Techstars London day 44: What you should know about weekends

During this program, weekends are for sleeping. Period.

Last weekend was awesome in so many ways (special blog post on it coming I promise!), but I didn’t realise just how much the extra sleep I was getting during the weekends was helping me keeping focus during the week until there was a weekend where I didn’t get that much sleep.

Today there was a CTO meeting at 8.30am. The first one I was not able to go. You might wonder why; let me tell you: I was not able to get out of bed today. The alarm just kept going and my body was simply not responding. And it kept going for an hour. I basically woke up at 8am, which compared to the average during this program (6.30am) is incredibly late.

I was so tired today that my morning felt like a slow motion film. Even my walk to work was powerless. Arrived at 10am /o\

Had breakfast with the lovely Maria and then back to full speed on super-secret-project. Coming along nicely. Elsa, the designer also passed me some nice wireframes today that I will be implementing tomorrow. However, I reckon I might need a couple more days to finish it all. It all depends how productive I am tomorrow. And I reckon i just need to sleep a bit more. So I am gonna head to bed. Tomorrow more!

And remember, always always, during the Techstars program, make sure that if you don’t sleep much during the week, sleep as much as you can during the weekends!

Summary of the day:

Time I went to sleep last night: 00:18
Total hours of sleep: 7:40 (still not enough…)
Mood: Still tired
Soundtrack of the day: Awesome recommendation by Ben (genius curator at Ambie) today!

Techstars London day 43: More long hours = more progress = more tiredness

Today it was a good day. I decided to take the anger I was feeling yesterday and focus it on being more determined at work.

I am absolutely exhausted, so I apologise for the short posts lately. I didn’t get much sleep during last weekend and I realised those extra hours of sleep on weekends were crucial at keeping me afloat on week days.

Super-secret-project continues to get in shape so I am happy. But the last two days I have been in the office until late and now I just need to pass out in bed.

sleepy-cat
Today at about 2.17pm in front of the computer. Needed that 3rd coffee…

Tomorrow more. Good night!

Summary of the day:

Time I went to sleep last night: 00:33
Total hours of sleep: 6:22
Mood: So exhausted now, that I look like a living zombie.
Coffees: 3
Soundtrack of the day: https://open.spotify.com/track/0ux2EioEe5Fw07rXYRUSTz (I discovered this song today and it’s been on repeat since then!)

Techstars London day 42: Long day, short post

Sorry guys, another day that you won’t get to know how awesome my weekend at the Techstars retreat was, but I just arrived home (23:42) from the office and I need to get some sleep.

A few updates though: Super-secret-project is coming along nicely and I got my new developer working with me today. It feels good to have a dev team!

Also, I found out something today that I am not happy about. And so, the song(s) tonight are dedicated to that. Those guys. Sleazy bastards.

angry-brannigan

And now, I am gonna code some more. See ya.

Summary of the day:

Time I went to sleep last night: 23:50
Total hours of sleep: 7.38
Mood: I went from tired, to happy, to angry, to totally determined. Deal with it.
Special soundtrack for those guys: 
https://open.spotify.com/track/5st5644IlBmKiiRE73UsoZ
oh yes, and this:
https://open.spotify.com/track/1zneM1cLjM6w8BFmukl2Lr
a
aaaand this:
https://open.spotify.com/track/3FUS56gKr9mVBmzvlnodlh

Because there’s always a song to express your feelings! Long live music! 

Techstars London days 39, 40 & 41: It’s coming…

So…no blog post on Friday. Reason being we went on a retreat!

I started a blog post about it to publish tonight, but there’s tons of things I want to write about and I am truly knackered. So expect a few specials in the next couple of days!

I can still give you some summaries though (I know you all love them!):

Total hours slept this weekend (cumulative Friday to Sunday): 15 hours and 16 minutes
Mood: Pretty awesome. The weekend couldn’t have been any better! But God, I have to sleep 9hence the short post today).
Soundtrack of the weekend: Only Barbara, Julie, Elsa, Tom and Tak will understand the following 😉 (yes, that’s an inside joke, and I will not explain!)

Good night folks!

Techstars London day 38: Keep that bottle spinning

In case you haven’t been following the entire experience so far (which you should, from the beginning!), Techstars is a very intense program. From the very beginning we were told to warn and thank our loved ones about the little time that we would have to do anything other than the company and the program.

I did this repeatedly, but, I guess is inevitable you need to keep reminding them of the situation. It’s been a while since I spoke to my parents (it also doesn’t help they live in a different country; specially a country with very different schedules!) and, inevitably as well, when you live with someone that stops seeing much of you, the pressure rises. So this morning started with a mini-fight and uncomfortable conversation with my other half.  Not a great start of the day – though we resolved it quickly. We find it hard to be mad at each other for more than 5 minutes.

The super-secret-project is coming along nicely and I am happy with the progress I am making in that front.

For lunch we met with one of our mentors at The Eagle pub in Farringdon. He was absolutely fantastic and also very generous. Not only he gave us great advice, he also paid for our meal – rock on!

#FreeFood
#FreeFood

After lunch, back to the office to continue coding, when all of the sudden I get a text from Jesper to come out of the office for 5 minutes. Puzzled (he doesn’t work in the area), I went downstairs and got outside, but there was nobody there.  I looked around and then I saw him standing there, round the corner, with a bouquet of beautiful flowers, a Kinder Bueno and a Frapuccino!! This man clearly knows me well! Definitely a keeper 😉 For a second there I even felt a bit shy. My reaction:

IMG_20150813_151911

 

I would be lying if I said it didn’t cheer me up.

After the nice surprise, more coding on the super-secret-project until it was time for the All Hands meeting.

Remember a couple of weeks ago we played spin the bottle? Well, today we did it again! Though this time it was a bit different. This time we didn’t have to pitch someone else’s business. Instead, we did two variants today.

The first one was about reflecting on the last 6 weeks we have been in the program. Whoever the bottle landed on had to either say what was their best day or their worst day so far and why. This time it didn’t land on me, but if it did I would just have sent people to read the blog  😜 #AlwaysBeClosing.

The second variant was a bit more difficult. Whoever the bottle landed on had to pick someone in their team (ideally a co-founder) and this person then needs to say something good that they like about them or something bad that really annoys them. And you couldn’t choose, a coin would. Heads = good, tails = bad.

And there it went the bottle spinning and landing on Stan. With Maria in a meeting outside the office it was pretty clear that I would have to go for it. Fuuuuuuudge! Thankfully the coin decided on heads. I was dreading tails, just because I truly cannot think of anything bad that annoys me that’s even worth mentioning.

I struggled with the good things as well. But just because I was tired and I totally suck at quick thinking in these situations – especially when I am tired. So my reaction was to mention how good of a CEO he is, having a very good idea of where are going as a company, what our goals are: our mission and vision. And all that is very good, but he’s much more than that. As soon as we moved on I thought of plenty of ways how Stan amazes me and why I think he’s so great.

Like I said, he’s incredibly talented when it comes to the business side of things. He’s very good with numbers and very well articulated when he speaks. But Stan has also demonstrated to be a true friend. Supportive in the difficult times. He also happens to have a great sense of humour and makes me laugh a lot. And above all, he knows how to remain calm in situations of crisis – usually where both Maria and I bring out the fire within us (we are both very passionate people), he just knows how to handle the situation and tends to always find a positive outcome and moves on quickly onto the next thing. We also happen to work really well together when it comes to the product.

And I know Maria wasn’t there, but I’d like to also say a few words about her. Because I absolutely adore her. She’s passionate, she’s funny and understanding. Caring and loving. She also happens to be a kickass sales guru. And to top it off, she’s my partner in crime.

In a nutshell, we are the fucking dream team, people. We work well together, we care for one another, we respect each other, we are supportive and we know how to have fun.

New Doc_1

And with this remark, it’s time to say good night. I have to pack because we are going on a Techstars trip tomorrow…

I will be reporting this weekend, until then… Peace out ☮

Summary of the day:

Time I fell asleep last night: 1:00
Total hours of sleep: 5.16
Mood: In the same day, at least 2 or 3 ups and downs. That’s just how crazy this process is…
Coffees: At least 3…
Soundtrack of the day: Here’s Todd again! (Insanely good tune) Also, don’t forget to follow the Spotify playlist with the compilation of all the tunes that are part of the Techstars Experience Soundtrack!

Techstars London day 37: 🙈🙉🙊

Quite packed day today. For the first time in this program I was a bit late to the CTO meeting. Or so I thought. I actually arrived at the same time as the rest! I totally blame Tak for that 😉

Today we had a special guest, Robbie from Pivotal Labs – who was also very generous paying for our breakfast. I have to say, I quite love these meetings. It’s a good way to start the day. It’s a shame though since the last few ones there have been a few people missing – I guess everyone is starting to feel the pressure of demo day upon us.

Spent the rest of the day in a few meetings and with the project I started yesterday, which we’ll call super-secret-project for easy reference. I am pretty happy with it today cause I managed to find a solution to something that was bugging me pretty badly. The solution is also pretty simple. And simplicity in code is beautiful.

In the afternoon we had a talk on fundraising by David Cohen. It was pretty entertaining and educative. There was role playing between him and a few CEOs. I thought Stan did a pretty solid job and we all got to learn the rules of the game – which are pretty much the same as dating. Always a funny subject that one. I am a pretty upfront person, so I tend to hate all the silly dating rules, but I can see how it could play well with investors.

interesting

After the fabulous talk, it was time for a bit of Paddle Battle (ping pong)! I got to play a couple of games before we had to shoot off for our team outing – the first of many! It was my turn to organise it and we ended up going bowling at All Star Lanes in Brick Lane. It was good fun! Though, it was pretty obvious how terrible I am at it. I think I got lucky once… Can you guess who’s who by our game names? 😉

DSC_0055 (1)

And now I am going to bed, cause I need to sleep more. To sleep, full stop.

Good night!   (◡ ‿ ◡ ✿)

Summary of the day:

Time I fell asleep last night: 00:56
Total hours of sleep: 6:03
Mood: Happy but oh god I am tired
Soundtrack of the day: The great Paul ladies and gentlemen (it has a pretty solid bass, so I would suggest a good pair of speakers or headphones :))

Techstars London day 36: Avoid frustration with communication

Today was one of those weird days. I wouldn’t say it was good, but I wouldn’t say it was bad either. It was the definition of “meh” day.

On the one hand, I am pretty excited about the project I just started (which is super secret and I cannot talk about it just yet), but at the same time, today was the first time I sat down to really research how the hell I am gonna implement the thing. Way long after my original estimation. Alarm bells!

Run away from people estimating projects without doing any preliminary research...
Run away from people estimating projects without doing any preliminary research…

Planning software projects is a complicated task. Estimation is incredibly hard, almost to the point that I consider it an art (and I am pretty shit at it, quite frankly(*)). There are so many uncertainties it is difficult to account for everything needed at the beginning of the project.

I am not the only one out there with estimations issues though. During my work years I have seen everything, but projects delivered exactly on estimation, very few times. You either underestimate, or you overestimate.

Developers tend to underestimate under pressure to deliver something fast, when they haven’t had enough time to think about the problem they are trying to solve. Underestimating is pretty dangerous, for obvious reasons. At best you end up with someone in your team pretty frustrated. But at worst, it could cost you a bunch of paying customers (and that could mean whether you make it or break it as a company).

Better to overestimate and finish early. Though that never happens. Ever. People will tend to use as much time as they estimated, even if they finish early. Try to reach balance <– Like I said, an art.

You know that sensation at the beginning of a project where you are like “I think I can do this or that to solve X”, but then you start doing some research and you end up like the I have no idea what I am doing dog? That was me this morning.

Me after the first coffee and early research for the project, but just after my second coffee.
Me after the first coffee and early research for the project, but just before my second coffee.

During our roadmap meeting not long ago, I estimated I could finish this project in a couple of weeks at full speed. I knew this estimation was (potentially totally) wrong: it was solely based on the idea of what we want to achieve and what we already have in place; my knowledge of the codebase. However, it didn’t include things like design, UX review, testing, etc. It’s practically impossible to foresee all the risks and uncertainties. It was an optimistic estimation: I should have known better and waited until I knew more. Not all, but more.

Luckily, with perseverance and another cup of coffee it all started to make sense. I still have to do some more research and start prototyping tomorrow, but we are onto a good start. The trick is to break down the project into small enough chunks that you can complete in a day or max two. Ah yes, and constant communication to avoid frustration. And definitely a good pair of headphones you can hide behind and submerge in the wonderful world that is coding. I remain optimistic – will report if this changes.

After second coffee
After second coffee

The best thing is that the project has started and I am sure we’ll see good (some kind of) progress.

And now, I am gonna hit the hay because I am dead tired and I am almost losing the plot myself. Good night peeps!

Summary of the day:

Time I fell asleep last night: 1:42
Total hours of sleep: 5:17
Mood: Ok. Not good, not bad. Meh. Best thing about today was catching up with my good friend Nick from Osper!
Soundtrack of the day: latest music obsession (Major Lazer, who knew?!)

(*) And by shit I don’t mean I don’t deliver projects on time. But it depends on the project! It’s all a question of practice really.. like all in life.