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Entrepreneur’s Passion and Success

“If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins”

-Benjamin Franklin

As always Mark Suster has something very wise and insightful to say. His the most recent post about an entrepreneur’s authenticity and associated likelihood of success really put everything into prospective for me. Every time I read an article about an innovative hot startup tapping into a niche market, or trying to demolish laundry, I always try evaluate the idea and predict company’s long term future (a pure guess based on the industry knowledge if there is any and the whole startup scene). Moreover, I try putting myself in the shoes of a founder and the user to get different world views.
In the most of the cases I am disappointed and frustrated because I do not see any innovation there. My dry cleaning and cookies? – Hmm, I don’t know about that. What’s there for me in the whole laundry rat race as a consumer? And what about those mom-and-pop’s shops that keep doing a great job by being local, personal and authentic? I love efficiency but let’s not mistaken efficiency and task-automation for innovation. It seems like a great market: profitable and full of healthy competition but I do not really see an authentic passion behind 20-something founders who want to change how laundry business works. Just tell me you are there for money, I will respect that. At the end this is the ultimate goal of any for-profit business.
Going back to Mark Suster’s article, as a founder you have to have passion. Passion converts into commitment and tenacity, it wakes you up in the morning and makes you show up every day no matter what. And when I think about a passionate entrepreneur my good friend Aga comes to mind. Over the past several months she’s been working on Niwa – smartphone-controlled growing system – your little indoor garden for veggies and fruits – an amazing idea that has a huge potential to change the world, how and where we get our fresh produce. This project definitely starts the conversation we should be all having. The impact on the world may not be big in the beginning, however, I see it opening new opportunities and ways to change the world.

And thanks to passion, hard work and dedication Aga’s team just raised enough funds on Kickstarter to go ahead and start building awesome-looking indoor gardens.

Aga, I am very proud of you. Keep it up!

Quote of the Day

I’ve noticed the best things in my life, the most exciting, demanding and stretching happened when I said yes to something I was not sure about. The way I know something worth pursuing is my heart starts beating like crazy, I get super excited and that inner evil voice (‘lizard brain’) start whispering I cannot, I should not, I do not have time. And I always do figure it out.

Branson 300x300 Quote of the Day

KatPreneur


Quote of the Day

Here is a very powerful quote by Maya Angelou that will make you think and look at many things, relationships and goals in your life differently. Read it a few times and let it sink into you.

“I’ve learned that no matter what happens, or how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow. I’ve learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights. I’ve learned that regardless of your relationship with your parents, you’ll miss them when they’re gone from your life. I’ve learned that making a “living” is not the same thing as making a “life.” I’ve learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance. I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back. I’ve learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision. I’ve learned that even when I have pains, I don’t have to be one. I’ve learned that every day you should reach out and touch someone. People love a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back. I’ve learned that I still have a lot to learn. I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

― Maya Angelou


Mathematical Thinking: Thinking Outside the Box vs. Inside the Box

“Mathematics makes the invisible visible”

- Keith Devlin

It’s about thinking not learning, understanding not doing, building your own car not just learning to drive it. It’s about learning how to think about the problems and derive your own solutions.

Slide3 300x225 Mathematical Thinking: Thinking Outside the Box vs. Inside the Box

Mathematical thinking

I bet this does not sound like a math class you took in high school or college. Unfortunately, most of today’s mathematics taught in high schools or universities still heavily relies on the five-centuries old principles and theorems, it relies on teaching and remembering, applying and solving rather than thinking through, making mistakes and deriving solutions using your own methods. Mathematical thinking makes you a better communicator, writer and decision-maker on every stage of your life no matter what career you are pursuing.

I seemed to be always good at math – it was hard but I was pushing even harder, I was persistent. Now, looking back I can credit all my “being good at math” skill to my excellent memory: I was simply good at looking in the “cookbook”, remembering the “recipes” and applying them to solve the problems. Mistakes were prohibited, failures were not allowed, you had to solve it and be an A-student and it did not really matter if you understood the language of mathematics or not. This is how the educational system I came from worked. And it did work: I knew how to drive the car but I did not know how to fix it or build my own. It definitely shaped the way I think now and how I derive solutions to any problem; however, I realized it is never too late to learn how perform a maintenance, think in more abstract terms and outside of a mathematical box; hence, I am thrilled about taking Introduction to Mathematical Thinking class available on Coursera. I cleared my mind and ready for a new challenge!


Programming and Storytelling

“The spark of a tiny idea can ignite dynamic innovation”

- Reed B Markham

One of my friends sent me something very cool today related to Ruby, something that got me SO excited, something that still makes me smile and think: “Wow, this is it! She got it! Now, by the time young women start looking for funding for their first startup, they would have been coding by then for more than 10 years. Now we can start raising our girls and let them be creative, technical and prepare for the world that is being eaten by software.”

Introducing Hello Ruby by Linda Liucas – a magical book about adventures of a little girl named Ruby. A book that potentially could solve a “women in tech ratio” problem, encourage girls from the early on to get involve into technical and creative stuff, motivate them to build instead of decorate (stereotype).

I am particular stoked about Linda being a self-taught coder. Moreover, she is incredibly authentic (just listen to any of her talks), smart, creative and absolutely breaks stereotypes. And I love when people break stereotypes.

Make sure to get one of those brilliant books for your girl! Every line of code counts. This is a beginning of something bigger!


2013 in review – a year of learning

Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.

- Tony Robbins

2013 was my first planned year. I spent a few days in late December 2012 planning my life for 2013 following Chris Guillebeau advice. And guess what?! Planning and setting the goals does help you to stay on track and focused. Of course, I did not complete all of my goals, however, 80% success is a great start I think. I tested a few things throughout a year, figured what works for me and what does not, read a few great books and blog posts on how to ensure my goal setting and achieving processes are successful and I am sure I’ll do so much better in 2014.

What really helped me I think is not only writing those goals in my spreadsheet but having them always in front of me – on my whiteboard in the bedroom. I would wake up every day reading my mission and goals for the year, I would go to sleep with them on my mind – unconsciously – just by glancing over the board. And it worked. I am planning on doing the same thing in 2014 but limiting the number of goals to maximum of 10 following Michael Hyatt advice.

So, here are some of my stats I’d like to share:

  • Read 17 books
  • Visited 5 new countries
  • Wrote 17 blog posts
  • Ran 1021 miles
  • Learned 6 new skills

2014 will be a year of FOCUS. I will keep pushing my limits, learning, focusing on high-value side projects, discovering new countries, growing spiritually, personally and professionally. I am still working out my exact goals – this time it is coming out a bit slow. I have a lot on my mind while simultaneously trying to work out the priorities.

I wish you Happy 2014 year! Make it a year full of achievements and new discoveries.

KatPreneur


Don’t Forget to Google Yourself or The Open Source Report Card

Did you know you can learn so much about yourself by just Googling your own name?! I bet you do and I am sure you did it a few times in the past before embarking on that job hunt or after you removed a picture from one of your social media networks where someone tagged you in the photo taken late in the night after another party…I suggest you make it a routine and Google yourself at least once a month (make sure to do it in incognito window) just to make sure you are on top of your own self, figuratively of course.

Why? Well, there is a new data aggregation service comes up almost every month. Some tools would collect data related to all your work experience, projects, etc. and display in a neat graphical form to help recruiters figure what you are all about; others would gather all your other social activity including your personal info such as an email. Most of the these cool tools are not going to ask your permission so you have to watch out if you don’t want some pieces of information to be public. Hence, Googling really helps to get that insight and prevent your data from being leaked and aggregated. I am sure this is not the news for you though.

What was pretty interesting for me though was to find my Open Source Report Card. I mean, seriously, I love it! It is witty and funny yet informative and does draw a nice picture of your open source activity.

According to osrc I am “a noteworthy Rubyist who loves pushing code… a nine-to-fiver who works best in the morning (around 10 am).” I myself did not know that!

Open Source Report Card 300x90 Dont Forget to Google Yourself or The Open Source Report Card

Average weekly and daily schedules.


There are also some really cool stats on the number of projects I contributed to and languages I am programming in. If you ever contributed to any project or pushed anything to GitHub I suggest you plug in your GitHub handle and check out your report!


Using Machine Learning to Monitor and Analyze Sounds Species Make

“In under a minute, machine-learning algorithms have analyzed the audio files, scanning the frequencies for patterns indicative of a specific species. So far the team has used the technology to single out calls from several frogs, a couple birds, a monkey, and two yet-to-be identified insects.”

 

Its pretty cool to see how and where machine learning can be applied to.

Thus, machine learning can be be applied to analyze “thousand of hours of wildlife audio in real time”

This is yet another way of tracking effects of climate change on fauna. The technology itself is super simple: mic attached to an iPod that picks up sounds and transmits them. The secret juice is a combination of algorithms that would analyze audio files.

Read the article here

KatPreneur


Humility, Truth and Personal Growth

“Perfect humility dispenses with modesty”

C.Lewis

The internet  is full of resources and one can have an ongoing learning and, thus, personal and professional growth as long as there is a motivation, desire and humility. Have you noticed the smartest and the most wise people in the world are very modest? When interviewed, they tend to mention a few times they don’t know much, they did not do anything special (of course, after receiving a Nobel prize in physics or any other related field). Obviously, there is something more to that.

The problem could be in our education system: we are brought to school (and college) and told we’d know everything if we are good students. Grades encourage and motivate us creating a tribe of over-confident and bold humans who are supposed to succeed in their lives. By the time we all graduate we “know everything” and know what the truth is. Sure…confidence creates success. We all want to achieve high peaks, be financially free and be considered by people around us successful. However, while most of us are taught confidence in schools by means of grades and encouragements form the teachers, professors, peers and parents, only a few are taught to think like a scientist: base judgement on evidence, questions ‘truth’, keep experimenting, doubt everything, break a problem int small chunks, and so much more. This is exactly what This Will Make You Smarter book is all about.

But let’s go back to humility. We are not taught to have one. If some of us are lucky and open-minded enough, they gradually reach the point in their lives where questions about the ‘truth’ and existent knowledge would arise. They’d realize there is so much more in this world they don’t know, or thought they knew but knowledge was doubted. This would be a beginning of a new learning phase, hopefully an ongoing one. This would be an exciting path of new discoveries, disappointments and constant growth. They’d dig out an inner kid in them: always curious and open-minded, doubting everything, asking questions, running experiments.

Keep looking, don’t settle” and be humble if you want to run on the exciting path of discoveries even if that means your believes would be doubted and broken.

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- KatPreneur


First App in Rails

“We don’t like what we don’t understand. In fact, it scares us.”

- Beauty and the Beast

Exciting stuff: I spent 15 hours or so on the weekend working on my first Rails App.

There are a couple of tutorials out there I found very useful, however, they are slightly different in implementation and commands/codes they suggest to use. The lesson learned – never blindly follow and execute based on one resource only. The chance 99% is you’ll get stuck and won’t even know why something does not work. I had 2 tutorials opened and still encountered a lot of issues, hence I had to do some digging around and figure what command in the terminal/method in my code does what, what is Gemfile, why I need to delete index.html file and etc.

Here are 2 tutorials to look at:

I am starting off with a very basic and simple app:

  • Authentication
  • Validation (title and body) – both have to have at least some text
  • View all posts
  • Edit/Delete post
  • Comment

I think I have a bug with my Comment functionality: it throws some error when I am trying to submit a comment.. I need to figure what is going on. My guess some method in my Controller Comment file does not do what it needs – it does not create a comment. Fixing a bug will be my Phase Ia before I move on to Phase II – adding UI elements – most likely Twitter Bootstrap since uploading Foundation Zurb to my Rails did not work – it screwed up my CSS styling. I had to go back and clean up all my files where ‘foundation’ was mentioned.

I also pushed my code to Heroku, git and my GitHub master branch using GitHub for Mac. It all started making sense now. We don’t like what we don’t understand. In fact, it scares us. Understanding of how things work is essential. I don’t feel intimidated anymore (at least, not that intimidated).

This is how my simple blog looks like for now.

tumblr inline mox4olq5B31qz4rgp First App in Rails

- KatPreneur


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