Saturday, October 12, 2013

Piece 4: Thoughts on Einstein's dreams

24 APRIL 1905
"In this world, there are two times. There is mechanical time and there is body time".

Well, we are saying that, time exist as a manifestation of it self and its manifestation or measuring rod is a mechanical device or our body.
Our world is a world of these 2 times. They co-exist. 

Before 1275, before the Italian monk designed the first mechanical clock...
This very world had just 1 time. The body time.
The body time is the time which changes it's mine as it goes. In fact in most cases the body time is impulsive and un-predictable. Each new second presents an infinite possibilities for it.
In most cases we don't have control over the body time. We don't know what it's going to do next. It's imprecise.

A man decides to buy food because he feels he is hungry. He is subject to the body time.
A CEO of a multi-national company leaves a board meeting, to visit the toilet because that's what his body time says. His body time just ticked toilet. 

He may attempt to kill time by subduing the impulse. But clearly this cannot go on forever.
An African migrant who migrates to America suddenly finds themselves working.
They work long Monday, on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday.
They work all other days. Till the second week of the second month.
They breakdown, they can't go on. They feel pains all over their body. Head, toes, arms.
Immediately, they know that the body time is calling them to see a doctor. They go and see a doctor. They get medication.
2 days later, they get a body signal that all these pains are gone. They know what to do. Resume work.
Consequently, they can live all their lives like this. Marry when they have the impulse to i.e they see a beautiful girl who turns all the alarms in the body time.

They would chose to marry quickly. The body time again would signal when they are to have sex. And signal when the wife is pregnant and signal when the baby is to come...
A man like this of course will have friends who also depend on the body time and his world revolves around.
If he by chance meet a man using the mechanical time, then their world would collide and it would seem they came from different worlds.

Immanuel Kant. "It is said that he was so punctual in whatever he did, that local housewives set their clocks at 3:30 every afternoon when he had his usual stroll".
He chooses to use the mechanical time. The one with the pendulum. It swings back and forth, back and forth. In his living room.
At his office. On the tallest building of the street such that he sees it from anywhere when he is out of office and out of home.

He gets up at exactly 6 chimes of the clock. He does other things and finishes his activities at 5 minutes before 7. He sits in front of his plate of Omelet, till the 7th chime of the clock over head his dinning table before starting to eat.
He arrives work at exactly 7:30am. He eats lunch at the 12th chime of the mechanical clock at the middle of the town. He finishes his desk work at 5:30pm.He waits. He waits. He waits. He waits for the 6 chimes of the city clock and picks his bag leaving his desk. He says goodbye to the Manager's secretary.

It's Tuesday and every Tuesday he walks from office to his club and plays chess, drinks beer till 10pm at the sound of the city clock. He would leave an uncompleted chess game for home. His club members know this.
In fact since his associations are people who use mechanical clock, his competitor on the chess board usually leaves at 11:00pm. So he finds another challenger or continues his beer.
The man arrives home at exactly 10:15pm. He lays on his bed till 11pm before closing his eyes. He gets up at 6am. Over and over and over.

In our world, a man may chose to use the body time and ignore the mechanical time totally. Evidently, he can still live a moral life. A good life.

In our world, a man may chose to use only the mechanical time and ignore the body time totally. Evidently, he can still live a moral life. A good life.

In this very world, a man may chose to use the mechanical time and body time because the two times can be used simultaneously. Evidently, he can still live a moral life. A good life, but how would it turn out? thinking...
It becomes clearer that time can't exist on it's own.

Disclaimer: Apart from the quotes from the book which I use in attempt to draw similarities from our world and day to day activities. Every other thought is mine and can be wrong, it's subject to discussion and investigation, needs mathematical proof. 
The Immanuel Kant precision is surely exaggerated. He is just used as an example of a mechanical time man. 

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Piece 3: Thoughts on Einstein's Dreams

19 APRIL 1905.
"For in this world, time has three dimensions, like space. Just as an object may move in three perpendicular directions, corresponding to horizontal, vertical, and longitudinal, so an object may participate in three perpendicular futures. Each future moves in a different direction of time. Each future is real. At every point of decision, whether to visit a woman in Fribourg or to buy a new coat, the world splits into three worlds, each with the same people but with different fates for those people. In time, there are an infinity of worlds."

I could not think about a possibility in our world. Where one person could be at 3 different places at the same time. If this where possible this would defy the laws of physics.

Well, except in our mind. Where we could picture this, but this would not be real.

In the physical realm, such manifestation is not possible, where at a decision point our world split into 3 and it's real.

One could say that if such a world is our world, the possibility is that, in each of this point of split, we make the same decisions in the X, Y and Z axis. Such that at each point 1 plane is sufficient to describe the other.

We could model this in reality by considering 3 separate bodies every time and subject them to the same phenomenon and watch their decision and the outcome.

3 students sit in a physics class taking the same exam.
These students prepared the same. These students have the same abilities.

As it must turn out, each student would answer the exams differently, simultaneously, even if they all read the same books.

Each of them would approach question 3.a and question 5.i differently.
With this each of them would have a different set of marks at the end.
Their outcomes would be different, because of the different methods they used in answering question 3.a and 5.i.

This is close in modeling such behavior of time in the physical world.

This behavior can also be seen in 3 friends standing at the same place witnessing the same event simultaneously. But each of them recounts the happenings to an interviewer differently from their friend.

Finally, this behavior of time reminds me of one of my old assessments:

Each second to come presents an infinite number of possibilities for all of us.
In fact each human would experience each second differently from another human and each second in their individual lives would never find them doing the same thing or find the same thing happening to them for the rest of their lives, in a micro and macro sense combined.

Disclaimer: Apart from the quotes from the book which I use in attempt to draw similarities from our world and day to day activities. Every other thought is mine and can be wrong, it's subject to discussion and investigation, needs mathematical proof.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Piece 2: Thoughts on Einstein's Dreams

16 APRIL 1905.
"In this world, time is like a flow of water, occasionally displaced by a bit of debris, a passing breeze. Now and then, some cosmic disturbance will cause a rivulet of time to turn away from the mainstream, to make connection backstream. When this happens, birds, soil, people caught in the branching tributary find themselves suddenly carried to the past."

We can be swept to the past. Infact we are swept to the past from time to time.
A man witnesses or is caught in the fall of the economy in 1929.

The same man witnesses or is caught in the fall of the economy in 2008.

A young history student witnesses or was caught in the gassing of citizens by Saddam Hussein in 1988.
Today the young student is a professor of History, and witnesses or was caught in the gassing of Syrian citizens by their leader.

An astronomer waited for the solar eclipse of 2012.
The same astronomer 1year later experiences the solar eclipse.

Because we are in a world in which time is a like a flow of water, with a possibility of being swept backstream and making connection, in which each backstream represents the “repetition of history”.

Each backstream can represent moments spent day dreaming about our first kiss.
Recalling about the day we saw the most beautiful girl.
Each backstream which takes us to the past represent a slip in memory, were we try to experience the past or events of the past.

In experiencing this past, nature takes care of paradoxes, such that things of the future take precedence to things of the past. E.g.

Consider, you make a jump to such past, because you where caught in a rivulet of water flow sweeping you back to a distant past.
You come just before your mother and father met.
You introduce a distortion such that the two never get to be together, hence, you where never born!.
I think that, nature acts such that, this cannot occur. That is why in each leap to the past, we can only observe, we can only experience, we can only witness, liken to a memory.

Like waiting till history repeats itself and we say “history has repeated it self”.
We cannot interfere with the past, we can only experience it as it unfolds.
I think in our world, time is a flow of water….
where when we move backstream because may be swept by breeze blowing in an opposite direction; we would experience the past but only as an observer. We can’t interfere or distort it, even if we try. end.

Extra thoughts:
Our stream of time could be caught in a whirlpool. If this happens, we say time flies.
We find ourselves doing the same things, year in year out and time always flies.
Sometimes we experience this. If this happens to you, then one may  think you must have been trapped in a whirlpool. 

You can stay there, get yourself out or call for help.

Further, what happens when the stream of water is swept to a distant future, i.e swept forward? I leave that to later or your imagination.

Disclaimer: Apart from the quotes from the book which I use in attempt to draw similarities from our world and day to day activities. Every other thought is mine and can be wrong, it's subject to discussion and investigation, needs mathematical proof.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Piece 1: Thoughts on Einstein's Dreams

"If time is a circle, bending back on itself, the world repeats it self  precisely, endlessly".

In other words, events in time repeat themselves, precisely, endlessly.

A child is born, they live and they die.
The motion of the planetary bodies around the sun.

A man travels back to his country every December 10th from abroad. He buys a Carina E II every 21st and turns it in to a taxi 1 month later. This continues precisely for 3 years consecutively.

Christmas comes 25th of December every year. A boy's father buys him a toy car every 23rd and the boy eats chicken every 25th, until he grows out of boyhood and becomes a man.
A boy's father buys him a toy car every 23rd and the boy eats chicken every 25th, until he grows out of boyhood and becomes a man.
This cycle continues for generations upon generations past, present and to come.

"Would you marry me?" a man speaks out these words to his girl friend. He may speak it out once in his life time or several other times depending on how many wives he marries or how many time he chooses to re-marry. 

Another man in a romantic restaurant some where near-by speaks out the very words: "Would you marry me ?", to his newly found love of his life.
Another man somewhere in a town near-by in his garage, repeats the very words: "Would you marry me?", to his second wife.
Another man a century ago somewhere beside his favorite river speaks out these words: "Would you marry me?", to a woman old enough to be his mother.
These few words have repeated themselves and would repeat them-self endlessly, precisely.

Our world is a cycle, bending back on itself, such that the world repeats itself, precisely to a certain degree, finitely, limited by our life span or the life span of generations lived or generations to come.

In this our world, I think time may be a circle, but not just a precise circle forever, it's a circle having a tangent where the point of origin of the tangent is the end.

Disclaimer: Apart from the quotes from the book which I use in attempt to draw similarities from our world and day to day activities. Every other thought is mine and can be wrong, it's subject to discussion and investigation, needs mathematical proof.

Lessons from chapter 1 about time:
Time is precise.
Time is endless.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Song of the month - The xx (Sunset)


I saw you again, it felt like we had never met
It's like the sun set in your eyes and never wanted to rise
And what have you done with the one I love?
When I look into your eyes, I see no surprise

I always thought it was sad
The way we act like strangers
After all that we had
We act like we had never met

We make believe, I've never seen your face, you neither mine
And catch my eye, don't register a smile
You were more than just a friend, oh but the feeling
It never came to an end, I can't bear to see you

I always thought it was a shame
That we have to play these games
It felt like you really knew me
Now it feels like you see through me

When I see you again
I'll know not to expect
Stay one step away
We will have to wait

When I see you again
And I'm greeted as a friend
It is understood
That we did all we could

I always thought it was sad
The way we act like strangers
After all that we had
We act like we had never met

I always thought it was a shame
That we have to play these games
It felt like you really knew me
Now it feels like you see through me
- A - Z Lyrics.

The part which always gets me:
I always thought it was a shame
That we have to play these games
It felt like you really knew me
Now it feels like you see through me 

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Survival is everything

This is pulled from the article "what successful people where doing at 25".

I enjoyed the quote from Richard Branson which I uplifted for my diary:)

Those early years were tough, he told Entrepreneur: "I remember them vividly. It's far more difficult being a small-business owner starting a business than it is for me with thousands of people working for us and 400 companies. Building a business from scratch is 24 hours, 7 days a week, divorces, it's difficult to hold your family life together, it's bloody hard work and only one word really matters — and that's surviving."

This quote is a reminder of the many times the company(Wasamundi) I'm trying to build with my pal @quincy_k was at the tipping point. Many times we came to the point where we said this is it. We are death. But each of these times something happens without our power to pull us out of the situation. I believe it's our deep instinct to survive.

I always repeat to my self, what is most essential is staying alive. If you die, no one would recall what you wanted to do.

Staying alive is the most important thing for an Entrepreneur. it's the most important thing in Life anyway.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

2 years and 10 Hardest Lessons Learned

A Startup is a borrowed culture in Africa .see footnote 1.

What I will call a Startup would be limited to the scope of  what Eric Ries of Lean startup movement defines as:
" A human institution designed to create new products and services under conditions of extreme uncertainty. "

It's almost 3 years since I joined the Startup community and almost 2 years [2011-2012] when my University pal  @quincy_k   made the the decision to build a company from our idea.
During this time, I've had the best experiences by getting my hands right on practical knowledge. Learning .see footnote 2. is a  vital tool to where I am today.
The lessons below are Startup lessons and Personal lessons. Some of them would be ramblings, some of them I tried to make the points.

Finding the right skill for your Startup is a life time search: it is the hardest thing ever
The best men are hard to keep. The best men are hard to find. The best men are self made.
Last year from the early days, I spent time looking for first class Sales man or business Manager for our Startup Wasamundi. I've met several interesting people whom we've worked with but till yet not found anyone who truly understands what we do and try to adapt as a first class Sales man in this business. The problems I noticed were:
1.The  kind of business. see footnote .1.
2.Generational "mundane" mentality: In our community, there is a defined circle: You are born - You school - You get a job - you retire and enjoy pension. This is how we are taught. We are not thought to start something and so we have no pre-knowlege and adaptability skills to this.

Further, People live to survive poverty and live for their salary from a financially secured Job. Finding the best skill would require finding the right passion to fit in building a dream.
I've resorted to keep finding and I have a solution which can only be tested but I've not had the opportunity to.

You can't be everything to everybody at all times: Say no, no, no as much as you can
The want to Satisfy everybody should be a Sin.
The want to want to be everything for everybody should be a deadly sin.
Over these years, I said yes many times. I said some No's, some of the No's is to have rejected out-rightly the idea to sell Wasamundi. Refused investment .see footnote 3. Refusal to integrate a new social network under Wasamundi brand...etc. But if I take a retrospect, I still had more yes.

I tried to commit to many things and in the end I did very few and only those within my power. Committing to many things takes it's turn when you get up in the morning and you are paralyzed by the many things you are supposed to do; then you fall into this state of inertia to start any and in the end you #donothing. The work for one Startup is too much alone to bring other hurdles. The Startup requires your ultimate focus for at least 2-5years.

Scaling prematurely would kill you: Focus and Focus and Re-focus.
If you don't focus, you will die. I strictly mean the scaling of building many "products" not in adding servers and investing in heavy technology to prevent twitter's fail whale from happening to your Startup.
In the early days of a Startup, especially one led by techies, there is a huge amount of energy around. The temptation is to experiment with projects.This is a necessary temptation but  these experiments unknowingly creep into the Startup and some emerge as products. The shear excitement of building something and having a Startup gives You the Gods to push this experiment in and call it a product.

In the end, the obvious sets in. Maintenance becomes an issue. It takes more than 1 day to respond to a product bug. You abandon products that have bigger and better vision and requiring your all to start fitting the new "product in". This plays a large down role and I should say this is one of the biggest hard learned lessons for me. This lack of focus comes with lots of bruises and recovering gives you alot of time to rethink, take a defensive position and re-strategies. The necessary fall back here is Pivoting.

Avoid side projects: They feed you and kill you
An Internet Statup has the problem of Capital. This is because before you can secure Capital from capital backers like Friends, Families, Angels, VC most of them need you to validate your Idea. An exception here is if you get in touch early with someone who wanted to do this, has money and need the technical expertise or is just interesting in financing great ideas. This expresses it self worse in the community which we find ourself. People lack fundamental education of what software is as they value what they touch more than what they don't see. Infact, it has taken me more than 2 years for my closest Family members to understand what I'm engaged in. But if I told them, guys I need to open a boutique selling provision, I would have had their backing to get more help than in this Internet / Mobile Startup.

So, In the end, you need to bootstrap. Side projects come into play. These I blame the most to contribute to the failure of startups as per my experience and I got the support of Paul Graham in his essay on 'how not to die' . "[D]on’t go to graduate school, and don’t start other projects. Distraction is fatal to startups. Going to (or back to) school is a huge predictor of death because in addition to the distraction it gives you something to say you’re doing. If you’re only doing a startup, then if the startup fails, you fail". This has cost us more pain and regret than any other thing.

People would not keep to their promises: It starts and ends with you
Most promises and favors aren’t as genuine as you’d like them to be.
Promises will come in like a waterfall in between. Initially, you’ll want to hold those promises and favors until you need them. Not relying on them is the best way I manage something like this.  Remember, this isn’t personal for the other guy. It’s not their company. It’s yours.

The right people will respond when you need them, but most people won’t. There’s nothing wrong with that. People get busy. Don’t beat yourself up about it.  It should always start and end with you and your Startup.

You will always underestimate how much it cost to deliver a service or a product
In estimating how much you need for 6months
How much you need to deploy a pilot
How much you need to travel to the village and back etc...

Go for the highest you can as your experience deems. If you have no experience, consult an adviser. [ So that you can blame them if you think you under-costed - LOL.]
It would always take more time for things to happen than you thought. Always give allowance for everything. You should always have more allowance than less.

A startup messed up at it's foundation cannot be fixed
I first read this in one Blakemasters CS notes. It is today known as  Peter thiel's Law of startups.
There is no better way to explain or say this but the foundation of a Start-up is it's Team. 
Culture and whatever would only come later on. In the early days of a Startup, if the team is messed up, it will take grace to turn it around. Also, this is experienced when a Startup in it's early days has more than 2 people. There is setting in  of Chaos especially in the equality of Power. 

Messing up is inevitable, again except 1 person who can exist without everybody else and also has the greatest power to fire and hire at will failure is bound.  I have a bitter experience on this and hope to bring it to full light of what totally went wrong to the public one day.  There are few exceptions though. The most plausible escape is one person hijack the whole idea and re-brand everything. Everyone goes their separate ways. A great idea to a big problem all goes to waste. The effort put all goes to waste. The waste of  Life.

Always think about making money, because if you don't. You'll die
Internet Companies are picking up in the continent and in Cameroon at an interesting speed. The temptation is: Go with the freemium model. When I build user would come, then I'll start advertising to generate revenue. The issue with this is that, there is failure to understand how to take a startup from idea, to business and you depend on a freemium model.For a startup to start generating advertising revenue tangible enough for the whole business to depend on takes a lot of Capital injection. Even Facebook. To get to profitability they put in almost 1Billion. We don't have people to give you 1 billion in cash to push your idea in Africa now.  So, always keep thinking how to generate revenue for your business.

This will help you even in raising capital faster as investors can be more certain about how they would get their money. My dawn in this came from one of our key advisers. But again it was written to my heart clearly when one of these investors I contacted replied my mail saying: " We are a startup also,..., and are currently in an extremely busy period.".
This was pure proof. That  message transcribes to, I mean in business terms:  " your business model will not be making money. I don't have time for that  now. When you decide on start making money and check your models, I may be interested in what you want to say".

At that time that was the biggest blow for me in 2012. The most regrettable and painful  moment. When I started questioning everything and pushed to learn more and take a defensive position personally. But as I write this post, I see it as the best thing which must have happened to me. I'm growing,  I'm learning.

Growing too fast
It means growing too fast. I consider vertical and horizontal growth. In the early days of a Startup, the best fast growth should be horizontal growth. Growing too fast horizontally means you've found a product market fit and you are gaining territories.
The true growth is when you get more customers. When you get more customers who pay you so that you can't handle the request. You bring in the right personel to handle this. With the right expertise. Where you put them on the necessary salary without burden on the Startup or on borrowed money or the founders as you are making money. This also sets you a foundation for vertical growth in your latter years in about your third or fourth year.
In the beginning if you follow vertical growth, you are tempted to measure growth, by the number of experiments you turn to products. By the number of praises you get from friends, by the number of people requesting to join you etc. This throws you to think you need more hands. You are thrown into hiring. The small money you might be making you spend on rents and operational costs  goes up. Then you start paying others salary even though you as a founder you get 0F as salary. The startup can barely take care of your needs.

Lesson, People are attracted to what seems like "Success" and I think the greatest trouble is when a visionary becomes a liar .see footnote 4. A lot of people would come to join you. Would come with brilliant ideas. It's for you to chose who to keep and who to drop. And don't compromise in pain especially when you smell your vision is being swayed. Say no, no, no then say yes if you can.

You’ll be wrong most of the time. Try to make the right decisions     many times as you can
As a team member in a Startup, you’ll astound yourself by the number of times your assumptions are complete garbage. You’ll make the wrong decision only to have to redo it later. Recognizing mistakes and acting on them are more important than being perfect. 

The more times you’re right, the faster the company grows and the better off everyone else is as well. Pretty simple. Appreciate when you’re right,  tomorrow you’ll be wrong about something. Always push yourself to be right again and again.

One thing about a leader is that, you must be able to sense everything. When something is going wrong, when passions are dieing, when to bring our the next necessary strategy. But in all it boils down on how you understand and communicate with the people you shall be working with. Be persistent keep redefining and and validating. Find the best people who can go through this. You need few core people. People who are ready to risk all through the ups and downs: 2 Maximum + You. This is necessarily a Logical Choice because your feelings may not always be right. But data and fact is the key to making right judgement.

" That which does not kill you makes you stronger ". - Fredrich Nietzsche.

1. Don't get me wrong. Let me try to express  what I mean. A Startup here I strictly mean an Internet / Mobile Company. Where programs and platforms are written and marked as company milestone. Every business starting up can be called a Startup.So African's are not learning how to start a business. But Africans are learning how to run an Internet / Mobile Startup from Startups and Company out of Africa, Like, etc... This is not our culture. I often say programming is not in our culture. This is part of the western civilization culture which we are embracing because we think It can get us out of poverty, create jobs, make you better. It feels really sane and OK for those who had the opportunity to start the adoption of this culture as they grew. But of course like every other culture which is learned or inherited there are better days ahead. There is more and needed skill to acquire. 5- 10 -20 years. When we are there, we would know it.
2. Learning I should say is the biggest tool Mankind gave to Man. If you learn, you get out of the dark. Period. If you don't you stay in the dark. Learning gives you the ability to do what they call "get out of the system" and take a look from the outside. I love learning. It's a life long process. If you a learning to be great in a skill, in Malcolm Gladwell's words you will need at least 10000hours of practicing. Which from high school I've always known I'll need 10 years in any field to become a professional.
3.No one refuses a sane investment. If you accept investment from someone who does not understand your business and is asking almost 50% for so little amount of money you are better off dead. We refused. And I don't regret it. When I recall it, I only tend to start cursing and tempted to call people idiots and shout " Go open call box if this thing is rocket science put your money somewhere else, not in an internet / mobile company except you are in for the long run and ups and downs". Because of failure to understand the business, it's the same reason a Cameroonian investor and an American Investor's perspective when investing in a mobile/ internet startup are like day and night.We all would learn and understand one day.
4. A visionary lies to himself, a liar only to others. -- Fredrich Nietzsche

Thanks to Julie Owono, Tita Leslie and Brian T for have re-read this.
Thanks to all the brilliant people we've worked with at Wasamundi. Everyone contributed as they could within their powers. And for all those who shall be joining, better days are ahead in our mission to help people discover and connect with Local businesses.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Who broke the replay button in 2012

2012 went too soon.
In 2011 I published who broke the replay button in 2011 ( basically about the songs I played and appreciated the most).

So this is the compilation of songs I played more last year. I could not arrange which is supposed to come first, lets say in any other of equal importance.

         1. Band of Horses - Funeral ( Not a very pretty video, but great music )


                                2. Metric - Help I'm Alive


                                 3. The Naked and Famous - Young Blood

                                  4. Spencer & Antfood - Trek

                                                                                    5. Sum 41 - With Me

                                                                              6. Birdy - Skinny Love

                                                                              7. Metric - Ending Start

                                                                              8. Miike Snow - God Help this Divorce

                                                                            9. Video Games - Lana Del Rey

                                                                              10. Great Northern - Houses

My love for adverts caused me to find this Song today. From the Nissan Leap advert

 Favourite song for last year Funeral - Band of Horses. I can recall in one of these instances I found my self playing this song from my iPod in a Funeral, that was how addictive the song was. I'm also planing to do a cover for Miike's snow Black tin box featuring Lykke Lee :)

Happy New year!