Category: Social

As usual, I love to address topics I find overlooked, if not ignored.

So many people feel awkward when asked if they are self-taught or if they spent a colossal sum of money into an Ivy-league school curriculum.

The perennial battle of the successful (or not). It is lame.

I’ll kick in –after this little intro– by merely stating that being self-taught is not to be mistaken with being a self-made man.

Sure. You didn’t even need parents to give you birth. You made yourself out of nothing…

More seriously: no one is a self-made man.

Everyone, at some point, asked for help, guidance and advice. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that!

Death of the self-made man myth!

What’s dirty with having been trained, taught, coached, mentored? (let me know by commenting)!

What’s striking, –and serious studies show it– is that both grad PhDs and “self-taught” people reach the same level of competence, cleverness, happiness, and confidence.

Keep asking for help.

It shows how much you care. It shows how much you want to reach your goals, even at the expense of having your self-esteem a tad hurt. It even shows leadership abilities!

I openly hate the term “leadership”. Yet, face it: all of our Greats were a kind of leader. Quiet leaders or loud ones, it doesn’t matter.

What did you learn today?

Did you learn by making a mistake (a great way to learn, if you can understand what went awry), or by asking?

Keep asking. Just don’t be a pest… And ask the “right” people!

Help is the most effective and inexpensive word I know.

You first have to know what your goal is. If you don’t find it outright, it’s perfectly OK.

Let your mind wander. Read my previous post: Shower Power.

By now, I’m sure that you know that I asked for help today. I don’t have any reply yet due to the asynchronous nature of e-mail.

Yes, I don’t use Skype. I don’t use any IM. I don’t use my phone. I still use paper and send letters the old way. I have one friend only, and he doesn’t live in Europe, but in the USA.

I digress, but I’m fine with that.

Again: ask for help, and offer your help everytime you can.

By the way, may I ask you something?


For the last two weeks, I have tackled issues, and I’m still tackling new ones.

(Have a look at my past posts to know what I’m writing about).

Needless to say: it is exhausting.

I always find myself awake at 4:30 am, super energetic (it is usually my energy peak) , and I hate wasting energy.

So, I grab my iPad and read books nobody will. at least I think so.  Would you be interested in reading a book called “Inside Apple“? Unless your are a fanboi computer geek which is interested in HR and temperaments/personalities and their pros and cons, I bet you wouldn’t.

Not a safe bet.

My health has never been great, and I don’t want it to deteriorate.

There are a few tricks that I do before giving in (and I gave in once in my life: I had a lung infection and spent a few days in the coma. OK, I digress, but bear that in mind)!

Taking a shower after having triggered my mind with an insanely intricate computer science lecture, or an inspiring TED talk, is what I usually do.

Solutions and ideas appear when you least expect them. It is common sense.

The next Joe would say the same, but I’m not the next Joe.

When you let purposely your mind wander, it will certainly bring you where it wouldn’t if you were hyper-active and focused obsessed.

My weapon of choice is a simple shower, or a bath.

I soak my hands in warm water before playing keyboards or cello. Any tension disappears, and I can warm-up, then play confidently knowing that I prepared myself.

See… This is a borrowed parallel paradigm (a term I coined a few blog posts ago and didn’t use in a blog post)!

I use a “model” totally unrelated to the task at hand to solve it. I transpose it (sorry for the musical pun).

Well, it’s time for a new TED talk and to catch up on my Stanford lectures (I have a strong disgust for the C language, and we are comparing Objective-C and ANSI C. I want to move on to the next step, yet I know that my teacher is doing what we’ll need ten lectures later).

Oh, one last thing: nothing beats a cup of Yunnan tea.

One more thing: this is the post where my 666th tag will appear. I’m an unabashed metal freak, but in no way Satanist. I just find that ending my post with something less serious could release some tension!

Which are your strategies to kick out stress and burn-outs from tearing you apart?

Do you let your mind wander to find solutions, or do you keep working until you run out of gas?




Everything that goes through any of our senses is stored in our memory as a mental picture.

It uses our occipital cortex. So, don’t scratch the top of your head if you can’t recall. It happens behind your head!

Just google “visual memory” and countless search pages will show up with miracle recipes on how to improve it.

This is totally uninteresting to me. However, I often take a quick look at all those self-help things, then discard 99% of them.

What is interesting is how our brain works, and thorough studies, serious stuff won’t appear on the first search page. Go further.

I find it fascinating that our memory transforms everything into a mental image. Vivid, exaggerated, lurid, hilarious… Unexpected ways are to be expected!

One of the most important aspects of it, is that if you aren’t actively participating in memorizing, your “file” (memory) will be lost somewhere into some random place you can’t easily recall, or can’t recall at all. Unlike computers, we have no indexing and search option available to find where our file is.

Actively participating means “abstracting” the (usually) boring stuff. You’ll need to find ways to get mnemotechnic in remembering things. It will take some time and practice, but it is worth the sweat!

If you just absorb, you are not memorizing. You are listening, watching, smelling… but not memorizing.

When memorizing, don’t lay on a couch and repeat ad nauseam the same thing, hoping it will get into your memory. You have to add emotion to it to work properly.
Being on a couch is not what I call an emotional trigger (unless you get laid, but that’s another story).

Stand up. Read aloud. Repeat each syllable many times. Let the music come.

Don’t worry, your music will anyway be associated with a mental image. Not a mere image, but a mental one. Those are discrete things!

I hope that by now, you start figuring out why I called this post “our memory is a GUI”. Yes, it is a graphical user interface. Touch this icon / click on it, and it will react.
An icon is an object which has properties. Exactly like our memory.

I am still studying this overlooked aspect of our memorizing process, so expect an update or another post as soon as I have new and relevant content.

Meanwhile, know that nobody has a bad memory. If you want to have a really hard time remembering faces, events, sounds, etc, keep saying to yourself that your memory is poor, or bad, or that you suck.

I encourage you to do your own search. I want us to discuss and debate around this topic.

Well. I’m going to find ways to memorize five high-level programming languages. I’ll focus primarily on Objective-C.

The meaning, the syntax, the words or signs used all have some potential for visual memorizing. What can I do with @synthesize ? Split it into syllables and repeat them until I find a way to relate what is on my screen to what it means. Make music out of it (“synth” could already be “synthesizer”. Or maybe should I try to merge “sin”, “in”, “the”, “size and visualize a huge cock)?

I told you that the more exaggerated, gory or porn, the better and easier to remember. Summarize it into a vivid mental image (not an image like a photo) and link it to its meaning (meanings aren’t obvious in programming). That is why Stanford has a “programming abstractions” course, in my opinion.

Again, don’t merely absorb, but stand up (to stay alert) and actively participate in memorizing.

In those big “memory contests”, they give you energizing beverages. It is not a coincidence, is it?



What I mean by a “borrowed parallel paradigm” is that a paradigm out of my field of study or biz can help me shape – or reshape- my thinking and my doing.
It broadens my vision, or help me see the world through new lenses.

If I use Apple’s biz paradigm (mainly, a platform, to be studied) to improve my creative musician skills, it’s a win. However, it is not easy to draw parallel lines with those unrelated areas.

To create, to innovate, to shape, call it what you want, you need to borrow or shamelessly steal from unrelated industries, areas, businesses -even if the models are outdated- to make your very own product, be it a symphony or a startup.

That’s what Google does, what Amazon does, what a schmazillion of other successful people do. They succeed at what they aim for.
Success is not a one-size-fits-all word!

A pattern can be transposed successfully if applied in a clever way. If you stay in your area, you are likely to learn nothing. If you go where everyone else goes, you end up doing what everyone does. Is it what you want?

Picasso famously said that great artists steal. Is Picasso a great artist? This up to you to judge. The statement is true, though.

Today, the word artist has a broader meaning. A VP or a CEO can be artists, not because they are hobbyist painters or musicians, but because they -the succesful ones- totally pour themselves into what they do. Stravinsky used to say that a succesful piece of art is 99% work!

As far as I am concerned: I come from a very complex background.

I am a musician. That is the core of my being. 26 years of mayhem, and counting!

I sing, I play snare drum, timpani, vibraphone, drums, cello, viola da gamba, guitar, harpsichord, piano, organ… All those instruments have one thing in common: they require the use of fingers (in this case, parallels are drawn quite easily. Starting small is not a bad thing), and demand a very high degree of commitment.
I also produce, edit, mix and master. I started as a FOH engineer, but moved on to my comfy studio more as my back pain increased with FOH muck work. I am now settled.

However, I read business books, blogs about education, biographies, I love CDs and LPs artwork and do my own, I hang around with TED speakers, I study iOS programming and programming abstractions (courtesy of Stanford University). I read other people Ph.Ds’ stuff, too, no matter the subject.

How does all that relate? How does one model applies to the other to foster creativity? I’m diligently working on it.

Easy is not a word I can use to describe that task. I have to learn critical thinking, which is not taught at school/college.

I have to ask for mentorship, sometimes. I have to ask myself the right questions. It’s exhausting, and I already wanted to throw the towel many times. I didn’t, because I’m passionate about what I do.

Of course, it is easy to get lost into all those unrelated areas. Focus on your primary one and look around. How can you improve or change your existing model?

Borrow paradigms. Shamelessly. The more unrelated, the better.
Get the broadest scope you can get, yet keep in mind that you want to raise the bar of your primary activity, foster creativity and get smarter at what you do.

One last thing: don’t lose sight of your own goals.

I’d love to hear from you. You are encouraged to share your experiences and thoughts. Your personal info will never be shared.


We are churning out Ph.Ds like never before, yet the cumulated contribution to humankind of one year strong of this scholar drivel has less impact than a 3-minute long TED talk.

Feel free to comment.

What is a Ph.D. worth today?

Does a degree realistically depicts what one is able to do?

Do you foresee the top-down model disappearing, and the need of something radically different?

Do you want to stick to the meritocratic status quo?

If yes, why?



TED Global 2012

About TEDGlobal 2012:

I borrowed TEDG’s “description” and added notes inside parentheses.

“All bets are off (meaning:the outcome of a situation is unpredictable) as to what openness and collaboration in an ultra-connected world will mean for human potential (one thing is sure, it is killing introverts like me, which need to “disconnect” to recharge their batteries).

Traditional top-down (hierarchical) models of organization no longer reflect reality.

Social capital and influence are becoming stronger currencies than hierarchy and formal power (we can expect to achieve a level of transparency/openness so powerful that it will ridicule the sacrosanct résumé and “open” new perspectives for those who are not Ivy-Leaguers, yet highly qualified. There’s now a hope of getting rid of résumés, and saving trees by not printing any f-in one).

New, collaborative ways of creating meaning and things are developing at fast pace (a new system of values is appearing, so what will we expect from each other when we are all naked?).

Only one thing appears certain: Secrecy is no longer bankable (certain to bring profit and success. Apple’s culture of secret is threatened): impact is. The future will be built on great ideas (starting at school, teaching kids how to use a compass, not a map that keeps changing, and not squandering creativity), and for that, great ideas need to circulate freely, broadly and openly.” (Without censorship and without creating a new arbitrary hierarchy).

These “things between parentheses” are some of my minute thoughts, taken during a drink with friends (I’ve got much more than those few notes, of course).

Your comments are most welcome!

Are you attending TED Global this year in Edinburgh?

If so, what are you expecting?


Not even strong enough mentally to write a blog entry each day.

That’s… wimp.

That’s what I am.

I am so jaded. So bored.
No, I don’t whine.

12 years having been trained to be a 1925-like factory worker, to win the race to the bottom.

13 years with a nameless disease which is slowly killing me.

7 years of stubborn tribal behaviour in some lousy Uni (lousy=mediocre teachers. It has nothing to do with rankings, which are just about fame).

25 years stuck in a strict and narrow-minded, retrograde family.

Take it all, shake it well, serve as is.

Wounded. That is what I am.

I need time and perseverance to heal those wounds. This blog will be left for a good while. Who cares, anyway?


Health first. The rest is secondary.

Huge thanks to the french government and the ministry of education for killing all of my dreams.

I may be too old for some jobs (and I’ll never be admitted to MIT at 16 years old like this girl…), even jobs I create, yet it is never too late to unlearn and reshape.

I am weak, diminished. Nonetheless I am preparing some burning mail for all those who gladly participated to my demise.

I told you I’m not easy on people. It’s an understatement. One can argue that blaming others is the easy way out…

Really? Try to convince your enemy that he has lost the battle the war as you’re dying.

Time to retaliate. For good, and on behalf of all the wounded students, victims of their education.

1925, no more. Never.

-Over and out-


Stop stealing dreams.

Seth Godin issued a new powerful manifesto about education. It is his best so far.

Actually, it is a well-thought and well-documented rant.

The question is simple: what is school for?

I thought you would find it interesting: is ready to read and share –

Find it also here:

I really hope you’ll read it and think deeply. I also hope you’ll share it.

What’s the use of a manifesto if not spread and shared?

I’m fuming.

We (yes, we) are still churning out 1925-like compliant factory workers.

We are in 2012. Time to adapt to the tools we have today (internet, yeah)?

Replaceable cogs are definitively NOT what we need now in a post-industrial era.


End of january 2012…

Thanks too an EEG on my request, I’ve just learnt that my right temporal lobe is slowed down for as much as 75% (hence my left hand being amazingly slow), whereas my whole left brain is sped up to a booming 150 percent or more (allowing me to muscle-learn a lot, and at a ultra-fast, face-melting pace).

The two lobes always function at the same time, instead of taking turns like a “normal” brain does. It’s not the common pattern with an alternating activity, in other words. It is exhausting. I last 8-10 hours a day, then fall asleep.

It also explains why I’m struggling to sync left and right. Right now, I’m really uneven in doing something as basic as a single stroke snare roll. RLRLRLRLR…fuckin’ L !
It ends up being jazzy.

I can’t fight it. I tried to, but it turned out to be a real war against myself. No negativity allowed inside. There’s enough outside (linked to inside, as we are a whole) and I’m not the only one to create it!

Yup, this is a mea culpa. I can be negative. What people don’t get is that there has to be a positivity-negativity ratio of 3-1. Google ” Barbara Fredrickson” and you will dig what I mean.

This is all due to chemical imbalance due to way too many years ( 13 ) being fed with improper medication. I’m in total disability regarding work, and I need to fix that shit for I’m running out of gas (money) and cannot refill. Thank whoever I believe in, I’m tough.

All of this happens after tons of applications for rad jobs at Apple. It kinda makes me laugh to read that Apple is an Equal Opportunity Employer. They dismiss weakened applicants! They don’t practice what they preach. They (quite) never did. They have no clue what they miss by only keeping resumes containing a bunch a buzzword bingo bullshit!

However, I’m glad the company is going well even without Steve (as I need their damn products to do what matters to me. I’m an iOS programmer, dangit). I’m somehow pissed and disappointed at how they handle “resume overload”. They should address the issue like Google did. A simple “No more resumes, please. We can’t process 20 million applications a year.” What does it cost?

Can’t Apple also just damn update their job offerings, too? 99 % of them are outdated. I hate writing what I write now, but it’s part of my life!


Here is a brief overview of Apple’s board of admins.

I’m not surprised. What kicks me in the head is how Apple morphed into what it is today. From hippie artists (musicians, painters, etc) who happened to be tech geniuses to… A corporate colossus.

I purposely skipped the quite boring and pompous list of achievements, rewards and past experience, and kept only the degrees description.

If you have equal or higher qualifications, you may interest Apple, but you need a recommendation anyway.

Afterall, A players love to work with A players, right?

Here is the list. Enjoy!

Tim Cook is the CEO of Apple and serves on its Board of Directors.

Tim earned an M.B.A. from Duke University, where he was a Fuqua Scholar, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Engineering from Auburn University.

Eddy Cue is Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services, reporting to CEO Tim Cook.

Eddy earned a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and Economics from Duke University.

Scott Forstall is senior vice president of iPhone Software at Apple.

Forstall received both a Bachelor of Science in Symbolic Systems and a Master of Science in Computer Science from Stanford University.

Jonathan Ive is the senior vice president of Industrial Design at Apple, reporting directly to the CEO.

Ive holds a Bachelor of Arts and an honorary doctorate from Newcastle Polytechnic.

Bob Mansfield is senior vice president of Hardware Engineering, reporting to the CEO.

Mansfield earned a BSEE degree from The University of Texas at Austin in 1982.

Peter Oppenheimer is Apple’s senior vice president and Chief Financial Officer.

Oppenheimer received a bachelors degree from California Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo and an M.B.A. from the University of Santa Clara, both with honors.

Philip Schiller is Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing and reports to Apple’s CEO.

Schiller graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from Boston College.

Bruce Sewell is Apple’s general counsel and senior vice president of Legal and Government Affairs, reporting to Apple’s CEO.

Sewell received his J.D. from George Washington University in 1986, and a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Lancaster, in the United Kingdom, in 1979.

Jeff Williams is Apple’s senior vice president of Operations, reporting to the CEO.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from North Carolina State University and an MBA from Duke University.