On Evernote’s recent troubles

I’ve used and loved Evernote for a long time. However over the past year, I’ve been making many attempts to migrate away from it. It’s not exactly one specific reason/issue that is causing me to move away, but many little quirks that give you the feeling of death by a thousand cuts. Sadly they’ve also killed Evernote Food which I quite liked, but that’s understandable, as it always felt like some kind of a side project.

Nowadays I seldom use Skitch or Penultimate, as they now feel clunky and troublesome. It’s not entirely Evernote’s fault, as there are other factors that count against it, such as the current version of OS X offering pretty good annotation fools, and a solid Notes app. However, Evernote’s feature set is still powerful enough that they should be able to get through this tough period.

via Thoughts on Evernote’s recent troubles – BakingPixel

Some of my latest views on Evernote.

Productivity RubyCoded

Silly mistakes when managing projects

The fundamental problem I was facing was that I acting like a freelancer instead of a business owner.

I didn’t have refined processes for client management, outsourcing work, and managing projects.

It certainly takes time to think about your business and build out processes for it.

At the same time, you’ll benefit from moving from a freelancer to a business that has the potential to scale beyond the 24 hours in your day.

via 4 Ridiculously Obvious Mistakes I Made Building WordPress Sites for Clients – WPMU DEV

I’m basically guilty of all of these issues while running RubyCoded. Plenty of room to improve, and we’ll keep improving.


Fountain Pens for Beginners

If you’re like me, you’ll read a lot, you’ll feel lost, and you’ll be intimidated. And then eventually, after months and months of reading stuff that you barely understand, you’ll decide to take the plunge and buy a pen and see what happens. You’ll make some mistakes, but eventually after some trial and error, you’ll start to realize just what these fountain pen aficionados are so crazy about. Or, you’ll give up because it’s too much hassle and regret having waster your money.

That’s why I decided to write this. My goal is to give someone who wants to try fountain pens for the first time a step-by-step guide on how to go from true beginner to early-stage addiction in a single concise article, all the while removing some of the intimidation and false starts that come with plunging in on our own.

The guys over at The Pen Addict have a great post for guys who are looking to get into fountain pens. It’s a good read.

As always, I always feel that the Lamy Safari is the best fountain pen for beginners. It was the first fountain pen I bought when I was just getting started.

Productivity Thoughts

On being a Jack of All Trades

Stumbling upon an article from Tim Ferris on being a Jack of All Trades, reminded me about my decision to become a generalist a few years back.

I can’t quite recall whether it was after reading a Robert Kiyosaki book, or the 4-hour Work Week, or something else, but I did make the decision, and looking back, I’m glad I did.

There were definitely some downsides, but I think it’s worth it. One downside that I’m always encountering is that coming from a technology background, it’s still incredibly frustrating when I don’t understand something tech related and need to ask for help. It’s even worse when I don’t understand the explanation. Depending on the situation, I could either pay someone to solve the issue for me, or spend more time to better understand the situation and work on a solution.

Is the CEO a better accountant than the CFO or CPA? Was Steve Jobs a better programmer than top coders at Apple? No, but he had a broad range of skills and saw the unseen interconnectedness. As technology becomes a commodity with the democratization of information, it’s the big-picture generalists who will predict, innovate, and rise to power fastest. There is a reason military “generals” are called such.

The upside of all this is I understand a lot more things now across a different categories and can piece the experiences together, giving me a better or broader view of things. Being a generalist also required me to be nimble, catching up and learning different trades quickly to make up for lost time against others who have been practising it for years.

Not that I’m against mastery of any field. However I do feel that once you pass a certain point, there are diminishing returns for your time spent on it, and unless you’re absolutely certain that it’s your one true passion, your time might be better spelt elsewhere.

Generalists recognize that the 80/20 principle applies to skills: 20% of a language’s vocabulary will enable you to communicate and understand at least 80%, 20% of a dance like tango (lead and footwork) separates the novice from the pro, 20% of the moves in a sport account for 80% of the scoring, etc. Is this settling for mediocre?

Not at all. Generalists take the condensed study up to, but not beyond, the point of rapidly diminishing returns. There is perhaps a 5% comprehension difference between the focused generalist who studies Japanese systematically for 2 years vs. the specialist who studies Japanese for 10 with the lack of urgency typical of those who claim that something “takes a lifetime to learn.”

It’s important to note that being a generalist isn’t for everyone, and I’m glad that there are specialists in this world. It’s great that the world is filled with different types of people, and my choice is to be a generalist.

The jack of all trades maximizes his number of peak experiences in life and learns to enjoy the pursuit of excellence unrelated to material gain, all while finding the few things he is truly uniquely suited to dominate.

I also happen to think that it’s more fun this way, so there is also that.


On migrant workers

When Phadendra Kumar Shrestha heard about the cupboardful of abandoned passports, he knew he was in trouble. The 27-year-old migrant worker from Sindhuli district, Nepal, had travelled to Malaysia on the promise of a salary more than double what he could ever hope to earn at home, but the contents of the cupboard made him afraid.

Shortly after his arrival in Kuala Lumpur in October, his employer confiscated his passport and those of the 36 young men who had travelled with him. Without his documents, the only way Shrestha could leave his employer was to run away. And so the pile of abandoned passports indicated that several workers had fled, leaving their documents behind.

Via The Guardian

I’ve always taken my hat off to those who actually take the step of leaving their home to venture into another country, whether it’s to escape political prosecution, or to find their fortune.

Leaving home is never easy. It takes guts, sacrifice, and determination. Often you’re leaving behind family, everything you’ve worked for until that point, and you might never come back. It’s even scarier for migrant workers as they’re often going to work at construction sites or similar jobs, and not corporate jobs where they might be treated better or afforded better protection.

It’s sad to see many of these workers be abused along the way, often with no way out. It also reminds me of an article I read not too long ago titled “Why are white people expats when the rest of us are immigrants?” The Wall Street Journal also had a similar article on the topic.

Not all migrant workers (or expats?) are good, but that applies to any group in society. There are bad people from every country, race, gender etc. There are some happy stories of course, and the one about some workers in Singapore saving a baby was widely circulated recently.

In the end, one can hope that society will eventually progress to the point where we’re evaluated and treated based on our abilities and achievements, rather than the country that we’re born in.