Playing Fortnite and its Relation to Other Activities

Let’s briefly talk about Fortnite playing and how it applies to overall personal development. I like it a lot and I feel it helps me improve in other areas of involvement, I don’t just do it to spend free time.

Fortnite is a modern game, kids play it. It is insanely fast, you have to have snap judgement and really quick reaction time. I think it’s a modern thing to have fast judgement; you can practice fast judgement in this game.

It’s stateless; meaning other than your skill, nothing gets carried over from one battle to the next. You can carry only 5 items and I think that’s really elegant. When doing any task, you kind of want to be “in the now” for it, not burdened with anything from the past. There are no burdens in Fortnite; just the skill development.

It’s definitely skill-based. Everyone is equal, you can’t buy better weapons or a better character. The competition is nice and fair.

There is a lot of mechanics and a lot of learn, and it’s a complete environment. You can study all aspects of mechanics to be successful. The game is a little self-container world, and you can operate in it and be competitive fairly. It’s a simile on life in general 😉

Salary Negotiation

Some tips on how to do it right

I have wasted several months trying to get a salary that seems un-achievable. Don’t shoot yourself in the foot! Don’t ask for a salary that you can’t get. Be reasonable, and this will cause less frustration, less wasted time, likely more money, and more happiness.

The gist of it is, what you are likely to get is the market rate. Try higher, and get rejected – unless you are thinking of a specific play you want to make. (A specific play may be: personal relations with a decisionmaker; vendor lock-in; monopoly.)

Glassdoor and some other resources give you pretty exact data on what the salary is for your industry, level, etc. Use that information to set your expectations correctly. Again: your expectation is the market rate, most of the time. No more, no less.

If you are applying non-locally, look at the cost of living adjustment calculator for how much you should be making in that location. But beware! There was at least one respectable company that was headquartered in New York and attempted to have its largest engineering office in Detroit. This does’t seem to be a policy most considerate of engineers’ well-being.

Some companies ask for your salary history. I have the blank policy of not providing it; however, your case may differ. A friend of mine said that he didn’t even negotiate the salary on his latest job. They asked him how much he was making previously, he told them, and them made him an offer, and he accepted. This is probably the easiest way of salary negotiation.

A lot of the times the company will offer you a package and a salary, and you would either accept it if it’s reasonable, or negotiate up. Negotiation is hard, takes skill and experience. If you want higher salary, practice negotiating, but bear in mind that the time is ticking and it’s also better to settle for less than for nothing at all.

Easy Behavioral Interview Questions

In almost every respectable interview process, behavioral questions are expected. Some are easy and have natural answers.

Unfortunately I may know a bit too much about S.T.A.R. behavioral interview questions – because I have been asked a lot of them, and also I’m in the position to ask them of prospective candidates.

Time Management When Interviewing

If I just make myself available on the market, I will be bombarded with so much communication that it will take quite literally all of my time. What mechanisms are in place for effective time management?

It would be nice to have a personal assistant that takes off some load of talking on the phone for me. I can outsource some of the talking to english-speaking people in other countries, and they can talk all they want with my recruiters. I would actually call that a sales team.

You have to have a LinkedIn profile, and it has to look good and be fairly accurate. I have received too much attention on linkedin, and so I disabled notifications. If someone messages me on linkedin, I won’t find out until I manually check it. An overwhelming majority of messages on linkedin are from recruiters, and you really have to take control of your own time and availability when communicating with them – they won’t moderate your own availability for you.

My favourite methods of communication are phone, email, and slack. As a reminder, there are filters you can setup in email so that you get to chose what you see and what you don’t see. You can setup filters such that emails from certain companies get tagged and archived, and you decide if/when you read them. For example, there are two ways to not receive emails from Linkedin: disable notifications on Linkedin, or setup an email filter so that such notifications get archived. Certain groups do you allow you to unsubscribe from communication from them, but remember, you always have control of what communication you receive and what messages you get exposed to. It’s your right to privacy.

Phone is for close friends and people I care about. By phone I mean whatsapp, phone and sms. Don’t post your phone number online! It’s asking for a disaster.

On Health, Sports, and Personal Efficiency

Here we emphasize that doing physical training has a number of positive effects, not achievable elsewhere.

Being healthy lets you live longer. That’s a good thing; live is generally a pleasant thing, and much better than the alternative.

Being healthy is also cheaper. Having medical issues may turn out to be very expensive – especially as one gets older and puts a lot of mileage on the body.

Physical training helps compete in cognitive tasks. Being physically agile makes you mentally agile. Increased metabolism improves blood circulation to the brain, enabling better work.

Overall, it’s a time saving, rather than time cost, to work out or participate in sports. My favourite one is jiu jitsu – it’s very intellectually stimulating, and it doubles as a self-defense mechanism. But you can do anything else, from soccer to basketball to running.

Perceptual Control Theory

A Book Recommendation. This book by William Powers offers a complete basic theory of psychology – and a very interesting one at that.

‘Perceptual Control Theory (PCT) is both the name of the theory and the name of a book by William Powers. I have found it immensely interesting and intuitive, a good way of explaining why people take actions that they do. This book definitely takes a spot on my shelf of recommended reading. Buy in on Amazon.

An example, from Wikipedia: A simple negative feedback control system is a cruise control system for a car. A cruise control system has a sensor which “perceives” speed as the rate of spin of the drive shaft directly connected to the wheels. It also has a driver-adjustable ‘goal’ specifying a particular speed. The sensed speed is continuously compared against the specified speed by a device (called a “comparator”) which subtracts the currently sensed input value from the stored goal value. The difference (the error signal) determines the throttle setting (the accelerator depression), so that the engine output is continuously varied to prevent the speed of the car from increasing or decreasing from that desired speed as environmental conditions change. This type of classical negative feedback control was worked out by engineers in the 1930s and 1940s.

Another example is inverse kinematics, used in 3D animation as well as robot control. You have the goal: for example, a “wrist” movement, and the system that senses and affects things to reach that goal.

Overall, I think the concepts of this theory are super useful both for personal development as a human, and for building digital systems.

On Resilience and Achieving

Does it make sense to spend a decade of focus on something? When you don’t have success, how long do you try until pivoting?

Faith is a tool here. You use faith to achieve. The first success has to be bootstrapped, you kind of pull yourself out of nowhere into the success zone, and the belief that you’re actually able to do so plays a large part in that. You have to see other people’s successes and assume/believe that your own success is possible. This is the way I use faith.

Focus, effort, discipline, attention span – these are synonyms for me. I measure attention span in time segments, and I measure focus and effort in time as well. I can say, achieving such and such goal would take a two-year discipline stretch. College, for example, is a 4-year effort.

Some tasks are achievable in an hour. Some take several days. There are tasks that take months; and there are tasks that span entire careers and decades of time. What are the goals that you are looking to achieve in the next 100 years?

Individual Physical Appearance

How important is outward appearance? What constitutes outward appearance?

Appearance is extremely important when your goal is to make an impression. Without good appearance, you cannot make a good impression on anyone. Physical appearance is not the only element needed to make a good impression, but it is absolutely critical. People judge each other (and themselves) a lot, based on how they look. We’ll get into the acting later.

it’s amazing how much a person’s attitude towards another person changes based on just what they are wearing. Wearing nice clothes allows you to gain a higher place in the social foodchain. Girls seem to get this point better than guys.

Dress well at all times! Have a clean shaved/trimmed beard; get regular haircuts that look nice; take care of your shoes; wear a nice watch, and learn to be in your clothes. Develop a style, grow into it so that you’re comfortable, and that will hopefully move you up the social foodchain a little. 🙂

Difficult Behavioral Interview Questions

In this post, I’m going to talk about some difficult questions that might be asked on an interview. These questions are specifically designed to yank the candidate out of their comfort zone.

Perhaps I am fortunate to be in technology. I image people in other industries would sometimes be pressed to accept a job with, say, an employed they don’t like. I strive to be happy, and remove all negativity from my life and interactions with people. There are some questions that show the interviewer to be negative, and I recommend avoiding answering them.

The questions that an interviewer may ask. You have to be able to answer each of them – or at least be prepared that they might be asked.

  1. Why do you want to work here?
  2. Why are you looking to leave your current role?
  3. Why are you looking for a job?
  4. How do you deal with conflict?
  5. Give me an example of a conflict with a superior and how you resolved it.

You cannot be aggressive; you cannot be passive.

You have to be open and not conceal information, but you cannot say anything that’s bad.

Since I have some leverage (as a successful developer), asking me some questions will result in the end of the interview. For example, if a company reaches out to me, and then asks me why I am looking for a job – I may as well end the conversation right there. I’m looking for less stress, not more stress.