Karmona's Pragmatic Blog

Don't get overconfident… Tiny minds also think alike

Karmona's Pragmatic Blog

Procrastination

October 13th, 2017 by Moti Karmona | מוטי קרמונה · 2 Comments

ProcrastinationHola,

Thanks for visiting this humble old blog. It is a great privilege to have you here but you should know it is mostly a graveyard of very old posts primarily due to severe perfectionism procrastination and subjective perception of poor ROI.

So… I am posting subjectively interesting and updated stuff on my Twitter (+ few embedded below)… and the best way to contact me these days is via my LinkedIn

Sincerely,
— Moti

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My Migraine Story

July 18th, 2015 by Moti Karmona | מוטי קרמונה · 3 Comments

TL;DR – I stopped consuming caffeine and it totally cured my migraines

Caffeine_Migraine

(I have found this frightening correlation with Google NGram Viewer)

My Migraine Story

I started having Migraines approx. 8 years ago; (~2007). The usual suspect to blame was stress, work-life-balance and lack-of-sleep-and-exercise (a.k.a. I have joined a cool startup as VP R&D)

p.s. This is more or less also where I started drinking coffee

#Quantified Self

I have decided to start hacking, tracking and quantifying my migraines when I reached a weekly migraine cadence during 2012.

I tried EVERYTHING and monitored it rigorously including exercise (Running, Swimming, Walking), Meditation, Temperature Therapy, Special Diet (+ reduced ~20kg :), Supplements (like vitamin B2, magnesium, and coenzyme Q10), Relaxation Techniques (e.g. Yoga, Tai-Chi, Chi- Kong), Special Herbs, Acupuncture, Triggers Diet (like Monosodium Glutamate, Gluten, Alcohol, Chocolate and Cheese), Different Sleep Patterns, etc.

I had some placebo reduction in cadence and symptoms but nothing really stopped the migraines.
~3 month ago I have decided to pull-the-plug on caffeine which was the last experiment in my plan (as caffeine misleadingly known only as Migraine cure).

*** I quit Caffeine and my Migraines disappeared ***

quantified_self_migraine

Brain, Caffeine and Migraine | The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Well… it worked for me but it seems like it isn’t only me.

Research shows that you need to be drinking about 200 milligrams of caffeine (~2 cups of coffee) to get a withdrawal headache when you miss your “dose”

caffeine

Going cold-turkey with Caffeine

Well… it was VERY hard to quit Caffeine and there are many ways to do it (just google it). As always, I have chosen the most radical one…!dilbert_decaf

Few interesting facts about Caffeine 

  • 68 million Americans drink three cups of coffee every single day = 300mg of caffeine
  • ~30 million Americans drink five or more cups of coffee every single day
  • ~21 million Americans drink six or more cups of coffee every day
  • Consuming as little as 200mg of caffeine every day can lead to addiction and altered chemistry in the brain.
  • Another 100mg (=300mg) per day can lead to increased anxiety, panic disorders, muscle twitching, irregular heartbeat, flushed skin, depression, and even slurred speech
  • Research shows that you need to be drinking about 200 milligrams of caffeine (about two to three cups of coffee) to get a withdrawal headache when you miss your “dose.”
  • Too much caffeine can produce mood swings, insomnia, increased tension in the muscles, and also impair your digestion and nutrition absorption.
  • Caffeine is thought to reduce or restrict blood circulation to the brain; it also raises blood pressure and accelerates the heart rate to unnatural levels.
  • A controversial study released in 1998 by the National Institute for Environmental and Health Sciences claimed that women who consumed at least one cup of coffee per day were half as likely to become pregnant than women who did not drink coffee. The study also concluded that women who drank coffee while pregnant were 17% more likely to have their newborn die of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome or SIDS. A study in New Zealand discredited the connection between low doses of caffeine and SIDS, but it did conclude that consuming 400mg of caffeine every day while pregnant may increase this risk due to the baby’s sudden withdrawal of  caffeine after being born, leading to respiratory distress.
  • It’s believed that some 3 out of 4 regular caffeine users are actually addicted to the substance.
  • After addiction, withdrawal from the use of caffeine can cause mood swings and irritability, similar to the symptoms of withdrawing from a narcotic or alcohol.
  • Five grams of caffeine can be fatal. This is the equivalent of some 30-40 cups of regular coffee.
  • Some 50% of people who quit using caffeine experience severe headaches which typically last between 2 and 9 days. Half of people who quit also stated that they had difficulty avoiding the use of caffeine permanently.
    In low doses, caffeine has been shown to improve one’s cognitive functions, increasing alertness.
  • Overdoses of caffeine can cause manic episodes, panic attacks, hallucinations, delusions, disorientation, and the lowering of one’s inhibitions.
    The effects of caffeine on a person’s system can usually be felt within minutes of consuming it. Its peak effectiveness typically takes around 30 minutes, and the substance requires three to six hours to leave the body. This is one reason it’s often recommended that a person stop drinking caffeinated beverages in the afternoon, so the body has time to flush it out of the system before trying to fall asleep at night.

TheCaffeineCurve

(Few Examples) Caffeine Content in different beverages

  • Brewed Coffee – 80 to 135mg
  • Instant Coffee – 40 to 60mg
  • Espresso – 100mg
  • Decaffeinated Coffee – 3 to 5mg
  • Cola – 34mg (What???)
  • Black Tea – 30 to 40mg (Did you know that?)
  • Green Tea – 20mg
  • Cocoa – 14mg
  • Decaffeinated Black Tea – 3 to 5mg

More details here:

Interesting and related links 

 

I hope this post will help others cure their Migraine – Please remember to post back if it did :)

→ 3 CommentsTags: People · Psychology · Quantified Self

Strategy Games

January 12th, 2015 by Moti Karmona | מוטי קרמונה · No Comments

StarCraftII

A few things I have learned from *countless* hours playing Strategy Games for more than 35 years (e.g. Chess, Go, Risk, Archon, Warcraft, Red Alert, AoE, Age of Mythology, StarCraft, etc.)

  • Plan a head | Map ALL possible “Candidate Moves” | The idea of candidate moves was first put forth by Grandmaster Alexander Kotov in his book “Think Like a Grandmaster”.
    In it, Kotov recommended looking for several moves that seemed feasible – the so-called candidate moves – and then analyzing those moves one at a time.
  • Adapt | You must adapt very quickly if you want to win
    • OODA loop – Observe, Orient, Decide, and Act (developed by military strategist and USAF Colonel John Boyd) | An entity (whether an individual or an organization) that can process this cycle quickly, observing and reacting to unfolding events more rapidly than an opponent, can “get inside” the opponent’s decision cycle and gain the advantage.
    • “If your enemy is secure at all points, be prepared for him. If he is in superior strength, evade him. If your opponent is temperamental, seek to irritate him. Pretend to be weak, that he may grow arrogant. If he is taking his ease, give him no rest. If his forces are united, separate them. If sovereign and subject are in accord, put division between them. Attack him where he is unprepared, appear where you are not expected” ~ Sun Tzu, The Art of War
    • “It is not the strongest of the species that survives but the most adaptable” ~ Charles Darwin
  • Strategic Patience | “Timing Is Everything” | Sometimes you need time to place your pieces in the proper position before you can attack effectively; a premature attack will backfire.
  • Speed Matters | Have you ever experienced a “Zerg Rush” @ StarCraft? – If you are fast enough, you can win in less than 5 minutes.
  • Know (+ Play) your enemy
    • “To know your Enemy, you must become your Enemy.” ~Sun Tzu, “The Art of War”
    • “In the moment when I truly understand my enemy, understand him well enough to defeat him, then in that very moment I also love him. I think it’s impossible to really understand somebody, what they want, what they believe, and not love them the way they love themselves. And then, in that very moment when I love them… I destroy them” ~Orson Scott Card, “Ender’s Game”
  • The Art of Sacrifice | In his book “The Art of Sacrifice in Chess”, Rudolf Spielmann distinguishes between real and sham sacrifices. A “sham” sacrifice leads to a forced and immediate benefit for the sacrifice… On the other hand, “real” sacrifices, according to Spielmann, are those where the compensation is not immediate but more positional in nature.
  • Sometimes it is worth losing and not to sacrifice the queen ;)
  • Threat is stronger than the execution” ~ Aron Nimzowitsch | The idea is that by threatening an action, you can nudge your opponent in a certain direction. But actually carrying out the threat may cause as many problems for you as for your opponent.
  • “The best form of defense is attack ~ Carl von Clausewitz
  • Determination | “It ain’t over till the fat lady sings” | This is true both ways. Don’t assume you won until the end and don’t assume failure until the last minute | “It is not sufficient that I succeed – all others must fail” ~ Genghis Khan
  • Easy is bad – If it goes too easy, something is wrong
  • Good opponents make you stronger | “That which does not kill us makes us stronger” ~ Friedrich Nietzsche
  • Play the hand you’re dealt | Improve incrementally and be PATIENT. You will have your chance to win many times.
  • Different phases of the game require different skills.
  • Master your Emotions | “An action committed in anger is an action doomed to failure” ~ Genghis Khan
  • Think outside-the-box. You must be creative with surprise moves to defeat a human enemy.
  • Play by the rules. Follow the rules or you might be disqualified.
  • Focus and Mass Matters | Concentrate combat power at the decisive place and time
  • Deception | “All warfare is based on deception. Hence, when we are able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must appear inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away; when far away, we must make him believe we are near” … “Appear weak when you are strong, and strong when you are weak” ~ Sun Tzu, “The Art of War”
  • Synergies Create Better Results | Leveraging the strengths of your armies so that the units are protecting each other while pushing forward is a timeless strategy in RTS games
  • Resources Management is crucial | Queues, priorities and timing can make all the difference with your resource management | “An army marches on its stomach” ~ Napoleon Bonaparte
  • Never mistake tactical success for strategic direction | Make sure that when you’re investing in short-term returns, you’ve also got plans in place to make longer-term strategic investments.
  • A chain is only as strong as its weakest link | Know the strengths and weaknesses of your team. You can’t win alone!
  • Counter-offensive | A strategic offensive taking place after the enemy’s front line troops and reserves have been exhausted, and before the enemy has had the opportunity to assume new defensive positions
  • Economy of Force | Allocate minimum essential combat power to secondary efforts
  • Intel is key | Scouting your enemy is crucial
  • Master the Micro | The best gamers excel in both Macro and Micro | Amazing strategy will not survive mediocre execution and vice versa
  • Study (game) history, because history has a weird tendency to repeat itself

 

 

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Five Elements a Product Manager should Master

December 28th, 2014 by Moti Karmona | מוטי קרמונה · No Comments

Five Elements a Product Manager should Master

Leadership*; Ship Amazing Products!; Customers 1st; Storytelling; Passionate (II**);

Kung-Fu-Pandas

 

Leadership*

They are the most important Leaders in a product driven organization – Product is where the magic happens and almost everything else connect. They should master the first 6 Leadership Super Powers (#7 Leadership Superpowers*) … Passionate; Inconceivable Tenacity; Hyper Strategist; Inspiring; Craftsmanship;

 

Ship Amazing Products!

They ship Products! They do whatever-it-takes to make the product successful!

They create value by combining wisdom, science and art, they are highly analytical (data driven) with attention to both the big picture (market, target user segment, positioning, company strategy and goals, competitive positioning) and the tiniest details of their domain (day-to-day constraints, compromises, content plan, edge cases, design trade-offs, engineering dependencies etc.). They can zoom out and drill down unlike others. They are Polymath. They have a strong background in many fields. Design, UX, Technical Architecture, Marketing, Engineering, Business Analysis, Project Management, Statistics, Sociology, Psychology, History and many others. Always curious and eager to understand and learn more.

“Good product managers know the market, the product, the product line and the competition extremely well and operate from a strong basis of knowledge and confidence. A good product manager is the CEO of the product.
A good product manager takes full responsibility and measures themselves in terms of the success of the product. They are responsible for right product/right time and all that entails. A good product manager knows the context going in (the company, our revenue funding, competition, etc.), and they take responsibility for devising and executing a winning plan (no excuses).
Bad product managers have lots of excuses. Not enough funding, the engineering manager is an idiot, Microsoft has 10 times as many engineers working on it, I’m overworked, I don’t get enough direction”

~Ben Horowitz | Good Product Manager/Bad Product Manager | http://a16z.files.wordpress.com/2014/08/good-product-manager.pdf

 

Customers 1st

They must understand their Customers better than anyone else.

“Empathy – We will truly understand their needs better than any other company…” ~Mike Markkula | January 3, 1977 | “The Apple Marketing Philosophy” … a.k.a. Empathy; Focus; Impute

 

Storytelling

They must have supreme communication skills. They connect the Strategy and Vision to the Tactics and Details. They are “The Context Providers”

“Building a visionary company requires one percent vision and 99 percent alignment.” ~Jim Collins and Jerry Porras, Built to Last

 

Passionate (II**)

They must be fanatical about building amazing products. They are passionate about the Product Vision. They are passionate about their Customers. They are passionate about *every* aspect of the product experience.

(**Disclaimer: This was also hiding in the Leadership* element above but Passion has it own set of rules… ;)

“We’re here to put a dent in the universe. Otherwise why else even be here?” ~Steve Jobs.

 

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RELATED READING LIST

 

 

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#7 Leadership Superpowers

November 28th, 2014 by Moti Karmona | מוטי קרמונה · No Comments

Seven leadership superpower traits I value most in leaders

Passionate; Inconceivable Tenacity; Hyper Strategist; Inspiring; Craftsmanship; Authentic; Scale Masters

Avengers

 

Passionate

Leadership is a passionate (almost fanatical), inquisitive pursuit of a vision, of excellence, of perfection, of truth, of the impossible, of what’s next, of change, of value, of results, of knowledge, of experience, of learning, and of something bigger than yourself.

“We’re here to put a dent in the universe. Otherwise why else even be here?” ~Steve Jobs.

 

Inconceivable Tenacity

Leadership is about tenacity, focus, resilience, determination, persistence, disciplined consistency of action, values, standards, methods and results over time with inconceivable internal-locus-of-control.

“Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm” ~Sir Winston Churchill

 

Hyper Strategist

Leaders are hyper-vigilant (almost paranoid) in understanding, mapping and confronting their reality constantly. They have almost mystical ability to adapt, plan and pivot to seize opportunities, avoid obstacles and win the end-game.

“Military tactics are like unto water; for water in its natural course runs away from high places and hastens downwards… Water shapes its course according to the nature of the ground over which it flows; the soldier works out his victory in relation to the foe whom he is facing. Therefore, just as water retains no constant shape, so in warfare there are no constant conditions. He who can modify his tactics in relation to his opponent and thereby succeed in winning, may be called a heaven-born captain” ~ Sun Tzu

 

Inspiring | X Factor

Leaders inspire others to move mountains when by all rights they shouldn’t believe they can and then do so… faster.

“High sentiments always win in the end. The leaders who offer blood, toil, tears and sweat always get more out of their followers than those who offer safety and a good time. When it comes to the pinch, human beings are heroic.” ~George Orwell

 

Craftsmanship

Leaders are craftsmen, they create value by combining wisdom, science and art. They are highly analytical with attention to both the big picture and the tiniest details of their domain, and strive for excellence (“get the things done and then better”). They are super creative in hacking and reinventing solutions, experiences, and systems rejecting conventional wisdom, hype, and the madness of crowds.

“Faulkner is a writer who has had much to do with my soul, but Hemingway is the one who had the most to do with my craft – not simply for his books, but for his astounding knowledge of the aspect of craftsmanship in the science of writing” ~Gabriel Garcia Marquez

 

Authentic

Leaders are authentic, genuine, transparent, straightforward, trusted. They “walk the talk”. They don’t play games. What you see is *exactly* what you get.

“When you have to shoot, shoot; don’t talk… But if you miss, you had better miss very well. Whoever double-crosses me and leaves me alive, he understands nothing about Tuco. Nothing!” ~Tuco Benedicto Pacífico Juan María Ramírez (The Ugly :)

 

Scale Masters

Leaders with very rare recursion skill to lead, empower, delegate, grow, and mentor other leaders superheroes toward the same vision.

“I’ve been trying to control you since the day we met, and look where that’s got us. I have faith in you.” ~Charles Xavier

 

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Related Reading List

 

Few more traits to consider

Visionary, Passionate , Authentic, Confident, Pragmatic, Straightforward, Professional, Caring, Proactive, Result oriented, Honest, Intelligent, Cooperative, Inspiring, Determined, Imaginative, Ambitious, Courageous, Mature, Loyal, Independent, Responsible, Confident, Enthusiastic, Decisiveness, Humility, Agile, Character, Initiative, Intuition, Positive Attitude, Persistent , Empathetic, Mentor, Goal oriented, Focused, Consisteness, Dedicated, Conscientiousness, Commitment, Trusting, Organized

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