Photo by Ivana Cajina on Unsplash

So, the other day I met this guy, and he was talking about the past, living a bit on memories, and he was mid-30s. And I wondered: really? Because I’m mid-30, and I’ll keep pretending to stay mid-30 for a while thankyouverymuch, and I am always suspicious of the nostalgia trap. Isn’t that something for an old mind? Or maybe not.

Who was this guy?

He’s a very kind soul living in a beautiful corner of the US, which isn’t a bad place to live in if you’ve got the money. Turns out he has got that money because he’s…


Falling to Profit, by Roselle L.

If you’re shorting stocks, some people think you should be shot. What gives? Did we stumble over the Root of All Evil or something? Fortunately, it’s not that simple. Others do think short-sellers should be applauded.

It’s true, short-selling has been getting some bad press recently. Well, for years. Fine, since its beginning. Why’s that?

What’s that Onerous Smell?

For many, short-selling reeks of nasty profiteering. Here are some “reasons”:

  • They’re betting against the home team!
  • They’re profiting from someone’s loss.
  • We’re hard-working and they just come in and cause our companies to fail!
  • It’s always short-term! Over a long time, prices generally go…


Crabs pull each other down — don’t be a crab! Picture by the always awesome Rose L.

It’s time for a change, said my friend, and stashed his considerable liquor rack into a shipping container. That was back in the Obama years, when the world hadn’t fallen ill yet, and the United States seemed a splendid place to move to. What drew him was nature, politics (can you imagine), but mostly the people, a different mindset that he craved. Whatever he imagined he needed at that point in his life, he would find it in the Land of Opportunity.

So, how did that go down with his family and friends? Someone finally fulfilling a dream, doing a…


Ear as a Muscle, by Roselle L.

Except for that one time the essays I wrote in high school were discussions of some sort. Choose a topic, look at both sides of the coin, and make a decision. Sometimes we picked a side and defended this point of view. At other times we looked at a particularly delightful (or dreadful) book and discussed that. Eventually, we got good at shining the light on random opinions our teacher came up with. But one time was different.

One time, our teacher asked us to do something extraordinary when going to bed. Instead of trying to fall asleep, we were…


Negotiating with Hiring Pools, by Roselle L.

Love and hate, that’s what hiring is for me. I love it because I’m curious and I get to meet fascinating people all over the globe, even if only for a brief moment, even if only virtually. Hiring is a bit like fast traveling in that sense. I get so many glimpses at different worlds, I learn so much.

I love it because when I find the right person and they join the team, they add so much: to the whole that is the team.

And I hate hiring because too often I did not hire the right person. …


6 Ways to Give, by Roselle L.

I’m grateful how this pandemic made short work of our old thinking habits and presumptions.

The shock it delivered turned hairlines into gaping chasms. A globalized economy where a few countries produce things needed by all is no longer an academic issue — PPE-shopping in March was like looking for turkey on Thanksgiving. Elderly care has been rattled by scandals for years on end and they’ve always been dismissed as localized incidents. No longer (I hope). Oh, and the skies above our cities are actually blue. Who knew?

Alice in Wonderland believed in the impossible. It seems like the pandemic…


As usual thanks to Rose L. for the illustration!

I’m CTO at a startup and I constantly read about how I should communicate and conduct myself. Lead by example! Clarify goals! Don’t micromanage. Trust instead — but do set boundaries! Are you delegating enough?

I wish when I had started out I’d have been told more about the times I would have to simply stay quiet. About the times when doing nothing is exactly the right thing to do. And about how hard that could be.

What are those times?

Shield the team from lucid stakeholder dreams

As CTO I spend a good amount of time discussing ideas. When you’re building a product that you love…


Whoever said laziness doesn’t work?

Shredder’s waiting! Courtesy of Rose L.

A week ago I found yet another one of these nasty backlog issues: Important, not urgent and it was just dragging out. I had commented that I needed clarification, I had gotten it a day later, the next Monday I had asked a follow-up question … and so time went by and it went nowhere.

If you’re managing a task backlog of any sort you might know this feeling of slight GUILT. (That shudder running down your spine, that’s a YES.)

Backlogs are supposed to give you a clear idea of what’s coming, right? To do that, the issues need…


Thanks Rose L.!

They’re better, and they know it

Ah, to have been a spider at the wall of Shakespeare’s study, a cockroach during Mozart’s practice, a fly in the room when von Neumann was building computers! Working with people better than you is awesome — all you gotta do is be a sponge and you’ll level up. You’re basically forced to.

But hiring those people?

Hiring people who are much smarter or more skilled or better humans than you … that’s its own kind of beast. While I’d love to say I’m all Zen, an ego-free monk-manager I have to admit there has been a frog or two…


The Dangerous Journey to the Land of Unlimited Vacations (Thanks Rose L!)

Last week a colleague of mine told me he felt fatigued. The lockdown situation has placed some extra wear and tear on all of us and he felt it. And like all of us he needed to recharge, he needed a vacation.

What did I do? I thought of all the work that needed to be done — plenty — and if there was anything so urgent that we’d be screwed if he was off — there wasn’t.

And so he’s now walking at the beaches of the Mediterranean sea and no, I’m not envious, thanks for asking, I mean…

Murat Knecht

I gather lessons from being a remote CTO in the Philippines. I also write to understand: myself, you, and other amazing humans.

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