs.

The first 10 minutes were productive. Everyone has seen and contributed to the document.

I was silent.

The move to a classical workshop was smooth. I didn't stimulate dialogue. They did.

Stephanie asked Joe why a blended workforce hinders company productivity. She questioned his comments and additional paragraphs.

That is when a light bulb hit my head. Yes, you want to speak to the right person to resolve issues!

Not only that was discussed. Others discussed their remark bubbles with neighbors. Debate circles sprung up one after the other.

The best part? I asked everyone to add their post-discussion thoughts on a Google Doc.

After the workshop, I have:

  • An agreement-based working document

  • A post-discussion minutes that are prepared for publication

  • A record of the discussion points that were brought up, argued, and evaluated critically

It showed me how stakeholders viewed their Enterprise of the Future. It allowed me to align with them.

Finale Keynotes

Client meetings are a hit-or-miss. I know that.

Jack Dorsey's meeting strategy works for consulting. It promotes session alignment.

It relieves clients of preparation.

I get the necessary information to advance this consulting engagement.

It is brilliant.

Maria Stepanova

Maria Stepanova

1 year ago

How Elon Musk Picks Things Up Quicker Than Anyone Else

Adopt Elon Musk's learning strategy to succeed.

Photo by Cody Board on Unsplash

Medium writers rank first and second when you Google “Elon Musk's learning approach”.

My article idea seems unoriginal. Lol

Musk is brilliant.

No doubt here.

His name connotes success and intelligence.

He knows rocket science, engineering, AI, and solar power.

Musk is a Unicorn, but his skills aren't special.

How does he manage it?

Elon Musk has two learning rules that anyone may use.

You can apply these rules and become anyone you want.

You can become a rocket scientist or a surgeon. If you want, of course.

The learning process is key.

Make sure you are creating a Tree of Knowledge according to Rule #1.

Musk told Reddit how he learns:

“It is important to view knowledge as sort of a semantic tree — make sure you understand the fundamental principles, i.e. the trunk and big branches, before you get into the leaves/details or there is nothing for them to hang onto.”

Musk understands the essential ideas and mental models of each of his business sectors.

He starts with the tree's trunk, making sure he learns the basics before going on to branches and leaves.

We often act otherwise. We memorize small details without understanding how they relate to the whole. Our minds are stuffed with useless data.

Cramming isn't learning.

Start with the basics to learn faster. Before diving into minutiae, grasp the big picture.

Photo by niko photos on Unsplash

Rule #2: You can't connect what you can't remember.

Elon Musk transformed industries this way. As his expertise grew, he connected branches and leaves from different trees.

Musk read two books a day as a child. He didn't specialize like most people. He gained from his multidisciplinary education. It helped him stand out and develop billion-dollar firms.

He gained skills in several domains and began connecting them. World-class performances resulted.

Most of us never learn the basics and only collect knowledge. We never really comprehend information, thus it's hard to apply it.

Learn the basics initially to maximize your chances of success. Then start learning.

Learn across fields and connect them.

This method enabled Elon Musk to enter and revolutionize a century-old industry.

Ethan Siegel

Ethan Siegel

1 year ago

How you view the year will change after using this one-page calendar.

The conventional way we display annual calendars, at left, requires us to examine each month separately, either relegating the full year to a tiny font on a single page or onto 12 separate pages. Instead, the one-page calendar, at right, enables you to find whatever you want all throughout the year. (Credit: E. Siegel, with a public domain conventional calendar at left)

No other calendar is simpler, smaller, and reusable year after year. It works and is used here.

Most of us discard and replace our calendars annually. Each month, we move our calendar ahead another page, thus if we need to know which day of the week corresponds to a given day/month combination, we have to calculate it or flip forward/backward to the corresponding month. Questions like:

  • What day does this year's American Thanksgiving fall on?

  • Which months contain a Friday the thirteenth?

  • When is July 4th? What day of the week?

  • Alternatively, what day of the week is Christmas?

They're hard to figure out until you switch to the right month or look up all the months.

However, mathematically, the answers to these questions or any question that requires matching the day of the week with the day/month combination in a year are predictable, basic, and easy to work out. If you use this one-page calendar instead of a 12-month calendar, it lasts the whole year and is easy to alter for future years. Let me explain.

Rather than a calendar displaying separate images for each month out of the year, this one-page calendar can be used to match up the day of the week with the dates/months of the year with perfect accuracy all in a single view. (Credit: E. Siegel)

The 2023 one-page calendar is above. The days of the month are on the lower left, which works for all months if you know that:

  • There are 31 days in January, March, May, July, August, October, and December.

  • All of the months of April, June, September, and November have 30 days.

  • And depending on the year, February has either 28 days (in non-leap years) or 29 days (in leap years).

If you know this, this calendar makes it easy to match the day/month of the year to the weekday.

Here are some instances. American Thanksgiving is always on the fourth Thursday of November. You'll always know the month and day of the week, but the date—the day in November—changes each year.

On any other calendar, you'd have to flip to November to see when the fourth Thursday is. This one-page calendar only requires:

  • pick the month of November in the top-right corner to begin.

  • drag your finger down until Thursday appears,

  • then turn left and follow the monthly calendar until you reach the fourth Thursday.

To find American Thanksgiving, you need to find the 4th Thursday in November. Using the one-page calendar, start at November, move down to find Thursday, then move to the left to count off to the fourth Thursday in November. In 2023, that date will be November 23rd. (Credit: E. Siegel)

It's obvious: 2023 is the 23rd American Thanksgiving. For every month and day-of-the-week combination, start at the month, drag your finger down to the desired day, and then move to the left to see which dates match.

What if you knew the day of the week and the date of the month, but not the month(s)?

A different method using the same one-page calendar gives the answer. Which months have Friday the 13th this year? Just:

  • begin on the 13th of the month, the day you know you desire,

  • then swipe right with your finger till Friday appears.

  • and then work your way up until you can determine which months the specific Friday the 13th falls under.

If you know which date/day-of-the-week combination you’re seeking but don’t know which months will meet that criteria, start with the date (1–31), move to the right until you find the day of the week you want, then move up and find which months match that criteria. Every year will always have at least one such combination. (Credit: E. Siegel)

One Friday the 13th occurred in January 2023, and another will occur in October.

The most typical reason to consult a calendar is when you know the month/day combination but not the day of the week.

Compared to single-month calendars, the one-page calendar excels here. Take July 4th, for instance. Find the weekday here:

  • beginning on the left on the fourth of the month, as you are aware,

  • also begin with July, the month of the year you are most familiar with, at the upper right,

  • you should move your two fingers in the opposite directions till they meet: on a Tuesday in 2023.

That's how you find your selected day/month combination's weekday.

If you were curious as to which day of the week July 4th, 2023 fell on, rather than flipping a conventional calendar to July and seeing, you could trace “4” to the right and “July” down, finding where they meet (on a Tuesday) revealing the day-of-the-week. (Credit: E. Siegel)

Another example: Christmas. Christmas Day is always December 25th, however unless your conventional calendar is open to December of your particular year, a question like "what day of the week is Christmas?" difficult to answer.

Unlike the one-page calendar!

Remember the left-hand day of the month. Top-right, you see the month. Put two fingers, one from each hand, on the date (25th) and the month (December). Slide the day hand to the right and the month hand downwards until they touch.

They meet on Monday—December 25, 2023.

Using the one-page calendar for 2023, you can figure out the day-of-the-week of any calendar day by placing one finger on the “date” at left and another on the “month” at top. By moving your fingers respectively to the right and down, where they meet will reveal the day of the week to you. (Credit: E. Siegel)

For 2023, that's fine, but what happens in 2024? Even worse, what if we want to know the day-of-the-week/day/month combo many years from now?

I think the one-page calendar shines here.

Except for the blue months in the upper-right corner of the one-page calendar, everything is the same year after year. The months also change in a consistent fashion.

Each non-leap year has 365 days—one more than a full 52 weeks (which is 364). Since January 1, 2023 began on a Sunday and 2023 has 365 days, we immediately know that December 31, 2023 will conclude on a Sunday (which you can confirm using the one-page calendar) and that January 1, 2024 will begin on a Monday. Then, reorder the months for 2024, taking in mind that February will have 29 days in a leap year.

This image shows the one-page calendar view for the next leap year we’re going to experience: 2024. Note that the monthly patterns have changed from how they were in a non-leap year, displaying a new pattern unique to leap years, corresponding to the fact that February has 29 days instead of 28. (Credit: E. Siegel)

Please note the differences between 2023 and 2024 month placement. In 2023:

  • October and January began on the same day of the week.

  • On the following Monday of the week, May began.

  • August started on the next day,

  • then the next weekday marked the start of February, March, and November, respectively.

  • Unlike June, which starts the following weekday,

  • While September and December start on the following day of the week,

  • Lastly, April and July start one extra day later.

Since 2024 is a leap year, February has 29 days, disrupting the rhythm. Month placements change to:

  • The first day of the week in January, April, and July is the same.

  • October will begin the following day.

  • Possibly starting the next weekday,

  • February and August start on the next weekday,

  • beginning on the following day of the week between March and November,

  • beginning the following weekday in June,

  • and commencing one more day of the week after that, September and December.

Due to the 366-day leap year, 2025 will start two days later than 2024 on January 1st.

The non-leap year 2025 has the same calendar as 2023, expect with the days-of-the-week that each month begins on shifted forward by three days for each month. This is because 2023 was not a leap year and 2024 was, meaning that an extra 3 days are needed over and above the 104 full weeks contained in 2023 and 2024 combined. (Credit: E. Siegel)

Now, looking at the 2025 calendar, you can see that the 2023 pattern of which months start on which days is repeated! The sole variation is a shift of three days-of-the-week ahead because 2023 had one more day (365) than 52 full weeks (364), and 2024 had two more days (366). Again,

  • On Wednesday this time, January and October begin on the same day of the week.

  • Although May begins on Thursday,

  • August begins this Friday.

  • March, November, and February all begin on a Saturday.

  • Beginning on a Sunday in June

  • Beginning on Monday are September and December,

  • and on Tuesday, April and July begin.

In 2026 and 2027, the year will commence on a Thursday and a Friday, respectively.

The one-page calendars for 2026 and 2027, as shown next to one another. Note that the calendars are identical, save that the day-of-the-week that each month begins on is shifted by one day from the prior year to the next. This occurs every time a non-leap year is followed by another non-leap year. (Credit: E. Siegel)

We must return to our leap year monthly arrangement in 2028. Yes, January 1, 2028 begins on a Saturday, but February, which begins on a Tuesday three days before January, will have 29 days. Thus:

  • Start dates for January, April, and July are all Saturdays.

  • Given that October began on Sunday,

  • Although May starts on a Monday,

  • beginning on a Tuesday in February and August,

  • Beginning on a Wednesday in March and November,

  • Beginning on Thursday, June

  • and Friday marks the start of September and December.

This is great because there are only 14 calendar configurations: one for each of the seven non-leap years where January 1st begins on each of the seven days of the week, and one for each of the seven leap years where it begins on each day of the week.

This example of a one-page calendar, which represents the year 2028, will be valid for all leap years that begin with January 1st on a Saturday. The leap year version of the one-page calendar repeats every 28 years, unless you pass a non-leap year ending in “00,” in which case the repeat will either be 12 or 40 years instead. (Credit: E. Siegel)

The 2023 calendar will function in 2034, 2045, 2051, 2062, 2073, 2079, 2090, 2102, 2113, and 2119. Except when passing over a non-leap year that ends in 00, like 2100, the repeat time always extends to 12 years or shortens to an extra 6 years.

  • The pattern is repeated in 2025's calendar in 2031, 2042, 2053, 2059, 2070, 2081, 2087, 2098, 2110, and 2121.

  • The extra 6-year repeat at the end of the century on the calendar for 2026 will occur in the years 2037, 2043, 2054, 2065, 2071, 2082, 2093, 2099, 2105, and 2122.

  • The 2027s calendar repeats in 2038, 2049, 2055, 2066, 2077, 2083, 2094, 2100, 2106, and 2117, almost exactly matching the 2026s pattern.

For leap years, the recurrence pattern is every 28 years when not passing a non-leap year ending in 00, or 12 or 40 years when we do. 2024's calendar repeats in 2052, 2080, 2120, 2148, 2176, and 2216; 2028's in 2056, 2084, 2124, 2152, 2180, and 2220.

Knowing January 1st and whether it's a leap year lets you construct a one-page calendar for any year. Try it—you might find it easier than any other alternative!

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Ren & Heinrich

Ren & Heinrich

1 year ago

200 DeFi Projects were examined. Here is what I learned.

Photo by Luke Chesser on Unsplash

I analyze the top 200 DeFi crypto projects in this article.

This isn't a study. The findings benefit crypto investors.

Let’s go!

A set of data

I analyzed data from defillama.com. In my analysis, I used the top 200 DeFis by TVL in October 2022.

Total Locked Value

The chart below shows platform-specific locked value.

14 platforms had $1B+ TVL. 65 platforms have $100M-$1B TVL. The remaining 121 platforms had TVLs below $100 million, with the lowest being $23 million.

TVLs are distributed Pareto. Top 40% of DeFis account for 80% of TVLs.

Compliant Blockchains

Ethereum's blockchain leads DeFi. 96 of the examined projects offer services on Ethereum. Behind BSC, Polygon, and Avalanche.

Five platforms used 10+ blockchains. 36 between 2-10 159 used 1 blockchain.

Use Cases for DeFi

The chart below shows platform use cases. Each platform has decentralized exchanges, liquid staking, yield farming, and lending.

These use cases are DefiLlama's main platform features.

Which use case costs the most? Chart explains. Collateralized debt, liquid staking, dexes, and lending have high TVLs.

The DeFi Industry

I compared three high-TVL platforms (Maker DAO, Balancer, AAVE). The columns show monthly TVL and token price changes. The graph shows monthly Bitcoin price changes.

Each platform's market moves similarly.

Probably because most DeFi deposits are cryptocurrencies. Since individual currencies are highly correlated with Bitcoin, it's not surprising that they move in unison.

Takeaways

This analysis shows that the most common DeFi services (decentralized exchanges, liquid staking, yield farming, and lending) also have the highest average locked value.

Some projects run on one or two blockchains, while others use 15 or 20. Our analysis shows that a project's blockchain count has no correlation with its success.

It's hard to tell if certain use cases are rising. Bitcoin's price heavily affects the entire DeFi market.

TVL seems to be a good indicator of a DeFi platform's success and quality. Higher TVL platforms are cheaper. They're a better long-term investment because they gain or lose less value than DeFis with lower TVLs.

Sam Hickmann

Sam Hickmann

1 year ago

What is this Fed interest rate everybody is talking about that makes or breaks the stock market?

The Federal Funds Rate (FFR) is the target interest rate set by the Federal Reserve System (Fed)'s policy-making body (FOMC). This target is the rate at which the Fed suggests commercial banks borrow and lend their excess reserves overnight to each other.

The FOMC meets 8 times a year to set the target FFR. This is supposed to promote economic growth. The overnight lending market sets the actual rate based on commercial banks' short-term reserves. If the market strays too far, the Fed intervenes.

Banks must keep a certain percentage of their deposits in a Federal Reserve account. A bank's reserve requirement is a percentage of its total deposits. End-of-day bank account balances averaged over two-week reserve maintenance periods are used to determine reserve requirements.

If a bank expects to have end-of-day balances above what's needed, it can lend the excess to another institution.

The FOMC adjusts interest rates based on economic indicators that show inflation, recession, or other issues that affect economic growth. Core inflation and durable goods orders are indicators.

In response to economic conditions, the FFR target has changed over time. In the early 1980s, inflation pushed it to 20%. During the Great Recession of 2007-2009, the rate was slashed to 0.15 percent to encourage growth.

Inflation picked up in May 2022 despite earlier rate hikes, prompting today's 0.75 percent point increase. The largest increase since 1994. It might rise to around 3.375% this year and 3.1% by the end of 2024.

Katrine Tjoelsen

Katrine Tjoelsen

1 year ago

8 Communication Hacks I Use as a Young Employee

Learn these subtle cues to gain influence.

Hate being ignored?

As a 24-year-old, I struggled at work. Attention-getting tips How to avoid being judged by my size, gender, and lack of wrinkles or gray hair?

I've learned seniority hacks. Influence. Within two years as a product manager, I led a team. I'm a Stanford MBA student.

These communication hacks can make you look senior and influential.

1. Slowly speak

We speak quickly because we're afraid of being interrupted.

When I doubt my ideas, I speak quickly. How can we slow down? Jamie Chapman says speaking slowly saps our energy.

Chapman suggests emphasizing certain words and pausing.

2. Interrupted? Stop the stopper

Someone interrupt your speech?

Don't wait. "May I finish?" No pause needed. Stop interrupting. I first tried this in Leadership Laboratory at Stanford. How quickly I gained influence amazed me.

Next time, try “May I finish?” If that’s not enough, try these other tips from Wendy R.S. O’Connor.

3. Context

Others don't always see what's obvious to you.

Through explanation, you help others see the big picture. If a senior knows it, you help them see where your work fits.

4. Don't ask questions in statements

“Your statement lost its effect when you ended it on a high pitch,” a group member told me. Upspeak, it’s called. I do it when I feel uncertain.

Upspeak loses influence and credibility. Unneeded. When unsure, we can say "I think." We can even ask a proper question.

Someone else's boasting is no reason to be dismissive. As leaders and colleagues, we should listen to our colleagues even if they use this speech pattern.

Give your words impact.

5. Signpost structure

Signposts improve clarity by providing structure and transitions.

Communication coach Alexander Lyon explains how to use "first," "second," and "third" He explains classic and summary transitions to help the listener switch topics.

Signs clarify. Clarity matters.

6. Eliminate email fluff

“Fine. When will the report be ready? — Jeff.”

Notice how senior leaders write short, direct emails? I often use formalities like "dear," "hope you're well," and "kind regards"

Formality is (usually) unnecessary.

7. Replace exclamation marks with periods

See how junior an exclamation-filled email looks:

Hi, all!
Hope you’re as excited as I am for tomorrow! We’re celebrating our accomplishments with cake! Join us tomorrow at 2 pm!
See you soon!

Why the exclamation points? Why not just one?

Hi, all.
Hope you’re as excited as I am for tomorrow. We’re celebrating our accomplishments with cake. Join us tomorrow at 2 pm!
See you soon.

8. Take space

"Playing high" means having an open, relaxed body, says Stanford professor and author Deborah Gruenfield.

Crossed legs or looking small? Relax. Get bigger.