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I write about design, technology, and people. Sometimes I share photos of places I visit.

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The eight Google anniversary

I wrote a short post during my train commute on my eight Google anniversary. Little did I know, or even expect, that it will get a bigger reach than initially planned. Text and screenshot below:

After exactly eight years at Google and YouTube, and all that time in one amazing team (YouTube Ads), I have an announcement to make. Read more

The paradox of learning

Let me show you a paradox that has bothered me for many years. Imagine a square. The width of the square represents a unit of time and the height a unit of improvement in skills.

A simple square.

Let’s draw a thick line over the bottom side of the square. It means that your skills stayed the same over the period. However, if you learned something new, your skills increased. In that case, let’s connect the bottom left and upper right corners. The angle of the connecting line can vary depending on the skill increase, but let’s keep it simple.

An empty square, a square with a thick line over its bottom
side indicating no increase in skill, and a square with a
thick line connecting its two opposite corners indicating an
increase in skill. Read more

Vim and the Copernican principle

You’ll type rm -rf /bin/vim in ten years and tell me that I was right.” In non-technical terms, a friend said that I’d stop using an ancient text editor named Vim and switch to something better. That was ten years ago on this day. I’m typing this post in Vim.

The exchange reminds me of the Copernican principle, which assumes that there is nothing special about our place in space and time. Astrophysicist John Richard Gott thought through the principle’s implications and deduced that it’s unlikely that we observe a random thing at its beginning or end—we should be closer to the middle of its existence on average. If a thing existed for two years, it would likely exist for two more; if it existed for two hundred years, that’s probably two centuries more.

The principle doesn’t apply to living or perishable entities. If you see a puppy, you can safely conclude that it is just starting out. But software is different. vi, the precursor to Vim, was created and published in the middle of the 70s and Vim at the beginning of the 90s; that’s half a century from today. So, following the reasoning above, there are many more decades in front of the ancient text editor.

More historic events

It’s been slightly over two years since the COVID-19 pandemic started and almost two since the first lockdowns in Europe. The governments around the world are finally loosening up restrictions (Switzerland did it two weeks ago), many people are vaccinated, and life seems like it’s going to continue in a way that it’s closer to pre-pandemic times.

The bliss lasted for a week. Then Putin invaded Ukraine, started committing war crimes, and threatened to use nuclear weapons. And the world changed again, and nobody knows where we’re heading. The only thing that’s clear for sure is that the next several years will be hard. Aside from completely unecessary human suffering, this war will have political, social, and economic consequences worldwide for years to come.

I was looking to boring times ahead, not more historic events.

Good books I read in 2021

The covers of recommended books.

Late last year and early this year, I went deeper into exploring critical thinking and decision-making. I was a reasonably proficient practitioner until then. Nevertheless, I wanted to improve my vocabulary further and see how other people structured those topics because I was preparing an internal company course on the subject. The first three books in the list are related to that effort. Read more

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