Reversible decisions and tomato purée

We freak out when we hear “decisions”. We don’t want to make them. We prefer to avoid making decisions.

We think decisions are hard because they are irreversible. Once you make a decision, it will haunt you all your life. But the truth is, the majority of decisions are reversible. You can choose a path, and if something doesn’t work, you can change it.

From big life plans to groceries, reversible decisions are everywhere. We just need to better spot them. Make it a habit, and you’ll get good at spotting those. Here’s a grocery example: tomato purée.

You are getting groceries and you don’t know if you should pick that big bottle of tomato puree or two small ones. The problem is you know when you open the big bottle you need to use it in the next 3 days. And you are not sure if you can do it. But financially, the big bottle is less expensive.

Now which one you should pick? What’s the reversible decision?

What can happen if you pick the big bottle? If you use it all, that’s good. If you didn’t, you need to use it in the next 3 days, or you will throw it away. SO MUCH STRESS TOMATOES! Calm down.

If you pick two small ones and end up needing a lot of purée, you can use both. If you only need a small amount, you can open one and let the other for another time. No 3 days limit, no rush, no stress.

Picking two small bottles is always the best choice. Even if you don’t end up using the tomato puree, you are better throwing a small bottle than a big one. For the price difference, which is usually some cents, it isn’t worth the mental overhaul. If you can save your mind from thinking about this every time you are in a supermarket, just pay those extra cents.

This exercise is a good investment in the long run. And a good example of reversible decisions.

Next time you have a decision, take the reversible one. There is always one out there.

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The timing is never right

For all the important things. Timing always sucks.

The stars will never align. And the traffic lights of life will never be all green at the same time.

The universe doesn’t conspire against you. The universe will not line up things for you either.

Conditions are never perfect. “Someday” is a disease that will take your dreams to the grave with you.

If it’s important to you and you want to do it. Do it. And correct course along the way.

Taken from The 4 hour work week book.

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On being rich

A little story.

Let’s start from the same base. You and your friend have the same amount of money, say 200$. Who is richer? We can’t decide yet.

Your friend decides to spend his money on this new crazy experience, jumping from an airplane. You decide to keep the money.

After this experience, your friend has 50$, and you still have 200$. Who’s richer now?

… Well, it’s complicated.

If being rich is measured by the amount of money you have in your bank account, then you are richer. If being rich means being alive, living the full life, trying new experiences… then your friend is richer.

When people say “I want to be rich”. What they mean is “I want to live like rich people”. Being rich isn’t always about money. Money’s value is multiplied when you spend it on experiences you like or with the people you love. A dollar is a dollar. How you spend it is what makes the difference. It’s what makes you live like rich people.

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Doing a lot of things at once

I always feel I should do a lot of stuff but I don’t have enough time. It seems I can’t focus on something and always get excited by other “more exciting” projects.

Lately, I’ve been pushing myself to focus. It’s still hard as I always get some new ideas I want to work on. But I keep trying.

Yesterday, I stumbled upon this quote from Derek Sivers. And it sums up all of this:

Don’t be a donkey. You can’t do everything at once. Start something and work on it for a few months/years. And then the next for a few months/years. Think long term, you can do everything you want to do. You just need patience

Derek Sivers

Why CEOs wake up at 5AM

Seriously. If you ever see a title like this one. Skip the post. Or better, report it.

There is nothing special in waking up at 5AM. It will not make you a CEO either. The two aren’t related in any way. Correlation doesn’t mean causation.

They aren’t CEOs because they wake up early. They are a bunch of CEOs who happen to wake up at 5AM. And there are others who wake up after 10AM.

People are different. Do not try to mimick others. Find your balance.

Writing daily for a month

Today, I’m celebrating a milestone I never achieved before. I’ve been writing daily for a month.

Even if I share small bits of what I think of, do, or plan to do. It takes a lot of work to show up every day and write something.

To be completely transparent, the first days were hard. I was scheduling the posting at least a day before. I was thinking too much about what I should write on that day and if it makes sense to write it.

But now, things a little easier. I usually set down and write whatever comes to my mind. I don’t stress about it the same way as before.

I’m planning to incorporate this into my life. I love to write and keep track of my ideas.

Thank you all for reading, and let’s continue together.

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How to create a public portfolio when what you do is private or proprietary?

Not all people work on something public. A lot of what we do is proprietary and couldn’t be shared with the world. So what can you do about it? What if you want to add your work to your portfolio?

Here’s a little story about my experience:

In my first internship in software development, I created an algorithm. This algorithm takes two phrases, compare them, and gives you a % of likelihood between the two. Something like: the first phrase looks like 80% of the second. Also, it gives you where is exactly the difference between the two.

The QA team was using my algorithm to test regression in error messages. So whenever we have a new version of our software, we want to see if we missed up with error messages somewhere. We give a bunch of error message, and the algorithm (and accompanying software) generates a nice Excel sheet with filters, colors, and cool stuff.

It was a huge deal for me back then. And is still is. It was my first internship. And I worked on something amazing.

The only problem was: my code was private and proprietary. And I couldn’t add it to my portfolio. The only thing I was able to do is to include a small description in my resume. But I wanted to do more than that.

My algorithm is based on the Longest Common Subsequence theory. It’s the same principle, with some tweaks.

I was learning JavaScript at that time. And I figured out it would be cool if I can write a Longest Common Subsequence package in JavaScript. That would be a big addition to my resume as I can have a public code. So, I did it. And called it, longest-common-subsequence.

4 years later, the package is still downloaded more than 400 downloads per week. And 40k times in total.

Why am I telling you this?

Next time you work on something amazing but your code is proprietary. Think about a small part you can re-write and do it. Then share it with the world. This is a good addition to your resume and portfolio.

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Imaginary problems

I started writing every day for nearly a month now, and I did it for a reason.

I wanted to get used to the idea of writing things down. They are either things I worked on during the day, a book I’m reading, or something I’m thinking about a lot lately. I decided I’ll be posting every day at 10 AM.

It worked well in the beginning. But the last few days were hard. I stressed about not being able to post at 10 AM. It consumed me and I hated it.

I stopped overthinking and decided I should give it a test. My test was: “I’ll not post at 10 AM, intentionally, and see how it goes”. So 2 days ago, I published a post at 4 PM. And guess what, no one complained.

I gave it another try. Yesterday, I also didn’t post at 10 AM. And you guessed it, no one complained either.

After this, I asked myself: “Wait a minute! Who decided I should post at 10 AM in the first place?”. Yes, it was me.

I created a rule for myself, and I started stressing about it. And the truth is, there is no such rule! The one thing I want to do is writing daily. And given I’m doing it, it doesn’t matter if it’s 10 AM or 10 PM (like the publishing time of the article you’re reading now).

Sometimes, we are creating imaginary problems for ourselves. But if you look a little bit closer. There is no problem at all.

My problem with book summaries

There is a problem I have with book summaries, and I’m trying to see if I’m the only one.

When I don’t have time to read a book, I search for a summary. But the problem with summaries is they are too short. I can feel a lot of information is lost when reading it. And there is no relation between paragraphs and ideas. It’s a bunch of highlights put together.

It seems what we have currently is: Either you read the full book, or you read a summary to get some highlights. There should be something in the middle, right? A long summary you can read in a couple of hours without sacrificing all the necessary information. Think of it like a book, minus all the non-necessary stuff.

I started writing long summaries for some books for myself. After I finish the book, I put it aside and refer to the notes when I need to refresh my memory. They are +4000 words summaries. They summarize each chapter and preserve the chronological order of events/information.

It’s not a summary you’ll read in 10 minutes. And it’s not a book you’ll read in 30 days. It’s something between these two. A long summary you can read and get all information you need, instead of the highlights only.

I’ve been thinking of putting those summaries online. And given the time I spent on them, maybe I should sell them. But I’m not sure yet.

What do you think?

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Transforming blog visitors to subscribers

I’ve reached the next step in my online marketing learning journey. If you haven’t been following it, here’s a recap:

  • I spent time learning about my audience and ended up with 3 categories.
  • I learned more about Mailchimp. I learned about groups, tags, and segments.

Now the next step is growing the audience.

A lot of remote.ma‘s blog visitors are one-time visitors. This means they find an article somewhere, end up on the blog, read the article and then quit. Occasionally, they may spend some time discovering other articles.

If I want to grow the blog, I need to convert these one-time visitors to recurring visitors. And the best way to do this is by getting their emails. This way, whenever I have something new to share, I can send an email to my audience. Of course, I don’t want to spam them. I will only send useful content depending on which category they belong.

Getting a visitor’s email is not easy. I tried adding pop-ups and subscription forms inside articles, but it’s not that effective. And that’s normal. As a visitor, why should I subscribe to a blog who offers free and public information anyway?

Unless you’re curious, chances are you’ll not subscribe. And from my perspective, I can’t rely on curiosity only. I need something that pushes my visitors to subscribe.

After reading some online marketing courses, the solution was simple: Offer something to subscribers only.

What you can offer depends on the blog and your audience. Examples are a cheat sheet, an e-book, a guide… You need to offer a value.

For remote.ma audience, I know there are a lot of people interested in getting a remote job. I know this because I get multiple questions via email, LinkedIn, Twitter… So, I’ll be offering them an e-book to fix just that!

Get that remote job is a step-by-step e-book to get the remote job of your dreams. Focusing on building your skills, portfolio, and marketing yourself. Get it once ready from getthatremoetjob.com.

If you’re curious about online marketing and entrepreneurship, consider following this blog 🙂

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