tag:adrienmagnus.com,2013:/posts Adrien's Lifestream 2023-06-17T16:23:58Z tag:adrienmagnus.com,2013:Post/1482320 2019-11-28T16:00:46Z 2019-11-28T16:03:49Z How to be a renter in your own house

Buying a house has some benefits: you get the peace of mind that you don't depend on anyone and you can stay here for as long as you want, as long as you make the mortgage payments. You secure a spot to your assigned school which looks great on paper. You build equity in the house. You've seen everything about what life has to offer already, so it's time to make your adult routine permanent for the next 30 years because what else could ever happen?

Then you discover that owning the house means that you're responsible for every single thing in it. What a great way to waste time, and life as a result. Here is how to get your freedom back.

Hire a gardener. Seriously, no kid grew up thinking that maintaining a perfect lawn was a good purpose in life. Sure your dad spent time doing it, but did he choose to? Even if you mow your lawn on a regular schedule, is that going to improve your mowing skill each time so that you become more efficient, and your lawn is more beautiful each time? Also a good way to not buy a mower and avoid falling into the trap of maintaining it.

When you receive your property tax bill, pay it within 5 minutes. The faster you're done the faster you'll have forgotten about it. Yes, it's probably a large amount, you might be looking at every line and think "Is this a fair way of allocating my tax dollars". Then you remember that the local government bureaucracy couldn't care less about you.

When something breaks around the house and you're thinking about fixing it, don't do it. I mean if you have the knowledge, or you enjoy fixing things then go for it. For the rest of us who would rather spend time reading a book, have quality time with family, or ride your bike for 5 hours, you can outsource it. It will be well worth it. Don't you dare to go to Home Depot, it's a trap. Try calling the previous owner of the house and see how soon she can fix it.

Hire a dog walker. One good idea of getting a dog might be to avoid having kids. It looks simpler on the surface and it has less responsibility over time. Also in American culture, the dog is a requirement to homeownership, which means that many people previously renting an apartment got a dog as part of buying the house. But spend every day picking up your dog's poop several times a day and you'll realize that it's not much different than changing a child's diapers. Except the child ends up not needing diapers! Also if your life is scripted around the schedule of your dog, like you wouldn't think about happy hour after work because you need to commute home and be there for the dog, then you're not living your life.

Pay for a faster commute option if you increased your commute when becoming a homeowner. You have more options than you think. You're not stuck in the infinite subway script.

Never look at the value estimate of your house on Redfin. The only thing it does is to reinforce the perception that your house is worth something, even though it's the most unproductive asset. Even if you like the idea of cashing out on your house equity, we're talking about getting rid of the roof over your head, also known as one of the most basic human needs. Instead, do look at Craigslist for potential places to rent in neighborhoods that you like. You might discover that you get better value and more peace of mind when renting.

There you have it. Get your time back and start having the house work for you, not the other way around. 

tag:adrienmagnus.com,2013:Post/1480242 2019-11-21T05:49:23Z 2019-11-21T06:01:51Z Bike racing is different

Riding bikes is priceless. It gives the freedom to move your body at 20 mph for several hours with very little energy. Then the game of racing bikes happened where people wanted to see who's fastest.

The power of road bicycle racing is that it's a very simple game: the person who gets across the finish line first wins. Now there are many variables: who is there, the bike, the wind, who will crash, who will flat, when are attacks going down. And that's what makes it an art. You come to the race being very prepared with impeccable fitness and technique. While at the same time the whole thing is unpredictable.

You actually have skin in the game. Every one of your actions will make or break the outcome of the race, for you or your teammates. All those hours training hard start to materialize. There is no place to hide during a race. Go for the win and you get extra skin: the winner jersey. Eat the pavement and you'll lose skin. Sure you might be exercising today to "stay in shape". Try racing and a whole other purpose takes over: keep skin on.

People say they get high during a race, I certainly do. There is something special when taking a corner at 25 mph while being inches away from each other. The adrenaline rush is there and it can be quite addicting.

Just try it.

tag:adrienmagnus.com,2013:Post/1059619 2016-06-04T09:39:34Z 2016-06-30T08:12:29Z Using Amazon Auto Scaling with stateful applications

You’ve heard this before. The team has been working on this service and a couple months later traffic is picking up. Pretty awesome you think, customers are loving this feature! Hold on, now you hear finance people screaming at the Amazon bill. The application is considerably resource intensive. You got two options: 1) find the bottleneck and optimize, 2) limit cost of running the service. Let’s focus on the latter.

Welcome to Amazon Auto Scaling. If the fundamental premise of the cloud is “use only the resources you need for as long as you need”, then add “dynamic scaling based on traffic”.  Bottom line: you save money when traffic is low. Enterprise SaaS is a great use case since customers are using your product during typical business hours, resulting in very low traffic at night. So what does it take to make the switch?

Stateless VS stateful application

Ideally you want to be dealing with a stateless application, where terminating one node won’t produce side effects on user experience. Typical stateless apps include frontend web servers or any app that doesn’t rely on keeping session state in memory.

Unfortunately not all software is created equal. Our use case is a video recorder for web based meetings. While the presenter is discussing slides, the recorder is watching the presentation unfolding real time.
Try to terminate one instance with active sessions and you’re impacting user experience. But there is a solution to which we’ll come back shortly.


One thing with dynamically terminating instances is that you can’t rely on SSH access any longer:

  • Logs need to be forwarded to a remote host using Elasticsearch, Splunk or similar.
  • Provisioning an instance is done in an automated fashion. We use Chef and Terraform.
  • Not directly related to Auto Scaling here but proper deployment tooling is also a requirement. We use Jenkins pipelines and Chef.

Architecting the app around Auto Scaling

Our video recorder app went through a few changes. First you need to expose a health check endpoint that returns HTTP 200 if the app is in a good state. Amazon is continuously polling it and will replace unhealthy instances.

Then you need the app to properly report your chosen autoscaling metric to CloudWatch. For instance our metric is “number of running jobs”. A java thread can handle the task or even a cron job.

One more thing about stateful applications: we want to make sure we don’t disrupt running jobs during a scale down event. Amazon conveniently provides Lifecycle Hooks which allows to perform a custom action before terminating the instance. For instance: a decrease in traffic triggers a scale down event. The oldest instance (by creation time) is picked and moves to Termination:Wait state. Amazon sends a notification using SNS to check if the instance is ready to be terminated. The instance gets the notification and will give the green light for termination if there is no job running, otherwise it’ll respond with a heartbeat to keep waiting until all jobs are done. Which means your app needs to have a thread listening to SNS notifications.
Interestingly lifecycle hooks cannot be set up on Amazon web console, you'll have to use the CLI.

Amazon SDKs make it pretty straightforward to implement the above two items.

tag:adrienmagnus.com,2013:Post/529228 2013-01-17T05:49:00Z 2016-06-04T10:42:25Z My books of 2012

In no particular order: 

Learning Android

Very practical guide to dive into the workings of a microblogging app.

Making Things Happen

Priorities get things done. Plus Scott is such a great writer.

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

The real purpose of scientific method is to make sure Nature hasn’t misled you into thinking you know something that you actually don’t.

Ignore Everybody

If you have the creative bug, it isn’t ever going to go away. You should just get used to the idea of dealing with it.

The Miracle of Mindfullness


Every day we are engaged in a miracle which we don't even recognize: a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, the black, curious eyes of a child-our own two eyes. All is a miracle.

The Creative Habit

Best book on creativity I have read. Dive into your creative DNA and get to work.

What Technology Wants

Kevin's point is that innovations tend to grow organically no matter what. When someone invents something new on the planet, he will be part of this group of people who worked on the exact same thing. The concept of ownership for innovation is becoming increasingly harder to pinpoint. As technology matures its own needs are growing and need to be satisfied. The computing infrastructure that runs Google needs a ton of energy before it can even return a single search result. Important book.

Free Ride

I was hoping to learn about ideas that combine the culture business with Internet/piracy. I did not. That's just a rant.

10 Days to Faster Reading

Reading faster is seriously underrated. Why not dedicate some time to the most important skill ever? Every student should read this.

Business Model Generation

If you don't know where to start with business plans, this is a great reference. That will get you going with coming up with models and ideation. Great pairing with Steve Blank's Lean Launchpad class.

Delivering Happiness

Investing in company culture does scale your business. Tony researched the science of happiness and turned out to combine his findings with running a business. It works.

The Referral Engine

The fact that the author is good at referrals got this book in my hands. But the editing is so poor. Skip this one!

The Flinch

A necessary reminder to get you standing up against the lizard brain. Doing the uncomfortable is key.

The Invention of Air

This book is about the fascinating biography of Joseph Priestley combined with the case on how ideas spread and evolve. Plus Steven is super thoughtful.

The Google Resume

People at the top share many similarities on their resume.

The Design of Everyday Things

Read it and start looking weird at poorly designed door handles.

Moonwalking with Einstein

The art of remembering things has everything to do with physical spaces.

The Art of War

A classic, but what else? Still wondering.

The Happiness Hypothesis

Very interesting book on the science of happiness. What are the tangible factors that make up how happy you are?

Our Posthuman Future

Important topic but poor editing.

The Dip

If you're not going to be number one you might as well quit now. A little book with big impact.

The Big Short

I got the audio book.

The 4 Essentials of Entrepreneurial Thinking

This book is good at explaining the thinking part. Don't forget the doing.

The Shallows

Another important book about the interruption economy.

Getting to Yes

Go find out your BATNA before your next negotiation.

The Case for Marriage


How the Stock Market Works


Just Kids

Patti Smith's autobiography. Her music will resonate differently to you.

tag:adrienmagnus.com,2013:Post/529232 2012-09-27T14:55:00Z 2016-06-04T10:43:21Z What to expect at Startup Weekend?

Startup Weekend is a learning experience about entrepreneurship. You’re building a company from scratch. I just finished my second Startup Weekend San Francisco and it was awesome.

On Friday it starts with a bit of networking to get to know each other and see who would be a good fit to work with. Then it’s time for pitchfire: anyone can pitch an idea and has one minute to do so. 39 ideas got pitched that weekend, wow! People vote for their favorite ideas and 13 teams were formed. What follows is a crazy mix of business model creation, customer validation, programming and connecting pieces together.

You got a team, great. Now you start making hypotheses about the business model. You go out of the building and talk to people to validate these hypotheses.

The weekend culminates with presentations in front of judges. Below are judging criterias and what you need to focus on in my experience:

- customer validation (50%): are you solving a problem that people have?
- business model (25%): how are you going to make revenue?
- execution (25%): what did you build?

Customer validation is so crucial since time is so short. You don’t have time to mess around and need to figure out what should be built. You should have in your presentation metrics of your customer validation. Videos of users talking about your product are even better. Startup Weekends are not hackathons. No one cares about your technology unless it solves a real world problem.

I’m glad of being part of the GoVelo team. We had a great time and our unique combination of skills made a difference. We are working on the problem of safe peer-to-peer bike sharing. Safe is about providing an Arduino based electronic U-lock to bike owners. Peer-to-peer bike sharing is about creating the platform that allows the community to flourish: iPhone and web apps.

You should go to a Startup Weekend if you want super creativity, to know your limits or be surrounded by driven people. You should go if you want to make something happen.


tag:adrienmagnus.com,2013:Post/529234 2011-11-07T03:39:00Z 2013-10-08T17:14:29Z The Checklist Manifesto

After reading this book you will never get into something without doing your checklist first. Atul Gawande is challenging what we think of the reliability of experts with the question: what do we do when expertise is not enough?


He demonstrates how good the impact of the checklist is through carefully chosen stories. It's about surgeons, airline pilots, engineers, investors and the degree of complexity they face to do their job.


Here is my curated version of the book:



The problem of extreme complexity


« Here, then, is the fundamental puzzle of modern medical care: you have a desperately sick patient and in order to have a chance of saving him you have to get the knowledge right and then you have to make sure that the 178 daily tasks that follow are done correctly—despite some monitor's alarm going off for God knows what reason, despite the patient in the next bed crashing, despite a nurse poking his head around the curtain to ask whether someone could help “get this lady's chest open”.

There is complexity upon complexity. And even specialization has begun to seem inadequate. So what do you do?”


“There are degrees of complexity, though, and medicine and other fields like it have grown so far beyond the usual kind that avoiding daily mistakes is proving impossible even for our most superspecialized.”



The checklist


“ Substantial parts of what software designers, financial managers, fire-fighters, police officers, lawyers, and most certainly clinicians do are now too complex for them to carry out reliably from memory alone.”


The end of the master builder


“Four generations after the first aviation checklists went into use, a lesson is emerging: checklists seem able to defend anyone, even the experienced, against failure in many more tasks than we realized. They provide a kind of cognitive net. They catch mental flaws inherent in all of us—flaws of memory and attention and thoroughness.”


There is three different kinds of problems in the world: the simple, the complicated and the complex.


“Simple problems are ones like baking a cake from a mix. There is a recipe. Following the recipe brings a high likelihood of success.”


“Complicated problems are ones like sending a rocket to the moon. They can sometimes be broken down into a series of problems. But there is no straightforward recipe. Success frequently requires multiple people, often multiple teams, and specialized expertise.”


“ Complex problems are ones like raising a child. Once you learn how to send a rocket to the moon, you can repeat the process with other rockets and perfect it. But not so with raising a child. Every child is unique. Although raising one child may provide experience, it does not guarantee success with the next child.”



The checklist factory


“Good checklists are precise. They are efficient, to the point, and easy to use even in the most difficult situations. They do not try to spell out everything—a checklist cannot fly a plane. Instead, they provide reminders of only the most critical and important steps—the ones that even the highly skilled professionals using them could miss. Good checklists are, above all, practical.”


“Pilots nonetheless turn to their checklists for two reasons. First, they are trained to do so. They learn for the beginning of flight school that their memory and judgment are unreliable and that lives depend on their recognizing that fact. Second, the checklists have proved their worth—they work. Aviation checklists are by no means perfect. Some have been found confusing or unclear of flawed. Nonetheless, they have earned pilots' faith.”



The test


“In London, during a knee replacement by an orthopedic surgeon who was one of the toughest critics, the checklist brought the team to recognize, before incision and the point of no return, that the knee prosthesis on hand was the wrong size for the patient—and that the right size was not available in the hospital. The surgeon became an instant checklist proponent.”


“More than 250 staff members—surgeons, anesthesiologists, nurses, and others—filled out an anonymous survey after three months of using the checklist. […] Then we asked the staff one more question. “If you were having an operation, would you want the checklist to be used?”

A full 93 percent said yes.”



The hero in the age of checklists


“ Discipline is hard—harder than trustworthiness and skill and perhaps even than selflessness. We are by nature flawed and inconstant creatures. We can't even keep from snacking between meals. We are not built for discipline. We are built for novelty and excitement, not for careful attention to detail. Discipline is something we have to work at.”



Since then I started thinking in terms of checklists for every task I'm working on. Checklists are big deal. How did the checklist impacted your daily work?

tag:adrienmagnus.com,2013:Post/529237 2011-01-01T19:04:27Z 2013-10-08T17:14:29Z First Quote Of 2011

When a fine idea is compressed into a definite metre, the very same thought comes hurtling at one like a missile launched from a fully extented arm.

―Seneca, Letters from a Stoic

tag:adrienmagnus.com,2013:Post/529240 2010-12-05T00:03:00Z 2013-10-08T17:14:29Z Peace Is Every Step

I went through the whole piece of Peace Is Every Step. This thin book brings a lot of valuable insights from Buddhist teachings into our information-overloaded world. It's that simple and deeply refreshing.

You've got a selection of my best picks:
  • The starting point is mindfulness. And mindfulness is about being fully immersed in the present moment. One way of getting into that state is mindful breathing. Sounds obvious? Just try it and notice how it feels.
  • Our society has materialized happiness with things. They expect you to get them so you'll feel happy somewhere in the future. You actually don't have to. Once you're right in the present moment, you have peace and joy right now. Living in the present moment is taking good care of the future.
  • Aimlessness: The basic condition for being happy is our consciousness of being happy. If we're not aware that we're happy, we're not really happy.
A good example is this: When we have a toothache, we know that not having a toothache is a wonderful thing. But when we don't have a toothache, we're still not happy. A non-toothache is very pleasant though.
  • What's Not Wrong?: We often ask "What's wrong?". Doing so, that makes we think of things that we're guilty of. Negative thinking often comes up. We would be much happier if we tried to stay on track with the positive things around us. We should learn to ask, "What's not wrong?" and be in touch with that.
  • There is a big emphasis on interbeing.
When you're driving your car, you become one with the car. You think you control the car while the car is changing yourself. Once in the car, you expect to arrive pretty quickly. So you're stuck in traffic, stress comes up and you have lost control over your expectation. We should drive our cars with mindfulness so we stay happy as the traveler who walks without thinking to arrive.
tag:adrienmagnus.com,2013:Post/529242 2010-11-28T01:04:00Z 2017-02-19T14:55:31Z Create Stories Using The Social Web With Storify

I first met Storify Cofounder Xavier Damman at a conference in San Francisco one year ago. He was working on a product called Publitweet back then. He also built in 24 hours ListiMonkey right at the time when Twitter launched the list feature. He was very enthusiastic and ready to take the next step.

We're now living in the connected age of social media and we try to catch up with never-ending feeds. Whatsoever on Twitter or Facebook. It's been kind of cool in 2010. We werescrolling on the Twitter feed looking for interesting stuff to learn about.

But another truth lies ahead: it's getting more and more overwhelming to keep up with what's happening with your friends and Twitter followers. People increasingly spend quite a good deal of their life online. People are sharing more and more stuff. People get excited about telling their friend about that awesome video. It all comes down to bring so much noise.

We need filters to get the most relevant information from the noisy social medias. Storify is kind of big deal on the web curation scene. It's about finding the meaning in the noise and turn that meaning into a format that people can actually understand. That format is a story. And people read stories. The stories you create with Storify are made of tweets, status updates, youtube videos and pretty much every other social web service.

I think it's very promising. To me it'll be a lot more handy to tell the story of what happened in a concert while putting together real-time pieces of the show.

Have a look at this recent interview of Storify Cofounders by Robert Scoble:

And here is what a Storify looks like:
tag:adrienmagnus.com,2013:Post/529244 2010-11-18T22:46:00Z 2013-10-08T17:14:29Z Brain Rules

Brain Rules is one of those books that really makes you feel smarter. Who wouldn't want to know how your brain is running?

I loved this book. John Medina did a great work in putting his tremendous knowledge into twelves small chapters. The book is packed up with many stories, each one illustrating one brain rule at a time. I learned a handful of tricks for dealing with school, work and home life.

Here are some of the notes that I put in my Moleskine:
  • Most of the events that predict whether something learned also will be remembered occur in the first few seconds of learning.
  • Many of the same mechanisms that cause you to run from a predator are also used when you're having sex.
  • Every brain is wired differently. Even though the current system is founded on expectations that certain learning goals should be achieved by a certain age. Students of the same age show a great deal of intellectual variability.
  • One NASA study showed that a 26-minute nap improved a pilot's performance by more than 34%. The afternoon nap is a biological need.
  • If information is presented orally, people remember about 10%, tested 72 hours after exposure. That figure goes up to 65% if you add a picture.
I first heard about this book in Scott Berkun's Confession of a Public Speaker and I'm sure he did benefit a lot from it too.
tag:adrienmagnus.com,2013:Post/529246 2010-11-10T15:55:36Z 2023-06-17T16:23:58Z Just Got My Wax Tailor Vinyl Signed

That made my day. Thanks Louis!

tag:adrienmagnus.com,2013:Post/529248 2010-11-08T23:44:24Z 2013-10-08T17:14:29Z Attention Is The New Black
Music bands are doomed. The Internet era has completely shifted the distribution platform. It used to be the record shops. Today it's all about streaming monthly subscription. There is one good news and one bad news to that.

Good news is that the customer accesses to pretty much any track on powerful streaming platforms such as Spotify.

But bad news is every band or artist has now the same visibility on the distribution platform. I mean the size of the record shop is limited by the space in which a limited number of records can be on sale. And therefore a selection is made up. The customer easily finds what he's looking for. The artist can somehow size up his audience.

Although with the streaming platforms there is no limit. In a couple of minutes the customer can switch between as many as ten records. Because aside from the TOP 50 songs, there is no selection. The customer is lost with the ten million tracks choice. So he's trying out a bit of everything and is frustrated of leaving some unheard.

If the physical record get purchased, a meaningful connection is established with the artist as the customer will dedicate time and attention to listen to the record. Because that's a physical thing that you can hold with both hands. While the digital record is manipulated from your fingertip for a few seconds. The perceived value obviously is here close to nothing.

For an artist to get valuable audience, customer's attention needs to be focused on an experience for some time in the proper context. So that's a lasting moment.

This is going to be pretty tough for artists as the attention span is getting smaller and smaller. Even though there is a solution. They've got either to be really good in social medias or to make really great music. They can be either a member of the tribe or they can set the tone for what everyone is talking about within the tribe.
tag:adrienmagnus.com,2013:Post/529250 2010-11-05T00:10:00Z 2013-10-08T17:14:29Z The Cultural Barrier With The Translating Phone

Earlier in October, Michael Arrington talked about the slow race to a translating phone. The product translates voice into another language and then speaks the translation to the listener. And Google is working on it.

It's indeed a very promising technology, as we can see on this demo. This actually would make intercultural communications more accessible. Michael Arrington goes even further saying that being able to pick up the phone and talk to someone without a common language would help make the world a smaller place.

The thing is that culture is deeply anchored into language. And talking with each other in a specific language means sharing cultural traits, not only mere chatting. Using a translating phone means talking in the same way you talk to friends from your country, although the two people aren't sharing same cultural values. At first sight I don't feel the culture dimension of the product.

Though today's globalization is about using foreign languages in order to create a relationship through a meaningful cultural connection. I don't think this technology is going to forge business relationships and friendships easier in the future. Experts estimate that the words we say barely represent 10% of human communication.

Let's say voice translation was the first part. What're we going to do when adding video and body language issues?

New social behaviours will appear anyway as the translating phone is coming in the following months.
tag:adrienmagnus.com,2013:Post/529252 2010-10-24T22:27:00Z 2013-10-08T17:14:30Z Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel


Rolf Potts puts into contrast the tremendous difference between traveling as having vacation and traveling as a full discovery experience. Vagabonding is a fresh book that's digging into the philosophy of travel.

In case you were wondering, "vagabonding" doesn't relate to homeless people, instead:

Vagabonding is an attitude - a friendly interest in people, places and things that makes a person an explorer in the truest, most vivid sense of the world.

For most of people, going to vacation means rewarding pleasure for working hard a freaking number of hours per week all year long. Though vagabonding is not an escape from your real life but a discovery of your real life that justifies work. The purpose is -at its best- a rediscovery of reality itself so to allow your spirit to grow:

Travel compels you to discover your spiritual side by simple elimination: without all the rituals, routines and possessions that give your life meaning at home, you're forced to look for meaning within yourself.

The 4 key principles of the Vagabonding philosophy:
  • Keep things real and keep on learning.
  • Be creative and get into adventures.
  • Earn your freedom all over again and don't set limits.
  • Keep things simple and let your spirit grow.
As a frequent traveler, the content provided by this book has been very valuable to me. I highly recommend it to anyone willing to jump into the unknown of the road.
tag:adrienmagnus.com,2013:Post/529254 2010-10-10T19:35:23Z 2013-10-08T17:14:30Z Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything

Economic books have the true advantage of being backed up by numbers. And numbers don't lie. Freakonomics is about digging in unusual questions of daily life and society, using the power of numbers in order to unmask curious conclusions.

Conventional wisdom is definitely defied. Questions such as: Why experts are in the perfect position to exploit you? Which is most dangerous: a gun or a swimming pool? How the legalization of abortion impacted so much criminality? How the invention of crack cocaine mirrored the invention of nylon stocking? And so on.
My favorite: How much do parents really matter?

The incentive behind this book is the fact that morality represents the way that people would like the world to work. Whereas economics represents how it actually does work. And people crave for that information. A very entertaining reading.
tag:adrienmagnus.com,2013:Post/529256 2010-10-03T22:55:00Z 2013-10-08T17:14:30Z 8 Facts Why Silicon Valley Kicks Europe's Butt


I have been wondering lately whether Europe can be such a place as great as Silicon Valley to foster startup creation.
Loic Le Meur puts a couple of reasons why Silicon Valley is well ahead of Europe in the tech business. Here are the 8 key facts:

  • All you need is in one place. The best Internet companies and the best people in tech industry are all in one place.
  • Campus life. Everything you do with entrepreneur friends during free time is related with business. It's non stop.
  • Social environment is very flexible. You can hire fast but also fire fast which is very unpopular in Europe and impossible to do. Being able to fire fast allows startups to hire fast.
  • The "how can I help" attitude. People trust you more by default. Very easy to meet anyone in Silicon Valley.
  • Diversity. Silicon Valley is much more diverse. Half of the people we interact with daily are not Americans.
  • Visibility. The press and the key tech blogers care more about you if you are based there.
  • Global state of mind. You're surrounded by people who want to create the leader in the world on something. The thing is you're allowed to think big.
  • Multinational team. It forces you to think and execute globally. Especially enhances creativy.

Picture by Cirencester Cupcakes
tag:adrienmagnus.com,2013:Post/529258 2010-07-13T18:07:00Z 2013-10-08T17:14:30Z On The Meaning of Travel

Before the development of tourism, travel was conceived to be like study, and its fruits were considered to be the adornment of the mind and the formation of the judgement. The traveler was a student of what he sought.

―Paul Fussel, Abroad

tag:adrienmagnus.com,2013:Post/529260 2010-06-26T22:55:00Z 2013-10-08T17:14:30Z Catching Up with the Information Era

We're dealing with an increasing amount of information everyday. This is beginning with public transportation. First thing you have in front of you when riding the metro is three different newspapers available for free. Each of them contain all kinds of news and junk advertising.
Then there are computers which basically allow you to access the knowledge of the world for free. You can be aware of what's happening anywhere in the world in real time thanks to the revolutionary Internet.
Next thing is emails. We're addicted to emails. We keep checking emails and our brain makes automatically us click on the new items that are filling the inbox. This is happening all day as long as you're in front of a computer.
And then there is Facebook. A whole new layer of information about your friends is capturing your attention. People say Facebook is about maintaining relationships with your friends. But does a status update make the relationship with your 500 or 1000 friends maintained?
And now there is iPhone. A handy device with which you access Facebook, Twitter, emails and news. In real time and from anywhere. Are we actually feeling good when processing that never-ending amount of information?

Although the quantity of information we need to deal with has increased in a huge way over time, our ability to pay attention did not. The average number of friends you can maintain over time in the real world is 150, says anthropologist Robin Dunbar. So what's the meaning of checking what's up with several hundreds of friends on Facebook? Which one of these situations do you remember the most: When you're hustling to keep your friends posted by sending messages left and right on Facebook; When you're having fun drinking beers in a pub with a bunch of friends.
Is it meaningful for you to spend your time consuming information and being often interrupted by "breaking" news, text messages and Facebook's notifications?
Getting information can lead to inspiration. But too much information is information overload.
Checking emails first thing in the morning will make you think you achieved something because you did answer emails. You actually did not craft anything new on your own. The worst is that your amount of attention has decreased. Although the thing you did just after emails might have required 100% of your attention to make sense.
If some news are really breaking news, that makes people talk about it. So you're aware of most news while small talks with people surrounding you.
The way we're spending our time everyday is defining what you achieved in your life. Time is a scarce resource and we don't control it. Our own attention is an even scarcer resource however we do own and control it. Does the time you spend to be aware of everything make your life meaningful?

Technologies are capturing more and more our attention. The span of attention we dedicate to a specific thing is becoming smaller and smaller. The information era is not over at all. And the way humans think doesn't make us avoid information overload because our minds are driven by short term commitments and activities.
Once again, technology can help us by providing the right tool. To make our life meaningful in this information era, we need tools to curate and filter contents. So you can focus your attention, do something that is meaningful for you and make a difference.

tag:adrienmagnus.com,2013:Post/529261 2010-04-24T16:11:00Z 2013-10-08T17:14:30Z Confessions Of A Public Speaker

People are more afraid of public speaking than death. Yes, and that's why tons of inexperienced people fail to communicate ideas to their audience. Don't you remember one time when you were wasting your time in a room where the speaker was actually talking to himself? Because I do. This refreshing book deals with conference speakers and teachers. It contains dozens of insights so to provide clues on how to do public speaking right.

The majority of people are dead lazy to prepare their talk when they speak in public. They *think* it's going to be all right. The truth is that these speakers are not only wasting their own time in case of fail. It's actually 33 hours of wasted time if we consider a 100 people audience attending to a 20 minutes talk.
What the audience expects from the speaker is though nothing much. Just as much as the talk is entertaining and, maybe, inspiring. If it even leads to make people do something differently after the talk, then you might be doing very well.

Scott Berkun explains in a plain style how speakers should behave to effectively connect to their audiences. Confessions Of A Public Speaker is full of practical tips and will make you laugh.]]>
tag:adrienmagnus.com,2013:Post/529263 2010-02-15T16:04:31Z 2013-10-08T17:14:30Z 65 km/h is my best snowboarding speed for today. Will #crushit tomorrow.

tag:adrienmagnus.com,2013:Post/529265 2010-01-12T07:09:58Z 2013-10-08T17:14:30Z Mavericks at Work

"A report from the front lines of the future of business. It's not a book of best practices. It's a book of next practices--a set of insights and a collection of case studies that amount to a business plan for the 21st century, a new way to lead, compete, and succeed." -Taylor and LaBarre

From my last readings.
tag:adrienmagnus.com,2013:Post/529267 2010-01-05T22:16:00Z 2013-10-08T17:14:30Z Just got my signed copy of The 4-Hour Workweek!

At Samovar Tea Lounge in San Francisco. Thanks Tim Ferriss!

tag:adrienmagnus.com,2013:Post/529269 2009-12-30T22:39:25Z 2013-10-08T17:14:30Z You need to Crush It

From my last readings.

tag:adrienmagnus.com,2013:Post/529230 2009-11-29T01:24:00Z 2013-10-08T17:14:29Z Them Crooked Vultures at Fox Theater

Them Crooked Vultures is a rock supergroup made up of drummer Dave Grohl (Foo Fighters, Nirvana), vocalist and guitarist Josh Homme (Queens of the Stone Age, Kyuss, Eagles of Death Metal) and bassist and keyboardist John Paul Jones (Led Zeppelin).

They played the entire album plus "Highway 1". Josh Homme even dealed some vodka during "Interlude With Ludes". Dave Grohl was blasting so hard that his drum kit was moving on stage, even if it was stucked with multiple sandbags. They leaved without any encore, but who cares? It was perfect.
What a great high quality performance. One of the best 2009 shows.

Photos by Laura Musselman.

tag:adrienmagnus.com,2013:Post/529233 2009-11-25T08:03:00Z 2013-10-08T17:14:29Z Spotify rocks with precursor mobile music experience

Spotify is a great music streaming service that allows instant listening to more than 6 millions songs. The application is available on Windows, Mac OS X, iPhone and Android phones.

I was using the free version for a couple of months. It stands to reason that yes, advertising sucks. But the Symbian version has just been released which allows me to use Spotify on my Nokia N95.

As a music nerd, I quite immediately upgraded my account to 9,99€/month prenium version which provides:
- Mobile music with streaming over 3G/2.5G/Wifi in high quality
- Playlists are even available offline
- Access music anywhere in the world and of course no ads

After 24H of use I must admit that I totally love it. This is real innovation in the music industry.
And Deezer is now also into the prenium game. Sorry, but Spotify won this time with Nokia support.

tag:adrienmagnus.com,2013:Post/529236 2009-11-17T07:10:39Z 2013-10-08T17:14:29Z Reality Check

I finally finished this 496 pages great book. A must read for anyone willing to deal with the reality of startups doing business.

A quote from the front flap:

"I wanted to provide hardcore information to hardcore people who want to kick ass, and I wanted it in something you can hold in your hands - a book. Why? Because a book boots up faster than a blog and is not dependant on Internet connectivity, battery life, or the ineptness of HTML printing."]]>
tag:adrienmagnus.com,2013:Post/529239 2009-11-16T08:42:42Z 2013-10-08T17:14:29Z Golden Gate Bridge Some nice pictures by Sylvain from our last trip over the Golden Gate Bridge.

tag:adrienmagnus.com,2013:Post/529241 2009-11-07T06:19:00Z 2013-10-08T17:14:29Z Why NOW Is the Time to Cash In on Your Passion

Just listen to Gary.

Then, do the right next step.]]>
tag:adrienmagnus.com,2013:Post/529243 2009-10-28T04:42:00Z 2013-10-08T17:14:29Z 3 Google Voice invites giveaway

Google Voice is a great new phone service that is really innovative. I'm using Google Voice daily since two months and I love it.

Here is some of the nicest features it provides:
  • One number: a single phone number that rings all your phones
  • Free SMS: send, receive & store text messages online
  • Block calls: send unwanted callers straight to voicemail
  • Record calls: record phone calls and store them online
  • Conference calls: join several people into a single call
  • Screen callers: hear who is calling before you pick up

And yes, I'm giving away 3 invites. To get one, just craft a comment below with your email address, you need to be in the US. I will send invites to 3 people of you in a few days.

tag:adrienmagnus.com,2013:Post/529245 2009-10-22T06:57:00Z 2013-10-08T17:14:29Z Did You Know?