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Becoming the sort of person I want to be

Posted: - Modified: | analysis, issues, life

There are three major shifts that I'm struggling with:

  • becoming a person who can tolerate more pain in order to achieve certain goals, such as fitness
  • becoming a person who can easily enjoy people's company and appreciate what's interesting about them
  • becoming a person who can make longer-term commitments, trusting that things will work out

Sometimes I wonder if it's worth making these changes. Maybe I should just go with how I bend, building on strengths instead of fiddling with weaknesses. If I follow that principle, I might instead:

  • look for ways to make the most of the things that come easily to me
  • explore the shifting connections around ideas and conversations instead of focusing on specific people
  • maximize freedom, flexibility, and agility

The first set of paths seems harder than the second, but will it work out for me better? Taking the easy way still leads to lots of interesting possibilities and less wasted energy. On the other hand, trying difficult things can expand my confidence and help me challenge artificial limits. Also, I tend to over-estimate how difficult things are, and I tend to be more adaptable than I expect. So if the first set of changes is better for me (based on the reasons given by philosophers and learned from other people's lives), it might make sense to give those a good try–at least for a number of years.

Let me take a closer look at each of those shifts to see if I can puzzle out what I'm struggling with and how to transform that.

Becoming a person who can tolerate more pain in order to achieve certain goals, such as fitness

I still feel anxious at the prospect of combined pain and stress, like the way I seized up after spraining my ankle in a krav maga class. On the other hand, I feel okay with the slight discomfort of the gentle running program that W- is helping me with and the Hacker's Diet exercise ladder I'm doing. I've dealt with some pain along the way to working on other things. Most things are not supposed to hurt a lot (otherwise you're doing it wrong), but a little wobbliness is understandable.

Taking the long view helps. I remind myself that pain has so far been temporary and that memory is thankfully fuzzy about stuff like that. Gradually, as my strength and tolerance improves, I should be able to take on more and more.

Becoming a person who can easily enjoy people's company and appreciate what's interesting about them

I'm okay with people. I like them as an abstract idea, and I get along with people online and in real life. I probably just have to get out more, ask more questions, share a little more of myself in conversation, and become more comfortable with having people over.

Becoming a person who can make longer-term commitments, trusting that things will work out

Seeing the difficulty that people have in transferring leadership roles and knowing my own inconstancy of interests, I hesitate to take on longer-term commitments or bigger roles. Maybe this is something I can learn, though. I'm surrounded by opportunities and role models, so it's as good a time as any to pick this up. For some of the bigger decisions, I find it helpful to learn from other people who have dealt with similar things before.

What would be some triggers for switching strategy and following what's more natural for me? If I'm not making any progress or if I notice myself being consistently unhappy, that might be a good sign that I need to reconsider my plans. In the meantime, I'm making very slow progress, but it does seem to get easier and less scary each time I try this.

Post your reaction!

Posted: - Modified: | issues, philippines

Discuss the SpecOps issue over at . Go,! =)

(I'm not part of, but I have friends who blog there, and I like what they're doing. They have clue.)

No talent in the Philippines? Yeah, right. – rant

Posted: - Modified: | issues, philippines

SpecOps Labs thinks there's not enough IT talent in the Philippines. That's why they had to outsource their development, they said.

If they had a hard time finding talent, it was because geeks stay away
from companies that suck.

Let me tell you what this geek thinks about SpecOps.

When my teacher asked me two years ago if I wanted to work on an open
source project, of course I was interested. I checked out
SpecOps' website, eager to find out about their technical vision and who else would be working on the project. What did I find?

Buzzwords. Egotistic claims. A schedule straight out of a marketer's
dream and a developer's nightmare. I knew then and there that
SpecOps was a company that had no clue.

In the geek world, clue is extremely important. If you want to attract
the best talent, you need to have clue. You need to know what you're
talking about. You _definitely_ need to show that you're not all hype
and no code.

I told my teacher that SpecOps gave me the heebiejeebies and that
there was no way in heck I was going to touch the project.

I wasn't the only geek who smelled something fishy. As soon as
SpecOps' claims hit mailing lists and newsgroups, geeks around
the world ripped SpecOps to pieces. Sure, SpecOps tried to
do damage control, but geek trust is hard to regain.

SpecOps may razzle and dazzle venture capitalists and journalists
with a quick show-and-tell, but they don't have enough clue to get
geeks on board.

Lack of IT talent in the Philippines? Yeah, right. They should blame
it on the fact that we've got clue, and they just don't.

So here are three tips for companies who want to have clue.

1. DO contribute to the open source community.

Give credit and code as often and as publicly as you can. Build your
reputation by contributing patches and posting messages on mailing
lists. That's whre we'll factcheck you to find out if you know what
you're talking about. If you've got the geek power to influence an
open source project like WINE, then we'll believe that you can make a
commercial product out of it. If the first time the open source
community hears from you is through the press release saying you've
invented a solution that could change the world, don't blame us if we
laugh at you.

2. DO NOT contract your website to frustrated adventure novel writers.

It's a pity you can't find all their old press releases on the website
any more, but here's a snippet for your enjoyment:

The story behind David reads like an adventure novel: In
July of 2002, news of SpecOpS Labs' discovery was leaked from
Oracle-Philippines to Microsoft in Redmond WA. Microsoft immediately
relayed a communiqué to an Asian based Private Investigator requesting
detailed info on the SpecOpS Labs Platform; days later, news of the
investigation was intercepted by a friendly asset and delivered to
SpecOpS Labs. In August, the Philippines' top computer scientist & MIT
alumni scrutinized the David blueprint and certified its validity; a
few weeks later, a high-ranking ASEAN IBM Official learned of the
discovery and its certification and requested a meeting with SpecOpS

Sheer hilarity. The rest of the text that's still on the website just
smacks of ego and marketing.

3. DO take care of your geeks.

A tech company should focus more on its geeks than on its venture
capitalists. Assemble a great team and you can find funding to grow.
The best geeks don't answer want ads or cold calls. We're all off
doing something interesting.

Here's how to get our attention:

  1. Contribute to the community. That'll get you onto our radar.
  2. Have a geek-friendly website. That'll get us curious.
  3. Take care of the geeks you've got. Impress them and they'll draw in more geeks. Geek testimonials count a lot.

Don't be like SpecOps. Be clueful, and you'll find plenty of
geeks doing amazing things in the Philippines.

No talent in the Philippines?

| issues, philippines

SpecOps Labs thinks there's not enough IT talent in the Philippines.

What a totally bogus excuse. You have no idea how angry that makes me.
I'm going to rant about it at length today, but I'm going to post this
in advance so that you can respond on your own blogs. E-mail me or use
the feedback form so that I can link to your entry.

Spread the light. Banish the darkness.

Posted: - Modified: | issues, philippines

From Manolo Quezon‘s blog.

An invitation.
August 20, 2005 at exactly 6:00 pm.

When an ordinary citizen steals, would an “I am sorry” be enough? When
an ordinary citizen lies, would an “I am sorry” be enough? When an
ordinary citizen cheats, would an “I am sorry” be enough?

Ask yourself: If you are an employee and your employer catches you
cheating, lying and stealing — will an “I am sorry” be sufficient or a
“lapse of judgment” be accepted? Or would you stand to lose your job?

What is our country coming to if we hold ordinary Filipinos to higher
and stricter standards than we hold the highest official of the land?

This is not to say that the President of the Philippines is guilty of
all that she is being accused of. It is only to say two different
standards of rules – one for the powerful and one for the powerless —
cannot exist if ours is to be a truly democratic and pluralistic

This is not the country we want. And so perhaps it is time we do
something about it.

If you believe, as we do, that it is time for ordinary Filipinos to
stand up and be counted in the fight for TRUTH — as well as for
Transparency, for Responsibility, for Unity, for Trust and for Hope —
then join us in a simple demonstration of our collective sentiments.

On August 20, Saturday, at exactly 6pm, take a few moments to light a
candle in demonstration of our collective effort to take this country
back from all who have not been true to it and to all of us ordinary
citizens – and to be the first step in bringing about the light that
will banish the darkness that hovers over our land!

Spread the light. Banish the darkness. August 20, 2005 at exactly

Transparency. Responsibility. Unity. Trust. Hope.

For me, it isn't a question of who's going to replace Gloria
Macapagal-Arroyo. It's a question of whether we're going to ask the
question in the first place, or whether we're going to close our eyes.

I may not be in the Philippines right now, but I hope to come home

Not the only one

| issues, philippines

It's great to know that I'm not the only one who thinks loving one's
country isn't passe. From a chat with

 Hey Sacha! How are things in Canada? I just read your
              entry on coming back home to the Philippines. Very very
              very positive attitude! If more progressive people like
              you (and me!) thought more about what we can do for this
              country than merely what it can do for us, I'm sure it
              wouldn't be in the rut it is now. We have a lot of work
              to do, but as early as now, brava! :)
 Awww... =)
 Things are fine in Canada, although I _really_ need to find
         other Filipinos who care about the Philippines and don't go
         on and on about the Good Life here or say things like "You
         know, I was also patriotic when I was young..."
 I read the "Walang Kwenta Ang Pilipinas" email that's been going around.
 I couldn't finish it because I found that it just said
              too much of the obvious and the wrong. We all know we're
              in a rut, and just writing about the rut we're in
              doesn't solve things.
 Your blog entry, though short, inspired me. Knowing that
              I have like-minded colleagues like you give me the
              strength to continue standing up for this country,
              amidst the exodus of professionals and the shit that our
              politicians just keep ramming down our throats.
 I hope you find more like-minded people there. The
              feeling of being the only one can be very discouraging.

Ka Edong of Technobiography
also wrote, “There's a lot to be done for the Philippines. We do what
we can.”

Awww. =)

I want to find other Filipinos in Toronto who are passionate about
nationbuilding and who believe we can do something even from this

I know people like that can exist outside the country. I mean, if
MIT has enough people to start MIT PESO,
why not UToronto?

See, I'm not the only one weirded out by the word “co-ed”

| issues, women

From: on a word-a-day mailing list I’m subscribed to:

The most egregious example of gender-bias in English is, I think, the
existence of two words for students. Male students are students; but
female students are co-eds. This originates in schools being for males
only. So, when they allowed girls to come “along” (this is what co-
means), they were viewed as nonessential appendages. Kind of like Adam
being created independently, and then Eve was formed to assist him. I
have insisted that all my students expunge this word from their
vocabulary. I no longer allow them to say they live in a co-ed dorm,
for example, since that implies that the dorms are really there for
the one sex only. There are only male dorms, female dorms, and mixed-
gender dorms (although this is a misnomer, since gender is not the
same as sex; but we can’t very easily call them two-sex dorms without
raising eyebrows; unisex might work?).

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