Tabula rasa & menti rasa

…or how valuable is really the empty mind / the beginner’s mind?

Hi guys,

Firstly, I’m not a latinist, as you know; you will have to excuse me… “Tabula rasa” is frequently translated as “blank slate”, to that I wanted to add “blank mind” and I don’t know if “menti rasa” works, but now you know what I was going for “Blank slate & blank mind”.

Now, this matter is like an untangled string in my mind, it has been with me since before I identified with it and before I saw it as “a thing”. Perhaps you can help me untangle it. And may I boldly suggest that perhaps we will untangle or tangle each other’s strings in this process. This is my aspiration.

I’ll simply share my personal experiences and thoughts without much judgement and hopefully a narrative will emerge.

Since early I have been turning to philosophy. If you ask me which philosophers I like, or who influenced me the most, I have no idea; I’ve barely read them. In fact I have been afraid to. I thought that their definitions and descriptions of things would limit my thinking and my view of the/my world. I still think like this; still I don’t read them.

So, I wanted (and want) to understand the world on my own terms as far as possible. This is perhaps complicated and not all that relevant. I bring it up because it was my first experience with the will to stay pure/untainted or stay with my “blank mind”.

For about 10 years I think philosophy was the only subject getting this treatment in my life. And then I remember having similar thoughts in late Lavasoft. These thoughts were, I think more concerned with Method rather than world view. And I think this is where it may become more interesting to you …but before that, I want to share with you my most resent experience and the trigger for this post.

As you know I’m screwing around in Asia. However, my recent experience is not of a philosophical nature (as you might guess from the Asian context). Instead I started to think: Fictional writing. This is a new source of pleasure, pain and curiosity.

Two days ago, with recaptured ambition I started describing the world, circumstances and the conflicts of the universe where I wish my story to play out, I believe this is “Outlining”. I am not sure and I don’t want to know because I want to try and fail with the facilities I already control before I see how other people do it. This is key. Do you think I am wise in this thinking?

To look in a more familiar direction: Before drinking software methodologies we often/hopefully see that something is wrong. And then we take somebodies else’s word for a solution… a solution we think we grasp, sometimes we kind of do. But do we grasp the difference between their and our situation and do we see the core of the principle (in many cases the preachers do not even see the true nature, but merely his/her situation in relation). In large there are big assumptions regarding cause and effect. (But as you know: true conviction alone (confused or not) is stronger than most problems).

Wow, I have no idea where I am right now. Did I had one golden camel? …which one am I?

Can you perhaps help me figure out where I’m trying to go here? And if so, what do you think about it?

Love,
Kalle

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International speaking engagement!

Dear Matte and Kalle (If you are actually still reading this)

So, I am very excited to be asked to speak for the first time ever in another country!
I will be speaking at Agile Vilnius 2013!

So, the only thing left to decide is which topic I want to talk about…
I lean heavily toward my retrospective talk, as that is my best material. But…
Vaidas (who invited me) Thinks a talk about testing in an Agile environment will draw more of a crowd…

Opinions?

Best naming convention ever

Dear Kalle and Matte

My new team has the best naming convention ever!
Every sprint is given a alphabetical identifier. So, we are currently is sprint K, but that’s kind of dull right?

So, each sprint is named after a particular cake. Last one was “jordgubbstårta” and this one is “Kladdkaka”.

Then, after each demo, the teams and the customer eat said cake to celebrate a successful sprint!

Very nice way to end a sprint, have clear naming for future reference, and socialize with the the customer!

Will be advocating to teams going forward!

//Jeff

Rentastartup

Dear Kalle and Matte

Just an idea I have been bouncing around in my head… I would like to hear what you guys think.

Would services like rentacoder or elancer be good for startups? I have actually no experience with these services, so, this is purely an intellectual exercise.

Possible Pro’s:
Quick prototype:
One of the main focuses of the lean startup is to get something (anything) out fast, and see how people react. Since rentacoder has people at extreemly low prices, and you are not yet overly concerned about questions like code quality, you could have something hacked together for very cheap that you can use to test your first assumptions.

Possible Con’s:
Hard to iterate…Maybe?
Since you hire the coder for a limited amount of time, they may not be there when you need to iterate to test your next assumption.

No passion:
I suppose it would be hard to expect a hired gun to be passionate about the product you are trying to create… Although, is that really any different from any employee in the short term? I am of the opinion that most developers are self motivating, at least in the beginning.

Opinions?
There are a lot of things to consider around this, but I will leave that to you guys to bring up 😉

//Jeff

How Bret Victor changed my life

Hi Mattias,

Do you know who this Bret Victor guy is? Actually I barely do, I heard he made the Al Gore iPad book amazing, that he did some cool stuff over at apple and yeah… more cool stuff somewhere else. But most important, after watching a video recording of him speaking at some conference I got renewed hope.

He speaks of a choice between Craftsmanship, Passion and Cause. Where most people choose craftsmanship, many speak of passion but few speak of or live by a cause. The later is of course what he describes; you can choose to live by a cause even if your work is not related to social activism or politics. He himself want creative people (like himself) to have a direct latency free connection to their work. He says: If I get an idea and make an adjustment to my work with the intent to realize that idea I need to see the result immediately! Without this ideas die. He hates when ideas die.

Do you have a cause? Do you want one?
I want one, I’m probably that type of person. I even think I have one but I can’t distill it to words, can you?

Written but not Read,
Sincerely yours,
Kalle

PS. Perhaps the title should have been: How Bret Victor potentially changed my life, but that just isn’t as catchy.

How to earn loads of money

Pick up a peice of technoligy, like a phone or a computer. Locate the most frequently used applications, usually found on a home screen, in a dock or perhaps in a start menu. Now go through the applications and ask yourself if you like them or if they annoy you, are they a bliss to use or do they suck? If the answer is “no” you must be doing something wrong, you need to enter a state of critical thinking.

Now, take your pick from the (presumably) steaming pile of applications. Build your own, let it be great, simple, easy to use and a bliss to interact with (to be honest you might even make it whitout the bliss; bliss is’t mandatory but highly recommended).

Make it available for purchase and tell a friend.

Now repeat from the begining until satisfied.

What do you think Mattias? An option to consider?

Take care,
Your friend, The Rant Machine

The value of perfection

Hi!

I thought that this would be a good subject for a post written on my thirteen minute ride from the city to my home. During thirteen minutes there is no time for perfection (there is not even spell checking in the interface that I am using) which makes this pretty meta in a potentially uninteresting way.

I try to accept that perfection isn’t an omnipotent solution. I accept that, I am perhaps willing to accept that it is not the answer to anything. Despite this I think the asspiration has great value. This is what I want to talk about; the balance between perfection and what you think is needed from what we might refeer to as reality.

I have almost never created something that I think is perfect, as I set out to I usually try but it never happends. But trying hard and being persistent and “failing” (but really sucseeding) will make you better at what you do. That is the essence, that is the value of aspiring perfection.

I didn’t get deep into the core of this issue and if I were to read it from the begining I probably wouldn’t like it much. Anyway, this was my practice beta post; a first attempt at battling the need for perfection and in deed a controdicting meta post. Look forward to the follow up on thw value of inperfection…

Good night,
Kalle