#171 Ride Royal Enfield in India

Royal Enfield just…. Looks how a bike should look like. I don’t know how to explain it better. Also, it is the Harley Davidson of India. First Royal Enfields were bikes used by British army to move around. They are an institution.

This is my Bucketlist item 171.

My friend Rahul rented one and went with me for a ride in Udaipur – an amazing city in Rajasthan.  The cold morning air. Rajasthani sun, Indian traffic and herds of 🐮 in the streets were all an amazing experience. Also, it was the first time I rode an actual bike with the clutch!

 

 

 

 

 

DSC_0451.jpg

Did I mention that I had a chance to present in Mumbai?

 

Leonardo Da Vinci

51phthzd-2l-_sx330_bo1204203200_

Leonardo Da Vinci has an Uberman fame. He painted the most acclaimed painting in history, designed war machines, perfect cities, airplanes, submarines and bridges. He discovered how human aortic valve really worked, authored one of the best medical illustrations in history, fathered modern map making… The list goes on and introducing him is not really necessary.

Amazon Link

Leonardo’s history

Leonardo was a son of a notary. Because he was illegitimate, he was never sent to actual notary school and that seemed to work out in his favor. He was able to pursue his own interests and discover the world on his own terms. His father, Piero could have legitimized him and there are theories why he didn’t. One of them is that Leonardo would be a terrible notary.

At age 14, Leonardo was an apprentice in Andrea del Verocchio’s workshop, where he painted, helped create fabulous shows that dazzled whole of Florence and dabbled in many other arts.

One of the common exercises in Verocchio’s workshop was painting draperies over object – something Leonardo became very proficient at and in every painting there are curls, fabrics and curved surfaces.

Many of the mechanical designs that he created could have been destined for theatrical shows. Something that was very popular both in Florence and in Milan, where Leonardo later moved. His move to Milan was in part motivated by his search of a benevolent patron. In Milan, Ludovico Sforza wanted to cement his grip on the throne and kept a substantial court. With the move, Leonardo was seeking to reinvent himself. He presented his abilities as an engineer first and painter last.

In Milan, he met Luca Pacioli – a matematician – and a wider circle of collaborators. That circle became interested in works of Vitruvius – Roman military engineer who wrote treaties on architecture.

91qg-sdmtel-_sl1500_

Vitruvius argued, that buildings should keep the proportions of a human body.

That idea captivated Leonardo.  He started measuring tens of subjects and wrote a detailed stock of human proportion. When he was done with analysis, he draw a Vitruvian Man – one of the most incredible drawings in history.

In Vitruvian Man, there are hints of Leonardo’s another obsession – squaring the circle. Pi haven’t been discovered yet and Leonardo tried to find a square that has the same surface as the circle and failed.

In Milan he also painted „Lady with an Ermine” – one of the most expressive paintings of the era implementing a unique concept of subjects showing emotion.

Cecilia Gallerani – lady in painting was Ludovico Sforza’s lover and the piece is hanging in Cracow, Poland.

1200px-the_lady_with_an_ermine

The Last supper was another masterpiece he created at that time. The painting through clever tricks of perspective and his acute eye is telling a story of the moment Jesus prophecies his betrayal.

Renaissance in Italy was a tumultuous time and Leonardo found himself under the wing of Cesare Borgia and Niccolo Machiavelli. Cesare was incredibly powerful, cruel and effective politician. Macchiavelli’s prince is based on him. With Borgia’s conquests, Leonardo hoped to realize his dreams of military projects. His big contribution were extremely detailed and easy to read maps. Before Leonardo, maps weren’t drawn from a bird perspective.

1imola

But Borgia’s cruelty was too much for Leonardo so he went back to Florence, where Michelangelo was a rising star. The had a competition to paint „Battle of Anghiari”, but neither one of them finished the mural.

After Florence, he went back to Milan and later he joined the court of the French King – Francis I. He was a real admirer of Leonardo, gave him estate in Clos-Luce, close to Amboise and a title “First Painter, Engineer, and Architect to the King,”.

I had a chance to visit Clos-Luce and Amboise

Relentless curiosity

The relentless of his curiosity was impressive and hard to pull off, but he didn’t posses some god-like superpowers. He was a smart, curious man that worked hard on improving his understanding of the world.

But how being curious has led to Mona Lisa, it had to be talent, right?

You seem to underestimate the power of curiosity.687px-mona_lisa2c_by_leonardo_da_vinci2c_from_c2rmf_retouched

  • He was deeply interested in motion and emotion. His paintings were an exercise in showing emotions through body,
  • In his dissections he discovered that eye has 2 different light receptors, so he engineered a smile that is visible only while looking indirectly. Once you focus on Mona Lisa’s mouth, the upturned corners disappear and she is no longer smiling,
  • He studied light and reflection and stumbled upon lead white undercoating that can reflect light through translucent layers of paintings. His art not only looks 3d, it really is.
  • His sfumato technique of blurring edges comes from observation that the eye has no single point of focus. With wide surface area it is impossible to hold 1 exact point in focus, so every edge we see has to be blurred,

All the little tricks that come together in this masterpiece are a result of a passionately curious mind who worked to discover inner working of the world and applied the findings in this painting.

Businessman vs Inventor

He left impressive amount of things unfinished. Battle of Anghiari, treaties on architecture, perfect city, anatomy and water.

Once he understood how something worked, he moved on instead of investing effort into disseminating his findings. World could have been much further along if he were to share his understanding of it.

Many think he was wasting time. That the tangents he went on were hurting his productiivity. Like Thomas edison, Leonardo’s biggest drive was curiosity. Once that was satisfied, he had no big desire to make business work, fulfill commissions on his masterpieces or to deal with uninteresting minutiae.

My immediate takeaway on this is that Inventor can’t be a businessman. It’s just an issue of optimizing function. If you prioritize curiosity over business workings, you will understandably let go of the „good deal” in favor of „interesting thing”.

But what about Elon Musk? Surely he is an inventor!

Ahh, the good ol’ halo effect. Elon Musk deals with technology and is immensely successful, hence he is an inventor!

No, he is not. Elon is VERY impressive person, but his impressive track record and what he is doing right now comes from focus and making it a great business. For Elon, everything is means to an end – that end being saving human race. I would say Elon is more impressive than Leonardo, but that is a topic for another post.

Elon is businessman, hustler, manager. He makes things work and he is good at it.

Leonardo was an observator, recipient, he found ways to marry different branches of knowledge and gain insights. But once he found out, he had no desire to apply it. He moved on because world has so much more to offer.

My highlights

  • ability to make connections across disciplines—arts and sciences, humanities and technology—is a key to innovation, imagination, and genius.
  • “the most relentlessly curious man in history.”
  • One of them, dating from the 1490s in Milan, is that day’s
  • “Observe the goose’s foot:
  • “Inflate the lungs of a pig and observe whether they increase in width and in length, or only in width.”
  • That remnds me of 10 weird things eritten by altucher
  • I did learn from Leonardo how a desire to marvel about the world that we encounter each day can make each moment of our lives richer.
  • He went off on tangents, literally, pursuing math problems that became time-sucking diversions. Notoriously, he left many of his paintings unfinished, most
  • Leonardo’s relentless curiosity and experimentation should remind us of the importance of instilling, in both ourselves and our children, not just received knowledge but a willingness to question it—to be imaginative and, like talented misfits and rebels in any era, to think different. The town of Vinci and the church where Leonardo was baptized.
  • This was fortunate. He would have made a poor notary: he got bored and distracted too easily, especially when a project became routine rather than creative.14
  • His lack of reverence for authority and his willingness to challenge received wisdom would lead him to craft an empirical approach for understanding nature that foreshadowed the scientific method developed more than a century later by Bacon and Galileo.
  • Verrocchio’s
  • The painted scenery and backdrops had to be unified with the three-dimensional stage settings, props, moving objects, and actors.
  • He was a genius undisciplined by diligence.
  • Leonardo was following a practice that had become popular in Renaissance Italy of keeping a commonplace and sketch book, known as a zibaldone. But
  • His notebooks have been rightly called “the most astonishing testament to the powers of human observation and imagination ever set down on paper.”
  • Leonardo da Vinci’s entrée into the court of Ludovico Sforza came not as an architect or engineer but as a producer of pageants.
  • He would walk the streets with a notebook dangling from his belt, find a group of people with exaggerated features who would make good models, and invite them over for supper. “Sitting close to them,” his early biographer Lomazzo recounted, “Leonardo then proceeded to tell the maddest and most ridiculous tales imaginable, making them laugh uproariously. He observed all their gestures very attentively and those ridiculous things they were doing, and impressed them on his mind; and after they had left, he retired to his room and there made a perfect drawing.” Lomazzo
  • Applying this analogy to the design of temples, Vitruvius decreed that the layout should reflect the proportions of a human body, as if the body were laid out flat on its back upon the geometric forms of the floor plan.
  • After detailing human proportions, Vitruvius went on to describe, in a memorable visualization, a way to put a man in a circle and square in order to determine the ideal proportion of a church:
  • Ideas are often generated in physical gathering places where people with diverse interests encounter one another serendipitously. That is why Steve Jobs liked his buildings to have a central atrium and why the young Benjamin Franklin founded a club where the most interesting people of Philadelphia would gather every Friday. At
  • Even though it was typical of him, we still should marvel that he would decide that before sculpting a horse he had to dissect one.
  • The cannons would end up doing little good, for the French would easily conquer Milan in 1499. And when they did, the French archers used Leonardo’s huge clay model for target practice, destroying it.
  • “He who has access to the fountain does not go to the water-jar,” he wrote.
  • in the middle of one notebook page where he copied 130 words, he drew his nutcracker man scowling and grimacing more than usual
  • He was constantly peppering acquaintances with the type of questions we should all learn to pose more often. “Ask Benedetto Portinari how they walk on ice in Flanders,” reads one
  • He preferred to induce from experiments rather than deduce from theoretical principles. “My intention is to consult experience first, and then with reasoning show why such experience is bound to operate in such a way,”
  • assure their validity: “Before you make
  • his uncanny abilities to engage in the dialogue between experience and theory made him a prime example of how acute observations, fanatic curiosity, experimental testing, a willingness to question dogma, and the ability to discern patterns across disciplines can lead to great leaps in human understanding.
  • Let’s pause to marvel at Leonardo walking out in the evening, no doubt dandily dressed, standing at the edge of a moat, intensely watching the motions of each of the four wings of a dragonfly.
  • He compared it to looking at the page of a book, which is meaningless when taken in as a whole and instead needs to be looked at word by word.
  • But for all the beauty of his art and all the ingenuity of his designs, he was never able to create a self-propelled human flying machine. To be fair, after five hundred years nobody else has either.
  • A major enterprise of the late Renaissance was finding a way to equalize the power of an unwinding spring.
  • Leonardo also invented a machine designed to grind needles, which would have been a valuable contribution to the textile industries of Italy.
  • Coming up with the conception was enough for him.
  • “Among the impossible delusions of man is the search for continuous motion, called by some perpetual wheel,” he wrote in the introduction to his Codex Madrid I. “Speculators on perpetual motion, how many vain chimeras you have created in this quest!”
  • All movements in the universe—of human limbs and of cogs in machines, of blood in our veins and of water in rivers—operate according to the same laws, he concluded. These laws are analogous; the motions in one realm can be compared to those in another realm,
  • “Man is a machine, a bird is a machine, the whole universe is a machine,” wrote Marco Cianchi in an analysis of Leonardo’s devices.18
  • Not having access to algebra, he instead used geometry to describe the rate of change caused by a variable. For example, he used triangles and pyramids to represent rates of change in the velocity of falling objects, the volume of sounds, and the perspective view of distant objects. “Proportion
  • His sixty illustrations for Pacioli were the only drawings he published during his lifetime.
  • In popular lore, including in Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code, the golden ratio is found throughout Leonardo’s art.11 If so, it is doubtful it was intentional.
  • These obsessions led Leonardo to an ancient riddle described by Vitruvius, Euripides, and others. Faced with a plague in the fifth century BC, the citizens of Delos consulted the oracle of Delphi. They were told that the plague would end if they found a mathematical way to precisely double the size of the altar to Apollo, which was shaped as a cube.
  • lifelong association with Florence’s hospital of Santa Maria Nuova.3
  • When he moved to Milan, he discovered that the study of anatomy there was pursued primarily by medical scholars rather than by artists.
  • If there were not so much else to remember him for, Leonardo could have been celebrated as a pioneer of dentistry.
  • he became the first person in history to describe fully the human dental elements, including a depiction of the roots that is almost perfect.
  • Appended is a note about his experience pithing a frog, the first scientist to record doing what is now a staple of biology classes.
  • Such obsession is a component of genius
  • An object will display the greatest difference of light and shade when it is seen in the strongest light. . .
  • But this should not be much used in painting, because the works would be crude and ungraceful.
  • “first modern portrait” and “the first painting in European art to introduce the idea that a portrait may express the sitter’s thoughts through posture and gestures.”
  • Lady with an Ermine, Cecilia Gallerani.
  • because the mind is stimulated to new inventions by obscure things.9
  • Leonardo had a higher standard for using the word finished,
  • He came to understand that the use of shadows, not lines, was the secret to modeling three-dimensional objects on a two-dimensional surface.
  • “The line forming the boundary of a surface is of invisible thickness. Therefore, O painter, do not surround your bodies with lines.”
  • Leonardo’s insistence that all boundaries, both in nature and in art, are blurred led him to become the pioneer of sfumato, the technique of using hazy and smoky outlines such as those so notable in the Mona Lisa.
  • One experiment he did, which was drawn from the work of the eleventh-century Arab mathematician Alhazen, was to move a needle closer and closer to one eye. As it gets near, it does not completely block the vision from the eye, as it would if sight were processed in only a single point on the retina.
  • A wall-size painting, as he would soon show, requires a mix of natural perspective with “artificial perspective.”
  • Italy was then, as now, a nation of hand-gesture enthusiasts,
  • and Leonardo in his notebooks recorded a variety of them.
  • He had learned how much could be communicated by gestures by watching Cristoforo de’ Predis, the deaf brother of his painting partners in Milan.
  • Gestures were also important to the monks who ate in the Santa Maria delle Grazie dining hall because they were obliged to observe silence many hours of the day, including at most meals.
  • The day after his arrival, the king went to see The Last Supper, and he even asked whether it might be possible to cart it back to France.
  • town. It is a delightful image: Leonardo in an Arab hooded cloak or strolling in purple and pink garb, heavy on the satin and velvet. He was tailor-made for a Florence
  • It’s reassuring to discover that Leonardo spent as much on books as he did on clothes.
  • the notoriously beautiful and evil Lucrezia Borgia, who was married to Isabella’s brother.
  • Painting a conventional portrait for a pushy patron did not interest him. Nor did money motivate him. He painted portraits if the subject struck his fancy, such
  • “Leonardo da Vinci’s ultimate masterpiece” (l’ultime chef d’oeuvre) in the title of the catalogue published by the Louvre for a 2012 exhibition celebrating its restoration—this from the museum that also owns the Mona Lisa.2
  • Ideas for building better wheelbarrows was a topic he had covered in one of his draft treatises on mechanics.
  • For three months during the winter of 1502–3, as if in a historical fantasy movie, three of the most fascinating figures of the Renaissance—a brutal and power-crazed son of a pope, a sly and amoral writer-diplomat, and a dazzling painter yearning to be an engineer—were holed up in a tiny fortified walled town that was approximately five blocks wide and eight blocks long.
  • Leonardo dutifully placed the account in his notebook (using a spare bit of the page to draw a new idea for hinged wings of a flying machine), and then proceeded to ignore it.2
  • And the foremost patron there was the one who loved Leonardo the most, Charles d’Amboise, the French royal governor who had written a flowery letter reminding the Florentines how brilliant their native son was.
  • “It was a variety of employment which Leonardo enjoyed, but which has left posterity the poorer.”21
  • describe “the jaw of the crocodile.” Once again, if we follow his curiosity, rather than merely be amused by it, we can see that he was on to an important topic.
  • So here is another secret to Leonardo’s unique ability to paint a facial expression: he is probably the only artist in history ever to dissect with his own hands the face of a human and that of a horse to see if the muscles that move human lips are the same ones that can raise the nostrils of the nose.
  • The aortic valve.
  • His genius and creativity had always come from proceeding without preconceptions.
  • He was able to avoid pedantry by regularly bringing his theories down to earth, so to speak, and tying them to practical applications. As
  • “When you put together the science of the motions of water, remember to include under each proposition its application, in order that this science may not be useless.”15
  • even though calculus had not yet been invented, he seemed to sense the need for such a mathematics of continuous quantities.
  • That willingness to surrender preconceptions was key to his creativity.
  • Il sole nó si muóve. The sun does not move. These words of Leonardo are written in unusually large letters on the top left of one of his notebook pages that is filled with geometric sketches, mathematical transformations, a cross section of the brain, a drawing of the male urinary tract, and doodles of his old warrior.
  • “Leonardo made some wings of the scales of other lizards and fastened them on its back with a mixture of quicksilver, so that they trembled when it walked,”
  • philosophy [meaning the sciences].”18
  • Understanding that light hits multiple points on the retina, he wrote that humans perceive reality as lacking razor-sharp edges and lines;
  • When the British needed to contact their allies in the French Resistance during World War II, they used a code phrase: La Joconde garde un sourire. The Mona Lisa keeps her smile.
  • Like Vitruvian Man standing in the square of the earth and the circle of the heavens, Lisa sitting on her balcony against the backdrop of geological eons is Leonardo’s profound meditation on what it means to be human.
  • And what about all of the scholars and critics over the years who despaired that Leonardo squandered too much time immersed in studying optics and anatomy and the patterns of the cosmos? The Mona Lisa answers them with a smile.
  • “First Painter, Engineer, and Architect to the King,”
  • As he knew, the outlines of reality are inherently blurry, leaving a hint of uncertainty that we should embrace.
  • “I have no special talents,” Einstein once wrote to a friend. “I am just passionately curious.”4 Leonardo
  • He drilled down for the pure joy of geeking out.

 

Simple Payments for India 🐘

DUpTabpUQAEE_cR.jpg

Automatticians and my fabulous turban.

This is a summary of the presentation I gave in Mumbai in February of 2018.

Prefer PDF format? (4.1 MB)

Why Simple Payments?

I am a public school teacher and not a web-designer. I decided to start a new business (…). After I found the “Add Payment” button I knew I could do it. I went public and started taking payments two days later. The new button simplified everything.

Simple Payments is a feature of Jetpack plugin and WordPress.com that enables you to sell products on your site. I had a privilege of being a part of the team that launched it in 2017.

Yes, there is WooCommerce with ample functionality, various payment gateways, plugins and options.

But starting with WooCommerce is not easy. The choice and configuration can be overwhelming, especially for someone that just wants to test their business. WooCommerce has a fantastic wizard now that simplifies the process considerably, but there is always a tradeoff between functionality and ease of use.

Simple Payments is designed for an easy start. No, there are no other payment gateways, no plugins, no automated fulfilment, no AI. Easy start, that is it.

But often, the start is the hard part.

 

PayPal is coming to India

As of now (feb 2018), PayPal is gearing towards entering the Indian market. Simple Payments is built on top of PayPal Express Checkout.

  • Launching soon for general users.
  • Testing with large merchants at the moment (BookMyShow, Yatra)
  • Accepting and payout in INR
  • Right now, you can collect USD and pay out to your bank account that will convert to INR

How hard it is to start with Simple Payments?

Zrzut ekranu 2018-01-25 o 13.15.18.png

That is all information you have to provide to start selling

To start selling with Simple Payments, you need:

  • PayPal account
  • One of the plans:
    • Jetpack Premium (₹690/m, ₹6900/y)
 OR
    • WordPress.com Premium (₹575/m, ₹6900/y)
  • One form to fill out

Yes, that is it. One form. And in this form the required fields are:

  • Name of what you are selling
  • Price / currency
  • Email that will be connected to PayPal account

One more thing…

You don’t really need a PayPal account.

PayPal has a feature called “progressive onboarding”. That means, if you receive money destined to the email address that does not have PP account yet, money will be waiting for you to claim until you create such account.

Zrzut ekranu 2018-01-25 o 13.26.27.png

Email badgering me to claim the money I earned

Simple is also sustainable

Back in the day, I was running an e-marketing agency and we also did WooCommerce stores. Whenever something broke, API changed, etc – I had lots of work to keep it all running. Sometimes client changed API keys to PayPal, or a setting got deprecated. But with Simple Payments:

  • No payment gateway setup
  • No access token keys, app secrets, etc
  • Reliant only on 1 plugin (Jetpack) and external API (WPCOM) that is heavily tested every day
  • Auto updates and backups built in (JP „undo”  feature)

No late night calls from your customers that something broke!

Successful Simple Payments sellers

This is a small gallery of successful Simple Payments sellers. As you can see, there are various business models.

 

Minnetonka Fishing Team

High school fishing championship participation.

Zrzut ekranu 2018-01-25 o 10.41.52.png

 

Tom Bol Photo workshops

You gussed it – photography classes 🙂

Zrzut ekranu 2018-01-25 o 11.34.25.png

 

Smart Food Solutions

Prepared meal plans

Zrzut ekranu 2018-01-25 o 12.36.27.png

Beltaine Cottage

Self-published books.

Zrzut ekranu 2018-01-25 o 11.39.36.png

 

North Winds Wilderness School

Outdoor wilderness classes.

Zrzut ekranu 2018-01-25 o 10.54.37.png

 

Bend it like Budha

Yoga retreats

Zrzut ekranu 2018-01-25 o 12.35.47.png

Under the hood 🔧

So what are we doing there to make it happen?

  1. Customer clicks „Pay with PayPal”
  2. PP JS makes request to WPCOM endpoint
  3. WPCOM endpoint calls transaction/create PP endpoint
  4. Returns transaction id to your site JavaScript
  5. JavaScript opens PayPal dialog
  6. Customer enters CC details, clicks „pay”
  7. PayPal JavaScript calls WPCOM endpoint to finish transaction
  8. WPCOM endpoint calls PP transaction/execute
  9. Passes success message to your site
  10. Sends you notification and email
  11. Displays result to the customer

 

All data stored on your site

  • `jp_pay_order` custom post type
  • `jp_pay_product` custom post type

Start selling!

78eX.gif

Simple Payments is designed to get you started. Don’t over-engineer your solution if you are not yet selling anything. Start simple, test your business and then scale with WooCommerce once you have more orders than you can deal with.

 

More resources

Book: Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink & Leif Babin

25658675

Leaders must own everything in their world. There is no one else to blame.

 

You don’t need to formally be a leader, nobody had to put you in that position, but you still can own the situation.

No excuses, no bullshitting, just ownership.

Extreme ownership gives you power. Power to own every situation, to never stop searching for the ways what you can do to shape the world.

Initiative is hard and demanding. You have to work hard, keep your word and not sheepishly follow the crowd, you have to put yourself out there.

But lack of initiative is depressing and disempowering.

Amazon Link

Jocko Willink

Jocko is former commander of Task Force Bruiser, the most decorated unit in Afghanistan. They were fighting in the battle of Ramadi, the most brutal urban environment in afghan war. He has a podcast about leadership and discipline.

Jocko is fond of saying that discipline equals freedom.

And he gave a TED talk too!

 

Ego is the enemy.

That is a common thread in the many recent books I’ve read. Ego is the enemy obviously, Astronauts guide to life on earth, Tools of Titans  and few more are conveying that you should focus less on yourself and more on the team and how can you support it. Victory is for team players.

For leaders, the humility to admit and own mistakes and develop a plan to overcome them is essential to success. The best leaders are not driven by ego or personal agendas. They are simply focused on the mission and how best to accomplish it.

What is interesting is that I see this turn towards stoicism only recently. It seems that in 80s and 90s the path to win was to be the loudest talker with the biggest suit. If you could scream more, you were a winner.

But now I sense kind of Sun-Tzu approach of knowing yourself and being like water. I cannot articulate it better, maybe the authors of the books I read form a tight circle.

Concept of leading up the chain of command.

Take responsibility for leading everyone in your world, subordinates and superiors alike

When we hear about leadership, most of us don’t perk up and focus since we tend to think of leadership as someone elses problem. More than that, it is usually someone else’s screwup.

Being happy with leadership isn’t common, since no-one is perfect and its all too easy to find faults and put blame.But concept of extreme ownership doesn’t allow you to do that.

Boss is tough on you or making you do something you don’t like? You own that situation.

  • Did you give her enough information?
  • Did you make her trust you?
  • Did you prove yourself co they don’t have to hand-hold?

Concept of leading UP the chain of command really strikes me as useful since it puts power in my hands, can be immediately applied and actually does something to make the situation better. It caused me to reflect if I am indeed providing enough information so my superiors can make good decisions.

My highlights

  • Between the Vietnam War and the Global War on Terrorism, the U.S. military experienced a thirty-year span of virtually no sustained combat operations.
  • Cover and Move, Simple, Prioritize and Execute, and Decentralized Command.
  • The only meaningful measure for a leader is whether the team succeeds or fails.
  • For all the definitions, descriptions, and characterizations of leaders, there are only two that matter: effective and ineffective. Effective leaders lead successful teams that accomplish their mission and win. Ineffective leaders do not.
  • For leaders, the humility to admit and own mistakes and develop a plan to overcome them is essential to success. The best leaders are not driven by ego or personal agendas. They are simply focused on the mission and how best to accomplish it.
  • Leaders must own everything in their world. There is no one else to blame.
  • If an individual on the team is not performing at the level required for the team to succeed, the leader must train and mentor that underperformer. But if the underperformer continually fails to meet standards, then a leader who exercises Extreme Ownership must be loyal to the team and the mission above any individual. If underperformers cannot improve, the leader must make the tough call to terminate them and hire others who can get the job done. It is all on the leader.
  • “Maybe not so much here to help you, but here to help the situation,”
  • When a bad SEAL leader walked into a debrief and blamed everyone else, that attitude was picked up by subordinates and team members, who then followed suit. They all blamed everyone else, and inevitably the team was ineffective and unable to properly execute a plan.
  • Each boat had a roman numeral painted in bright yellow on the front, indicating the boat crew number—all except the boat crew made up of the shortest men in the class, known as the “Smurf crew.” They had a bright blue Smurf painted on the bow of their boat.
  • one of the most fundamental and important truths at the heart of Extreme Ownership: there are no bad teams, only bad leaders.
  • as a leader, it’s not what you preach, it’s what you tolerate.
  • No matter how obvious his or her failing, or how valid the criticism, a Tortured Genius, in this sense, accepts zero responsibility for mistakes, makes excuses, and blames everyone else for their failings (and those of their team).
  • In order to convince and inspire others to follow and accomplish a mission, a leader must be a true believer in the mission. Even when others doubt and question the amount of risk, asking, “Is it worth it?” the leader must believe in the greater cause.
  • If frontline leaders and troops understand why, they can move forward, fully believing in what they are doing.
  • The leader must explain not just what to do, but why.
  • Ego clouds and disrupts everything: the planning process, the ability to take good advice, and the ability to accept constructive criticism. It can even stifle someone’s sense of self-preservation.
  • Often, the most difficult ego to deal with is your own.
  • Implementing Extreme Ownership requires checking your ego and operating with a high degree of humility.
  • Your superintendent may not have really understood how his failure to follow procedure and get approval for these changes would result in hundreds of thousands of dollars lost. Do you think that is possible?”
  • “Remember, it’s not about you,” I continued. “It’s not about the drilling superintendent. It’s about the mission and how best to accomplish it. With that attitude exemplified in you and your key leaders, your team will dominate.”
  • Simplifying as much as possible is crucial to success. When plans and orders are too complicated, people may not understand them. And when things go wrong, and they inevitably do go wrong, complexity compounds issues that can spiral out of control into total disaster.
  • Teams must be careful to avoid target fixation on a single issue.
  • Every tactical-level team leader must understand not just what to do but why they are doing it.
  • senior leaders must constantly communicate and push information—what we call in the military “situational awareness”—to their subordinate leaders. Likewise, junior leaders must push situational awareness up the chain to their senior leaders to keep them informed, particularly of crucial information that affects strategic decision making.
  • With SEAL Teams—just as with any team in the business world—there are leaders who try to take on too much themselves.
  • Contrary to a common misconception, leaders are not stuck in any particular position. Leaders must be free to move to where they are most needed, which changes throughout the course of an operation.
  • Situations will sometimes require that the boss walk away from a problem and let junior leaders solve it, even if the boss knows he might solve it more efficiently.
  • A broad and ambiguous mission results in lack of focus, ineffective execution, and mission creep.
  • A broad and ambiguous mission results in lack of focus, ineffective execution, and mission creep. To prevent this, the mission must be carefully refined and simplified so that it is explicitly clear and specifically focused to achieve the greater strategic vision for which that mission is a part.
  • A broad and ambiguous mission results in lack of focus, ineffective execution, and mission creep. To prevent this, the mission must be carefully refined and simplified so that it is explicitly clear and specifically focused to achieve the greater strategic vision for which that mission is a part.
  • The mission must explain the overall purpose and desired result, or “end state,” of the operation
  • While a simple statement, the Commander’s Intent is actually the most important part of the brief.
  • Giving the frontline troops ownership of even a small piece of the plan gives them buy-in, helps them understand the reasons behind the plan, and better enables them to
  • It must be repeatable and guide users with a checklist of all the important things they need to think about
    • Analyze the mission. —Understand higher headquarters’ mission, Commander’s Intent, and endstate (the goal). —Identify and state your own Commander’s Intent and endstate for the specific mission.
    • Identify personnel, assets, resources, and time available. Decentralize the planning process. —Empower key leaders within the team to analyze possible courses of action.
    • Determine a specific course of action. —Lean toward selecting the simplest course of action. —Focus efforts on the best course of action.
    •  Empower key leaders to develop the plan for the selected course of action. • Plan for likely contingencies through each phase of the operation. • Mitigate risks that can be controlled as much as possible.
    • Delegate portions of the plan and brief to key junior leaders. —Stand back and be the tactical genius.
    • Continually check and question the plan against emerging information to ensure it still fits the situation.
    • Brief the plan to all participants and supporting assets. —Emphasize Commander’s Intent. —Ask questions and engage in discussion and interaction with the team to ensure they understand. •
    • Conduct post-operational debrief after execution. —Analyze lessons learned and implement them in future planning.
  • repeatable checklist others with less experience can follow.”
  • new feature manifesto mvp manifesto new feature checkklisst ?
  • “As a leader, if you are down in the weeds planning the details with your guys,” said Jocko, “you will have the same perspective as them, which adds little value. But if you let them plan the details, it allows them to own their piece of the plan. And it allows you to stand back and see everything with a different perspective, which adds tremendous value.
  • But I could have done a far better job as a leader to understand for myself the strategic impact of our operations and passed this insight to my troops.
  • “We are here. We are on the ground. We need to push situational awareness up the chain,” Jocko said. “If they have questions, it is our fault for not properly communicating the information they need. We have to lead them.”
  • LEADING UP THE CHAIN
  • A public display of discontent or disagreement with the chain of command undermines the authority of leaders at all levels.
  • Take responsibility for leading everyone in your world, subordinates and superiors alike. • If someone isn’t doing what you want or need them to do, look in the mirror first and determine what you can do to better enable this. • Don’t ask your leader what you should do, tell them what you are going to do.
  • better info about projects gloing on
  • BUSINESS
  • the picture could never be complete. There was always some element of risk. There was no 100-percent right solution.
  • Although discipline demands control and asceticism, it actually results in freedom.

 

Book: Walden by Henry David Thoreau

41p2bri0sgfl“Walden” is a history of 1 year of Henry David Thoreau’s life when he decided to practice minimalism and live in a cabin that he has built by his own hands.

It was an extreme case of practicing what he preached and he preached ( in 1800s ) that constant struggle to keep up with the Joneses is a waste of humanity’s potential. He advocated for civil disobedience when state was violating human rights and above all – mindfulness in both life choices and day to day activities.

It all sounds so current now.

Most of the luxuries, and many of the so-called comforts of life, are not only not indispensable, but positive hindrances to the elevation of mankind.

Amazon Link

the cost of a thing is the amount of what I will call life which is required to be exchanged for it,

Maria Popova from the amazing Brain Pickings site is quite a fan of Thoreu and has covered all this better than I ever could:

In the first part, he focuses on the consumer society and how we are a bit sheepish in our day-to day lives. In the second part he describes in detail his experiment with the cabin, thoughts and insight gained from observing nature and the passing of seasons.

I have to admit that that nature descriptions were less interesting for me. Exciting as it sounds, It was a bit hard to go through 10 pages of descriptions of the habits of ducks.

Nevertheless, this book is full of gems.

My highlights

  • I lived alone, in the woods, a mile from any neighbor, in a house which I had built myself, on the shore of Walden Pond, in Concord, Massachusetts, and earned my living by the labor of my hands only.
  • slave and prisoner of his own opinion of himself, a fame won by his own deeds. Public opinion is a weak tyrant compared with our own private opinion.
  • The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. What is called resignation is confirmed desperation.
  • A stereotyped but unconscious despair is concealed even under what are called the games and amusements of mankind.
  • prejudices. No way of thinking or doing, however ancient, can be trusted without proof. What everybody echoes or in silence passes by as true to-day may turn out to be falsehood to-morrow, mere smoke of opinion, which some had trusted for a cloud that would sprinkle fertilizing rain on their fields.
  • Most of the luxuries, and many of the so-called comforts of life, are not only not indispensable, but positive hindrances to the elevation of mankind.
  • A man who has at length found something to do will not need to get a new suit to do it in;
  • I say, beware of all enterprises that require new clothes, and not rather a new wearer of clothes.
  • If it is asserted that civilization is a real advance in the condition of man—and I think that it is, though only the wise improve their advantages—
  • and the cost of a thing is the amount of what I will call life which is required to be exchanged for it,
  • the necessity of the young man’s providing a certain number of superfluous glow-shoes, and umbrellas, and empty guest chambers for empty guests, before he dies?
  • I would rather sit in the open air, for no dust gathers on the grass, unless where man has broken ground.
  • men have become the tools of their tools.
  • We have adopted Christianity merely as an improved method of agri-culture.
  • Tuition, for instance, is an important item in the term bill, while for the far more valuable education which he gets by associating with the most cultivated of his contemporaries no charge is made.
  • I think that it would be better than this, for the students, or those who desire to be benefited by it, even to lay the foundation themselves.
  • The student who secures his coveted leisure and retirement by systematically shirking any labor necessary to man obtains but an ignoble and unprofitable leisure, defrauding himself of the experience which alone can make leisure fruitful.
  • “But,” says one, “you do not mean that the students should go to work with their hands instead of their heads?” I do not mean that exactly, but I mean something which he might think a good deal like that; I mean that they should not play life, or study it merely, while the community supports them at this expensive game, but earnestly live it from beginning to end.
  • Which would have advanced the most at the end of a month—the boy who had made his own jackknife from the ore which he had dug and smelted, reading as much as would be necessary for this—or the boy who had attended the lectures on metallurgy at the Institute in the meanwhile, and had received a Rodgers’ penknife from his father?
  • The consequence is, that while he is reading Adam Smith, Ricardo, and Say, he runs his father in debt irretrievably
  • I am wont to think that men are not so much the keepers of herds as herds are the keepers of men, the former are so much the freer.
  • but I would have each one be very careful to find out and pursue his own way, and not his father’s or his mother’s or his neighbor’s instead.
  • Above all, as I have implied, the man who goes alone can start today; but he who travels with another must wait till that other is ready, and it may be a long time before they get off.
  • There is no odor so bad as that which arises from goodness tainted.
  • If I knew for a certainty that a man was coming to my house with the conscious design of doing me good, I should run for my life, as
  • https://gum.co/Walden-audiobook/secret-2015
  • What is a house but a sedes, a seat?—better if a country seat.
  • perchance, for a man is rich in proportion to the number of things which he can afford to let alone.
  • The Harivansa says, “An abode without birds is like a meat without seasoning.”
  • Morning brings back the heroic ages.
  • Our life is frittered away by detail. An honest man has hardly need to
  • Our life is like a German Confederacy, made up of petty states, with its boundary forever fluctuating, so that even a German cannot tell you how it is bounded at any moment.
  • As for work, we haven’t any of any consequence.
  • And I am sure that I never read any memorable news in a newspaper. If we read of one man robbed, or murdered, or killed by accident, or one house burned, or one vessel wrecked, or one steamboat blown up, or one cow run over on the Western Railroad, or one mad dog killed, or one lot of grasshoppers in the winter—we never need read of another.
  • To a philosopher all news, as it is called, is gossip, and they who edit and read it are old women over their tea.
  • There was such a rush, as I hear, the other day at one of the offices to learn the foreign news by the last arrival, that several large squares of plate glass belonging to the establishment were broken by the pressure—news which I seriously think a ready wit might write a twelve-month, or twelve years, beforehand with sufficient accuracy.
  • If one may judge who rarely looks into the newspapers, nothing new does ever happen in foreign parts, a French revolution not excepted.
  • The best books are not read even by those who are called good readers.
  • and in this respect I confess I do not make any very broad distinction between the illiterateness of my townsman who cannot read at all and the illiterateness of him who has learned to read only what is for children and feeble intellects.
  • We have a comparatively decent system of common schools, schools for infants only; but excepting the half-starved Lyceum in the winter, and latterly the puny beginning of a library suggested by the State, no school for ourselves. We spend more on almost any article of bodily aliment or ailment than on our mental aliment.
  • Shall the world be confined to one Paris or one Oxford forever? Cannot students be boarded here and get a liberal education under the skies of Concord? Can we not hire some Abelard to lecture to us? Alas! what
  • Shall the world be confined to one Paris or one Oxford forever? Cannot students be boarded here and get a liberal education under the skies of Concord?
  • Why should we leave it to Harper & Brothers and Redding & Co. to select our reading? As the nobleman of cultivated taste surrounds himself with whatever conduces to his culture—genius—learning—wit—books— paintings—statuary—music—philosophical instruments, and the like; so let the village do—
  • I love a broad margin to my life.
  • For my own part, I was never so effectually deterred from frequenting a man’s house, by any kind of Cerberus whatever, as by the parade one made about dining me,
  • I believe that every man who has ever been earnest to preserve his higher or poetic faculties in the best condition has been particularly inclined to abstain from animal food, and from much food of any kind.
  • I believe that every man who has ever been earnest to preserve his higher or poetic faculties in the best condition has been particularly inclined to abstain from animal food, and from much food of any kind.
  • but this is one of those sayings which men love to repeat whether they are true or not. Such
  • the harmony which results from a far greater number of seemingly conflicting, but really concurring, laws, which we have not detected, is still more wonderful.
  • What I have observed of the pond is no less true in ethics. It is the law of average. Such a rule of the two diameters not only guides us toward the sun in the system and the heart in man, but draws lines through the length and breadth of the aggregate of a man’s particular daily behaviors and waves of life into his coves and inlets, and where they intersect will be the height or depth of his character.
  • If he is surrounded by mountainous circumstances, an Achillean shore, whose peaks overshadow and are reflected in his bosom, they suggest a corresponding depth in him. But a low and smooth shore proves him shallow on that side. In our bodies, a bold projecting brow falls off to and indicates a corresponding depth of thought.
  • Ice is an interesting subject for contemplation.
  • At the same time that we are earnest to explore and learn all things, we require that all things be mysterious and unexplorable, that land and sea be infinitely wild, unsurveyed and unfathomed by us because unfathomable.
  • We need to witness our own limits transgressed, and some life pasturing freely where we never wander.
  • The universe is wider than our views of it.
  • Patriotism is a maggot in their heads.
  • It is remarkable how easily and insensibly we fall into a particular route, and make a beaten track for ourselves. I had not lived there a week before my feet wore a path from my door to the pond-side; and though it is five or six years since I trod it, it is still quite distinct.
  • that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours. He will put some things behind, will pass an invisible boundary; new, universal, and more liberal laws will begin to establish themselves around and within him; or the old laws be expanded, and interpreted in his favor in a more liberal sense, and he will live with the license of a higher order of beings.
  • Some are dinning in our ears that we Americans, and moderns generally, are intellectual dwarfs compared with the ancients, or even the Elizabethan men. But what is that to the purpose? A living dog is better than a dead lion. Shall a man go and hang himself because he belongs to the race of pygmies, and not be the biggest pygmy that he can? Let every one mind his own business, and endeavor to be what he was made.
  • Why should we be in such desperate haste to succeed and in such desperate enterprises? If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer.
  • Tom Hyde, the tinker, standing on the gallows, was asked if he had anything to say. “Tell the tailors,” said he, “to remember to make a knot in their thread before they take the first stitch.” His companion’s prayer is forgotten
  • came into this world, not chiefly to make this a good place to live in, but to live in it,
  • A man has not everything to do, but something; and because he cannot do everything, it is not necessary that he should do something wrong.

 

#20 Go to Legoland

Item 20 on my Bucketlist.

I was raised on Lego. My engineering skills were honed by building the infinity of stuff that can be assembled from these ingenious little blocks. I love how they are designed to be great fun for years without buying heaps of new sets.

My love for Lego is is so strong, that I travel with an assortment of Lego minifigs to capture their ventures around the globe.

Fortunately, I have great friends (adult ones!) excited by Lego as well and they together we embarked upon a sentimental journey to Legolland, Billund. (The original one).

To say that have amazing stuff there build from lego is a huge understatement. But, apart from Lego construction it’s a pretty rad theme park in its own right! There is a plenty of rides, water-related activities etc.

 

 

One trick that a friend found is that we have stayed in Lalandia – a closeby water park and had 2 day Legoland tickets, water park unlimited pass and a very neat skadinavian cabin/ house for the 4 of us. It was a great stay!

Book: Rising Strong: by Brené Brown

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

Theodore Roosevelt famous speech in Sorbonne, 23.04.1910

Brene Brown is a big proponent of vulnerability. In 2010 she gave a TED talk about the value of being vulnerable and it turned out to be amazingly popular. The book came out from the talk.

My takeaways

Rising Strong:  by Brené Brown

Artur, could you please focus and talk about the book? Your digressions about all this are interesting, but lets hear about the book itself!

Being broken-hearted is also courageous. Instead of running away, you have to admit, see and own your moment face-down.

Only when you fall you can see what is up.

You need to admit that „the stories we tell ourselves” are not the whole truth. In every relationship, we all have our internal narratives and you cannot just believe that they are the whole truth. And if you believe you share the story about some facts of your relationship – you need to consult them! You could be very surprised how your significant other can believe in a different story about the same thing.

Integrity is choosing courage over comfort. The proper thing instead of cool, fast or easy.

You need to live your values instead of just talking about them.

You have to own your moment of failure.

Give yourself permission to feel

Actual badass isn’t afraid of talking about the fear and failure. He always stands up after being knocked down. Pretending that you didn’t fail is cowardice.

To rise strong after failure, you have to go through:

  1. Reckoning ( enough with this shit! )
  2. Rumbling ( now what? examine your emotions )
  3. Revolution ( change narratives )

Courageous life

  1. Cultivating authenticity: letting go of what people think
  2. Cultivating self-compassion: letting go of perfectionism
  3. Cultivating a resilient spirit: letting go of numbing and powerlessness
  4. Cultivating gratitude and joy: letting go of scarcity and fear of the dark
  5. Cultivating intuition and trusting faith: letting go of the need for certainty
  6. Cultivating creativity: letting go of comparison
  7. Cultivating play and rest: letting go of exhaustion as a status symbol and productivity as self-worth
  8. Cultivating calm and stillness: letting go of anxiety as a lifestyle
  9. Cultivating meaningful work: letting go of self-doubt and “supposed to”
  10. Cultivating laughter, song, and dance: letting go of being cool and “always in control”

For teams

  • What emotions are the people in our team experiencing?
  • What do we need to get curious about?
  • What are the stories that the team members are making up?
  • What can these stories tell us about the relationships within the team, about communication and team culture?
  • What are the key learnings?
  • And how do we act on these key learnings?

MANIFESTO OF THE BRAVE AND BROKENHEARTED 

There is no greater threat to the critics and cynics and fearmongers

Than those of us who are willing to fall

Because we have learned how to rise With skinned knees and bruised hearts

We choose owning our stories of struggle, Over hiding, over hustling, over pretending.

When we deny our stories, they define us. When we run from struggle, we are never free.

So we turn toward truth and look it in the eye. We will not be characters in our stories. Not villains, not victims, not even heroes.

We are the authors of our lives. We write our own daring endings.

We craft love from heartbreak, Compassion from shame, Grace from disappointment, Courage from failure. Showing up is our power.

Story is our way home. Truth is our song. We are the brave and brokenhearted.

We are rising strong.

More

My highlights

  • badassery deficit.
  • Engineers Without Borders
  • I want to be in the arena
  • shame-based fear of being ordinary (which is how I define narcissism).
  • “the story that I’m making up”
  • Integrity is choosing courage over comfort; choosing what is right over what is fun, fast, or easy; and choosing to practice our values rather than simply professing them.
  • A movement fueled by the freedom that comes when we stop pretending that everything is okay when it isn’t.
  • MANIFESTO OF THE BRAVE AND BROKENHEARTED There is no greater threat to the critics and cynics and fearmongers Than those of us who are willing to fall Because we have learned how to rise With skinned knees and bruised hearts; We choose owning our stories of struggle, Over hiding, over hustling, over pretending. When we deny our stories, they define us. When we run from struggle, we are never free. So we turn toward truth and look it in the eye. We will not be characters in our stories. Not villains, not victims, not even heroes. We are the authors of our lives. We write our own daring endings. We craft love from heartbreak, Compassion from shame, Grace from disappointment, Courage from failure. Showing up is our power. Story is our way home. Truth is our song. We are the brave and brokenhearted. We are rising strong.
  • TEN GUIDEPOSTS FOR WHOLEHEARTED LIVING 1. Cultivating authenticity: letting go of what people think 2. Cultivating self-compassion: letting go of perfectionism 3. Cultivating a resilient spirit: letting go of numbing and powerlessness 4. Cultivating gratitude and joy: letting go of scarcity and fear of the dark 5. Cultivating intuition and trusting faith: letting go of the need for certainty 6. Cultivating creativity: letting go of comparison 7. Cultivating play and rest: letting go of exhaustion as a status symbol and productivity as self-worth 8. Cultivating calm and stillness: letting go of anxiety as a lifestyle 9. Cultivating meaningful work: letting go of self-doubt and “supposed to” 10. Cultivating laughter, song, and dance: letting go of being cool and “always in