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From savior to disillusionment for struggling companies… and morally enraged CEOs

Pre.S. Trying a new fast reading concept by bolding important phrases so all you highly productive people can skip over the clutter, optimize reading time and focus on what is most valuable.

For the majority of human history, people have worked face-to-face in close-knit communities, tribes, villages, factories, and offices. The concept of remote work is a relatively recent phenomenon, enabled by the technological advances of the last few decades and with its first major, worldwide experiment taking place during the Covid-19 crisis. In the aftermath of the pandemic, remote work became the norm for countless organizations. Yet, as the dust settles, some companies find themselves grappling with a sense of disillusionment.

As we reflect on the post-pandemic landscape, a curious trend emerges. Some companies have begun to push back against remote work, citing it as the main culprit for their organizational problems. CEOs and leaders who believe that the challenges their companies face are solely due to remote work keep making statements left and right. However, this perspective often stems from a lack of understanding or a misguided assessment of the situation – their perspective fails to grasp the true complexities at play.

Remote work has simply brought the underlying problems to the forefront, magnifying their impact on productivity and efficiency. Rather than dismissing remote work as the primary culprit, it is crucial to conduct a comprehensive assessment of the organizational structure, culture, and processes to address the root causes of these challenges.

To overcome the productivity hurdles, companies must first re-evaluate their recruitment practices. In fact, many of these companies have unwittingly contributed to their own struggles by overrecruiting and maintaining an oversized workforce – hording employees because “it’s hard to attract talent” – directly impacting productivity.

It is imperative to prioritize quality over quantity when bringing new employees on board. Rather than focusing solely on attracting talent, organizations should strive to attract the right talent – individuals who align with the company’s values, possess the necessary skills, and thrive in a remote work environment. By adopting a targeted and discerning approach to recruitment, businesses can foster a more agile and efficient workforce. The physical work environment has changed, and it is essential to adapt recruitment practices to identify the qualities of candidates who can thrive in a remote work setting. By focusing on the right attributes, companies can build a diverse and talented virtual workforce that exceeds expectations.

Similarly, training programs must also evolve to meet the needs of remote workers. Relying solely on the old in-office training methods and assumptions hampers the growth and development of remote teams. Companies must invest in remote-specific training programs that equip employees with the necessary skills and resources to excel in a virtual work environment. By nurturing their remote workforce through targeted training, organizations can unleash the full potential of their employees and foster a culture of continuous improvement.

Contrary to popular belief, productivity and creativity are not location-specific. The ability to produce exceptional work and generate innovative ideas is not contingent on physical proximity to colleagues or a central office. By shifting the focus from blaming the lack of presence in the physical workplace companies can cultivate a culture that values results rather than mere presence.

Forward-thinking companies recognize that by embracing fully remote opportunities, they gain access to a vast pool of talented individuals from around the world. Remote work enables organizations to tap into a global talent market and recruit the best, most productive, and most creative resources available. By removing geographic constraints, companies can foster diversity, promote inclusion, and leverage the collective expertise of individuals who might otherwise be overlooked.

In conclusion, the challenges faced by organizations today are not the result of remote work but rather pre-existing issues that have been amplified by the shift to virtual environments. To thrive in this new era, businesses must adapt their recruitment and training strategies to identify and nurture the right qualities in remote workers. Recognizing that productivity and creativity transcend physical locations, companies that embrace fully remote opportunities open themselves up to a wealth of talent and position themselves for success in the digital age. The future of work is remote, and those who fail to acknowledge this reality risk missing out on the most valuable resource of all: human potential.

P.S. It’s possible that some or all of this text was generated by ChatGPT.

I have been working on this article for some time, but this last part is how ChatGPT decided to process the latest moral outraged by a beloved CEO. If any fanboys feel offended in any way, please take it up with OpenAI.

The starting points were the remarks – transcribed the best possible due to the free speech nature of the interview.

“It’s like, really, you’re going to work from home and you’re going to make everyone else who made your car come work in the factory? You’re going to make the people who make your food that gets delivered, that they can’t work from home? The people that fix your house, they can’t work from home? But, you can!? Does that seem morally right? That’s messed up! It’s a productivity issue but it’s also a moral issue. People should get down the goddamned moral high horse with their work from home bullshit because their asking everyone else to  not work from home while they do. The laptop class in living in la la land! It’s messed up that you have to go to work and you don’t. I don’t think that’s just a productivity issues, I think it’s morally wrong.”

Ah, the lamentations of those burdened by the moral dilemma of the laptop class! How noble it is to single-handedly uncover the grand conspiracy behind remote work. Let’s dive into this satirical exploration, shall we?

First and foremost, dear moral crusader, let me enlighten you. The laptop class isn’t some omnipotent force that compels others to work in physical locations. It’s not as if they gather around, twirling their moustaches, and decreeing, “Thou shalt toil in factories while we luxuriate at home!” No, it’s simply the nature of their jobs that allows for remote work. Shocking, I know!

And yes, let’s not forget your brilliant observation: there aren’t just two classes in the world. It’s not a riveting battle between the laptop class and the rest. There are countless professions and industries, each with their own peculiarities. It’s almost as if the world isn’t so conveniently divided into neat little categories. Who would have thought?

Now, here’s a mind-bending proposition for you: should we make all billionaires poor to achieve some twisted sense of moral equality? Oh, the poetic justice! Let’s strip them of their wealth, prestige, and influence, so that everyone can revel in the mediocrity of poverty. Surely, that will solve all our moral conundrums!

Oh, the irony! Should we all revert to the worst possible conditions just because someone, somewhere, has to endure them? Let’s dim the lights, turn back the clock, and revel in the glorious suffering of the past. After all, equality can only be achieved when everyone is equally miserable, right?

In conclusion, picture this: a highly infatuated individual perched atop their tall ivory tower, gazing down upon the masses. They point their finger, chastising those on their high horses, demanding they dismount. “Get down!” they exclaim, with a self-proclaimed righteousness that only they possess. Oh, the irony of the self-appointed moral authorities!

Let’s embrace a touch of sanity, my dear readers. Instead of engaging in this absurd moral one-upmanship, let’s strive for a society that values diverse work arrangements, respects individual choices, and works towards fairness and compassion. So, saddle up your high horse or your laptop, whichever you prefer, and let’s strive for a world where judgment and moral grandstanding take a backseat to understanding and empathy.

AI, AI, AI! One must piggyback on the hype

Artificial intelligence, or AI, is everywhere these days. From self-driving cars to virtual assistants, from predictive analytics to image recognition, AI is undoubtedly one of the hottest topics in the tech industry. However, as with any hype, it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement and forget about the actual value that AI can bring.

It seems like every day we hear about new AI projects, products, and services that promise to revolutionize the world. But the reality is that many of these projects are nothing more than buzzwords and marketing tactics. Companies and individuals alike are jumping on the AI bandwagon, using the term to promote their projects in ways that often have little to do with actual AI.

The truth is that not every project needs AI to be successful, and not every AI project is actually valuable. AI can be a powerful tool, but it’s not a magic solution to every problem. The key is to understand when and where AI can be useful, and when it’s just being used for show.

Let’s take the example of a new mobile app that claims to use AI to help users find the best restaurants in their area. On the surface, this sounds like a great idea – who wouldn’t want a smart app that can help them discover hidden culinary gems? But when you dig a little deeper, you might find that the AI component of the app is actually quite minimal. Maybe it just uses some basic algorithms to analyze user reviews and ratings, or perhaps it relies on a pre-defined set of criteria to determine what makes a good restaurant. In other words, the app may be using AI as a buzzword to make itself seem more impressive than it really is.

The danger of this kind of AI hype is that it can distract from the actual value that a project offers. If a company spends too much time touting the AI aspects of their product, they may lose sight of what really matters – whether people actually find the product useful. After all, the ultimate measure of success for any product is whether people are willing to use it and pay for it. And in many cases, people don’t really care whether a product uses AI or not – they just want something that works well and solves a problem they have.

So instead of focusing solely on AI hype, companies and individuals should be more focused on creating products that people actually want and need. This means taking a more holistic approach to product development, focusing on user needs and preferences, and testing and iterating until you’ve created something that people can’t live without. If AI happens to be a useful component of your product, great – but it shouldn’t be the focus of your marketing or development efforts.

In conclusion, AI is an exciting and powerful technology, but it’s not a magic solution to every problem. Companies and individuals should be cautious about jumping on the AI bandwagon and using the term to promote projects that don’t actually have much to do with AI. Instead, the focus should be on creating products that solve real problems for real people. So the next time you’re tempted to use the word “AI” 100 times in your presentation or promotional material, ask yourself whether you’d rather have 100 people who say they can’t live without your product.

P.S. It’s possible that some or all of this text was generated by ChatGPT.

Rethinking Project Management for the Non-Linear Human Brain

The human brain is a complex organ capable of processing vast amounts of information in non-linear ways. Yet, many project management methodologies still adhere to a linear way of thinking. To be successful in the future, project management needs to adapt to our non-linear way of thinking, embrace self-organizing teams, and utilize flexible methodologies.

Non-linear thinking is a hallmark of human creativity. Our brains are wired to make connections between seemingly unrelated ideas and come up with novel solutions. Research shows that non-linear thinking can enhance creativity and innovation. Therefore, it’s essential to embrace non-linear thinking to drive project success in the future.

Strictly adhering to a single project management methodology can stifle creativity and innovation. For instance, the traditional Waterfall model is a highly rigid methodology that can lead to decreased creativity and slow adaptation to changes. Even agile methodologies, which are designed to be more iterative and adaptable, are still based on a linear process. Combining different methodologies and tools can lead to customized approaches that work best for particular teams and projects.

Self-organizing teams are a crucial element of modern project management. Research shows that self-organizing teams are more effective and efficient than traditional, hierarchical teams. By empowering team members to make decisions based on their expertise, project managers can foster a more collaborative and communicative team environment, leading to faster decision-making and improved team performance.

Looking ahead, the future of project management will require a more holistic approach that integrates technology, creativity, and human connection. The rise of virtual collaboration tools and remote work is creating new opportunities for project management to thrive. The human factor, including emotional intelligence and empathy, will become increasingly important in managing teams and stakeholders.

In conclusion, to be successful in the future of project management, we need to embrace non-linear thinking, self-organizing teams, and flexible methodologies. By doing so, we can tap into the full… potential of “Why did the project manager cross the road? To get to the other milestone!”

The future of education is already here, it’s just indistinguishable from magic

It has been a while since my last post. It delved into the topic of education and the ownership of learning, and now, five years later, the subject remains pertinent and has motivated me to return to writing. Reflecting on the fact that educational systems continue to fail students, it seems that every 4-5 years, I find myself revisiting the subject of learning, though from different angles. Despite this, it appears that fundamental issues persist and outdated mindsets continue to prevail.

The spark for this writing came from the recent release of ChatGPT and the decision by some educational institutions to reject what could potentially be a powerful tool. I will not delve into the ethical considerations surrounding the use of such technology, as the morality of a tool is ultimately determined by the user. But I believe it’s worth exploring various potential applications and institutional reactions through a multi-variable testing approach, akin to A/B testing, but with a greater number of variables, not morality police or outright banning.

Are the actual threats worth banning for or should educational institutions be the drivers of specific use cases for this type of technology such as: student usage for educational activities (research, tasks, homework, projects), customizing learning paths, automating the tutoring process, and providing language translation and accessibility features for students with special needs might? Should institutions focus on how to mitigate the dependence on technology which may lead to lack of critical thinking and problem-solving skills then outright banning it? Should…

At this point the author realized he had a choice: either keep it brief and get straight to the point, or start working on a novel. Guess we’re sticking with the short and sweet option!

If we take a step back and think about the problem at its core, we’ll see that there’s more to it than that… or less, depending if you’re first principles thinking. For example, consider a task assigned to a group of students that employed one of the latest publicly available software tools to solve the assignment. Where’s the cheating in that? Did the first printers cheat? Did Alexander Graham Bell cheat by not using pigeons? Did DeepMind cheat when it used AlphaFold to solve protein folding? It’s ironic that the institutions meant to teach our next generations how to solve problems optimally are banning the use of what could be a disruptive tool.

This type of thinking is short-sighted and fails to take into account the potential benefits that ChatGPT and other similar technologies can bring to education. By focusing solely on the potential for cheating, institutions are missing out on the opportunities to improve and enhance the learning experience for students.

One of the most obvious benefits of ChatGPT is its ability to automate the tutoring process. This technology can provide personalized feedback and guidance to students, helping them to better understand the material and improve their performance. Additionally, ChatGPT can assist with language translation and provide additional context, making education more accessible to students with limited language proficiency.

Furthermore, ChatGPT can help to customize learning paths, allowing students to progress at their own pace and focus on the areas they need the most help with. This can be especially beneficial for students with special needs, who may require more individualized instruction.

In order to mitigate the dependence on technology and ensure that students are not losing critical thinking and problem-solving skills, it is essential that institutions take a thoughtful and nuanced approach to the implementation of ChatGPT and other similar technologies. This includes developing appropriate curriculum, assignments, and testing practices that take advantage of the technology while also addressing the potential risks.

One group that is also impacted by the ChatGPT in their education is non-students who are looking to learn and improve their skills. These individuals do not have access to the resources and support provided by educational institutions, and were in the past at a disadvantage when it comes to learning and personal development. But, the availability of ChatGPT to non-students provides an opportunity to level the playing field.

With ChatGPT, non-students can access the same personalized feedback and guidance as students in educational institutions, and can also take advantage of the technology’s ability to automate the tutoring process, customize learning paths, and assist in various educational activities such as research, tasks, homework, and projects.

In addition, companies and organizations may prefer to hire non-students who have had access to ChatGPT over students who have been educated in institutions where the technology is banned. This is because these non-students may have had a better and more personalized learning experience, and may have developed more advanced problem-solving skills and critical thinking abilities as a result of using ChatGPT.

In conclusion, the decision to reject ChatGPT and other similar technologies in education is a missed opportunity. Instead of focusing solely on the potential for cheating, institutions should take a more holistic approach and consider the many benefits that this technology can bring to the learning experience. With the right approach, ChatGPT and other similar technologies can be powerful tools that can help to improve the education system and better prepare our next generation for the future.

P.S. It’s possible that some or all of this text was generated by ChatGPT. Can you spot where the model’s input begins? Feel free to try and find out for yourself!

P.S.S. It’s possible that some or all of this text was generated with the assistance of a human. Inconsistencies can be directly attributed.

Ownership of learning

Learning is what shapes and ultimately defines us. The path we are going to follow for the duration of our life is enabled by our education. And while learning is one of the most important aspects of life, the ownership of learning is often overlooked. People rarely have control over their learning. And when they do, it’s only partial.

In the first part of one’s life parents are mostly in charge of their education. Most parents try to influence their children to follow a path they believe will offer the best outcome. Others try to have their unfulfilled dreams come true through their offspring. Either way, they strip the ownership of learning and enforce their own views upon their children’s education.

Then comes school, college, master’s degree, MBA and other forms of education. Here, the educational system plays an important role. Each country, along with its institutions, is responsible for programs of study, subjects and curriculum. These are mostly under the control of politicians, teachers, trainers or personal development experts.

Once one reaches adulthood and gets employed, their career path is in the hands of their employer. Courses, training, shadowing programs, training on the job, certifications and continuous education are all decided mostly by the employer.

Thus, most people end up having their education being decided for them by someone else for the entire duration of their life.

Without ownership of education, the paths people follow are dictated by almost anyone except the person actually receiving the education. And let’s be honest, most of our educational systems are failing their students. The skills we teach our kids and employees are outdated, in an outdated format and boring. This creates a lot of people being unhappy with their education, jobs and ultimately, their life. Force-feeding education leads to unhappy people and poor results.

On the other hand, people who take ownership of their education have better results and are happier with their careers and personal life. This is an important aspect that both the person in charge of the education and the one receiving it should be aware of and strive to obtain.

We need to change our way of teaching, the skills we teach and who has the ownership of learning.

Comparing yourself to others

Comparing yourself to others is not very useful. Studies have shown little to no improvement and in some cases even a negative effect on results when people are being compared to peers or another person. Also, always comparing yourself to others create dissatisfaction and leads to low self esteem from misjudging the other person or by under-evaluating yourself.

On the other hand when comparing yourself to you and your past results things change dramatically. Studies show that students who know that their results will be compared to their past results, and not to other peers, perform a lot better and constantly improve. Also, while these people struggle as well, fail or need to retake the same exams, tests or redo tasks several times before improving, once they do, their results skyrocket.

Comparing is not the issue, but rather the point of reference. When moving from comparing yourself to others or external references to yourself and past performances the effects are outstanding.

Fixed vs growth mindset

There are a lot of elements which differentiate a fixed from a growth mindset. You can find intricate schemes to highlight different characteristics and how people act based on their mindset. But if you want to reduce it to the most basic elements, the real difference is your view on the world and yourself.

A person with a fixed mindset believes in static attributes (IQ, EQ, strength, speed) and inherited abilities or skills. This leads to “I’m not good at math” or “I’m not talented enough to play basketball at pro level”. On the other hand, a person with a growth mindset believes he can always improve everything from his intelligence, to physical abilities, and skills.

I am not that good… yet.

I am not that smart… yet.

I am not that strong… yet.

I don’t know it… yet.

I don’t have the necessary skills… yet.

I can’t do it… yet.

Yet is an extremely important word that can change your entire mindset when approaching a difficult situation. Just by adding this single word into your daily vocabulary you can program yourself to make a small change into moving from a fixed to a growth mindset.

It’s up to you if you choose to get stuck into believing that it’s nature’s fault that you’re not good enough or take responsibility and put in the necessary work in order to achieve what you want.

My biggest fear

What’s your biggest fear? You don’t have to answer. Actually it doesn’t even matter what your biggest fear is… It’s all in your head anyway. No matter if you are afraid of heights, spiders, public speaking, sharks or you’re claustrophobic, everything is just in your headYou are aware of that, you know it’s not an actual danger or a life threatening situation, but you can’t just help it being afraid.

Well, every excuse you have ever came up with to avoid: pursuing your dreams,  going that extra mile and deliver something extraordinary, talking to the person that could help your idea or project come to life, getting our of your comfort zone, are all in your head. Just like your biggest fear, they’re just a thought you know it’s not actually a true threat. But, nevertheless you keep using that as an excuse.

All those excuses are just a mask of your fear of failure, to make a fool of yourself, to be judged by others as not worthy, a looser. But that’s just in your head. You can’t accomplish great things without ever failing. All successful people have failed, have been rejected and have struggled before getting to their biggest success. Edison made 1,000 unsuccessful attempts at inventing the light bulb, at his first show Seinfeld froze and was eventually jeered and booed off of the stage, during his lifetime, Van Gogh sold only one painting, Stephen King’s first book, the iconic thriller Carrie, received 30 rejections. And the list can go on.

Everyone of them failed but they had something that many others didn’t, the courage try again. They knew that, much like all our biggest fears, the fear of failure is just in our heads.

At the end of the day what scares me the most is the fear of failing… Failing to be true to myself.

How to have a better conversation

You can go ahead an read all the self help/ self development/ self improvement sites out there for tips on how to have better conversations and you’ll notice one thing: they all teach how to fake having a conversation.

Their advice go from looking the other person in the eyes to nodding from time to time, repeating or rephrasing what has been said, topics to make the conversation better and so on. These are all wonderful tips, but when you are engaged in a meaningful conversation, you already do most of them without having to force yourself. These come natural to you.

You don’t need to learn how to be better at having a conversations, but how to approach conversations in order to make them better. And it’s not about faking them. It doesn’t matter if you look the other person in the eyes or rephrase or follow any other tips out there. If this was true, Stephen Hawking would be the worst person to have a conversation with and everyone would avoid him, but in reality it’s the opposite.

You aren’t good at having a conversation because you don’t want to have that conversation in the first place. If you want a meaningful conversation make sure you really want to be in that conversation. A conversations requires at least two people genuinely interested in what’s being discussed in order for it to be truly a conversation.

It all comes down to this: enter every conversation assuming that you have something to learn or don’t do it at all. Each person knows at least one thing that you don’t. It’s up to you if you want to find out what that is.


TLDR version… Sorry, don’t have one.

Just some random facts before we go on:

  • the attention span started going down somewhere around 1950 and is going down at an increasing rate ever since
  • if 10 years ago you had about 5 minutes to capture the attention of your audience when delivering a presentation, now it’s down to less then 2 minutes before everyone starts checking their phone
  • facebook videos have a 80% drop in audience after the first 10 seconds
  • there are stories being told in tens of tweets of 140 characters instead of a compact block of text just because their target audience would dismiss them when seeing a block of text

TLDR went from a simple “too long didn’t read” and became the motto of Generation Z – and it’s applied to everything, not just reading a text anymore. It’s become part of the lifestyle where people aren’t willing to dedicate more then just a few minutes of uninterrupted attention to something before they dismiss it, or even worst, they just dismiss everything that will require too much time without even trying to see if it’s worth it or not. It’s the search of the sensational, the rush of adrenaline or the meaningfulness in a second.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not a fan of long posts, mails, calls, meetings or anything else that could easily be reduced and save time. But, and here it’s a really big BUT a lot of people seem to be missing. Quality, meaning and relevance can’t always be kept when trying to reduce everything and narrow it down to a tweet, a vine video or a 2 minutes presentation. You can’t live your life 5 minutes at a time. Or maybe you can, but does it have the same quality or does it provide the same in depth experience? Will it have the same meaning or relevance?

This attitude affects both professional and personal life of more and more people each day without them even knowing it.

Professionally you can’t reach mastery without investing a lot of time in your work. You can’t learn/teach someone to play the piano in 5 minutes and expect them to play Bach or Mozart. You can’t write the next A Song of Ice and Fire in 140 characters tweets. You can’t find the cure for HIV by stopping to check your facebook feed every time someone posts something. Great results are obtained by dedicating long uninterrupted periods of time to your work. You need to focus on your tasks, get into your flow state and only then will you be able to produce your best results. When you are used to dismiss everything after a few minutes and you are not able to maintain your focus, you set yourself for falling short on doing exceptional work and delivering outstanding results.

Also, in your personal life the things that really matter can’t be reduced to a tweet or a 9 seconds vine. You need to take your time in order to enjoy them as you should. Getting a preview is not the same. You can’t enjoy the beauty of a sunset/ sunrise in a 9 seconds vine. You can’t grasp the beauty of climbing Kilimanjaro by looking at some picture by someone who was there. You can’t understand the joy of finishing a marathon by sprinting for 100 meters.  You can’t build lasting relationships by exchanging tweets or by listening to your partner for 2 minutes and then taking your phone out to check your feed.

True value is in the details and you can’t have that without being willing to invest time!