Blog

Irregularly-published views and reactions

2024
Feb
20

Announcing the Northwind Elixir Traders book on Ecto

software, programming, Elixir, learning, Ecto, databases, book

Announcing my new side-project and first non-fiction, technical #book: a practical tutorial of working with databases using Elixir and its Ecto database layer. Those of us who were around in the 90s … 3 min read

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Feb
4

Getting LiveComponent children of a Phoenix LiveView to update

software, programming, Elixir, learning, Phoenix LiveView

Making progress with Changelogrex , the “Linux kernel Changelog king”! Today I figured out how to get LiveComponents within a LiveView to update by using PubSub, the send_update function within a … 3 min read

images/blog/elixir2_waifu2x_art_scan_noise0_scale_720p.png
Jan
25

Single metrics obfuscate the nuances and dynamics of processes

production, manufacturing, process, Lean, management, metrics, monitoring

The website oee.com portrays OEE, the “Overall Equipment Effectiveness”, as “the gold standard for measuring manufacturing productivity” [sic]. OEE is a number between 0 and 1 (0% and 100%) that … 14 min read

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Jan
14

Ollamex v0.2.0 released, now supports the /embeddings endpoint

elixir, software, open source, API, LLM, embeddings

Ollamex v0.2.0 has been released, now with support for the /embeddings API endpoint of ollama version 0.1.20 for generating embeddings using self-hosted LLMs (Large Language Models). The /chat, … 2 min read

images/blog/llama-text-numbers_waifu2x_art_scan_noise2_scale_720p.png
Jan
10

Ollamex: use LLMs on self-hosted ollama API from Elixir

elixir, software, open source, API, LLM

For a few months now I have been using ollama to self-host LLMs (Large Language Models) on my development server and to occassionally utilize the ollama chat interface. The real motivation of … 2 min read

images/blog/ollamex_release_waifu2x_art_scan_noise2_scale_720p.png
2023
Dec
27

Reading between the lines with JTBD and ODI

product management, differentiation

JTBD and ODI have together been instrumental within 2023 in diving deep into a business domain I had zero prior experience in. Judging from my validation rounds earlier this year, and the continued … 5 min read

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Dec
7

From a Phoenix LiveView with phx.gen.live, to LiveComponents

elixir, phoenix, liveview, webdev

With the help of ChatGPT 3.5, the documentation of Elixir/Phoenix, and lots of IO.inspect and trial-and-error, I finally figured out the basics of how a Phoenix LiveComponent works in combination with … 2 min read

images/blog/components_waifu2x_art_scan_noise2_scale_720p.png
Dec
5

Modern Greek translation of Listmonk open-source software

marketing, open source, localization

For our upcoming SaaS launch we’ll be relying on the free, open-source, self-hosted newsletter and mailing list manager listmonk . However… there was no Greek translation of the UI; that is, until a … 1 min read

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Dec
3

Meraki and craftsmanship eat processes and tools for breakfast

process, craftsmanship, product

The tightest, most documented process that brings a tear to the eye of an obsessive-compulsive, detail-oriented manager… The most “agile” process with whatever elaborate rituals some caste of … 1 min read

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Nov
25

Reflections on 4 years of operational enhancements at TECTRA Ltd

continuous improvement, branding, operational excellence

As the end of the year approaches and a review of this year of TECTRA Ltd’s performance becomes possible, it’s great to see that the various operational improvements of the past 4 years seem to … 3 min read

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Nov
12

The managerial illusion of "thinkers" vs. "doers"

product development, collaboration, organizational culture, management

Nothing good ever came from separating “the brains” from “the hands” in an organization, and in product development endeavors in particular. But it doesn’t stop there, at the fallacy of considering … 2 min read

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Nov
2

The ersatz psychotherapy of the workplace

psychology, organizations, change

Any idea or instrument (or both) for organizing work, when taken to extremes (the larger the org, the more likely) is a distraction from getting the actual work done, and (in my experience) often used … 3 min read

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Nov
1

Addressing practical business needs with bespoke software

software, development, python

Coding is so approachable and accessible nowadays, that you don’t need to be a full-time software developer to compose something that creates value. It’s been a bit longer than one year (months before … 3 min read

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Oct
15

What's your X? Navigating the memetic abyss

buzzwords, organizational culture, communication, hype, change, Lean, Agile

“Lo, as X became more mainstream, so had its mentions taken on an increasingly memetic quality. X became a symbol of conformity to the capital’s bidding, a means to legitimize all sorts of … 1 min read

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Oct
8

The distracting dance of theoretical debates vs. purposeful effort

organizational culture, communication, transformation, change, Lean, Agile

Blunt and genuine questions to everyone who find themselves caught in a circus of “X transformation”: Why are you, as someone making a living out of doing something valuable in/through/with an … 1 min read

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Oct
2

Reducing complexity and attack surface with Jamstack (Hugo and Strapi)

Jamstack, Hugo, Strapi, web development, software architecture, complexity

Jamstack is a fantastic software-architectural approach for certain use cases, and with very low complexity. I enter all my data into Strapi CMS hosted in a FreeBSD jail and accessible at … 1 min read

images/blog/reaching-for-the-sky_waifu2x_art_scan_noise2_scale_720p.png
Sep
26

Dear Mozilla, stop moving the furniture around

product management, UX/UI, enshittification, market research

Dear Mozilla , Because your organization is out of touch with reality and the actual users of your software, you are either entirely unaware of the confusion and wasted effort resulting from the … 1 min read

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Sep
14

The evergreen rediscovery of strategy is also happening to innovation

strategy, innovation, product development, organizational memory

“Somehow, every generation […], even within the same organization has to relearn how to do strategy… and the same thing is happening with innovation…” – Bruno Pešec It’s true. And all that fervent … 2 min read

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Sep
12

Success, failure, and other useless, ephemeral labels

success, failure, tradeoffs, perspective

“Failure”, “success”, other labels…. Within 250 years, latest, nobody will even know 99.99999% of people ever existed, of their opinions, experiences, “successes”, or “failures”. Have you noticed that … 1 min read

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Sep
11

FreeBSD brilliance, i.e. the elegant duo of BastilleBSD and vm-bhyve

containers, virtualization, FreeBSD, BastilleBSD, vm-bhyve

I wish that there would be something for managing Linux containers that is as simple and elegant as BastilleBSD for managing FreeBSD jails. If there is, please let me know (I don’t mean something like … 2 min read

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Sep
10

FreeBSD rc.d script for www/garage (S3-compatible object storage)

FreeBSD, object storage, self-hosting

Garage is an open-source distributed object storage service tailored for self-hosting, and is available on FreeBSD . Up until recently, the installed package did not provide an rc.d script, so I wrote … 1 min read

images/blog/clouds2_waifu2x_art_scan_noise2_scale_720p.png
Sep
6

How to stack two speakers of a Zoom video capture with FFmpeg

software, video, FFmpeg, howto

Basic use Filter chain: Remove the black regions after using cropdetect that identifies the right filter as crop=1280:352:0:184 Split the stream into two streams, one for the left and one for the … 1 min read

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Sep
5

Bye bye Dropbox (soon), your feature bloat is a hassle

file storage, self-hosting, open source, feature factory, disruption, software

At TECTRA Ltd we’ve been using Dropbox for some years to share “view links” for product documentation with customers. I’ve been managing our files library with Maestral on Linux Maestral and sometimes … 2 min read

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Aug
29

longintrepr.h: No such file or directory, on Python 3.11

Debian, Python, PyEnv

I upgraded a server from Debian 11 to 12, which comes standard with Python 3.11, under which this happens: Fails to build on Python 3.11 - longintrepr.h: No such file or directory Cue learning about … 1 min read

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Aug
22

The power of "I don't know" when pursuing innovation

innovation, uncertainty, organizational culture

“There is a fear and shame [in organizations] of saying ‘I don’t know’.” – Bruno Pešec When attempting to innovate, “I don’t know” in nothing to worry about or be ashamed of; the question is, what … 1 min read

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Aug
17

Saving space with btrfs out-of-band deduplication

ZFS, btrfs, deduplication, storage

ZFS is cool and everything, and obviously the filesystem of choice on FreeBSD, but there is (at least? only?) one feature that Linux BTRFS has that ZFS doesn’t: out-of-band (“offline”) deduplication. … 1 min read

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Aug
14

Building innovation capabilities is like building muscles

innovation, capabilities, organizational culture

“Innovation capabilities are just like working out; it’s a bunch of muscles.” – Bruno Pešec You don’t simply step in a gym for the first time and bench-press your body weight. Plus, not everyone has … 1 min read

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Aug
5

python-greeklish, but in Elixir; the joy of functional programming

Elixir, functional programming, Greek language

Note Edit: since this post was written, I have released my Elixir reimplementation of python-greeklish as Greeklix . I’m reimplementing python-greeklish in Elixir and, unlike the original python … 1 min read

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Jul
10

Meta's Threads launch seems like a knee-jerk reaction

Meta, social media, fediverse

The evident vision with Meta’s Threads is to capitalize on Twitter shooting its own foot now that the usage of its API has been curtailed; to short-circuit the already-failing invite-only Bluesky; and … 1 min read

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Jul
8

In praise of common sense in URL design (an ode to Leanpub)

SaaS, Leanpub, elegance, design

This is an ode to the URL design of Leanpub , one of the few SaaS for which I am happy to have paid a lifetime subscription. What comes after https://leanpub.com/ ? Let’s say I’m writing/publishing a … 1 min read

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Jul
4

Minting Chief X Officers is a fad that's here to stay

roles, corporate, transformation, leadership

Nowadays, any X we want to hang responsibility of onto a single person (sometimes merely to tick a box and not suffer FOMO or embarrassment of being behind the times, for optics’ sake), becomes a … 2 min read

images/blog/easter island_waifu2x_art_scan_noise2_scale_720p.png
Jul
1

Translate Text in LibreOffice Calc Using WEBSERVICE() and REGEX()

LibreOffice, API, Excel, webservices, open source

Someone recently posted an Excel function to poll the Google Translate API and return translated text using LET(), WEBSERVICE() and TEXTSPLIT(). LibreOffice Calc does not provide LET() or TEXTSPLIT(), … 1 min read

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Jun
28

NVMe SSDs like it hot; but not too hot

hardware, cooling, PC, storage

Public Service Announcement: cool down your NVMe drives! Especially if they are installed in “Tiny Form Factor” PCs (aka “1 liter” cases). How do I know? From own experience resulting from a lack of … 2 min read

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Jun
23

A consultant and his framework are rarely parted

frameworks, consulting, communication, skepticism, management

Dave Snowden (of Cynefin fame) recently made the following post on LinkedIn: Look, I know, I know… Who am I to question the Dave Snowden? But hear me out. I am not so sure about the use of the word … 3 min read

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Jun
17

How is the 2nd edition of "Deft" coming along? Nicely.

deft, book, process

Work on the 2nd edition of “The Incredible Story of Deft” continues… on every evening, and every weekend. What’s different to the first, print-on-demand edition of 2017? There’s a story now with … 2 min read

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Jun
14

Authenticity trumps polished videos in brand persuasion

branding, authenticity, video, marketing

One day, premium brands will realize that less-polished videos like the one below can be far more persuasive than the typical big-budget, ultra-polished, brand-conforming, self-important video. (Most … 2 min read

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Jun
14

From wax wings to corporate hubris

business, marketing, innovation

In Ancient Greek mythology, there exists a timeless tale that offers us valuable insights into the pitfalls that can befall companies and their executive teams: the myth of Icarus and Daedalus. Its … 3 min read

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Jun
7

Oh no! We have no skilled and certified LLM users!

LLMs, ChatGPT, GenAI, learning, upskilling

Earlier this year, there were posts on LinkedIn bemoaning the “low supply of people skilled at using LLMs”. But how skilled do you have to be, anyway? It’s not like using LLMs is the same as learning … 2 min read

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Jun
7

What your organization tolerates can end up defining its culture

metrics, incentives, corporate culture, leadership

The following is an excerpt from the fateful meeting between the protagonist Nathaniel Lee Abel, the champion of X, and Polymal, in Lo and Behold, X! : “𝘠𝘰𝘶 𝘴𝘢𝘪𝘥 ‘𝘐 𝘥𝘰 𝘯𝘰𝘵 𝘬𝘯𝘰𝘸?’ 𝘛𝘩𝘰𝘶 𝙫𝙚𝙧𝙞𝙡𝙮 𝘥𝘰𝘴𝘵 𝘯𝘰𝘵 … 2 min read

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May
28

A competitive marketing analysis of a new radar product with Discussit

marketing, copywriting, GPR, competition, differentiation

I let the topic analysis feature of Discussit run over the copywriting of an upcoming new GPR product for concrete scanning. (As I told John Davenport yesterday, competitive marketing analysis is IMO … 2 min read

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May
27

Discussit, an MVP for text analysis and re-synthesis

marketing, copywriting, GPR, competition, differentiation

I just had a demo of Discussit by John Davenport . John fed it my article on product-focused innovation with IoT. Discussit generated a list of topics in the outline, and explanatory text for each … 1 min read

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May
7

"Belief in science"

science, trust, belief, scientific method, knowledge, critical thinking

“Belief in science.” An expression much beloved, IME primarily by: those who have no clue what the scientific method implies for blind trust in models/authority, and those who either ⠀⠀2a. genuinely … 3 min read

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May
2

One in five Greeks illegally accesses sports content. Yawn.

piracy, business models, UX/UI, competition, customer orientation

“One in five Greeks illegally accesses sports content. According to the 2023 report of the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO), Greece ranks second in EU, in terms of illegal access … 2 min read

images/blog/pirate_ship_waifu2x_art_scan_noise2_scale_720p.png
May
2

You can never be too skeptical of Agile, Scrum, etc.

agility, Agile, Scrum, hype, organizations, incentives

Some mornings I wonder… Am I too jaded about Agile, Scrum, and so on? Am I too dismissive towards peddlers of miracle cures to tricky problems of coordination, collaboration, prediction, disagreement, … 2 min read

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Apr
30

VatchexGreece v0.7.0 released, now supports RgWsPublic2

Elixir, software, release, API, open data

Here’s an update of my Elixir library for retrieving company information from the Greek government’s RgWsPublic2 SOAP API that deprecated the v1 SOAP API 10 days ago. Version 0.7.0 is cleaner, gets … 2 min read

images/blog/business data_waifu2x_art_scan_noise2_scale_720p.png
Apr
22

Respect for people's time is the hallmark of a good organization

Lean, waste, organizational culture, process, hype, continuous improvement

Wasted money can somehow always be made back again. People’s time is by definition a scarce, finite, non-renewable resource. Therefore, wasting people’s time is the biggest insult and injury. And, by … 1 min read

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Apr
13

Decoding SAFe's multi-sided business model

Agile, consulting, organizational culture, process, hype, business model

My opinion is that SAFe has a cunning multi-sided business model. On the one side, managers who don’t understand agility, relish the feeling (illusion) of control, and, not knowing any better, look … 2 min read

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Apr
10

Lo and behold, I beseech thee, avail thyself of mine prose!

book, Lean, Agile, hype, organizations

Note Since this was first posted, the book “Lo and Behold, X!” , a business fable of change and intrigue, has been published. Verily, if thou hast found delight in my discourse on Deft , dripp’d with … 2 min read

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Apr
8

A "potato-grade" low-powered IT infrastructure is exactly what SMEs need

Linux, server, IT, infrastructure, technology, business acumen

The IT infrastructure of TECTRA Ltd is proudly what I call “potato-powered”. And by that, I mean that it has always been frugal, measured yet effective, but even more so since the early 2000s, when we … 3 min read

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Apr
5

Seeds of knowledge, branches of understanding, thorns of confusion

knowledge, wisdom, creativity, development, research

Excerpt from the upcoming book “Lo and Behold, X!” , a business fable of change and intrigue. Instead of “X”, think “Lean”, “Agile”, and any other set of ideas that business and consultants make a big … 2 min read

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Apr
3

AI finally reaches the Deft stage of The Chief X Officer

Linux, self-hosting, technology, business acumen, Deft

“The rise of the chief AI officer” Aaaaand we finally reach the stage of the Chief X Officer for X = “AI” – though, this came way, WAY faster than anticipated. Note that despite the “job description”, … 2 min read

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Mar
25

Generative AI benefits exploration first and foremost

Generative AI, exploration, development, research

IMO the first obvious benefit of Generative AI is the ability to generate lots of variants with way-beyond-good-enough quality and with lots of variety, and at practically zero cost. This has … 1 min read

images/blog/indianajones_waifu2x_art_scan_noise0_scale_720p.png
Mar
20

Agile frameworks are products; why are Agile peddlers so acrimonious?

agile, hype, organizations, consulting, critical thinking

So much acrimony between proponents of Agile This or Agile That in the battle for mindshare and market share! I can see the merit of the argument that the popularity of a framework implies value for … 3 min read

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Mar
12

First, there was X

hype, Lean, Agile, organizations

First, there was a seemingly-magical new thing called X, a set of ideas that someone came up with, or put together, out of their own practical experience within an organization. Soon afterwards, in … 3 min read

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Mar
12

Short-sighted "solutions" are not solutions

critical thinking, systems thinking, organizations

Have you noticed that most problems that come to bite us in the posterior are caused by a short-term focus that prevents systems thinking? Many say it’s “human hubris”; nonsense. It’s that many … 1 min read

images/blog/whirlpool4_waifu2x_art_scan_noise0_scale_720p.png
Mar
5

2023 is my "Year of Elixir"

software, programming, Elixir, learning

In January I decided to make 2023 my “year of Elixir”; that is, I’m parking coding new things in Python for a while, and will be focusing on learning this exciting functional programming language … 2 min read

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Feb
20

Create SVG identicons in Elixir with IdenticonSvg

software, programming, Elixir, open source, UI

Another week, another Elixir package – my “Year of Elixir” continues! Identicons are useful as placeholders, such as for profile pictures. One other use of identicons I have found over the past few … 1 min read

images/blog/businesscard_waifu2x_art_scan_noise0_scale_720p.png
Feb
13

Get information on Greek companies in Elixir with VatchexGreece

software, programming, Elixir, open source

It has been a productive weekend full of learning Elixir, and my first-ever serious Elixir project is now open-source under the Apache-2.0 license. VatchexGreece is an Elixir library to easily pull … 1 min read

images/blog/headquarters2_waifu2x_art_scan_noise0_scale_720p.png
Jan
22

Do not name your product models after specification values

product management, marketing, branding, requirements

Product-management pro tip: don’t use one or more of your product’s key specifications as part of the model name. Doing so reduces your product to the spec value. If you are the one defining the … 4 min read

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2022
Dec
23

Summarize the transcript of a YouTube video using OpenAI's GPT-3

GPT, LLM, video, transcript, Python

Following my earlier post on summarizing a YouTube video with ChatGPT , I put together a gist that uses the yt-dlp and openai Python modules to either download a proper transcript or extract the … 1 min read

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Dec
22

Elixir's pipe operator reminds me of Reverse Polish Notation

functional programming, Elixir, learning

I’ve been learning Elixir and some things, like the pipe operator |> instantly clicked. And then I remembered Reverse Polish Notation, which I extensively used on HP48G while at ETH Zurich, and still … 2 min read

images/blog/pipes2_waifu2x_art_scan_noise0_scale_720p.png
Dec
20

Summarize the transcript of a YouTube video using ChatGPT

ChatGPT, LLM, video, transcript, Python

Here’s how to summarize any YouTube video with a transcript for free using ChatGPT without paying for the Summarize browser extension. The “Summarize” extension for Google Chrome uses ChatGPT to … 2 min read

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Dec
15

Agilistas, it's time to face the music

Agile, organizations, hype

Come on, everyone associated with “the Agile movement” and with SAFe in particular: admit that SAFe is the same type of silver-bullet management BS that Six Sigma used to be, and move on to perform … 1 min read

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Dec
14

"What is the dumbest tech stack you have ever worked on?"

software, microservices, API, tech stack, pragmatism

John Crickett recently posed this question on Linkedin. Here’s my answer: Python 3 with asyncinotify watching a LibreOffice ODS spreadsheet for modifications, upon which it re-parses the spreadsheet … 1 min read

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Dec
13

You can take the engineer out of R&D, but not the other way around

engineering, optimization, robustness, machine learning, mindset, research

I used to optimize turbocharger turbines for a living for a while, at ABB Turbo Systems (now Accelleron Industries), with PSO (Particle Swarm Optimization) and NSGA II, libFANN models, clustering … 2 min read

images/blog/coder_waifu2x_art_scan_noise0_scale_720p.png
Dec
10

ChatGPT summarizes an article on managing requirements

ChatGPT, LLM, product management, requirements

I provided one of my various articles to ChatGPT, and asked it to identify the 5 key takewayas, and the situations in which each article could you helpful for product managers. Let’s look at what … 1 min read

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Dec
8

Product Management is not the same pre- and post-Product-Market-Fit

product management, ventures, product-market fit, development, growth

Traditional product management, more akin to “farming”, is truly useless in the early stages of a product-focused venture, and especially before achieving the highly-sought-after Product-Market Fit … 1 min read

images/blog/rollercoaster3_waifu2x_art_scan_noise0_scale_720p.png
Dec
2

Linking physical objects with online, up-to-date information

digitalization, digital, logistics, operations, software, CX

Linking physical objects with online data that is always up to date is actual creation and delivery of value to customers. I did something like this at TECTRA Ltd, though not for equipment, but for … 2 min read

images/blog/truck3_waifu2x_art_scan_noise0_scale_720p.png
Nov
29

Review of Stanford's Organizational Analysis course on Coursera

course, organizations, learning

After 11 weeks of self-paced learning, I completed Stanford Online’s Coursera course on “Organizational Analysis” . Here’s my review. The models I like the idea of using various models as lenses … 2 min read

images/blog/headquarters3_waifu2x_art_scan_noise0_scale_720p.png
Nov
15

When marketing your products, ditch the jargon

product, marketing, jargon, branding

When you talk about your product, you have a limited time span to bring your points across. Hopefully those points are related to value propositions that address the customer’s Jobs To Be Done . … 2 min read

images/blog/alone2_waifu2x_art_scan_noise0_scale_720p.png
Nov
2

Some products in a portfolio can be described as "The Walking Dead"

product portfolio, product management, differentiation, value proposition, strategy

In the product portfolio of a typical mature and typically successful brand you are likely to find one or a few products that I call “The Walking Dead”. These products may have become increasingly … 2 min read

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Nov
1

No-code/low-code applications are great for SME digitalization

nocode, digital, digitalization, ERP, open source

Yesterday I had a call with the founders of NocoDB, to meet, greet and discuss our use of self-hosted NocoDB as the beginning and foundation of TECTRA Ltd’s digitalization journey around 1.5 years … 2 min read

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Oct
15

There is no globally-optimal working model for product development

product development, process, culture, continuous improvement, trade-offs

There is no silver bullet in terms of an ideal working model for product development. However, there are countless working models that are universally bad, no matter the context. You have to build one … 2 min read

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Oct
12

Six microservices and APIs that TECTRA Ltd relies upon daily

software, microservices, API

Six months, six new microservices/APIs at TECTRA Ltd , a company that I am a Managing Director of, that enable us to increase responsiveness and consistency by a) making access to decision-making … 2 min read

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Sep
8

What comes after Agile?

Agile, organizations, hype

This is a response to Soumen Sarkar’s response to my comment and a follow-up to “The prevalence of methodological kabuki theaters” . After Agile comes Bagile, Cagile, and so on… Agile frameworks do … 1 min read

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Sep
5

The modern prevalence of methodological kabuki theaters

Agile, organizations, innovation, hype

It all becomes Kabuki theater when an entire company decides to “go Agile”. This also demonstrates a deep lack of awareness on behalf of a company’s management when “going Agile” with big tralala … 2 min read

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Aug
28

"We are a data-driven company. However…"

data-driven, organizations, culture, negotiation

Sometime between 2009 and 2019… Isaak: Based on my review of the situation, here’s an issue I’ve identified, here’s what we could do and here’s a list of potential outcomes and recommendations for … 2 min read

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Aug
10

The PMO is an organizational and career trap

PMO, organizations, project management, change management, initiatives

Now and then, posts on LinkedIn surface that discuss the potential of finally establishing “Lean” within an organization by creating a Project Management Organization (a “PMO”) that only runs “Lean … 2 min read

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Jul
28

Poka-yoke (mistake-proof) your software's UX/UI, too

Lean, continuous improvement, software, UX

Poka-yoke in issuing a new sales item number: the in-house microservice for Master Data Management of TECTRA Ltd’s product portfolio finds the existing sales item number N with the … 1 min read

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Jul
24

"The SAFe Delusion" website is a scathing, and overdue critique

Agile, agility, organizations, hype

Some of us have been saying for years what the website “The SAFe Delusion” so nicely portrays: SAFe Agile sells so well to economic buyers within corporate environments exactly because it takes the … 2 min read

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Jul
7

What if the data scientist role didn't exist?

data-driven, organizations, data science, skills, machine learning, engineering

In 2010 I was training ANNs using libFANN and my own implementation of “early stopping”, then building ensembles of them. I was also using various clustering and regression algorithms to predict the … 1 min read

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Jun
15

Are the best engineers really working on ads?

engineering, product development, reality check

In this comment thread on LinkedIn , someone asks where all the cool engineering projects have gone. Are the best engineers really working on ads? No. Here are three examples of awesome engineering … 2 min read

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Mar
11

Blockchain application in logistics, where are you?

blockchain, logistics, hype

It would be great if some of the energy that goes into NFT and crypto would be / have been invested by international bodies (e.g., the European Union) into creating a blockchain-based system for … 2 min read

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Mar
2

Personal brands consumed by ex-this and ex-that associations

branding, organizations

Have you noticed the recent LinkedIn trend of people using their past affiliation with well-known employers as their headline? With this mindset, I am Isaak Tsalicoglou, “ex-Proceq, ex-Hilti, ex-ABB”. … 2 min read

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2021
Jul
3

Purpose-focused propaganda doesn't benefit change initiatives

change management, Lean, Agile, leadership, culture, organizations, management

Mastery, Autonomy, Purpose: the trifecta of intrinsic motivation; and yet, so often entirely ignored. Often, those managing change initiatives spend a lot of effort on communicating the purpose—if … 2 min read

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Jun
7

Discipline where necessary, slack whenever needed

leadership, discipline, habbits, organizations, teams

Discipline where necessary, slack whenever needed. The smart thing is to know where/when to apply what and to what extent. Because discipline is not something that can be relied upon, I much prefer … 1 min read

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Apr
19

How quickly was the Proceq GP8800 developed?

product development, trade-offs, innovation, agility, Lean, engineering, teams, conflict

A friend recently asked me how long it would take to develop a physical product. My answer: way less than you think; if you do the right things the right way with the right people. Except of course … 2 min read

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2020
Jul
16

Allegedly, Lean isn't about improvement

Lean, Agile, organizations, hype, continuous improvement

I saw one of those inspirational posts recently: “Lean is about developing and transforming people, not just about process improvement”. Noble sentiment, but much like the title of the seminal HBR … 1 min read

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Jul
2

"Why does every tech company suck at marketing?"

marketing, branding, jargon

Good question! I wouldn’t say that every tech company sucks at marketing. Many do, even if they aren’t in tech. When it comes to tech companies though, most suffer from terrible marketing because they … 2 min read

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May
20

Repeat after me: we live in an age of intense disruption and change

VUCA, buzzwords, organizations, hype, strategy, disruption

IMD , my second alma mater, recently announced this year’s annual OWP program (“Orchestrating Winning Performance”) with the following cringe-worthy hook: We live in an age of intense disruption & … 2 min read

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Mar
25

State-of-the-art marketing in the NDT industry, colorized (2020)

product, marketing, jargon, NDT

The year is 2020. The marketing behind NDT (non-destructive testing) products, both for hardware and for software, continues to be either: predominantly specs-focused and jargon-heavy, and with little … 1 min read

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Feb
28

The L word, hijacked, and mcdonaldized

lean, jargon

For years, some abuse “Lean” as in claiming to run a “lean supply chain”, emphasizing JIT to reduce capital tied in inventory to the minimum. In fair weather, many of those have gotten recognition and … 1 min read

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Feb
28

Fooled by Western Digital

hardware, infrastructure, marketing

Today I read “Western Digital admits 2TB-6TB WD Red NAS drives use shingled magnetic recording” . I am one of those who were fooled by Western Digital… A while ago I equipped a server with 2 units of … 2 min read

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Feb
17

Good luck being purely data-driven

data, rationality, decisions, narratives

This is a response to this unbelievably hot take on LinkedIn. When you work with data, it’s to be expected that you also might think that making decisions and acting upon them must be solely based on … 1 min read

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Feb
13

Your product is substitutable. Now what?

product management, differentiation

If a product doesn’t stand out in ways that matter to its users, its buyers, or the beneficiaries of its use, it doesn’t need to exist alongside all other ones in the category (or its alternatives). … 1 min read

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Feb
5

bcache keeps frequently-accessed data fast

filesystems, bcache, Linux, storage, open source

Most traffic on our office network relates to a set of the most frequently and recently accessed 10 GB of files (at most) out of a total of ~200 GB on a RAID1 array of slow-yet-reliable 2-TB hard … 1 min read

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Jan
18

Should we use just one improvement method for everything?

continuous improvement, Lean

Sean Driscoll facetiously asks : Should we use just one improvement method for everything? I can’t really tip-toe around the fact that Lean isn’t an “improvement method” or a framework. Maybe striving … 1 min read

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Jan
12

bcache keeps frequently-accessed data fast

lead time, operations, continuous improvement, Lean

This is a reaction to a LinkedIn post that inquired about calculating the Takt Time for infrequently executed business processes, such as S&OP. I’d say reducing lead time is more important for … 2 min read

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Jan
10

The mysterious political jumble of the incumbent organization

management

The mystery of the incumbent organization: it is often owned by capitalism-minded “feudal lords”, who wish to achieve a monopoly or oligopoly that lasts as long as possible thanks to a) regulation … 1 min read

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Jan
8

Boring IT infrastructure is great IT infrastructure

hardware, infrastructure

As someone who wants to focus on my actual business instead of on chasing after exciting and time-wasting features and bugs I want to be positively bored by the IT choices I make. Somewhat-outdated … 1 min read

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Jan
6

Product development trade-offs, compromises, and sacrifices

product development

One problem with product development as an endeavor is that the vast majority of those engaged in it have never understood that it’s all about: making conscious trade-offs, minimizing compromises, and … 1 min read

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Jan
5

Product modularity and materials science, one example

modularity, materials, technology

People nowadays hear the world “technology” and imagine all kinds of digital tralala. We mechanical engineers know better. As an example, take the traditional and venerable concept of a slide valve … 1 min read

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2019
Dec
23

Marketing material phantoms and employee turnover

employer branding

Marketing material in which past employees feature as models using the products are quite eerie if employee turnover has been really, really high. “This guy’s not there anymore… Neither is this guy… … 1 min read

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Mar
12

Tips for market-size estimation modeling

product management, market research

In 2013 and in particular in 2018 and 2019 I spent many, many hours creating various models (in Excel, sometimes also with Simulacion 4.0 ) in order to estimate total market size and competitor size … 2 min read

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2018
Feb
3

Gated content is an unnecessary hurdle

content marketing

Gated content is an unnecessary hurdle; it prevents those interested in the content from easy access, and puts those few left on a rollercoaster of anticipation that pretty much always ends in … 1 min read

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2016
Feb
12

The evergreen SME office laptop

IT, laptop, Thinkpad

Which options spring to mind when you think of buying a laptop for business purposes? For many people, who don’t know better, the main option is to trek to the nearest electronics store and select … 5 min read

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2015
Apr
28

Standardization of knowledge work

R&D

When we apply Lean Manufacturing ideas of standardising work on other functions, where work is more vague and creative, we are starting a slow drift towards a transactional, low-trust, controlling … 3 min read

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Apr
18

How I got into Machine Learning (in 2010)

machine learning

As a development engineer at ABB Turbo Systems [edit, in 2023: now Accelleron Industries], I developed complex mechanical components (e.g., radial turbines, shafts, casings, threaded connectors) using … 4 min read

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