Universities have their own rules and rhythm. Frequently, students stick to the rules of the university which can stifle creativity. Students follow a common path that includes taking the same courses to fulfill majors. Anything that breaks the path is deemed wrong or risky, affirming that at the end of the day grades and exams are what matters.
I personally experienced this myself when I considered starting my own business last year. I had a decision to make, and during that time I learned that being indecisive is the worst enemy of productivity and passion. It became evident that doing is more interesting and exciting than studying.
The influence of my teachers were not enough, and I realized I needed to do something worth waking up for. Dropping out was an option. After all some of the most successful people were dropouts, nonetheless I wanted to use college as a runway, using its people and opportunities to increase my chances of success.
The lessons learned in the classroom became tools to start something new from scratch. I realized that college is all about learning lessons, but it is not limited within the classrooms. Entrepreneurship is not something only done after the graduation ceremony.
I finally decided to stay in college, but not to settle. This was not because I did not want to take the risk of dropping out, it was about the challenge of doing both things competitively at the same time.
So far, the opportunities I have come across and the people I have met in the academic area are proving me right. I have learned in this venture that my time is limited, so I have to move fast, as the market and customers expect me to do, but smartly at the same time, choosing carefully the people I want to work with.
Thanks to Dianna Yau for reading drafts of this.
 How schools kill creativity, Ken Robinson, TED, February of 2006
 Saying No to College, Alex Williams, New York Times, November of 2012
This is the history about how I almost got my first job.
Early in the year I meet a founder during a meet up organized by an startup at a bar. She mentioned the project she was working on, introduced me to the team and I actually thought what she was doing was quite cool.
During the year she send me a message via LinkedIn to know if I was interested in a position as a software developer. It looked pretty generic and I was busy so I didn’t even bother in replying. A few days later I see a survey on their Facebook page, so I fill it out just to do a good thing.
A week after that, I received an email from the startup, saying that they were giving away t-shirts to the ones who fill out the survey and I happened to won a t-shirt. I still don’t know if I was lucky or she was just looking for a way to brought me to the office. But now looking back I guess I probably was the only one who filled that survey.
I thought it was a good opportunity to see how the startup was doing so I mailed her to arrange an interview.
During the interview she told me the future plans of her company and asked me to join them. I said no at first but after a couple of minutes I accepted to do a couple of hours of work a week. The following day, I was attending an event in the office where her company was being accelerated at so we talked a bit and I can clearly remember she literally said: “I’ll email you, you start on Monday.”.
She didn’t mail me.
I send her an email to clear all the details, she replied that she was working on a few things out with her CTO and told me to wait. I did never hear from her again.
As I was quite busy with college (and a bit offended) I didn’t mail her again. A couple of week later I went to Facebook to see how they were doing. They moved to Europe to attend an accelerating process and then the company closed. Aka. they failed.
I don’t know if she was desperate or what, but that would explain why she wanted to hire me without even make me code a few lines of code so I guess she didn’t know what she was doing. It still surprises me how, until you get your first day at the office, you can’t call yourself an employee, at least at startups.
And this lesson apply to HR people and startups in general. You can never be sure.
Learning a new language is not easy. Everyone can realize that by thinking about all the people tha couldn’t be more than “just a beginner” in a foreign language. After a few years learning English and a couple of weeks of French I think is time to share some tips I’ve learned during the way.
Don’t start with the numbers or the colours
This is one of the most common mistakes. The truth is that numbers and colours are absolutely useless during the first months of learning and make people the feeling that they are not making any progress, and they are right! You have to memorize by hard a lot of words but you can’t actually say anything! The only case this may be useful is when teaching a language to a really young students, to expose them to a foreing language easily.
Don’t start with common phrases
This is another super common error. This kind of phrases like “How can I get to the Airport?” o “A burger, please” make you think that you can say something, but the fact is that you are ONLY able to say that, only repeating, without the ability of changing them. My recommendation is to learn only dally used or idiomatic ones. However, these could be really useful when travelling to a destination where a foreign language is spoken and you need to communicate specific things, but remember, these will only get you out of trouble momentarily and not much more.
Learn how to form sentences and ask questions
Looks obvious but a lot of people start dealing with this after months of study when it should be one of the first. Learning how the language works allow you to understand text only looking for the translation of the words you don’t understand. And, once you start asking question, will get easier and easier to easier to use the words you already know.
Learn to identify the most common words in your native language
This is something the people that already learned one foreign language knows unconsciously, that is the reason learning a the third language is way easier than the second. The words you most use in your language are almost the same as the one you most need you use in the language you are trying to learn. Identifying and studding this words you will notice that you would be able to say useful things. Don’t worry if you have a bad time remembering your book’s or class’ vocabulary, the most important words are the one you use in daily bases.
Never stop practising
This may be the most important lesson you need to learn. As I said before, learning a new language is not easy, it isn’t for anyone. After practising you may feel that you have reached a level where you are comfortable, but if you don’t practise regularly that knowledge is probably going away in just a couple of months.
Nowadays with Internet is easier than ever to get exposed to the language you want to learn, I bet you can find something interesting in that language to learn or do if you are willing to do so.
Finally, I would like to recommend you a web I’ve recently using, it is called Doulingo, and follows most of the key points I explained.
Picture by Felipe Luiz Fatarelli
“There are no such thing as jobs in Italy anymore!”
That is what a friend of mine who visited Argentina for a month replied when I asked him about the economy situation in Italy. He told me that is almost impossible to find a job in Southern Italy, so young professionals end up moving to Rome or Milan after College.
WOW, what a year!!
Looking back to 2012 is kind of hard, it was the year when I first got to a plate (a life-long dream), meet Europe, including Lyon, that became my favorite city ever, and fulfilled another two life-long at the same time: traveled to the US, attended ISEF and even got an special award!
Midellwhile I was a normal guy attending my first year of Computer Engieneering at the University of Buenos Aires, and that actually help me to came up with an idea that I hopefully think will became my very first production site early this year. And even managed to have time to give my first talk at an open conference as Python Conference Argentina. oup, I almost forget, I was interviewed in national TV!
And of course I could not make any of those things without the help of my life-long friends and all the people all met along the way!
I have no idea how I’ll make this 2013 as awesome (or even more!) as 2012. But that is another history, I know I’ll have fun and have a supper exiting year.
Have a nice 2013 everyone!!
I’m an overthinker. I use to have a hard every time I want to just relax. I like being busy.
But there is one think that always work for me: be in a concert of a band I don’t know. I get loose in the mood, all the mess I have in my head start having sense and after a while I don’t know longer what I was worry about a minutes before.
A super crappy picture I took the last time I went to a concert I didn’t know any of the songs they performed
This post also explains why I always agree to go to concerts from bands I don’t know (nor they are a big promise). A good sound and order is almost a must in order to have this effect on me, but in spite of that I’ve been to concerts of bands that were as bad as you can not imagine and I felt relaxed anyway.
Give it a try. It might work for you to.