Running, products and thoughts.

January 4, 2012

8 Ways To Get In The Zone (and Be Super Freakin’ Productive)

If you’ve ever run long distances, you know what being in the zone means.  You shut off the rest of the world, your vision tunnelize, sounds seems to come from far away. You’re in. You’re focused on one thing.

Getting in the zone seems increasingly difficult if you work in front of a computer. Between your email client, your mobile phone, your co-workers, Twitter/Facebook/Google+ and the gazillion browser tabs you have no open, no wonder you’re struggling to stay away from watching videos like this:

I am struggling too. But right now I need to be 1000% more productive than usual as we’re in the final stretch toward a our social recruiting product launch at matchFWD.

Yet I know a couple things that just work:

  • Come in early, stay late or phase out your lunch: Less people in the office, less distraction.
  • Leave your mobile in your coat. On vibration: Your girlfriend, your mom and your friends might hate it, but you just cut yourself of one major distraction. And your bill might even shrink. Not really.
  • Use 2 computers: one for work, one for communications and social network. You focus on one part of your work at a time. Don’t have access to a second computer? Use Spaces on Mac.
  • Ban time-wasting sites: I user Chrome Nanny to ban myself from Facebook, Youtube and a list of blogs during core hours.
  • Put your headphones on: Even without music, people will think twice before interrupting you.
  • Read only one TODO list at a time: I keep a list on my desk, on my phone, in my notebook, in my bug tracker, I share one with my designer. Yet when I am looking for the next thing to do, I look at one list first and finish it before moving to another one.
  • Have everything handy: I start the day with a coffee cup, a bottle of water, a full place of fruits, enough paper and everything else I’ll need to complete the day.
  • Stop reading blogs about productivity. Seriously.

What’s your trick?


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January 2, 2012

4 Artistes de Montréal à Découvrir À La Triennale

Je suis un fan fini d’art contemporain, malgré qu’il y ait beaucoup de n’importe quoi. Mais honnêtement, étant donné ma culture limité en la matière et le fait que je ne suis pas cette scène de près, quand ma pote Fannie, vidéaste et artiste, m’apelle pour aller voir la 2e édition de la Triennale de Montréal, je saute sur mon bécik et je descends au MAC.

Voici mes 4 préférés du lot:

Numa Amun pour ses coupes pyschédéliques

Claudie Gagnon pour sa revisite de tableaux classiques en vidéo burlesque

Mathieu Latulipe pour son surréalisme.

Un confrère du secondaire.

Magali Babin, artiste sonore

Ebruitements extrait by magali babin


December 18, 2011

New Runners Should Leave Their iPod At Home


Running is about rhythm. Rhythm gets you into that state when you start forgetting you’re running, forgetting you need to move both legs, need to pace your breathing, keep your back straight, look good (not kidding). It’s when you get into the flow. When running becomes easy, natural and you start thinking about everything but running.

New runners need to find their rhythm to start being good at running. And learn to enjoy running.

I am just starting to run again, after a break of a few months and I am completely out of running shape. I want to run at sub 1:15 half-marathon this spring so I better kick my ass now.

How one find his rhythm? Easy you feel it. Hear yourself breathing (too fast, too loud, not exhausted at all), hear how everything change when you reduce length of the your stride and hear the cadenced sound of your feet hitting the ground. Feel the difference when your arm trust in straight line instead of crossing in front of you. When your arms are in perfect sync with your legs.

I went out for my first over 5k run the other day and quickly remembered how fast you can get into proper rhythm by simply listening to the sound of your shoes hitting the ground. It’s yoga class music to my hears. Play with the length of your stride and it changes.

Get me right, I’ll be running with my iPod in 4 weeks. In the meantime, I listen so I can find my rhythm faster when I go out. You should try too. Next time, leave Steve Jobs gift at home.

Pitch this story to a new running chick and she’s going to fall in love with you.


December 11, 2011

Emplettes de Noël à la Souk à la SAT


On est allé faire nos annuelles emplettes de Noël hier à la Souk à la SAT.

A couple of my favs

Si vous n’êtes jamais allé faire un tour, vous devriez. Acheter directement de la personne qui crée quelquechose reste la meilleure expérience d’achat que je connaisse.

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December 2, 2011

The QR Code On Your Business Card Makes You Look Dumb

My Augmented Reality (

Is it me just me that does not get it and think it’s all crap that was sell to you by your PR agency or marketing consultant? Seriously.

Why should I fire up a special application to scan it? To be redirected to your website? A 8 letter word ending with a “.com”?

The only usage I see on a business card is for people that cannot read, so they couldn’t type the URL in their browser. If you’re doing it for the disabled, big respect.

Seriously, keep that stuff to track package, to validate some action or to redirect me to a very complicated URL with a token.



EDIT: Thxs for the typo heads up Colin. Mispelling “dumb” is actually pretty humbling ;-)

November 30, 2011

Getting Schooled By A New Hire

hope school sign 3.JPG

I recently hired a promising school dropout. He goes by the nomulous moniker on the web and as Fletcher Tomalty everywhere else. Some late night browsing on GitHub made me a very lucky manager as he’s so far the best hire of my 1st decade in technology. Too bad, he’s not drinking yet ;-)

Last week, his 4th with us, he told me I was wrong using the word “ratio” to qualify some metric for the social recruiting product we’re building at matchFWD. I first resisted as he couldn’t come up with a proper alternative and because I was pretty sure it was a ratio. Turns out he was right as a ratio is

an expression of the quantity of one substance or entity in relation to that of another; the relationship between two quantities expressed as the quotient of one divided by the other.

and it differs from a proportion

in that the numerator is not included in the denominator. Thus x/(x + y) is a proportion, x:y is a ratio.

Read more:

I think using the right words is incredibly important when programming as well-written and well-labeled code is, in my opinion, the best type of documentation (yet often not sufficient).

But the real thing is: I got schooled by my new hire!

And I think it’s great!

You need to encourage your team to speak up on issues they’ve identified and encourage them to come up with a better solution.

That’s not sufficient though. You also need to fix the issue. And I am faulty, I haven’t yet fixed all the variable names. But you know what? That’s the first thing I do tomorrow morning. Why? It’s clearly not a top priority, the misusage of “ratio” is invisible to users and nothing is broken. It doesn’t matter.

If you want your people to keep coming up with suggestions of improvement, take action when they do or you might just repress one of your best source of continuous improvements.

I am not saying you need to fix every little bits and pieces that one guy thinks are not perfect or you’ll never launch your product or release the new version. They should know better anyway right? Use your judgement but make sure everyone as a voice and that their voice as meaning.

And that’s how you start building a team.

If you’re part of a team or looking for a new opportunity, make sure your boss can handle being schooled by his team.

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