If one was born in 1971, when Intel released the 4004 microprocessor, it is likely to be pure luck if one has seen a computer at 13.

If one was born in 1983, the year in which the Mototola DynaTAC 8000X was first sold, it will be pure luck or privilege if at 13 years old one had a GSM phone.

If one was born in 1991, chances are that at 13 one had access to the Internet. It’s not a given though.

If you were born in 2007, the year the iPhone was introduced, you are 13 years old now and have never lived without a super fast network connection from your mobile computer.


The Tyranny of Timezones

As you log into an internal company-wide engineering event at 3AM, barely able to keep your eyelids open and mistyping your password about 5 times, you can’t help but consider the tyranny of timezones. With some countries still under heavy lockdown and a widely distributed Covid vaccine still months away, being physically closed to an office is quickly becoming a thing of the past. Just in the past few weeks, Amazon announced that their workforce can work remotely until the end of 2020, Google and Facebook have already made such announcements, and your own office, in beautiful Palo Alto, California, seems to remain closed for a very long time. Even offices that are starting to open, like the local office in Munich, is operating under reduced capacity allowing only a small portion of the workforce to come in.

So being close to an office is loosing its importance. However, an office is simply an indication of geographical connection. Employees that go to the “German Office” are likely to be working together, serving customers in Germany (or DACH) and are bound less by the office, but by their timezone and customer base.

And this is where the tyranny of timezones comes into play. A company-wide event can never work on a planet with 37 time zones (explanation to this strange data point is here). Typically in the corporate world, the timezone of the person setting the agenda serves as the baseline, It is natural that an individual looking to set a meeting is starting from her own calendar and then considering other people.

Companies could consider organizing around timezones rather than locations and let employees choose their timezone. A night owl living in Ireland might enjoy working in the East Coast timezone whereas an early morning bird in Poland might enjoy the quirky, half an hour off, Indian timezone. Companies can also define transitional timezones where employees in roles that require bridging very conflicting timezones (like India and Pacific Time Zone), are dipping into a good portion of one time zone and another good portion of another timezone.

There is no reason why an employee working in a PST tribe is unable to effectively work from Baja, California. There is also absolutely no reason why an employee bridging between IST and PST, living in London, is unable to spend the afternoon with the team in Chennai and the evening with the team in Seattle. These are personal decisions that a job seeker can make. In fact, advertising timezones in job listings might be much more effective than locations. “Must be able to spend at least 4 hours a day in IST and 2 hours in PST” will be a much more precise description of a desired capability than “live in the U.K.”.

The digital revolution is changing the way we live and work. It is time to reconsider timezones.

Missing Iceland

It might be the fact that jbraynard is posting amazing photos from his Iceland trip.

t might be that 5 years after the last visit to Iceland, the sheer beauty and  uniqueness of this Island is just what is needed after almost 5 months of being grounded.

It might be the 44 minutes long movie you just “discovered” on Shred Territory which shows an amazing ride clear across the Icelandic highland.

Iceland is one of these places that is near (3.5 hours direct flight) yet once one gets there, the feeling of remoteness and a complete alien landscape really takes over.

Iceland is part of the very exclusive list of places one can travel from Germany. Iceland is normally packed with tourists but this year, it is likely to be very empty.

Is this an opportunity?

Touring Shoes Spec List

Image by Christian

You absolutely love the Sidi shoes. The pair must be 3-5 years old as the soles are starting to wear thin. You ride in them all the time, but recently you started thinking that they are not the best shoes for a proper tour. Just in the last 6 months several components of the shoes broke. The Sidi strap, made out of plastic, broke off first. Then the closing part, fell off. These are not big deal issues. In fact, all these parts are easy to replace when taking the bike on a day long ride. One returns home, orders a new part, and a few days later the part arrives. But when one is on a multi-day tour, the point is to move forward. On the road, less is more.

The operating principle for great touring shoes is KEEP IT SIMPLE, STUPID (KISS). One should minimize all possible breaking points such as fancy Velcros and other parts that can break. Shoelaces work extremely well and are easy to replace on the road, in any supermarket, should you manage to tear one. In addition, good ventilation is great and, probably just as important as being able to spend many hours clicked into the pedaled is being able to walk off the bike with the same shoes. Obviously, mountain bike shoes should be the preference for as touring shoes.

And with this, the search begins.

How It Used To be

There used to be a time that in order to call someone, while on the street, one had to walk into one of these booths to make a call. One had to have change or in some countries, special tokens and for some reason, so the story goes, one never had enough coins to make a call. Long distance used to eat coins in unimaginable rate and on top of the calling experience, there were people staring at the person using the booth. Back when only one, nationalized, Telco operator existed, these phone booths were often the only mean of long distance communications for entire neighborhoods.

There is an episode of Seinfeld in which Elaine makes a call phone call, using an old GSM Motorola brick, to a friend to inquire about her father’s health. Both George and Seinfeld lecture Elaine about the etiquettes of using a mobile phone to make a health inquiry from the middle of the street.

When was the last time anyone opened a yellow pages? When did one memorize phone numbers? Addresses? Everything, pretty much all information that was ever created, is available at one’s finger tips. We no longer need to queue or have change in our pockets to make a call. In fact, most of us are no longer making calls at all. We FaceTime, we zoom, we WhatsApp, we certainly do not pay for call waiting or for voice mail.